Thursday, July 8, 2010

I Squeezed the Charmin!

May 29: I slept in late--I wasn't in any rush--and when I opened my eyes, I noticed one of the horses had walked right up next to our tent. The sleeping quarters were arranged so that there were several cots in a large tent. Kind of like small circus tents, although I chose one with a mesh netting that I could see through. Most of them were of a white cloth that you couldn't see through. I also selected a location away from the campfire (I was afraid that a group of hikers enjoying the campfire might keep me up at night), but that also happened to be near where the horses were located.

So it wasn't entirely shocking to wake up to see a horse looking in on the three of us. I shared quarters with Sticky Fingers and Go-Go. Sticky Fingers I had met briefly--perhaps for five or ten minutes--far back on the trail, while Go-Go I had never met at all. I wasn't even sure when he sneaked in last night. But Sticky Fingers was sleeping on the cot immediately next to the horse stall, and the white horse seemed to tower far above her.

I saw her stir a little bit, and thinking she was at least partially awake, I whispered to her, "Hey, it looks like you have a little friend over there." I pointed behind her. I can't imagine what she must have been thinking. Maybe she thought I saw a squirrel or chipmunk or something, but she turned over to look around, then she saw the horse. A gigantic creature, towering high above her, just a few feet away, and her eyes just about popped out with a muffled gasp. That was funny. Whatever she was expecting, that horse wasn't it! I laughed and laughed, giggling in my cot for the next half hour.

I took my time getting out of the Saufleys. I ate a bowl of cereal, and as I finished up Charmin dropped by asking if I wanted pancakes. I had totally forgotten, but the day before, she bought the makings for pancakes and hard-boiled eggs, but that there was too much for her to eat herself and that she expected me to help. I had completely forgotten, though, but I still felt like I could eat a little, so I followed her to the trailer and the small kitchen it provided where Charmin cooked up what she affectionately called "scrambled pancakes."

It was a honking big pancake--larger than I had hoped for--but it was so large, she had trouble flipping it over in one piece. It broke into several pieces, and I looked at it saying that I wasn't sure if it counted as a pancake anymore, which is when Charmin insisted, "No, it's a scrambled pancake." Ah, yes, indeed it was. =)

We didn't have any syrup for it, and Charmin suggested I could top it with cinnamon, sugar, and all sorts of options laying around, which I did. The scrambled pancakes tasted like pancakes, but admittedly, I really wanted the syrup that goes with it. It didn't seem like a real pancake without the syrup. *sigh*

I went back to pack up the rest of my belongings, which was hard. I felt sad leaving. The Saufleys place seemed so comfortable and nice, and it was tempting to spend a second night there. But really, I was here to hike, not take lots of unnecessary zero days. Sticky Fingers seemed to understand the feeling--wanting to stay, but wanting to get back on the trail as well.

After packing up, I walked up to Charmin's tent to say goodbye, which turned out to be a lot harder than imagined it would. I couldn't even remember when we first started hiking together, but it seemed like it had been at least a week now, and we got to become really good friends during that time. We walked through cold and snow, battled our way up Baden Powell, crossed desolate wildernesses together, and braved the dreaded roadwalks together. We even saved a dog. We'd been through a lot together, and was the single longest hiking partner I'd ever stayed with on any of my hikes.

We hugged goodbye (which even that made me laugh, when I remember her telling Amanda, "Please, don't squeeze the Charmin," and here I was, "squeezing" the Charmin). I told her to take care, and that I still expected her to pay me back the $5 so she'd better catch up with me at some point along the trail. =) Then I turned around and left. I'd miss Charmin's unique perspective on the trail. She certainly made hiking the PCT a lot more fun.

I was planning to walk back to the trail, but as I left the Saufleys, a car pulled up and a bunch of hikers jumped out with their groceries. John Deere was driving, and asked if I'd like a ride back to the trail. "Absolutely!" Save myself an unnecessary mile of walking.

Tradja and Jess were hiking by just as I was getting dropped off, and I joined them for the first part of the hike out of Agua Dulce. They eventually pulled ahead of me when I stopped at a register to flip through and read the entries. I noticed that Motor, who I met early on in the hike near Mount Laguna, had signed the register nine days earlier. I was kind of surprised to see how far ahead of me she's gotten. I wasn't going that slow, but she just seemed to zoom along at a crazy speed. Most of the familiar names were all within a few days of myself, however, and I hoped to catch some of them along the way. The bulk of the people I knew, however, were actually behind me now. Trail life, that's how it goes.

I stopped for lunch under a small bit of shade under a tree. It was the only shade I had seen for miles, and the day was hot and getting hotter. By 1:30, I was exhausted and stopped in the shade declaring a king-sized break for myself, but the joke seemed less funny without Charmin around. "Yeah, it's really just a lunch break if she's not around," I thought to myself.

The rest of the hike, I hiked alone. Tradja and Jess, I'm not sure how far ahead of me they hiked, but I didn't catch up to them again that evening before I stopped for the night. While rubbing my feet, the last bit of the Cyclonic blister finally fell off. I took pictures of the skin that used to make up the kangaroo pouch, just for full and accurate record keeping purposes. And I set up camp high on an exposed ridge despite a wind advisory in effect that night in the hopes that a stiff wind would help keep some of the bugs away. The bugs weren't biting, but they seemed especially thick during the hike today, and quite annoying. I'd rather live with a stiff wind than in a cloud of flying insects any day.

As I tried to go to sleep, I felt what seemed like little needles being jabbed into the bottom of my feet. I hadn't hiked particularly far or long, and my feet felt pretty good when I stopped for the night, but now that I was trying to go to sleep, it seemed like the nerves in my feet were exploding, so for the first time on the hike, I popped some Vitamin-I (Ibuprofen).

Then I had restless dreams. I dreamed that my cousin, Sierra, tried to slip into a movie theater without paying, and I ratted her out. I also dreamed of a serial killer who would take over the souls of a nearby person whenever he died so he could keep on killing forever. He inhabited the body of the cop who had killed him, turning the cop into a serial killer. And once, the killer ended up on death row, and the electric chair "freed" his soul to take over the body of an onlooker of the execution.

Weird stuff. I blame it on the Vitamin-I.


Ezmerelda of AQ and LbNA said...

I enjoy reading your blogs about your hike. I have been feeling kind of depressed and they make me laugh.

Doodle Bug said...

I think your serial killer dream was actually the plot of the 1998 movie "Fallen."

Anonymous said...

Ryan: It seems you started hiking off and on with Charmin around May 18th according to the entry entitled National Science Trail which was about her patch. And you hiked on by yourself on your May 28th entry. I can see how fun references are not the same when not shared with someone whose also in on the fun.

Happy Hiking, Wendy

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Awwww....I miss Charmin already! wah!

Whenever I have a glass of jews I will think of her....

Totally did not need to see the official recording photo of your dried up old blister skin. Nasty!

The photo of your backpack in the grass is cool. Your body left a clear imprint in the grass where you had laid down in the shade. :)

So, your sister's name is Tierra and your cousin's name is Sierra? Sounds like a lot of planning went into that. :D
Do you have any cousins named Ocean or Sea?

Hike On!
~Twinville Trekkers