Friday, January 17, 2020

Day 36: The Church of Havillah

August 20: I woke up and got an early 6:30am start and reached the small town of Havillah a couple of hours later. To call it a town is somewhat of a misnomer. Census takers don't have a population count for this small unincorporated community, but it's mostly a few houses and a church. My guidebook said that the church was a good place to refill with water, but I had an inkling there might be something more from a vague text message I got from Ryan a couple of days earlier who suggested that the church was not to be missed. He didn't say why.... just that it was not to be missed.

The church was only a quarter-mile off the trail, though, and with all of the cattle running around these parts, I preferred drinking safe tap water from the church and planned to stop there anyhow.

And wow! What a stop! They've really opened their arms for thru-hikers! There was a message board for PNT hikers and they allowed hikers to use their kitchen as well as provide some snacks and food for hikers. I wound up grabbing two packs of Starbursts, an apple, Gatorade and some freshly picked raspberries. The freezer included some frozen dinners that hikers were welcome to, but being only 9:00 in the morning, it seemed a little early to stop hiking for the day and set up camp!

I also used the opportunity to throw out my trash and use the restroom. I chatted with the caretaker--I didn't actually ask his occupation, but I'm assuming he's the pastor running the church. I chatted with him a bit and he said that a hiker a couple of days ago had reported seeing a mountain lion in the area. I could only hope to be so lucky! But I'd be upset if I saw a mountain lion and didn't have my fancy camera with the zoom lens to get a spectacular shot! And I decided to leave that camera with Amanda. It was probably back in Seattle by now.

The Church of Havillah

The church was a cozy stop, but it was time to continue onward. I picked up my pack and returned to the daily grind.

The trail followed road walks for pretty much the rest of the day. Most of it was gravel, but some of it was paved road. None of the roads were particularly busy. At one point, the primary PNT route veered to the right along a wildly-out-of-the-way road walk for no apparent reason than it could--so I decided to take the shorter alternative road walk. I was over blindly following the primary route for no good reason at all and it felt liberating to say screw it! I'll take the alternate route! The trail is tough enough as it is. There was no good reason to make it even harder by adding a few miles of unnecessary road walk.

Late in the day, I passed by a bush where I heard the unmistakable sound of a rattlesnake rattling its rattle. I jumped back from the bush and, from a safe distance, tried to spy the snake in the bush but I never could find it. I know it was there.

I walked a bit closer until it started rattling again and I could focus better on exactly where the sound was coming from, but I just couldn't see the snake. I was a little disappointed. It was the first sign of a rattlesnake I had on the whole trip (not including the actual signs warning hikers that rattlesnakes are in the area, but that's not the kind of sign I was talking about!) and I couldn't even get a photo of it. *grumbling*

A half hour later, it occurred to me that I could have at least gotten a video of the rattling sound, but it was too late for that. Argh!!!!

Well, maybe I'd see another rattlesnake. And actually see the rattlesnake. And get a photo! A guy can hope! =)

View from my campsite, looking toward the sunset.
After leaving the church, there was no good water anywhere on the trail the rest of the day and I was glad I filled up all of my water bottles before I left.

I finally set up camp near the edge of a cliff with wonderful views down a valley below. Although there was no water at the campsite, it was a wonderful place to camp!

The day's hiking was pretty easy. I ended up covering 20.5 miles which included three one-hour breaks! And I stopped remarkably early at 6:30 in the evening. But still, I didn't see a single hiker the entire day.

It was a nice place to camp! =)

I was hiking through cattle country!

That's the "town" of Havillah ahead!
The hiker board at the church
So much food available for thru-hikers!

Definitely in cattle country!


Anonymous said...

OK, every time I see a picture of pine cones, I now think testicles. :)

Pink Panther

Ryan said...

Don't blame me for that! It's not MY fault that they resemble testicles so much! =)

Unknown said...

Thanks for the kind words. I grew up at that church, and my sister and others are instrumental in supporting hikers. Glad you were able to enjoy it.

KuKu said...

I really love that the church sees a service/outreach opportunity to support the hikers! Excellent way to show love to all who are traveling through!