For some reason I like idioms, proverbs, and how they differ between Danish and English. In the IS you’re pretty cool if you are as “cool as a cucumber”. In Danish, however, one has lost his mind if he has “gone cucumber”. In Danish we have a “bear favor” (despite the fact that we don’t have bears), which traditionally means a favor that ends up doing more harm than good. Anyways, let’s get back to Ashland, where I awoke in my hotel room by the sound of my alarm clock.
Expectedly, I still had some chores this morning including the worst one: paying the pool area a visit and relax there for a bit. I checked out just three minutes before the checkout time at eleven. I walked the short stretch to the I5 and positioned myself under a “right lane must turn right” sign for the southbound ramp. Fifteen minutes or so later a white 4×4 Subaru pulled over and rolled down the window. It was Gary and he asked to take me back to the PCT and I got in. However, when he drove off, he didn’t get onto the I5 but continued over the highway. I sighed. There apparently was a later point where the trail also crossed nearby a road and that was where he thought I was going. I said that I wanted to do the whole trail, so instead he offered to take me to the Old 99. I looked at the Google Maps to see where the Old 99 started and it was right next to a place called Callahan’s Lodge, which was where I got picked up, only one mile from the trail, and where I thought I‘d be dropped off anyways. Nice.
Gary said that he was embarrassed about USA for electing Donald Trump. He didn’t understand how they could have elected him and didn’t believe that he represented the values of the American people as he knew them. He thought that Trump was a tyrant and not that different from Hitler. He wasn’t that positive about the future. I said that I thought it would bounce back and we changed subject.
He was a musician but he also liked the outdoors either kayaking or hiking. He said that he had seen a bunch of bears in Alaska and mountain lions. He also said that his dog, which was a chihuahua or similar and was riding with us, recently had been attacked by a deer. I looked at it again and first now saw the long lines of metal clips stitching together a wound on its breast and back.
We took a right turn and shortly after that we drove into what apparently was his driveway. Bummer. He had considered a stretch of road contiguous with the Old 99 to also be the Old 99. Technically it was the old 99, That just wasn’t the name on the map. I already knew that getting a ride the rest of the way from here wasn’t going to be easy as there was very little traffic as the I5 had taken the bulk of that and the little traffic that it got was people just going a short stretch to reach their home just as Gary. He had definitely meant well, but he had actually put me in a worse spot than when he picked me up. He had done me a “bear favor“. I waited for forty minutes trying to get a hitch. A man in a picup truck offered to take me part of the way in the back as he hadn’t got room inside. I thanked him for the offer but declined. There was more traffic on the road we turned off to get here, so went up there to try to hitch back to Ashland, but to no avail as the cars had vanished like a fatamorgana. It might also be a case of “the grass is always greener on the other side”. Since the road leading leading to the trail was getting a significant proportion of the little local traffic that there was, I might as well try to get to the trail in one go, I thought, and if that doesn’t work I can roadwalk the seven miles back although that really would suck. Twenty minutes or so after that I did get lucky as a car pulled over. It was a man called Nancy with his two sons on the back seat. He had seen me wheb he driw by in his car going into town and was surprised to find me still standing there. He had actually hiked over thousand miles of the PCT himself fifteen years ago. Even back then the trail angels at Casa de Luna (in the first half of Southern California)! The thing he had enjoyed the most was all the mountain passes right after Mount Whitney. While he had gone through Ashland as part of the PCT, it was not the reason he and his wife moved there. It was simply because they wanted a good place for their children to grow up. Nancy said that the road had been closed due to a land slide and he was unsure it it had reopened. When we got to the slide area, it was not entirely clear if the road had reopened as there was still “road closed” signs but they had been moved enough to the side to alow a car to pass through. The slide section was now just a short section with gravel road which we quickly passed and got back to the normal road. Pew! Soon after we got to Callahans, and I thank him very much for the ride and wished them well. They then went back to where they actually lived by the I5 so they really had gone out of the way to get me back.
I was a bit tired from all the stressing about the hitch, so I thought I would treat myself to lunch at Callahans Lodge also in part motivated by the free beer they offered through hikers. I had fish and chips, which was decent. I then went on to road walk the last mile back to trail. The whole ordeal had jointly taken three or four hours. There certainly still was some smoke in the air and it was hot, but neither of those things really got to me. At a road crossing I found a wooden stick with two pages attached as if it recently had been knocked over. Discincertingly the top one, printed on bright red paper said “Emergency notice. Level 3. Leave immediately“. However the date of the letter below was the seventh of July, so I relaxed again. It was a remnant from a fire action that had recently closed the trail but it had now reopened.
I camped next to a section hiker after just thirteen miles as the day was over. I had more energy but not more time.
This days miles: 1719-1732
Unfortunately I didn’t get to upload pictures before leaving town. There’ll unfortunately likely be no pictures next six days. I will probably add them back later.