Day 22 – Hot Springs

Mile 285 to 308

You have probably seen a movie trailer or a Twilight Zone where a creepy hitchhiker appears at the side of the road. The driver notices, but keeps driving. A few miles later this same hitchhiker appears again. And again and again, until the driver is totally freaked out. It is happening to me.

Yesterday I hiked in the snow. There were no footprints in front of me. Then suddenly footprints. They were clearly fresh, but there was no joining trail. Where did they come from? I followed the mysterious footprints for miles, and eventually caught up to a elf like boy and a girl. I asked where they came from, and elf-boy non-answered coyly. The girl said nothing. I raced ahead leaving them in my snow dust. I had not seen them for hours, and that was fine by me. When I finally arrived at camp, there was a corral, a picnic table and a solar toilet, which I used quickly and efficiently. When I exited the facilities, there was the elf couple, sitting at the table waving mockingly as they claimed the site. Resigned, I pushed on to find a flat dirt spot by the trail.

Today I leave camp before anyone else. As I go, I look back and see a tent by the picnic table. Damn elves. After hiking several hours, I turn the corner, and sitting on a log is the elf-boy and the girl. The elf-boy is actually smoking a pipe. Startled I ask how did you get ahead of me? He smiles and says they did a little night hiking.

Hot Springs

Hot Springs

The rest of the day I hike along Deep Creek, which is spectacular, with no shortage of cascades and pools that Brian would love to swim in. I can’t help looking over my shoulder for elf-boy, but I realize how ridiculous I am being. Clearly he is ahead of me, I just don’t know how.

I arrive at the natural hot springs. They are beautiful. They are also clearly the hippie magnet of the PCT. Clothing is optional, and not enough are picking that option. The elf is surely here, I just don’t recognize him without his elf outfit. Right now, as I finish writing this, there is a debate raging between some of the campers. Should we hotbox in my tent or yours? As much as I love a good debate, I am not a participating in this one.