Day 26 - Mountain Mama and Papa Smurf

I only had 6.4 miles to go before I hit Van Dusen Canyon, and walked down it to Big Bear.  It was easy walking again today.  I left camp while 12 Pack and Wildflower were packing up.  There were a lot of rusty cans around camp, I picked up a few to pack out.

Right before I reached the road, there was a water cache.  I grabbed one bottle to get me down the road.  As I was getting ready to go, a red car with PCT stickers on the back pulled up and dropped off a hiker I recognized.  It was Randy of the Randies.  I came up and asked the driver if he was a trail angel, he said he wasn't, he was a thru-hiker helping out some trail angels.  He gave me a ride down the road to the Motel 6, stopping by the trail angels​' house to pick up Flower before.  His name was Pacer.

At the Motel 6, I picked up the food I had left there a couple days ago, then sit it up so I could mail 2 days worth ahead to Cajon.  I don't want to carry more than I have to carry, food is heavy.  As I left the motel, I got a text from Mouse, saying he was still in Big Bear and to text him when I got to Big Bear.  We decided to meet for lunch at the Lumberjack Tavern.  In the meantime, I hung out with Tanya and Matt at the bus stop across from the Motel 6.  They gave me what was left of a Canadian brand of water treatment that was annoyingly hard to get drops out of, to tide me over until Wrightwood.

Lunch at the Lumberjack Tavern was very good, a garden burger, fries and salad for me.  Then we walked to the Community Market, where I topped off the calories I need for the next leg.  I got some fresh local strawberries, too.  Outside, we met Jamie, a talkative fellow who doesn't like to come into town so he carries up to 10 days of food while hiking.  Mouse' leg was bothering him, so he convinced me to stay the night at the trail angel's place, Papa Smurf and Mountain Mama's.  I haven't stayed with a trail angel yet, and it's part of the experience.  I called and Mountain Mama picked us up.  Their house was a two story cute little house, surrounded by large tents set up for hikers to sleep in.  It was really generous, these two open up their home to tired through hikers every spring, cooking them meals and shuttling them around town to the stores and to the trail.  They seem to enjoy it.  The night we were there, maybe 10 or 12 people were staying there, and they've had as many as thirty there recently.  Some had taken a zero and we're staying here a second night.  They had a hiker helping shuttle people around since Papa Smurf  had been sick up in his room for a few days.  I saw some hikers I had met before; Marble, Giggles and Satchmo.  I met Caddy shack, Corey, Hamlet, an English teacher, Sage, another Daniel and a few others.

Caddyshack told us the story of the first time he tried to thruhike the PCT a few years ago.  He started at Lake Morena for the kick off, left his tent and sleeping bag there since he planned on doing the first 20 miles in one day.  He had a 45 lb baseweight.  He didn't realize there was no water between the border and Hauser Creek, he only brought a liter.  He got dehydrated, was throwing up, kept going to Hauser Creek where he downed lots of water, vomited again and made it partway up the hill to a flat spot.  He decided he was fine, he could just not sleep that night and do jumping jacks to keep warm and he would hike out in the morning with the folks camped down at Hauser Creek.  He threw up again.  A helicopter started flying around to each of the campsites, shining a light in.  A little later, he heard a dog coming down the hill from Lake Morena, a friendly dog.  He was petting the dog when two rangers showed up to help him.  He said he was fine, no need for help.  The rangers looked at the vomit nearby and told him he needed to come with them.  They gave him food and water.  The smallest of them picked up his huge pack and the other walked with him all the way back.  Caddyshack told us how humbling it was to be in that situation.  The other hikers he had just met at Lake Morena, who knew he had planned on getting back there tonight, had cared and told the rangers.  He said that was when he knew this was a community, a group of people that looked after each other.  That was why, on this trip, when he was in Cabazon and heard that a girl had rolled her ankle trying to come down that long descent and now she was stuck.  He went back to help her down, carrying her pack and helping her down.  We all know that pretty much at any point, we could be the one that needs help, that's why we have to look out for each and help when we can.

Mountain Mama asked if there were any vegetarians before she started cooking, and there were a few.  She made sure we had plenty to eat.  The vegetarians and vegans ate first.  There were black beans cooked with salsa and onion, mashed potatoes with vegan gravy and green beans.

I slept in a tent with several others, and I slept very well, tired enough to sleep through anything, but I don't think there were any loud snorers.


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