May 14- 15: I awoke a bit later than usual, because of my late arrival the night before. Then had to backtrack .3 miles to the water source to refill before hitting the trail at the late hour of 6:15. Today was the day to bank some miles and get into lower elevation to miss the snow.
It was 2 miles until a road crossing and then, due to a an environmental closure for the yellow bellied spotted mountain road (yes- it's true) a 7 mile road walk. I got to the road crossing pretty quickly and met up with 5 others- Diogenes, Robert, Turtle, Velcro, and Silver. Since it was very foggy and the weather was deteriorating faster than anticipate, I opted for the safety in numbers idea and stuck close by the group. Diogenes, who was tent less, Flagged down the first passing car and went back into Wrightwood. We persevered.
Very soon, it went from fog to rain to snow to heavy, wet snow. I began to suspect that Diogenes had the right idea. But we hadn't seen any other cars.
"If another car comes by, I'm going back to town" I announced. And then, just like that, a car drove by. Well, a truck. A rather small pick up truck. I waved my arms wildly and it pulled over. Silver and Velro joined me, Robert and Turtle kept going. During the 35 plus minute ride down the mountain, we stopped to pick up 4 more hikers: Mowgli, Cardboard, Chrome, and Kale. Which is why I can now check "riding in the back of a pick up truck during a snowstorm with 6 other people and 7 backpacks" off the life list. Check!
Back in town, and half frozen, we went to the grocery store where they had pots of coffee and hot chocolate brewing for half frozen hikers. We all secured rooms for the night, I ended up with Velcro and Silver in a rather rundown, but dry and warm cabin next door to Wallaby and Diogenes. I made the most of the town day by visiting the library and using the internet, eating large punts of food, and watching chick flicks on TV much to the others' chagrin. (Kidding- they LOVED A League of Their Own)
The next morning, it had stood snowing, and was warmer. So we packs up, checked out, and went to breakfast. Getting ready to secure a hitch, our friends at the grocery store warned against going back up to the trail: "it's nice down here, but still dumping up there" Great. We had already checked out! But then, we got an offer from Wendy, a local woman, to come stay at her house for the day.
We hing out with Wendy and her kids Morgan, Amelia, and Mitch on their beautiful log cabin up on a hill. They fed us, let us take showers, and treated us to movies In their theater room complete with leather recliners and blankets! I said "I might not go back hiking, I might just stay here!"
Dinner was delicious- salad, chicken and dumplings, and homemade ice cream. Plus, their cat decided that she liked me and spent the day (and night) sleeping on me.
As wonderful as that experience was, when it dawned clear and warmer the next morning, it was time to move on. Homemade waffles, fresh fruit and eggs from their chicken coop for breakfast and then a ride to the trail from Wendy. Talk about hospitality! It's really these wonderful interactions with nice people that make the thru hike!
Peace love and trail magic!