April 20, 2018
For some reason, I was in a hurry to get out of my tent this morning even though it was freezing. I wanted to see the sunrise. We were generally waking up well before sunrise but I never took the time to crawl out of my tent and actually watch it. I was glad I did that morning. From our campsite at mile 356ish, at almost 6,500 ft, I could see the hazy city lights blinking beneath a very defined layer of cloud cover, with the distant mountains rising up all around it and the sky beyond turning pink and purple. It was like gazing down on Atlantis beneath the sea. My camera couldn’t capture it, but my memory did.
We hiked 13 miles to Hwy 2 and only took one short break, needing to hitch into Wrightwood ASAP so Sparky could go grocery shopping and mail a resupply box ahead before the post office closed at 4:30. We made it into town by 1pm and had everything done by 3pm, so we hit up the Grizzly Cafe for a much-needed lunch. There were about a dozen hikers in all who happened to arrive there at the same time, so naturally, we decided to all get a table together.
We ended up staying with a trail angel in Wrightwood. He ran a couple of one-room AirBnBs in his home but also had a carpeted garage that he let hikers stay in for free or a donation. The two rooms on the main floor were already taken by some hikers we didn’t know, but there was a “honeymoon suite” above the garage that Sparky claimed almost immediately, happy to pay the full AirBnB price. He had slept on the floor the last time we stayed at a hotel and was ready to spend a night in a real bed in a private room.
With our options limited to the garage and…the garage, Ghosthiker, Lil’ Bro, and I claimed our spaces on the musty carpeted floor. It was an interesting experience. When our trail angel said he hosted hikers at his home all the time and certainly had room for four, we weren’t quite expecting to be shown into an unfinished garage overflowing with tools, debris, and an apparent mouse problem.
But by that point, he had kindly picked us up at the Grizzly Cafe and driven us the several miles to his home, and his offer did come with hot showers, so we weren’t about to complain. We just spread our tent footprints on the carpeted floor before laying down our mats and quilts and found places to hang our food bags safely away from small critters in the night. Honestly, it was just like camping outside except with a roof over our heads, indoor plumbing, and moderate temperature control. Who could complain? Not me.
Our trail angel host and his wife were SUPER friendly and had two big, friendly dogs (Have I mentioned that I love dogs?). They let us take all the time we needed in the shower and informed us that there’d be plenty of coffee and continental breakfast options in the morning. All I heard was hot showers and hot coffee, and I was satisfied.
From the garage, we ordered pizza and salads and sat on the sketchy carpet enjoying our meal before curling up in our quilts and falling into a heavy sleep that, unfortunately, was broken quite early by a couple of excited dogs who were accidentally let into the garage on their way outside.
I’m convinced these experiences are meant to build character. Maybe the dogs helped to scare away the mice.