Sunday, May 16, 2010

A weekend in Agua Dulce

Trailhacker and I spent a nice weekend in Agua Dulce.

We drove to the Vasquez Rocks in the morning. We hiked a little on the PCT in the Vasquez Rocks. The trail there is a dirt road until it decides to descend into a canyon. At that point, we walked a few feet down, but Trailhacker decided that without poles, he didn't feel too comfortable on the trail. So we headed back to the car. He was walking very slowly the whole way. I could see he was a little let down, having hoped for a miracle that he could get back on the trail soon.

From Vasquez Rocks we drove through town and stopped at the grocery store for ice. We had purchased a whole bunch of drinks and snacks at Smart & Final before setting off and now the ice was melting. From the parking lot we could see lots of people across the street near the cafe. Trailhacker thought he recognized Tarzan and Zelda. I thought it was wishful thinking, but indeed there they were!

We gave them a ride up to Hiker Heaven and then spent the afternoon hanging out with hiker trash, sharing our drinks and snacks and then chauffeuring people to town for dinner. Chuck Norris was included among the hikers, having arrived sometime in the afternoon. He is back on the trail but Tigger is back in Florida working. Chuck's plan is to actually hike the trail for a change. He's working up his fitness in California and once he feels good, he's hitting the trail near the Oregon border and finishing it up. Good for him.

We had dinner at the Mexican Restaurant, which was good but we both ate too much. Trailhacker had a hard time sleeping, but I slept mostly like a rock. I was awakened by a bug climbing on my hat in the middle of the night. I flicked him off and then noticed the stars. It had been the slimmest of new moons so the sky was full of stars. I saw a big cluster of stars and then fell back to sleep dreaming that the whole sky was so clear that all the stars were huge clusters of stars and the sky was nearly blue-white with all the clusters.

Another hiker there that we met was named JJ. He said he enjoys reading my posts on the pct-l list. He says I ruin all the fun because just when everyone is getting ready for a good wind-up I butt in with something sensible and shut everybody up. Sorry.

JJ had been trying to hike the PCT for a few years but every time he started hiking, he would end up passing out on the trail. The first few times he managed to go a few hundred miles before passing out. This time he only managed 60. He decided that maybe hiking the PCT was not meant to be, so he was helping out at Hiker Heaven instead, doing laundry the day I was there. It was nice to meet JJ. He seemed like a happy person enjoying his retirement.

Trailhacker and I were not planning to stay at Hiker Heaven since we were not technically hikers. The original plan was to go by Hiker Heaven and see if there was anyone who needed help, perhaps a ride to the REI in Northridge. We could leave the drinks and snacks and ferry people to Northridge, then move on to Casa de Luna. We weren't sure we would visit Casa de Luna, but the guide book said there was a campsite behind the ranger station in Green Valley, so it seemed like a tentative, play-it-by-ear kind of plan. But because we went out to dinner with Trailhacker's buddies from the trail, and because he was having such a nice time seeing friends from the trail that he knew, we ended up being at Hiker Heaven quite late. With permission we camped out under a grapevine. Good thing because there is no campsite behind the ranger station in Green Valley after all.

In the morning we decided to head out. I gave Tarzan and Zelda a ride to the continuation of the "trail" at the corner of Darling Rd. and the main drag in town. Then Trailhacker and I went for breakfast at the cafe. Breakfast was very good. Too much coffee, though.

After breakfast we headed home, but suddenly Trailhacker grabbed the GPS and punched in the location of Green Valley and the GPS led us there. I recognized the Heart & Soul cafe and from there was able to remember the way I walked to get to Casa de Luna.

Casa de Luna was eerily quiet. There wasn't a single hiker there. We walked through the manzanita forest and it didn't look as though anyone had camped in there at all yet this year. As we were getting ready to leave, Terri and Joe came out to talk with us and we spent a half our enjoying talking with them. They said they were expecting a hiker soon and were going to go look for him at the trailhead. We said we would look for him and if we didn't find him, we'd just go home. So, after dropping off one final box of cookies for the hikers, we drove up to the ranger station picnic table and then to the trail but found no hikers waiting for a ride.

We drove home and that ended our weekend of trail angeling and enjoying a little hiker trash company. I joked last night that if you are ever lonely I know where you can go have a party any time during the month of May.

Poor Trailhacker. He admitted he had been hoping for a miracle and that he might be feeling like he could return to the trail soon. Instead I think the attempt at hiking just showed him how much more recovery he has left to do. I suggested that perhaps he could hike the southern section of the PCT in October. There would be no snow, the air would be cooling and he might even meet some southbounders. Or perhaps he can try again next year. It remains to be seen what the plan will be.

As I sat around enjoying time with hiker trash, I noticed I did not feel a pull toward a trail. I was enjoying knowing I did not have to hike in the heat and push myself through the pain in my feet. But then we stepped on the trail for a short distance off San Francisquito Road and I saw all the wildflowers still in bloom and once again I was wishing I was hiking again. Incidentally, I think we could have camped on the trail just southbound of the road crossing.

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