May 25, 2018
The next morning I awoke around 4:00am and couldn’t get back to sleep because the AC was cranked up and I was freezing. It was chilly outside and Sparky and Ghosthiker were still sound asleep, so I grabbed my money and fleece pullover I’d had sent to me for the Sierra and walked the .7 miles to Albertsons to get Starbucks and breakfast. I was delighted to find that the organic, GMO-free bagels and peanut butter were actually cheaper than the sugary, well-known brands. Maybe it’s just California, but it seemed to me that consumers are finally starting to catch on to the benefit of healthy foods and suppliers are catering to the smart people. Kudos to all!
It was nice to walk alone in the wee hours of the morning even if it was surprisingly chilly. The town of Ridgecrest was still asleep, save for the Albertsons and Starbucks employees. I did a lot of thinking as I walked. Despite the tumultuous feelings I’d been experiencing over the last week, I was genuinely happy to be exactly where I was and preparing to start hiking north again. I was thankful for my trail family, for my real family, for the freedom and physical ability to even be doing something like this at all. It was a good morning.
Later, Mike came and got us at the Motel 6 and drove us to Lone Pine, where we immediately checked into our room at the Dow Villa Motel. It was a really cool place, very historic and fascinating to just walk around and look at everything. After a bit, Sparky and Ghosthiker went to the grocery store to resupply and I stayed in the room. I definitely didn’t need any groceries. I sat on the bed and watched the soft, white curtains blowing in the breeze, listening to the small-town sounds coming through the open window. I was soaking my feet in hot water with Epsom salts and enjoying some quiet alone time in the room. I was nervous about the big climbs to come and doing my best to quiet my mind, trying to recapture that peace I’d felt earlier.
I did eventually wander out to check the local shops for some Frogg Toggs because I didn’t have a good rain jacket and for some decent winter gloves. I hadn’t expected to be dealing with so much cold weather in the Southern California section of the trail and had been making do with a thin pair of work gloves layered over some basic disposable rubber gloves, both of which I’d picked up at the gas station at Cajon Pass. On truly desperate mornings, I used hand warmers as well. I knew that if the desert was cold this early in the year, the Sierra was going to be absolutely bitter, so I decided to bite the bullet and shell out for some really nice Outdoor Research gloves. I had a pair of off-brand mittens that had arrived with my winter clothes, but these had not been tested in truly freezing temperatures, and I now knew better than to take my chances with the cold. Honestly, it’s the same thing as with the shoes. I KNOW I don’t handle the cold well, why wouldn’t I prepare for that ahead of time?! Ugh.
Once I had my gloves and my Frogg Toggs, I stopped in at the hostel to poke around in the hiker box and see if anyone had left any Carnation Instant Breakfast or something similar behind. It was the only food I needed and I didn’t want to buy a whole box of 12 or 16 when I only needed half that many, though in hindsight I could have used the extra calories. Just my luck, I found 6 packets in the hiker box in addition to a couple of packs of whey protein and felt very fortunate. Rarely does one find exactly what they hope to in a hiker box, but oftentimes I seemed to do just that. I dropped a few of my own food items in the box in exchange for what I took; some candy bars I didn’t feel I’d need, which may have been a mistake, but I was trying to ditch high-sugar foods and stick to healthier fare.
I was dragging my feet all day long. I managed to get some things accomplished but mostly I felt like I was moving through a fog. I must not have slept well at the Motel 6 the night before, because I was down for the count by 7:00pm that evening. I don’t even think I ate dinner.