Random thoughts today, as I sit here with throbbing feet and sleepy eyes. Hint: the State Park campground here sucks, right on the road, and the $3 campsite is on the side of a hill. Oh, and plague. But the coffee shop in town rocks, and is generous with their electricity and wifi.
1. Never Cry Wolf
I cannot recommend the movie Never Cry Wolf strongly enough. Seen at age 11 or 12, it literally changed my life. The movie starts in monologue, and continues that way for most of it. It’s scarily relevant today:
- I just jumped at the opportunity to go, without even thinking about it, really, because it opened the way to an old and very naive childhood fantasy of mine. To go off into the wilderness and test myself against all the dangerous things lurking there. And to find that basic animal I secretly hoped was hidden somewhere in myself. I imagined that at that point I’d become a new man, with a strength and courage that I’d never known before. As I traveled north, it was on about the third day that the reality of what I was about to try to do began to seep into my bones and gather in a knot in the pit of my stomach.
After many (mis)adventures, it ends with one of the most eloquent arguments for Leave No Trace that i’ve ever heard or read:
In the end, there were no simple answers. No heroes, no villains. Only silence. But it began the moment that I first saw the wolf. By the act of watching them, with the eyes of a man, I had pointed the way for those who followed. The pack returned for the cubs, as there are no orphans among the wolves. And eventually the losses of that autumn became a distant memory. I believe the wolves went off to a wild and distant place somewhere, although I don’t really know, because I turned away and didn’t watch them go.
I found the crowdsourced app HikerBot, a kind of Wikipedia version of the Guthool app, which allows hikers to post realtime info and pictures of water sources and campsites. Liking forward to seeing what it can do. Thanks coffee house Wi-Fi! But like the PCT Water report it only works when people contribute.
3. People are generally nice
Those who know me probably won’t believe I’m saying this, but people are in fact generally decent. Case in point, the two hitches at Julian. The first, a man also named Ed, just spent his days providing hitches and General positive trail wisdom. The hitch out, someone actually turned around and hitched all 4 of us back to the trail, “because it’s late and you might not get a ride otherwise”.
The waitress here said I could stay all day, and not to worry about buying anything. “Just don’t smoke near the window”, she said. Then she gave some hot water to a trail bum so he could make ramen noodles. Note that a trail bum is not the same as a hiker. Hikers are tramps, meaning they travel but aren’t looking for work. Trail bums neither travel nor work. If hikers do work for stay somewhere. I suppose that would make them hobos, but that’s a real edge case.
Yesterday a lady offered me some grapefruit, just because I’m a hiker.
It’s by no means universal, and you could argue that they’re all mountain/vacation people, but I think my point stands.
4. The mayor of this town is a dog
California. A wise man once told me, “everything you’ve ever heard about California is true.”
5. People live in RVs here
On BLM land, you can stay for 14 days out of every 30, so if you have 3 places picked out, you can live for free (except for the RV part).
6. Pizza can be astonishingly good
It might be a while before I leave this place, but like Prickle told me when I left the gang, “who the f— cares? hike what you want!” For the next two nights I’m in a decent hotel room, so we’ll see what’s next.