Mile 462 to 478
The Anderson’s run Casa De Luna, also know as the Hippy Day Care. It is 16 miles away, fewer miles then we normally target, but it is hot and they provide thru-hiker comfort. It’s exactly what we need.
From the high ridge there is a long sweeping down. I try to enjoy it, but across the valley I can see a monster up. Sometimes it looks so far away I catch myself thinking, “Is that a road?” But then I can see tiny backpackers, carrying tiny backpacks, way off in the distance. Numbers is carrying a reflective sun umbrella which can be seen for miles. The flash is depressingly far away.
I am carrying a lot of water. Too much it turns out. Our first source is a trickle from a plastic pipe stuck deep in a pathetic spring. It takes forever to fill my Sawyer water bag and filter. As we press on we come upon a hidden oasis of shade, chairs and bottled water. Bummer. Why was I carrying so much? Later another hidden cache. And even later another one. This is ridiculous. A hidden cache only helps the totally unprepared and reckless. The prepared, who carry the correct amount, are made a laughing stock. If I didn’t, however, the caches would not have been there and you would be reading my obituary instead of this gripe.
At the highway we try to hitch to the Anderson’s. The first car to stop is an unmarked Sheriff with two officers inside. What are we doing they ask, now with their lights on. “We are trying to get to the Anderson’s, we are thru-hikers.” Well I might as well have said “We are here for your women and children, we are from another planet.” Eventually, after explaining the entire movie plot of Wild, one says “All the way from Mexico, huh… Your feet must hurt.” They decline to offer us a ride, which given the cage in the backseat, we are fine with. A few vehicles later we are riding in the back of a pickup truck, hoping our friendly Sheriff does not notice.
When you arrive at the Anderson’s everyone is sitting out front in Hawaiian shirts, the required attire. There is a long, slow building to fast, clap for each new arrival. The first thing you must do is pick out a Hawaiian shirt from the rack, then have a beer or soda. There are camping areas in the back, portapotties, showers, battery charging stations, rock painting, and lawn bowling (with bowling pins and bowling alley balls). The one serious rule is: do not let the dog out.
I help make dinner by setting up the propane powered industrial size stove, and cooking Nacho cheese. Every night is taco salad with all the fixings, and every morning is pancakes and coffee. About 40 hikers are here tonight and it will be like this every night for several months. We are like Monarch butterflies, or perhaps more like locusts. The numbers this year will be record setting.
Tomorrow we face another reroute, and everyone is trying to figure out which of the three road walk options to take. None of them are official, so it is up to us to decide. The one with the most road miles also has the most water. The one with the most trail miles has something like 38 miles with probably no water. We sleep on it and will decide in the morning.