Water: carried from yesterday; Motel 6 tap; iced tea; coconut milk
Caacaawww! Crows Rooster from his tent on the other side of the picnic table. I wake from a very deep sleep, some real rest is needed soon. My phone has died in the night. Not the best start to a day where I need to call a bus for a request stop to get into town nine miles away.
Tooth Fairy has arrived in the night. “I have a story” he says. “Human, animal or natural?” I ask. “Animal.” He tells of night hiking a few miles back and of two pairs of reflecting eyes. Eyes that crept closer. Eyes attached to the shadows of large cats. I had passed the same area alone only a few hours before.
Just as I am contemplating the dead-phone logistics of getting to town, Mojave trail angel Jetta Blue appears in camp. It is just after 6am. “I can take your packs to the Motel 6 if you want to slackpack the last 8 miles,” she offers. And we can’t refuse.
Miles fly by. Wings courtesy of Jetta. I can’t tell how far I’ve gone at all, only that the road appears well before I expected. And who do I see walking toward me? Shenanigans! “You’re going to Mexico!” we say. But then I offer to carry her pack a mile and a bit back down and bring it to the Motel. Slackpacking for everyone. Jetta is there with her car to take us to town. Her car whose doors no longer all open as they should. She’s transported something like 250 hikers just this year.
Jetta Blue sells us stove fuel out of her trunk. Her Son Jugz, is helping out this year, offering to carry in water and food for us, breaking up the massive forty something mile dry stretch ahead for $50. A very tempting offer with the normally incredibly reliable Willow springs run dry. As Ron a few weeks back explained, it is a six inch pipe normally gushing. “If it has gone dry, then anything can,” he said. The stakes are changing with the drought. Still, I decide not to pay, opting for a more intense desert experience.
There’s not much in Mojave, but the Motel 6 is wonderfully kept, clean and welcoming to hikers, who are sprawled everywhere on the lawn. A full grocery store is just across the street, a four lane highway. But luckily I have lots of j walking practice from San Diego.
Four of us share a room, something that would be so strange in real life – rooming with guys who I know only as ‘Rooster’ and ‘Crunchberry.’ At least I know Soccer Mom’s first name.
The room is quickly destroyed with a gear and resupply explosion. There’s mass repackaging by those who have not already sent resupplies to the Sierras. This easy going into town business is at an end. Carrying more food, much more arduous side trips for resupply. Water. Water will be everywhere. We all dream of it now.
There’s the usual feasting and drinking and laundry routines. Somehow this takes all day. I have Real work to do tomorrow, work that will involved getting a ride to Tehachapi – the Mojave library and post office are closed on Saturdays. For now, sleep. Sleep in a real bed. Until the train comes blasting through shake and wake in the night.
Oh, and it’s my one month trail-aversery. Here’s a picture of my leg hair to celebrate: