The day I hike into town is always exciting. I have much to look forward to: emails from my family, a shower, laundry, rest and food. I hike fast on the days I’m headed to town; I call this “town legs.” Here’s a rundown of a recent arrival into town:
5:30 am: Up and out of my tent within minutes. Almost 25 miles to hike until I reach town, but I’m giddy.
6:30 am: Gobble my breakfast as I walk. This involves some stumbling and tripping over rocks and roots.
7 am: Stop to grab water before moving on.
8:30 am: More walking and eating. More tripping and stumbling.
10 am: Day hikers! They give me a Ziploc bag of Tang and three Lara bars. I’m ravenous and eat all three bars right there.
11 am: Water and lunch break. With Tang!
Noon: Less than 15 miles to town. Milkshake, here I come.
2 pm: Frustration. It’s a long and tough haul today, with the trail heading up and down constantly.
3 pm: Smoke and lots of it: there are numerous wildfires in Northern California and Southern Oregon. The air is heavy, my eyes are burning, and I’m exhausted. Where is town?
4 pm: The smoke is still bothering me, but a snack and another break help.
4:30 pm: I turn to standup comedy. I listen to Jim Gaffigan as I march closer to town.
4:45 pm: I see…a road. This is the road that will take me to town.
5:15 pm: Worry and lots of it: the road is closed, empty and filled with smoke due to the fires. Town is ten miles away and I’ve already walked 25. Then, I see a car stopped near the trailhead. I run up to find a young woman taking photos of the smoke. Her name is Misty and she’s happy to take me to town.
5:30 pm: Misty grew up in Etna and still lives in the area. She tells me about the fires, her family, and the best places to eat in town.
5:45 pm: Arrival at the Hiker Hut, a bed and breakfast in town that lets hikers camp and stay for a small fee. Here I find lots of my friends, laundry and a shower.
6 pm: Between cleaning up and chatting other other hikers I jump on the Hiker Hut’s WiFi. I have emails from all of my family and my boyfriend. I am over-the-moon happy.
8 pm: I eat pizza, fries and an ice cream cone at a local deli. The food is amazing. I get a stomach ache (no surprises there).
10 pm: In my tent on the lawn of the Hiker Hut, I catch up on email. I fall asleep happy. The next day I will head back to the trail rested, full of good food and ready to hike.