Monday, July 12, 2010

Ripping Apples In Two With Your Bare Hands

Once "the boys" went to sleep at the Andersons, sleep came a lot better. I woke up, anxious to leave. Ate the cereal from my pack rather than the pancakes the Andersons typically cook up each morning in the hopes it would get me on the trail sooner. Waiting for food could slow a guy down. (And eating my own would help lighten my pack.)

Before we could leave, the Andersons wanted a photo of everyone who visited, so they started rounding up folks who were planning to leave but had not yet gotten their photo taken. Joe Anderson describe one person who needed their photo taken as "the white guy with a beard," which was funny since almost all hikers are white, and nearly all of the men sport beards. Basically, he could have referred to almost anyone.

A large sheet pinned up on the garage door said "Casa de Luna" on it, and all hikers were expected to draw themselves into the mural. I pulled out my signature stamp and tried to copy the image as best I could, then at the last minute adding a talking bubble with the words, "Gwita Morka!"--my version of saying "Good Morning" in German with an American accent. If Charmin happened by, I figured she'd think it hilariously funny. If she didn't, everyone else would scratch their heads at the strange words, and I'd think that was hilariously funny. =)

Some hikers were still laid out in the yard from the night before, recuperating from hangovers or something, I suppose. Finally, everyone was assembled for the photos, and four of us stood in front of the Casa de Luna banner and got our photos. Just as the photo was being snapped, Terri turned around and mooned us. I suppose that was her way of making everyone smile, and I'll admit, I did laugh, but that sort of thing could seriously backfire. The photo could have captured images of shock and horror.

A few others then had their photos taken, then Avo mooned them in returned. Ha ha, funny. Then some folks wanted photos of the Andersons, and they both posed, mooning us. That's just the kind of place this is. A lot of bare bottoms around that morning.

Finally, it was time to go. I got a ride out to the trail by 9:30 or so. It was a bit later than I had hoped, and I could have gotten there faster if I just left and started walking. Terri hugged everyone goodbye and good luck on the trail, then I started walking. I had escaped "The Vortex." It took me about 22 hours, but I was back on the trail.

I started the trail with Thump Thump (the sound that an indecisive squirrel in the middle of the road makes), Carmen, Hasty, Day-Glo, Dreams, and Avo, but hiked largely alone since I didn't really know any of those people. I hadn't met any of them until the day before at the Andersons.

The weather was getting warm, growing hotter with each passing hour. A new high was suppose to be reached that afternoon, and I finally stopped at the Red Carpet Cache for lunch, as did everyone else. It's called the Red Carpet Cache because a few large, red carpets were laid out for hikers to sit on near the water cache. I largely stayed to myself, trying to nap, with a surprisingly number of bugs flitting about. They weren't biting, but they were annoying enough that I pulled out my mosquito net and put it on.

A few hours later, Tradja, Jess, and Go-Go showed up, adding to the large group of resting hikers, but most of the others finally poking along as well leaving those three. I had been sitting out there for several hours already beating the heat of the day was ready to leave again myself, but I really wanted to chat with the new hikers who I did know a lot better, so I loitered a bit longer.

Tradja pulled out an apple, ready to eat it, when Jess stopped him. "Hey, you should rip it in half!"

There's a backstory to this little suggestion. It started way back on Mount Baden-Powell, when I was hiking with Charmin, and she asked if I wanted to share an apple with her. "Sure," I said, expecting her to cut it in half. She handed me half the apple, but I hadn't seen her pull out a knife or even have time to cut in half, and the cut was so clean and perfect, it took me by surprise. So I asked how she cut in half, and she told me that she ripped in half. 

"With your bare hands?" I asked. Surely I was misunderstanding something in her accented English.

"Yes," she said. She made motions, as if ripping an imaginary apple in half. "It's not a big deal."

Maybe not to her, but I was impressed. I didn't realize one could rip an apple in half. I've never known anyone who's ripped an apple in half. I really wished I had watched her rip that apple in half and could see for myself. I didn't doubt her story for a minute, but I really wanted to see that happen.

"Boy," I told her, "if I can't get a lid off a jar, I'm going to get you to do it!" She must have hands like Hercules!

Fast forward a week to Agua Dulce, and I told this story about Charmin ripping an apple in two to Tradja and Jess, and they were just as fascinated with it as myself. Tradja said that we should all get apples and try ripping it in two--in private, of course, to make sure we could really do it before embarrassing ourselves publicly if we couldn't. But none of us had apples available, so there were no ripping of the apples in Agua Dulce.

But now fast forward to today, and Tradja and Jess and resupplied, and Tradja was about to eat an apple. Jess remembered the story, and stopped him. "Rip the apple in two!" The rest of us huddled around. "Yes, rip the apple in two!"

Go-Go started the video on his camera going, and Tradja was about to rip the apple in two. "I thought we were supposed to do this in private first," he said. 

Too late for that now.....

Tradja put his thumbs in the top of the apple, pulled, and the apple ripped in two. The apple looked like it was precision sliced in two, a clean break, and the rest of us cheered the results. It really worked!

I continued hiking, pushing on alone. I caught up with some of the hikers ahead of me, scaring Thump Thump half to death when she didn't realize I was behind her. The trail crept upwards into trees, and the trees provided a welcome bit of shade, but campsites and water were hard to find.

My guidebook described a water cache far ahead, and I pushed for that. If the water cache were dry, there was a water tank there as well used for fire suppression purposes I could drink from. I didn't need either of those sources, however. I found a small stream, unlisted in my water report, dribbling across the trail, and made use of that instead. I tanked up with water, then continued on, planning to stop at the first decent campsite I could find.

And I walked, and I walked, a couple of miles. The trail led across very steep hillsides, and I grew increasingly concerned that I wouldn't be able to find somewhere to camp. I might have to resort to camping directly on the trail, I thought. But I pushed on, finally seeing a break in the foliage to the right. I went up the side trail, perhaps 20 feet, where a small dirt road passed and lots of flat, clear areas made themselves available for camping. PERFECT!

I set up camp, cooked dinner, and watched the sun set. Just after sunset, I heard voices down on the trail. "This looks good," I heard a voice. A male voice. "Maybe there's something up there." It sounded like Tradja. Then I heard Jess's voice. Cool! I'd have company for the night! 

I shouted down to them, "Come on up! It's AWESOME up here!" And it was. 

"Tortuga!" came the reply, and Tradja and Jess scrambled up the slope, joining my little party of one.

They had a crazy story about running into a skunk a short while back with four baby skunks in tow. Tradja saw the momma skunk first, raising its tail and running for the two, and Tradja ran, calling out to Jess, "Run, Jessi, Run!" Once they escaped the angry momma, they crept up closer again and took videos of the five skunks meandering near the trail. How cool is that? I'm a little bummed I missed that myself.


Kay/The Little Foxes said...

I went to college with a girl that could rip an apple in half - and she LOOKED like someone who could rip an apple in half.... I've never tried it, but your story has given me incentive - what a cool trick to amaze my kids ;-))

Kaaren said...

I could have done without the cheeks spilling out of their pants.

Where's the Eye Bleach when you need it?

Word Verification:Spilling

How do you like THEM apples? Using my WV in a sentence!

Grumpy Grinch said...

Well, now you've gone and done it. For forty four years of marriage I had Grinch convinced I was Superman--until she showed me this blog and asked me to rip an apple in half. I carefully followed your description of the procedure; and after much huffing and straining and cursing--all I had was one intact apple and a slightly bemused and doubtful spouse.



Anonymous said...

Wishing I had a warning too
Kinda gives "Casa del Luna" a whole other meaning

Lisa said...

As a lycanthrope, I fear the full moon.

Anonymous said...

So how many of us readers are trying to rip apples right now?

Anonymous said...

So how many of us readers are trying to rip apples right now?

BOOTY said...

This post was definitely too cheeky. I hope Ryan rememebrs that these blog posts are available to the 13-year old children with AQ accounts.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of mooning, last weekend was the annual Moon Amtrak train event - also in Southern Calif.

Website is kid and work safe.


Greg said...

I have been reading trail journals for years, and I don't remember ever reading one as entertaining.

You have got to make a book out of this.

Sarcasmo said...

Darn, not an apple in sight. I'll load up tomorrow. Perhaps we need a full moon to rip one in half? I shall consult my friend Debi "a88lapper".

Anonymous said...

I'd venture to guess "Gwita Morka" or more Swiss or Austrian Alp Hamlet lingo than German. ;) Always love your trail insight! Congrats on 500 miles!!! I'm envious, as usual... ;)

dvn2r ckr

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I had no idea a person could rip an apple in half. Cool!

Ok, so I figured out that you hadn't drawn your turtle in the previous post's picture. Interesting that there was a similar looking turtle on that sheet, though.

I've really never felt the need for your famous eye bleach before, but that full double moon photo has changed all that. bah!

Hike On!
~Twinville Trekkers