Mile 248.5 to mile 266
I sleep so good in the cold and wake up to the pale dawn rising through the trees. I’m eating a leisurely breakfast of sunflower seeds and broken tortilla chips when TwinkleToes, Sherrif Woody and McButter walk up.
“So, ah, you taking an on-trail zero?” says McButter.
“This is why I camped up here,” I say. “So peaceful, no five a.m. alarms!” I am happy to see them and they regale me with stories of their haunted cabin while I pack up my bedroll. Then it’s off, down the trail… 17 miles to Big Bear, the sprawling town where we’ll resupply. And today is brought to you by the letter C… for chafe. Cracking chafe. My chafe is cracking, everywhere. My ass, my thighs, my back where my shirt rubs it. Zingers of pain while I walk. Splittling, cracking chafe. And my big toes- I think my feet have swollen too large for the toes of my injinji toe socks. Zingers of pain in my big toes. And I feel naseous and slow again today- like I want to fall asleep leaning on my trekkin poles. Like I want to curl up in the fetal position next to the trail. But then I take a shit and it’s almost normal. So there’s that.
There’s a cache with a couch and a giant metal bin of sodas on Onyx summit, where NotaChance spent the night, and we sit there and take funny selfies. The boys pound mountain dews. Then we pass the animal cages, where sad “retired” grizzlies and tigers pace in their sad cages, making sad noises. We trudge on and at last we reach the highway, where it’s super windy. We try to hitch but the wind batters us and there are four of us. We call the Big Bear Hostel, as they offer to shuttle people into town. The owner, Grayson, picks us up in his epic station wagon and gives us a mini tour, takes us by the grocery store. He’s super nice. At the hostel we find NotaChance, drinking beers in the sun with a bunch of other hikers who look like extras playing hikers in a movie. We ask the man at the front desk, Sarge, about a room.
“Four guys and one girl,” he says. “Can I watch?”
What the fuck? I think.
“No,” is all I can think to say.
“Please?” Says Sarge.
“No,” I say. “Creepy! That’s a really creepy thing to say.”
“No it’s not,” he says turning to the boys. “I tell ‘em, you can either have goofy Sarge or professional Sarge.”
“Can you tell us how much the room is?” I say.
He gives us a room for four people for $88. It’s in the basement, with overhead florescent lighting, and the bathroom is across the hall. The room looks like a busted dorm room and one of the springs in my bed stabs me in the hand when I’m putting on the sheets. Later we learn that our friends got a room at the Snow Bear Inn down the road for $40 for four people. Dang!
We eat Mexican food at a place down the road for dinner. The food is weird and overpriced. This town seems sad. The forecast for tomorrow is rain and snow, a high of 44. Many of the hikers at the hostel are zeroing, and I kind of wish I could too. Zeroing is expensive though, and would cause me to fall behind my friends, who are currently attempting to be the fastest people on the trail. I don’t know. I just don’t know about any of it. I’ll sleep and decide in the morning.
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