31 May Stripper Shirt, Hiker Town, Glow Sticks
Waking and rising around 6am in the Manzanita grove at the Andersen’s, I began packing to hit the trail. In the process of digging through my bag, I felt something that wasn’t quite familiar. I pulled it out to find THE SHIRT.
The shirt is white stretchy netting. Very breathable, very tight, very see through. Think of the movie Showgirls when they are wearjng clothes. Now the deal with the shirt is that “trail gnomes” (read: other mischievous hikers) sneak the shirt into someone’s bag. If it ends up in your bag, you have to wear the dancing girl apparel for the entire day. So there I was, shirt in hand. On it went and I owned it because let’s be honest what other option did I have. There were plenty of jokes and pictures and all of it was good fun to start the day. The only thing that worried me was the tan I’d get from it.
Throwing the pack on over my new shirt, Birdman and I set out. It was 8 miles mostly uphill but we were energized and it didn’t take long. We reached a road and, on the recommendation of a veteran hiker, went into the town of Lake Hughes for tri-tip and pulled pork sandwiches at the Rock Inn. Some of the best restaurant food I’ve had off the trail. We debated staying for karaoke night but ultimately we just wanted to hit the trail.
We’d turn the day into one of our longest doing 28 miles until 0000. As a quick aside and for my own recollection, I found a sweet cache of notes while exploring a cave a couple miles from the Lake Hughes road. Left a little note of my own. A message in a bottle if you will. That evening, taking camp on a quiet moonlit ridge was Birdman, U-turn, and myself. Rising early, we descended. Finally towards some desert floor.
An easy descent and we found ourselves at Hiker Town. In the middle of nowhere desert, this little property was designed like a set from a midget western. Little shacks with cots for hikers were decorated on the outside like an old saloon, jail house, city hall etc.
I didn’t have plans to stay the night so I enjoyed a cold outdoor shower and washed my clothes with a hose before finding some shade. I had put in 10-12 mi to get to this odd little place and I figured I’d wait out the heat of the day.
In the evening, a hiker named UB organized a Glow Stick walk for another hiker who is going through Chemo for breast cancer. I guess she goed by the name “Glow In the Dark” and is hiking between treatments when she has the energy. Well, we a waited until dark then covered ourselves with glow sticks. Glow sticks coming out of our hats, glow sticks on our trecking poles, on our packs, on our shoes. Birdman had glow sticks coming out of his long beard. It was an awesome sight as about 20 of us set out glowing across the desert. Obviously thought about all the people in my life who have suffered due to cancer. A group of us got tired around midnight and howled at the moon before finding spots to camp.
The next day it was out of the desert floor and up into the wind turbine fields…
Status update: Scorpion hunting has been fruitless to date. Hope still exists.