Day 94: (8 miles)
mile 1262 – 1270
We had four legged visitors last night…nosey deer that kept marching around and near our tent. They are nearly as annoying as the mosquitoes, especially because these guys wake us up. Although we know bears are much quieter, we wake to check out the sound, to make sure it’s not a bear about to make off with our packs. We are sure that the one time we ignore the sounds and attribute them to marauding deer, it will be a bear. Once we break camp and get back onto the trail, we spy several other campsites that were ready made, had we only walked another 2 minutes, and would you believe, 2 miles further awesome sunrise camp spots as well. I guess you don’t know what you don’t know…at the time. Plenty of mornings left to catch phenomenal sunrises. As we head toward the road walk into Buck Lake (a perfectly kept secret for boating as far as we’re concerned) we discuss our options for the 4th. 1. Get adopted by a family camping. 2. Hang at the bar. 3. Hitch into Quincy for the music festival.
Along the trail we spy a sign from a local trail angel that is offering food, shower, laundry and internet. This angel is not in any publications we’ve seen, nor has it been mentioned in any blogs we’ve read in the past. It looks too good to be true. I snap a picture, just in case we decide to add this as option #4. We hit the road into Buck Lake and only have to road walk less than a mile before we get a ride. Our ride who is camping at the Lakeside Resort, drops us off at the resort’s store and restaurant and bar. We had hoped for breakfast but apparently were out of luck as they were in between meal servings and would not reopen till 11am. They tell us we are welcome to wait on their back patio till them or go to the bar…which just opened. We thank the owner, drop our packs and then meander through the store looking for breakfast type food. Coffee and one of those prepackaged apple pies for Paul, an apple pie and chocolate milk for me. After a while, another thru-hiker arrives and plops down at the bar. Paul checks to see if it’s the same one we saw on the road when we got our ride and if by chance we know him. Yes to both. It is Matt whom we last saw nearly 700 miles ago at Kennedy Meadows with his dad. We swap as stories and compare notes. We wonder and theorize how it took this long for our paths to cross…again We decide to have a beer (or two) and order lunch at the bar and continue talking. Paul has a cheeseburger ( this seems to be the common “town” food) and I get a little crazy and order a Ceasar salad. The salad was delightful, however it did not sit well with me and my stomach begins to cramp, most likely as my digestive system had no idea how to process this “fresh” fibrous meal, for the most part, devoid of high fructose corn syrup…nothing another beer can’t fix. We decide it’s nap and lay in the sun time, so off to the beach at the lake’s edge. We strip down to our underwear (modesty be damned), blow up out sleep pads and bask in the coolness of the water and richness of the sun as we float atop our mats in the calm of the lake. We discuss and strategize as to what to do next. It looks likely that option #1, getting adopted by a camper hungry for our stories of adventure is NOT going to happen anytime soon. We really aren’t up for hitching to Quincy and/or to negotiate the throngs of people that will be at the music festival, nor do we want to spend $70 to get into it. We reluctantly decide to call the trail angel. FOOLS! We should have done this in the very FIRST place. This place, Honker Pass (aptly named for the geese that fly by early in the morning) at the Williams was like winning the lottery and staying at a five star hotel. We (I) made the call. Terry, who is a rice and walnut farmer, picks us up at the lodge. When we arrive to their home, we are greeted by Nancy who shows us the laundry, the shower, a cooler full of beer and soda and a room off their main house (appropriately named the Hiker Hut) with just about any and every toiletry a hiker may need …with a queen bed. As we are the only hikers so far, we get the bed (first come, first serve), all others will have to sleep on the deck on plush foam pads. Dinner will be served in a few hours (tri-tip)…make yourself at home they tell us. Home! This is way better than home. Later we are joined by another hiker, Ms. Frizzle. She is a twenty something year old just graduated from Reed College in linguistics with long, braided, fire red, hair. She has done 30 miles to get here in hopes of catching a World Cup soccer game as she is an uber fan of soccer. We have quite the enjoyable afternoon and evening filled with good food and conversation. We retire to the most comfortable bed we’ve slept on since being home and are soon fast asleep. We will zero here tomorrow, while Ms. Frizzle will continue on after the mornings soccer match to Belden Town where she hears there is a rave party going on.