June 16, 2018
I awoke feeling very disoriented. It was Saturday and I had no real reason to get out of bed, so I lay there for a very long time listening to the gentle sleeping sounds of my roommates. It was very early, but I eventually crawled out of bed and went in search of coffee. The house was silent, so I tried to be as quiet as possible as I forced my aching body to climb the two small flights of stairs to the top. A hiker I’d met yesterday named Tornado was already in the kitchen and had brewed a pot of coffee, and when he offered me some I did not object. A few people were talking quietly out on the patio, but I didn’t know them and didn’t want to disturb them, so I sat at the kitchen table just drinking coffee and zoning out a little bit. When I made my way back towards the stairs, I realized there was a hiker who’d been sleeping on the couch and was just starting to rise. I recognized him from the night before but couldn’t remember his name.
“Morning.” I whispered with a smile. He had a pained expression as if he might have been hungover, but as soon as I spoke he looked up and smiled a very broad, kind of goofy smile. “Mornin’!”
“How was the couch?”
“It was alright.”
“There’s coffee in there-”
And just like that, he was moving toward the kitchen. I proceeded down the stairs toward my room, wishing I could remember his name. Oh well.
I spent the morning listening to a podcast on the Book of Luke, called the hospital to see if my results were in (they weren’t), talked with my dad for a while on the phone, and basically waited around to go help Eric clean a condo. I downloaded a book called Sunrises to Santiago about a man and his wife hiking the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
Around the time I went with Eric to clean, it dawned on me that it was Saturday and I had completely blanked out on mailing my resupply package! I’d been so stir crazy during the first part of the day that I was considering hiking out whether I had my results or not. Another motivation to leave was that there’s a half-marathon in town tomorrow and all the free trolleys will be unreliable at best. But I didn’t have my results, and I didn’t want to carry 10 days worth of food and other sundry items when I didn’t have to, so I stayed.
When I got done cleaning I talked to my mom for a while, which was nice. She was driving back from seeing my sister and her family in Tennessee, so she had a lot of time to talk in the car. It sounded like my family was having a really busy summer. I kind of wished I was there. The more I thought about what I was going to do after my hike was over, the more I was looking forward to the end of my hike. It was a bad combination.
Anyway, I organized my food a little more and then hung out in the hostel kitchen eating cookies and reading my new book. I’d bought a container of 12 enormous, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies while Sparky and Ghosthiker were here so we could share them. They took one cookie each and I ended up with the rest, which I’d been slowly eating ever since. Probably not the smartest calorie choice, but certainly better than nothing.
“Hey Tenspeed, you like soccer?”
It was the second time I’d heard the question before I realized the speaker was talking to me from the living room. It was the hiker who’d been sleeping on the couch. He and another hiker had been in the living room watching the World Cup and talking about soccer things. I guess I must have looked lonely because they invited me to join them. I sat on the big cushy couch and admitted that while I did enjoy playing soccer, I wasn’t very good and didn’t really watched sports on TV, except for the Super Bowl every once in a while, if I knew what teams were playing or if there was a good party going on.
The couch-sleepers’ name was actually Couch Potato. I thought that was a funny coincidence. He’d received a minor injury or sprain early on in his hike and had taken a full week’s rest at the Acton KOA to let it heal. He said he’d spent the majority of that time laying on a couch watching TV, so people had started calling him Couch Potato. He was Canadian and cute but, I decided, probably too young for me. Oh well.
The other hiker’s name was Shadow. He was a handsome Frenchman who was taking an extended break in Mammoth Lakes due to a similar but far more severe leg injury. He had a severe stress fracture that had been treated (?) at the hospital in Bishop and he’d been off trail for two weeks so far. He’d taken the bus north to Mammoth Lakes to meet up with his trail friend Omri, an Israeli gentleman I’d meet later. He said he had an appointment to see the doctor in Bishop in a few days and hoped the news would be good. He showed me his leg and I tried to keep the concern from my face. It was really swollen! He had high hopes of being back on trail in a week or so, but I wondered if he would be able to get back on trail at all, let alone so soon.
Anyway, I left them to their soccer talk and went for a walk. I wasn’t used to all this sitting around even though I’d already spent a few hours being active while cleaning a condo with Eric. When I returned, the hostel was once again full of hikers and I found Couch Potato, Shadow, and several others hanging around in the kitchen. Shadow’s friend Omri decided the four of us should go to dinner, so Shadow grabbed his crutches and we headed to the Village.
It was Saturday night and there were tourists everywhere, so we had a bit of a wait before we were able to get a table at a fancy restaurant, the name of which has already left me. We shared a bottle of red wine between the four of us and had some delightful and interesting conversation, given that we were all of different nationalities. The funniest bit was how they all thought it so silly that almost every other country uses the metric system except the US, so I heard no end to this. We’d be talking about the elevation of a certain pass on the trail, and if I said it was so many feet, Omri would shake his head sadly and Couch Potato would ask, “So what’s that in meters?” and Shadow would laugh. It reminded me of a comedian who circles around to the first joke in the set and manages to tie it into other bits. If I looked even the least bit embarrassed, though, they’d apologize and laugh and tell me not to feel bad, it wasn’t my fault I was American. It was fun.
When we got back to the hostel there were still several hikers sitting around drinking wine after a birthday dinner, so a few of us joined them for a while. When I realized it was almost 11:00pm, I bid them goodnight and went to bed.