Saturday, May 04, 2019 – 14.90 miles
Butterflies showed up in amazing numbers today, favouring a certain type of bush that lined sections of the trail. Wikipedia says: ‘V. Cardui [the painted lady] is known for its distinct migratory behaviour. In California, they are usually seen flying from north to north-west. These migrations appear to be partially initiated by heavy winter rains in the desert where rainfall controls the growth of larval food plants’. The appeal of walking within a cloud of flutterbys does override that background fear of brutally piercing them with hiking poles (also a consideration with the skittering lizards).
I met many people today too, including a crew of friendly trail workers and NOBOs who seemed cool. I failed to endear myself to one hiker who I met with three others at Bear Spring. While I was sitting on a rock, filtering water, I suddenly noticed a large rattlesnake that had quietly approached to drink the water flowing along the ground from the spring. I moved away to give it more space, then we watched it until it slithered away. One of the other hikers started talking about the hatred of snakes that filled every pore of his being, so I did the ‘OMG, there’s another snake by your rock!’ (a totally natural response, right?). His reaction was not like ‘oh you, haha’, but more like ‘oh you [expletive]’ and he started talking about how he had a phobia and could have hurt himself jumping away. When I felt contrite and apologized, he said it was fine, but I’ve learned my lesson. I’ll only scare family members, who have to love me whether they want to or not.
The day was hot and feeling long and I considered stopping to camp before Hiker Heaven, but saw no appealing spots. Near the national forest boundary the PCT hit power lines and a vista of a property that stores movie sets, then came roads and buildings and town, so I kept walking.
Shortly after turning down the road to Hiker Heaven, I was picked up by a nice fellow named Roberto who drove me to the door.
Hiker Heaven is a serious operation with volunteers, informational flyers and a whole block of porta-potties. The facilities are more than hikers deserve, including indoors and outdoors showers with a variety of shampoos and soaps – and that’s enough, but I’ll go on – a kitchen area, charging stations, domed white tents for people who don’t want to put up their own (they look suspiciously similar to the Fyre Festival tents, maybe Hiker Heaven got them at a discount), books and Netflix, a town shuttle, and laundry service. SOMEONE DOES YOUR LAUNDRY FOR YOU. I was concerned about this notion because I’m not a sadist and would never want other people to have to touch my socks, but the instructions were to place everything in a laundry bag and they I assume just stick the bag in a washing machine. There are even loaner clothes so you don’t have to wear your horrible rain clothes. I sent off my clothes and took a wonderful shower. By that time it was too late to go to town for supper, so I cooked trail food in the kitchen and watched the end of a bad action movie. I assumed that we were watching it because nothing else was on, but someone had chosen it from Netflix. Man, I googled it just now and it has a 7.9 user rating, 74 metascore on IMDB. Maybe I’m not the target audience…