Friday, May 29, 2015

Day 31: Another Zero Erwin

April 7: During the night, the rain came down in torrents and it continued well into the morning. I hadn’t really been inclined to get back on the trail just yet anyhow—I still needed to catch up with more blog entries—but if I had any doubt before, the rain confirmed it for me: I was taking another zero day. However, according to weather forecasts, the rain would continue on and off for the next several days so it seemed unlikely I’d miss it completely, but I was perfectly happy to miss one day of it at least!


It was a scenic little bike path. Just ignore the roar of traffic from I-26 on the other side of the creek. =)


Unlike the day before when I got sucked into a series of tasks to work on for Atlas Quest, I spend the whole morning pounding out these blog entries. I still get a little stir-crazy sitting around all day without getting out for a walk, rain be damned! So I took the lunch shuttle into town with the intention of walking back again along the bike path. I didn’t have the urge to walk it in both directions—one way would suffice!


While waiting for the shuttle to leave, a new television set had been installed in the front and they were playing a DVD of Wild. I hadn’t even realized that the movie was out on DVD yet, but I was drawn into watching it for the few minutes while waiting for the shuttle to see if it was as depressing and sad as I remembered the book to be. Mrs. Dash was there as well (and just so you aren’t confused, Mrs. Dash is the trailname for a man who’s hiking the trail), and he had done the PCT last year. So we started critiquing the film. There was a section showing the trail as a narrow, skinny climb up some rocks, and we both agreed that there was nowhere on the trail like that. “So fake! Fake!” But we both admitted that the desert scenes looked pretty authentic even though we knew most of them were actually filmed in Oregon and the Joshua trees were fakes.


But I digress… We only saw about 15 minutes of the movie before the shuttle was ready to go, and off we went. No tears lost on my part for missing the rest of the movie!


I asked to be let off near the McDonalds where the bike path started. There’s a Pal’s Hamburgers across the street from it, and I figured I’d hit it up for lunch then walk back. I’m not a huge fan of McDonalds. Pal’s I’d never heard of before so I thought I’d give them a try, but when I got dropped off, I didn’t see any inside dining for Pals. Given the fact that it was pouring buckets of rain, this was a deal-breaker for me. I didn’t even see anywhere outside that was covered and would allow me to eat protected from the rain.


It had stopped raining by now, and the lightning had stopped, but the clouds certainly still looked mean!


So against my better judgment, I headed across the street to McDonalds instead. The food was typical McDonalds, which I suppose a lot of people like but I just thought was blah. Better than starving, though. While eating, the storm clouds reared up and starting throwing out flashes of lightning as loud thunder roared through the building. Wow, I was so glad I took a zero day today… The trail had to have been horrendous!


Given the severity of the weather, I lingered at McDonalds reading my Kindle and studying Polish. I was probably there for a little over an hour when one of the employees asked me if I was interviewing for a job there. Apparently, they were interviewing people and one of them was unaccounted for and they thought maybe it was me. “Oh, good Lord, no!” I wasn’t even wearing my tie! I can’t imagine that thru-hikers get mistaken for job applicants very often. It’s certainly the first I had been mistaken as a job applicant! =)


After my dawdling, the rain had let up a bit into a light sprinkle and the lightning and thunder had stopped. For the time being, at least. I figured that was my cue to go and I packed up, pulled out my umbrella and left down the same bike path I followed the day before.


The rain continued for about 10 minutes before stopping completely. I closed my umbrella and continued walking with it in my hands in case it would be needed again, but it wasn’t needed again. This time, I spotted about a dozen turtles sunning themselves on a log in the creek. Well, there wasn’t really any sun. Is it possible to “cloud themselves” on a log? In any case, they’re a skittish bunch because even though they were in the middle of a large creek and probably 30 feet away, they jumped into the water and vanished in the few seconds it took me to stop, pull out my camera and get a photo. I didn’t get a photo, which disappointed me immensely.


Never one to give up so easily—especially on a zero day—I turned around and hiked back towards the McDonalds for about 10 minutes. I wanted to give the turtles space and time for them to feel comfortable to get back on the log. I turned around and continued back towards Johnny when I reached the “sun.” (There’s a park along the trail where there’s a scale model of the solar system. The sun is placed at the entrance to the park, and in quick succession you see Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars several feet away spaced accurately to each other. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are also represented, but they’re much further down the path and not visible from the sun. I never saw any Pluto, but I’m not sure if that’s because this scale model of the solar system was created after Pluto had been demoted or if they removed Pluto after it had been demoted.)


But I’ve digressed again… sorry about that!


Anyhow, by the time I got back to the sun, I figured the turtles had had enough time to return to the log, so I turned around and walked the solar system for a third time. From a distance, I could see the that the turtles had returned to the log, but this time, instead of stopping in full view of them, I stopped behind a tree that I hoped would obscure me and make them forget about me. Then I pulled out my camera and peaked it around the tree slowing and aimed at the turtles. Even with that subtle movement, about half the turtles dived into the water and disappeared. They were certainly a skittish bunch! But this time, I did get a photo with several turtles on the logs. I was disappointed I couldn’t get the photo I really wanted with that entire log packed with turtles, but at least I had turtles in my photo this time around.


By the time I arrived at the hostel, the little bit of rain I walked through at the beginning of the walk had dried off. I figured I’d arrive at the hostel soaked and maybe I’d throw my clothes into the dryer to dry them, but that turned out not to be necessary. Then I spent the rest of the night working on these blog entries! =)


This log might look like it’s full of turtles, but about half of them had jumped off into the water before I could snap this shot! It’s not a very good photo because the log was nearly on the complete other side of the creek and I had to zoom in quite a ways just to get this much.


Anonymous said...

Apparently the turtles didn't recognize one of their own with the alias "Tortuga"??
Wise Wanderer

Unknown said...

Those were camera shy turtles for sure.. it saddens me that they demoted Pluto..

-only dreaming