April 26th, 2019
Engineer’s Windmill mm 100.1 – HWY 90 crossing mm 108.6, then ride to Silver City
Distance in miles: 8.5
I slept so well, way better than I would have in town. I also did a good job of exhausting myself the day before. I did have a migraine because of the dehydration. Easily taken care of but I will have to do better.
The morning was very nice, with cotton candy clouds all around. I caught up to Bearman and we hiked the short distance to the road. I had thought about hiking an additional 8 miles to make it to another trailhead but there was a guy with trail magic set up at the road. Once I saw that, I knew I was done for the day.
We sat down with Big Red Riding Hood, or just Big Red, and had a soda. Then we went to the road to try to hitch. I had been talking up my game and must have jinxed myself. All the drivers were having none of my antics. After about 45 minutes, I pointed my umbrella at a car for fun (I still have PCT written on it) and the car stopped. Turns out it was Vanessa and Manda, a daughter and mom who are steadfast trail angels in the area. Inside were Capt’n, Dustbuster, and Elevator—a couple that I had met the first day.
We all squeezed in and were given a tour of the town on arrival. We were breaking from the trail to go to Trail Days, an event put on by the CDT Coalition. There were seminars, lectures, parties, raffles, free food, and vendors over the next few days. The other trails have similar events that are much bigger. I wanted to go because I had never been to one and this one promised to be more low key. I’m not into big crowds.
We had missed most of the lectures so we went into town for drinks and food. I thought we would only be there a short time but I forgot how other thru-hikers like to drink and eat. The brewery was packed with hikers from various points on the trail, some as far north as the town of Grants. I had only 1 beer and some fish tacos, which I couldn’t even finish. I had to go for a walk around town because I was so sleepy. The town is very cute and artsy, reminding me of Durango or Ashland.
I came back and met more hikers, some of which were also vendors or reps. I kind of recognized a lady while she recognized my visor. Years ago she designed some Hikertrash logos and I had gotten one of the visors. The letters wore off during the TA and the visor is now grey not black, but it is going on its 3rd long thru-hike simply out of pride (most of my stuff is on its 3rd or even 4th hike). She-RA was at the event to promote the Oregon Desert Trail.
We all went over to another place where the CDTC was putting on a special party with drinks, music, and a raffle. I bought some tickets but didn’t win anything. That’s ok, I didn’t want to carry more. Then everyone went back to the brewery. By that time, I’d managed to have 3 more beers and was really needing to call it a night. But the party was just beginning at the pub. Some of the hikers were really going crazy buying beers for everyone. A few more got forced into my hand and I had to drink them…
I still hadn’t sorted out where to stay and was hauling my pack all over the place. Then I met a nice lady, Nancy aka Solo, who is traveling around in her van and doing trail angel activities. She had gotten a motel room and was advertising for hikers to stay if needed. Bearman and I took her up on the generous offer. Back at the room, she politely excused herself, saying she wanted to sleep in her van. So I got the bed all to myself and a decent night’s rest…much better than I had anticipated from ending up sleeping for free in the park, as was my first option. I wanted to still be able to hike the next day, even after all this craziness in town.