Pacific Crest Trail (2018) 56: Fancy Chocolates

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Ah Bend. I met a few other hikers who mentioned loving Bend. To me it was a hellish hellscape to get around in via walking or the limited public transportation system. In fact, the fifth circle of hell in my religion is one long, busy highway with a bus stop on the other side and no crosswalks. 

Anyway, I spent two days on chores. I went to a post office to pick up my bounce box and discovered that it had been sent to a different post office. At REI, I was about to buy a new Sawyer Squeeze when I noticed that every filter had the same puncture mark. I pointed it out to an employee, who said that he had never noticed it before and it might be related to the manufacturing process. I wonder whether my 2013 filter had the hole too… five years of not noticing a hole…

For resupply, I ended up visiting Safeway, Albertsons and Walmart along with the Grocery Outlet store, searching for dried veg (all I found were mushrooms), bulk food (none of them had bulk food), and non-cheese flavoured Knorr pasta sides (I’ll be eating a frightening amount of rice). My conclusion from this shopping experience is: Hey Amazon, looking good… The Grocery Outlet was selling fancy Guylian chocolates for cheap, so I bought two boxes and was going to put one in a resupply box. I forgot to, ergo I’ll be carrying 14 oz of fancy chocolate on this next leg.

IMG_3867
When the motel swimming pool isn’t what you expected

In the morning of the third day (yes, I’m just lumping them all together), I finished preparing my boxes. I had five resupply boxes + a bounce box to mail. I’m normally too cheap to pay for taxis, but there was no practical way to transport all the packages by bus, so I gave in and asked the motel owner to call a taxi for me. He said that Uber would be cheaper and suggested that I try that instead, so I did. The driver kindly helped me carry my boxes into the post office. I had my backpack as well since I was planning to walk directly to a bus stop to catch the bus to a hitching spot, and a man recognized me as a hiker and announced himself as former PCT hiker/trail angel ‘Crispy’. He had driven some other hikers to the post office and they were behind me in line. He said that he was driving them out to Santiam Pass tomorrow at 7:00 AM and offered me a ride as well. I was feeling antsy after two days in town and looking forwards to getting back on the trail, so I declined, but he gave me his phone number in case I changed my mind. I thanked him, mailed my packages and took the bus out to an intersection near a shopping centre at the edge of town.

I had been waiting for awhile with outstretched thumb when a man pulled over and asked me where I was going. I said Santiam Pass. He said ‘are you willing to give road head?’. I thought that he was joking, so I laughingly (polite hitchhiker laughter) said no, but then he drove away. Gross!! Also, how desperate!!! Crispy told me later that he had thought I might have issues hitchhiking because I ‘look too innocent’ (it’s the hat, people think that I have not yet learned that humans judge other humans for wearing dorky clothing) but I think that the thought processes of a guy who solicits random hitchhikers for sexual acts wouldn’t involve much more than ‘this specimen appears female, I’ll give it a try’. My visceral reaction was to get the hell out of there, so I walked away from the intersection and hung around on the sidewalk for a few minutes. Without an alternative to hitchhiking, I would have tried again, but I had the nice easy offer from Crispy so I decided to text him for the ride after all. He went above and beyond by driving out to pick me up at the shopping centre, plus he offered to let me stay at his and his partner’s house for the night. Her trail name is Pancakes (get it?). The two hikers from the post office were at the house when I arrived, along with another hiker who they knew. They seemed weary of the trail after however many miles and were preoccupied with their phones, but Crispy drove a few of us out to a lake, which was nice. Looking forwards to an uneventful ride back to the trail tomorrow.

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