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Posts Tagged ‘Safari’

We felt lazy and Inspector Gadget felt sick, and, well, we hadn’t had any beer since 8:00 a.m. the day before, so we hitched into Big Bear City early at mile 250 on highway 38.  It was not the easiest hitch.  It took about 45 minutes to go in two groups since there were six of us.  Hop-a-long and I split to help the guys since people seem to trust girl hitch hikers more.

Eventually we got in with a truck that had an enormous husky in the backseat.  I sat with it and it honestly outweighed me, but it was a super sweet dog.  We got a room at the motel 6 and began cycles of showering and laundry.  We did get around to food, but apparently too late as everything closed around 8 or 9 at night.  The front desk guy scrambled around for us and found a Chinese place that delivered and said it was the only place open and delivering besides an expensive pizza place.  We went for it.  It sucked, but due to extreme hunger, we ate the styrofoam filled with msg.

That evening, we managed to stay up well past hiker midnight to watch the epic awesomeness that is Game of Thrones on HBO. But after that we passed out until 6 a.m. when we got up and got our slackpacks ready.  Shags, Hop-a-long and I started trying to hitch back to Rainbow Lane where we got off at mile 250 around 7:30 in the morning.  In the meantime, Dead Animal, Inspector Gadget, and Safari went to breakfast at the Lumberjack Cafe.

Amazingly, they finished breakfast and we were still standing there. Our next thoughts were to split a van taxi, so we called the only taxi company in town and they told us $33.  Six ways, that’s reasonable.  But then, as we waited, Safari decided to keep trying to hitch out and gets picked up by a very beat up white station wagon that had a Slipknot sticker on the back and a woman who outweighed him at least by a factor of two.  We feared for him.

When the taxi came, we got in and the dude started driving until he asked us, “Does anyone want to use an ATM?”

Now, we’re all thinking we can scrounge enough cash for $33 that we don’t need an ATM.  Inspector Gadget asked him about what the lady on the phone said about the price and the driver started flipping out because it was actually a double rate since we had more than 4 people (which we had expressly stated in the phone call).  We got out. Lucky for us, we had gotten about a half mile down the road and he dropped us at a small market that made hitching easier.

Hop-a-long and Inspector started hitching and got a ride within about 20 minutes in a white pick up.  Shags, Dead Animal and I then started hitching and picked up a ride from a super sweet woman ski instructor in about the same time.  Hitching is much easier in twos and threes.  Occasionally, four works, but rarely more than that unless everyone piles in the back of a pick-up truck.

A few miles down the road, we saw Hop-a-long and Inspector Gadget hitching again.  Apparently their first ride wasn’t going as far as the Rainbow Lane, about 10 miles down the road.  We got dropped off first and walked over to the trail and sat down to wait.  Safari had blasted off.  We drank a beer while we waited and they came not too long afterward.  One of the Japanese guys came and joined us for a moment, Wanderer.

When we started hiking, we hit the animal cages where Hollywood apparently put large animals such as bears, tigers and lions.  After a few pictures and petting a 3-legged dog, we continued on down the trail.  Eventually we realized we needed to haul ass to make the post office hours to get Inspector Gadget’s laptop out of his bounce box.

The trail threw a few obstacles in our way of hauling down the trail.  First, we found Safeway brand sodas and a couch sitting on the side next to a beat up dirt road.  Naturally, we had to sit on the couch.  It’s not often such luxury just appears on the trail and thru-hikers are the laziest group of active people ever.  Then we found a picnic table at the water source at mile 256, and due to the lack of picnic tables on the trail, we stopped.

From there we did haul down the trail with our super light slackpacks.  Near the road, we saw name brand sodas from Motel 6…better than Safeway brand that Nature’s Inn left.  When we got to the road, it only took three cars before we got a ride for four of us.  Safari was nowhere to be found and Shags had gotten just slightly behind.  A super nice woman got Hop-a-long, Dead Animal, Inspector Gadget to the Post Office before it closed.  Laptop, check!

We headed to the hostel across the street as well because a few of us had packages there and we wanted to examine their hiker box.  You can find some amazing stuff in hiker boxes.  And food.  I found a disposable razor which made me super psyched.

We ended up checking out the liquor store over there on the way out and saw another group of hiker trash also making a beeline there.  Converging on the beer, we noticed it was Knees, Hollywood, Extra Credit and a few others.

From there we went to sit at the bus stop to get a ways down the road to Pongs (highly recommended restaurant).  After about five minutes of looking pathetic, a guy stopped and gave us a ride there.  Now, Pongs is a place with hiker portions.  All of us had enough food to stuff ourselves silly and have a whole other meal for breakfast.  Not long after we split into two groups to hitch back to the motel, Double Sprainbow yelled out of a car window, “Wanna hitch???”

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Naturally, we fit seven people in one of those old person cop look-a-like cars.  They had rented the last car in Big Bear because they needed a zero and the town is so spread out.

Back at the Motel 6, we caught up on a Game of Thrones marathon, drank beer, and lounged.  First of all, the room did not come with an ice bucket, so we made one of the trash cans into one and kept the beer cold in it.  Second of all, we decided to be cheap and fit 6 people into one room the second night.  It was a bit cramped, but ok…we managed three of us on one double bed too.

Sleeping in, we were going nowhere fast until the sun cooled down.  We packed up, went thrift storing, and got stuff ready to either send out or put it in the hiker box.

“Anyone need hand sanitizer? I have some extra.” I said

“I’m good,” said Dead Animal.

“I have enough,” said Hop-a-long.

“Why do you guys all need hand sanitizer??” Safari asked.

“Your hands are the biggest vector of spreading germs,” I replied.

“Poop germs,” Dead Animal said.

“I only poop in town,” Safari shot back.

“That will change,” Hop-a-long laughed.

We then sat at the bus stop to get to the Post Office when a super awesome old guy named Don with at least a 6 inch beard and an 80% timber wolf in an SUV pulled over and threw all six of us with packs in the back and drove us to the Post Office and the grocery store while we stalled to escape the heat.

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Getting to the I-10 overpass, we figured out the service road we had to hitch on and thought, “oh shit, this could take a while.”  But then a car pulls over almost immediately and out pops Beardo, who apparently had some nasty stomach virus and had to get three bags of saline pumped into him.  His friend who had dropped him off gave us a ride to the Cabazon Post Office.

Yogi’s guidebook description of the town was spot on: “kinda creepy.”  We grabbed our boxes and went to the corner market to grab a snack and try to hitch to the next town over, Banning, to grab a room for the night since our knees and feet hurt after the never-ending descent from the San Jacintos.  Supposedly, a bus existed between the two towns, but no one we talked to knew where it was or could give us a straight answer, some of which was because English was clearly not their first language.

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Eventually we got a ride over to the street with all the cheap motels after the van dropped a few people off at the casino and everyone seemed to call the driver “dad.”  Our “non-smoking” room definitely had a few burn holes in the carpet and one in the comforter, the toilet mostly flushed, and the TV was pretty fuzzy, but we did manage to get the Silence of the Lambs to come in clearly, so we watched that after getting amazing Thai food across the street.

The next day, we stayed until check out then wandered “downtown,” got our picture taken with a little kid who thought it was awesome to just hike all the time, then watched a $3.75 matinee of Dark Shadows…sweet movie.  Eventually, Pete met up with us (a friend from high school) who had driven over from LA.  We got more awesome Thai food and he gave us a ride over to Ziggy and the Bear’s house right off the trail and we hung out there with the other hiker trash.

They had an awesome shade set up there with chairs, an outside washing sink, clothesline, charging station, porta johns, i.e. awesomeness.  Dead Animal and Shags managed to catch up late that evening.  We spent the night there on scraps of carpet which surprisingly added a lot more comfort.  The morning scorched us from the start.  We started packing up and almost left but then Inspector Gadget and Safari (whose slave world name used to abe Ari) rolled in and we all decided it was too hot to hike out until evening.  That was our 8 a.m. decision and man was it the best decision in a while.

During the day, we snoozed, read, drank cold soda (beer was not allowed unfortunately), and played Rummy, best card game ever.  We did find a spray bottle with water which saved us from completely roasting, even sitting on our asses in the shade.  Quite literally, we sat doing nothing and we dripped with sweat, sucking down liter after liter of water.

Eventually, we did leave, although not until about 5:30 or so.  We had to go up 2,000 ft from the get-go.  Being the lazy ones we are, we found shade in a dug out by the wind farm two miles later and lightened our packs by drinking a few tall boys.

Before we knew it, we got up to the top of the first climb which took a steep turn all of a sudden right by the top.  We all, meaning: Hop-a-long, Dead Animal, Inspector Gadget, Shags, Safari and I, hung out at the top looking back down at the interstate below and the flashing lights of the towns.  I managed to wring out the back of my shirt which was drenched in sweat.  We got headlamps on then and meandered along the trail for another few miles.  We passed a huuuuge toad and managed to take pictures with our headlamps.

We ended up getting about 10 miles after a few shenanigans to the first water crossing where we crossed the large creek and found a flat spot in the wash on the other side and fit five of us in fairly close to each other where we passed around another few beers while we cooked dinner at 10:30 at night.  Shags declined our awesome spot to go a few more miles while the weather stayed cool at night.

4:30 a.m. came way sooner than we thought.  I knew the day would kill us when I could throw off my sleeping bag and not be cold at 4:40 a.m. in shorts and a tank top.  We left by 5:30 and hiked through more of the large wash which actually was confusing in pre-dawn light.  Of course, it climbed immediately out of the wash.  At the top of the climb, the oven turned on, i.e. the sun rose.  I rung the back of my tank top out of sweat by 6:30 a.m.

We took a break 6 miles into the a day under a super sweet tree at the second creek crossing.  Looking at the map, from there we had to climb 5,000 ft.  Fantastic. We drank the rest of the beer so we didn’t have to carry it up. It tasted awesome at 8 a.m.  Leaving there, we decided to find a shady tree by 10:30 a.m.

About an hour after the tree, I saw a fat 2 foot rattlesnake chilling right in the middle of the trail and I had to wait for about 5 minutes for it to move.  Eventually, after a half hour search for a decent tree, I found a tolerable one.  Hop-a-long and Safari made it there, but Inspector Gadget, Dead Animal, and Shags ended up at a previous tree.

We cooked lunch at 11 a.m. or so, then slept.  I woke up soaking in sweat and realized the shade had moved and I was partially in the sun.  Sluggish, I sat up.  Hop-a-long was more and more in the sun and Safari had woken up covered in ants.  The ants were shrugged off and I set up my tarp so we could go back to sleep and/or read.  So far, I’ve set the tarp up more for shade than to sleep under at night.

Eventually, when all shade had left that area and it still managed to cook us through the tarp, we packed up and moved over toward the creek.  Luckily, for once, as in the first time on the trail, we followed a creek for several miles uphill.  Good thing since I sucked down a little over 6 liters of water that day.

We did manage to leave the tree, but not until 5:45 p.m. making it about a 7 hour break.  The sun was still strong and amazingly hot.  Continuing up and up, we ran into the wilderness boundary sign.  Usually those signs don’t lie…it’s only the ones that have mileage markers on them.  This one lied.  The boundary, according to two different maps marked the boundary considerably two miles or so after where the sign was, causing us to think we had gone further than we thought.

Eventually, we did figure that out and gave out from tiredness around 9pm, making it a 17 mile day…not bad for having a 7 hour break.  On the last, steeper part of the climb, we ran into the first Poodle Dog Bush.  We had all been warned far more than probably necessary.  Main message: don’t touch it or you die, and especially don’t smoke it.  I made sure I had my headlamp on bright to see it all, some of which was right in the middle of the trail.  I felt like I was in a video game like Donkey Kong were I was walking and if I touched the Poodle Dog Bush, I died, but if I got around it, I got bananas.

The next morning, we lazily did not move until a little after 7 a.m., mostly because we had managed to gain 4000 of those 5000 feet and the air was cooler up high, mixed with these wonderful things called trees which provided more shade.  I still am having trouble conceptualizing trees up high and small, scrubby bushes below.

We took a long time at the first water source because none of us had much energy.  Not to mention, Inspector felt sick.  He claimed to have very bad tasting burps and a stomach ache.

“Have you filtered your water?”

“What have you eaten?”

“Have you puked?”

“What color was your shit this morning?”

Gut feeling’s comment from a few days ago popped into my head, “why do bodily fluids and bowel movements always somehow come into the conversation when you get three or more hikers together?”

We had to finish that climb, then we had two more smaller ones that contoured small peaks in the region.

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