Pacific Crest Trail (2018) 29: Beginning of the Spiral

Sunday, June 24, 2018 – 8.80 miles

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I got an early start this morning. I was planning to visit Mt. Ashland Campground to use the privy, which involves a short road walk. When I reached the road, I saw a tent pitched on the roadside up ahead beside a van with two bikes on the roof. A man was visible beside the tent, brushing his teeth. I called ‘good morning’ and started up the road. Immediately a dog ran up, growling and barking at me. I called ‘is this your dog?’ pointedly. The man just stood there silently, watching and brushing his teeth. So I shouted ‘IF YOU DON’T CONTROL YOUR DOG ON THIS PUBLIC ROAD, I WILL PEPPER SPRAY IT. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?’. And he immediately came over and restrained the dog, apologizing profusely… nope. That last part is fan fiction, unfortunately. I retreated without shouting, and of course felt pissed for awhile and daydreamed about the satisfaction of forcing him to behave like a responsible dog owner. If I had a trail servant, that person would need to be confrontational to balance out my personality.

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Shortly afterwards, I encountered a jogger and said hi. The jogger ignored me, doing his best to avoid eye contact. At that point I actually got out my phone and checked my face in the camera to see whether I looked creepy somehow, but there was nothing red smeared on my face to indicate that I had been feasting on babies or small forest animals. Maybe the men were just suspicious of anyone who looks potentially homeless; imagine the panic if I had pulled out a hat and demanded change.

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Visitor on my backpack

This developed into a theme moving forwards: not that everyone I met was unfriendly, but that things began to go wrong. I reached the highway, walked to Callahan’s and waited ages for a ride to Ashland. The hiker rate at the Rodeway Inn was substantially higher than specified in As The Crow Flies. I tried a cheaper hotel only to discover (gradually) that it was atrocious. I realized that I had dropped my beloved Nalgene somewhere, and couldn’t find it when I retraced my steps. I went to the laundromat and the box of soap got stuck in the vending machine, so I had to buy another box. One of my coins got stuck in the washer so I had to switch machines and lost the money I had put in thus far. I recharged the battery for my headlamp and the headlamp wouldn’t work when I put the battery back in. We’re understanding the theme, no? Clearly I should hide under my bedcovers for the rest of the day.

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