Day Nineteen

Today's miles: 7
Total miles: 266

The five of us got an early start this morning. We were excited about town and that always puts us in a fast hiking mood. We were on the trail by 5 and made great time, covering 7 miles in 2.5 hours. When we got to the trailhead at the highway, there was a trail angel named Aloha waiting for us with his car and an armful of cold Gatorades. Aloha's story is an intriguing one: his wife, with the trail name of Toots Magoots, is thru-hiking the trail and he has been "thru-driving" the trail as her support. She hikes with a full backpack (no cheating by utilizing his car) but he is always there to meet her in each town, and in between stops he stays in town to shuttle other hikers back and forth from trailheads.

Honey Bunny, G-Dub and Sansei

We were ecstatic and piled into his car for a ride into town. Aloha said he liked shuttling hikers around because it was gratifying how delighted we got about small conveniences.

"Oh, here's this half-drunk bottle of water I was going to throw away, want it?" And hikers are SO happy to accept. Aloha said, "apparently all I have to do us show up at the trailhead with a cooler of ice and it would make everyone's day."
We completely concurred.

We requested to be dropped off at the nearest breakfast cafe, which happened to be Thelma's, a very hiker friendly establishment. We ordered huge platters of pancakes, eggs and sausages and relished in the simple joys of life.

After breakfast came errands. The unfortunate part of town is that we have such limited time to do everything we need to do, and yet all we really want to do us lounge around and enjoy not hiking. But alas, there was food to buy, lodging to secure, showers to get, laundry to do, and phone calls to make. Katie and I picked up our resupply boxes at the post office and then went to the local hiker hostel to get rooms for the night. We got a girl's dorm room with Rotisserie and Hitch and enjoyed eating half a bag of dried mangos that my mom had sent me in a care package. 

The hostel was full of old friends and hikers. When we walked in we were greeted by calls of "Bramble and Honey Bunny!" One of the things I love best about trail life is that no matter how many or how few days you've spent apart from someone, it's always a reunion when you see someone again. We never say goodbye, we say "see you down the trail." And inevitably, you do. It may take an hour, a day, a week, but we all see each other again, and it's a reunion every time. We're becoming like family.

We enjoyed the amenities of town all afternoon, and then rounded up a few hikers to get some pizza for dinner. Papa Bear spilled pizza sauce on himself halfway through his meal and exclaimed, "oh no, my best shirt!"
We laughed and I said, "Papa Bear, that's your only shirt."

We stayed up talking and enjoying each other's company until way past hiker bedtime... 9:30pm.