Day 49: Pool Party on the PCT

So, on Saturday, while everyone was getting ready for Memorial Day barbecues, I was hiking through crazy heat and sand and intense wind. I’m hoping that this makes it feel slightly more balanced when I tell you that today, when everybody was at work, I was basking in a pool on top of an inflatable orca, drinking beer and relaxing in the sun. I promise the PCT isn’t all like this…but it sure is pretty awesome when it is.

Now that the gang’s all here, breakfast was another trip to the Dam Korner Café with more deliciousness…even if the amazing giant cinnamon rolls were all gone by the time we got there. Without any actual obligations, we wandered over to the Lake Isabella Army Surplus Store next, which was kind of an amazing tour of the opposite of ultralight backpacking — every single thing in the store weighs about twenty times as much as anything we’d use. We had a lot of fun looking at all the crazy stuff (want one of about three hundred ammunition cases? a bugle?) but bought almost nothing…until we discovered that they had a wide variety of inflatable pool toys. And our hotel has a great pool. A plan came together fast. We bought an inflatable tube, turtle, alligator, gecko, and orca. Oh, yes. A trip to the local IGA meant we now had two more critical additions: gatorade and beer.

And that’s how our midday turned into lying in the pool, drinking beer, sunning ourselves, and just generally loving life. It was…not a bad time at all. We hung out for hours, taking it easy, trying to absorb all this moment had to offer. And after that? A trip back to Dam Korner for lunch (sandwich! pie! milkshake!), and then a nap.

Yup, it’s been pretty much as rough of a day as you might expect. I’m writing this from the tables down in the garden with the remnants of our hiker crew still talking, having filled ourselves up completely on yet another homemade dinner from Shelley. Amazing. Tonight? Pizza, salad, watermelon, potato salad, chocolate cake, lemon meringue pie, and pumpkin pie. Ridiculous. My gratitude to Lonnie and Shelley, to this town, and more generally to the universe in general is pretty much at an absolute high right now. It’s been a great, great day.

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