Day 41: Resupply, Friends, and…Mad Max!

After doing absolutely nothing yesterday, today we had to, annoyingly, do something. In our case, that something was resupplying. Instead of mailing a box to Tehachapi, we’d decided we’d pick up food at the local supermarket…so off we went to Albertson’s (only after eating a very large breakfast with our friends), preparing ourselves.

Our previous resupply felt incredibly slow to us — it seriously took us about three hours to buy four days’ worth of food, largely because we’d just never done this before. (Want to try yourself? Go to the grocery store, pick out about 35,000 calories’ worth of food, make sure none of it requires refrigeration or will be inedible after being squished in a pack, and now try to make it all lightweight. It’s a chore!) This time, we did much better, our experience in the past having given us better strategies — it only took us about an hour and a half. It still makes me appreciate just how nice it has been to have mailed nearly all of our resupply boxes, since it means all the hard work was done ahead of time. Dividing up Kraft Easy Mac into Ziploc bags with the right amount of powdered milk is neither a terribly fun, nor terribly fast, process. 😉

Our errands actually took up a good chunk of the middle of the day; we also had to go the UPS store to ship back my broken ultralight trekking poles (which have been replaced with much sturdier traditional aluminum ones) and to pick up a new fuel canister at the local sporting-goods store. But our favorite part came next: Treeman and Hedgehog, good friends of ours from the trail who hail from Germany, were in town! They’d gone to the “wrong” town — the PCT intersects a highway that lets you hitchhike either to Tehachapi or Mojave, and they’d previously sent a resupply shipment to Mojave, so they had to stay there. But the local bus system runs a bus between the two, and they took it over to Tehachapi just to see us!

Oh, it was wonderful reconnecting with them. We hadn’t seen them in literally weeks, and I gave them both a great big hug upon seeing them. They’re truly some of our favorite people, and everybody was happy to see each other when they came up to our hotel. We swapped plenty of stories of the trail, joked with each other, and generally had an all-around great time. Pretty soon, we two, Treeman, Hedgehog, Dilly, Dally, Sarge, Stump, and Rally were all headed out to dinner at a local restaurant that served enormous burgers…and we were all really, really happy. (This restaurant was also very daring — they offered an all-you-can-eat buffet in a hiker town!)

Even better, afterwards, what did we all do? Go to the movies, of course! As far as we can tell, this might actually be our only chance to catch a movie while hiking the PCT, so we took full advantage of it. Deliriously full from the restaurant, we nevertheless loaded up on popcorn and soda, and went to Tehachapi’s only movie theater for the evening showing of Mad Max. This movie is pretty much pure action from top to bottom, nonstop — Dilly told me the three minutes I took for a bathroom break were the only time in the whole movie not much happened — which was pretty much a perfect complement to hiking the PCT, which is about the opposite of an action movie. (If hiking the PCT ever starts to resemble an action movie, something is very wrong.)

After the movie, what did we do? What anybody in their right mind would do, of course: went back to the hotel and all jumped in the hot tub. I mean, when you have one available, it’d pretty much be criminal not to use it, right?

This is what’s known on the PCT as “the vortex”: towns (or trail angels) can pull you in with one thing after another, and you can get stuck there for an unreasonably long time. I’ve already had to admit that I don’t think we’re leaving tomorrow — at least, not early in the morning. We’ve done a double zero so far (two days in a row of no hiking), and it’s in danger of turning into a triple zero. Part of me is eager to get back on trail, anxious to make progress…but, then, part of me is enjoying the hell out of this stop, too. We’ll see what happens tomorrow…tomorrow.

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