Saturday, June 26, 2010

Zero Day Blues

May 23: I woke up this morning, looked out the window, and saw snow blowing around wildly. I'd been checking the weather forecast, which looked a bit intimidating, but I really didn't want to take a zero day and kept hoping to get out of Wrightwood that day. With snow blowing around outside, however, I finally conceded defeat. It would be a zero day. The trail ahead would climb to the top of the 9,399 ft mountain known as Baden Powell. It was a mountain striking fear into the hearts of thru-hikers everywhere. How much snow is on it? Is the trail passable? I couldn't be certain, but nobody could have paid me enough money to attempt such a treacherous section of trail while it was snowing with particularly gusty winds. Nope, not a chance. I would zero.

Mom and to go back to work, leaving Charmin and I behind without even a laptop to play with. As it turns out, Wrightwood is a pretty small town, and there really isn't much to do. It only takes about ten minutes to walk around and see the whole place.

Charmin has also been naming features on my foot. For instance, the little toe on my right foot has a sharp, hard callus, and I once commented that it was so sharp and hard, I could cut a stick of butter with it, and she now calls it the "butter cutter blister." (It's not actually a blister, however. Just a particularly strange-shaped callus.) The Cyclonic blister she's started referring to as the "kangaroo pouch blister" because the bottom half of the blister has worn off, but the top half is still there, forming something like a pouch. To emphasis her point, she drew a little kangaroo in her logbook, cut it out, and placed it in the "pouch."

We resupplied at the grocery store. I spent an hour or so sewing up some holes in my pants. We flipped through the television channels, but choices were scarce. I did find Mythbusters on, however, and we left it there. I explained to Charmin that she might learn some science by watching it. This is a science trail, after all! =) I guess there was a Mythbusters marathon on, however, because I ended up watching about six episodes in a row. Charmin grew tired of it after a couple of episodes and would periodically go outside in search of something to do and to look for more thru-hikers to share the room with, but she always came back in empty handed and looking a little sad about there not being more to do.

At one point, we somehow ended up in a great water bottle battle, with our empty water bottles clashing like a climatic sword fight in a movie, but Charmin usually seemed to get the best of me. Later, when we switched bottles, I did remarkably better. Seemed like my bottle was just harder to grip onto.

On one of her outings, she discovered a couple of important reroutes. First was information about the Station Fire reroute. We had already picked up information about that at the hardware store the day before, but it turns out that there was a reroute of the reroute. I guess things just weren't complicated enough. So she picked up maps for the both of us about the detour reroute.

Also, she learned about a potential reroute around Baden Powell. If the snow there was too deep, too steep, and generally too dangerous to pass, there was another trail that skipped the high elevations completely. It also cut about 10 miles off of the hike, and later I would learn that a great number of PCT hikers would take that instead. Charmin and I wanted to go over Baden Powell, however, as long as it wasn't too terribly dangerous. This particular reroute would only happen if safety required it.

One of my favorite exchanges of the day started when Charmin told me she was thinking about going to the grocery store to buy "jews." I was pretty sure she didn't mean what it sounded like she said, through that German accent, I sometimes loose a few words, and I was sure "jews" was one of those words I wasn't hearing correctly. But I went along with it....

"I don't think they sell Jews at the grocery store."

"They don't?"

I shook my head sadly. "No, I don't think so."

"Where would I get jews?"

I shrugged my shoulders, not really sure. "A slave market, perhaps?"

The look on her face was clearly bewilderment, so I asked her, "What kind of Jews are you looking for?"

"Orange jews."

At this point, I finally figured out she was talking about juice, rather than jews, but I let the torture go on a bit longer. "I didn't realize that Jews came in orange."

Then I finally let her off the hook. "Oh, juice! Yes, you could definitely find orange juice at the market." =)

I suggested that if she does go to get some, not to ask the employees about where the juice is located in the store. Nothing good would come of it if she starts asking where to buy "jews"--in a German accent, no less.

Another activity we found particularly exciting was to watch Running Wolf walk past our window throughout the day. It seemed like he passed by our window at least a dozen times throughout the day, always walking in the same direction, as if he were walking around the premises over and over again, and we'd joke about how long it would take before we saw him walk by again. "Well, he is Running Wolf," we thought. "Guess he just can't stand still." Had we realized how often he'd walk around in circles, though, we would have started counting the number of times he passed by. By the time we realized that he seemed to be making circuits around the town, it seemed a little late to be counting. It did give us a lot of amusement, however.

Which just goes to show how bored we were in Wrightwood. Counting how many times a hiker walked past our window was considered 'fun' and 'exciting.'

For dinner, we headed to the Evergreen Cafe and ordered lots of deserts. I ordered a vanilla milkshake (tragically, they didn't have strawberry as an option!) and a blackberry cobbler with ice cream. Charmin didn't know what a cobbler was, and I was doing a pitiful job of trying to explain it. "It's like a pie, but not...." So when the waitress came by, I asked her to try explaining what a cobbler was, which amounted to, "It's like a pie, except square." Yeah! It's always fun trying to communicate with someone who doesn't use English as a first language. =)

So anyhow, it was an exceedingly boring day. By late afternoon, the little snow that had fallen had already melted off and the sun came out. The weather forecast for the next day looked bright and optimistic. Back to the trail! We hoped. =)


Stacy Christian said...

I'm pretty sure I could have lived a very satisfying life without seeing the kangaroo pouch blister. Ewwww.

Anonymous said...

I second Stacy's comment...Ewww!
-Morris Five

Sarcasmo said...

Yes the pouch has deeply wounded by food sensibilities. I won't be eating parmageano or any other yellow cheeses that require shaving or grating. bleh

Anonymous said...

I showed Laurel (6 years) the pic of your foot with the pouch and explained the kangaroo, her response was a look of bewilderment and "eeeww" Seriously, next time Amanda goes to get a pedicure, please go with her.
Ona Journey

Tyles said...

I think you should have taken Charmin to the market and let her spend some time looking for the "Jews." I'd have loved to see that exchange.

The Wells Five

Anonymous said...

OOOUUUCCCHHHH!! That is just ugly!!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Holy Crap!

I will never look at kangaroos the same way again. bleh!

Hike On!
~Twinville Trekkers

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Forgot to mention that my hubby's initials are JEW.

You can bet he rarely ever uses his middle initial, though.

Oh....and he's German!


Hike On!
~Twinville Trekkers

word verification: wings

too bad you can't use wings to get over that Baden Powell mountain.