Mile 2214.7 to mile 2232.5 (17.8 miles, 28.6 km)
Discretion advised – drug references. Parental supervision recommended for persons under the age of 15. It’s a long one too. Grab a coffee and buckle up.
It was easy walking this morning. Heaps and Neo caught up to me and we played leap frog to the highway.
On reaching the highway there was an older bloke with full white beared and glasses waiting for a hitch. He looked very similar to my Dad who I was imagining out trekking around with a backpack on the PCT. This fella had been waiting for a hitch for 15 mins or so. Heaps and Neo were there also. A pickup was pulled up at the intersection and I thought it was there to pick up hikers but the driver was just sitting there doing nothing. We asked but no he wasn’t taking people into town. That’s ok, it worked in our favour as the next 4WD to turn the corner and seeing thumbs out for a ride next to the parked car, pulled over thinking we had broken down.
In the back of the tray we had incredible views of Mt Adams and the wind on our hair. We were in town in no time.
I headed straight for the restaurant to get the trail famous huckleberry shake. It didn’t disappoint.
Then it was across the street to pick up my food resupply from the store where I had it posted. Imagine my surprise on opening the box and I realised I’d mixed up my resupplies. This box of food was only meant to get me through for the next two and a half days but I’d sent four days food. Being short yesterday I’d obviously mixed up my boxes when mailing. Four days was far too much food to carry for this next section and I easily off loaded extras to the other hikers at the store, leaving the rest in the hiker box.
Resupplied and still with too much food I was keen to get a few miles back on the trail rather than camp in town, have an easy afternoon lazing about and taking in more calories.
Hitching back out was harder than I thought. Lots of traffic. No rides. I was on the road near a petrol station pull out for a good half hour and still nothing when a couple of other hikers came to the same spot. Three thumbs out and still rides. Although rides for three is harder than one.
Then, enter Melinda to the picture. A car pulls up and the driver, Melinda, asks where we are headed. She says she can drive us there but she doesn’t have a lot of gas. I offer her $5 for gas money and she agrees.
Now the other guys for some reason get really wigged out and are whispering to each other “I’m not going with her. I’m not getting in that car.”
Maybe they’ve seen one too many movies or maybe it is my 20 plus years on them of working with people and having a good judgment of character, I don’t know. Something about the situation spooked the other two and they were seriously not getting into the car, at all. I didn’t get any bad vibes from her and jumped in eager to get back on trail.
It was an awesome ride out!
Sure Melinda was a bit eccentric, perhaps even a little bit crazy and definitely what Aussies would call a bogan but I never felt any unease or danger at all. Certainly no different to some of the famous trail angels like those at Casa De Luna and Julian that hikers love.
Turns out Melinda had just had a knee reconstruction and was out of the house for the first time in a few weeks just cruising in the car happy to be out and about. No particular place to go she had time to drive out to the trail.
She couldn’t help but feel the other two hikers had declined a ride based on her being a Native American and biases based on stereotypes, thinking they were going to be scammed or something. I just took her on face value.
The conversation was lively and shared both ways. An awesome ride out. She went out of her way to get me to the trail and didn’t have to at all.
Along the way she asks me if I smoked and seeing the full ashtray on the dash I assumed she just wanted to light one up so I said “I’ve been known too.” She then asks “Do you want one?” “Sure why not” I replied.
Then to my surprise, she reaches back behind the seat and pulls out a massive jar of the biggest, most pungent weed buds I’ve ever seen. With the expert precision of someone who had done this many times she then packs a bud into a small pipe, passing it across with a lighter. “Passengers only, I’m driving.” she says. Holy shit balls!
Now before you all start going ‘Hmm drugs are bad..mmOk’, weed is perfectly legal in Washington and considered in the same vane as alcohol or tobacco.
I haven’t smoked weed much at all over the last 20 years which my close friends will testify too. Maybe, maybe the very rare puff at a party once a year. Now I have a fully loaded pipe and one massive pungent bud in front of me. What was I to do? Decline and upset my driver? No, with my hiking attitude of say yes to opportunities on trail I puffed away. I was seriously smashed in minutes. Oh my god was I stoned!
The conversation continued which I could barely follow while still trying to navigate out to the trail but it must have been good because there were lots of laughs. I do recall her talking about her brother being a grower and her getting all this weed for free.
Reaching the trail I grabbed my pack and with one of the sincerest handshakes of goodby I’ve had I slipped her another $5 out of gratitude for the ride out. But she wasn’t done yet. She showed me another full jar of the same buds, grabbed three out, puts them in an envelope and hands them to me. I tried to decline but Melinda wasn’t having any off it. So off I walk with three massive buds.
Back on trail I didn’t get far at all. Only another 3.8 miles. Completely whacked out of my brain I could barely do the simplest of things like work out how far my water would last, how fast I was walking and where it would put me in a set amount of time. I needed to camp now, sit down and rancho relaxo. This would be perfect to help get through my extra food as well.
Finding the nicest campsite near a spring I was done. I got camp set up early and started working my way through some surplus food.
So now I’ve hiked the trail drunk and I’ve hiked the trail stoned – I wouldn’t recommend either to anyone.
There was no way I was smoking all this weed and much to the delight of other hikers around me I’m giving it away for free as fast as I can. Only one left to get rid of thankfully. I certainly don’t want to be walking across the border with it.
In the early evening Heaps and Neo walked into camp and I relive the funniest hitch I’ve ever had.