Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 25 (6/11) Casa de Luna - The Anderson's

Last night we found the last campsites before a long climb, but unfortunately being in the valley meant dew. It started settling about 15 minutes after I was in my bag, and I made the call not to get my trent, partially because I have a synthetic bag and it will still keep nge warm while weet, unlike down... Despite the wetness, Fair Lady was out of camp by 6:30 and I followed at 7:15. Half of the Leisure Crew was still sleeping. The goal today was a 20 mile hike to Casa de Luna, and if things went well, possibly hitting the trail again in the evening. That plan sounded good, especially since the Anderson's has a reputation for being nearly inescapable. The running joke is that there is a two night maximum at the Saufley's, and a two night minimum at theAnderson's. Well, two nights was out of the question, so it was between zero and one.
Today featured some awesome hiking as we started with a long climb to a ridge followed by a series if smaller climbs and descents. One of my favorite things is when you can look back and see the trail winding around the mountain as it slowly gains elevation. The other neat thing today was that the clouds hung around about 500 feet below me for most  of the morning, so they added a nice touch to the scene. Around 12 I came to the Anderson's cache, which was stocked solely with pop and beer. Who needs water anyway? Fair Lady was there, so we relaxed in the shade, and I enjoyed a Shasta Zazz, a grapefruit flavored beverage, before taking the obligatory Natty Ice. About that time a pair if hikers came up - Matt and The Escalator. They had tried the trail previously, but both were sidelined with serious injuries around 2000 miles. Wow, that had to be awful. They're trying again this year, and both are cranking out miles like crazy, so I don't expect to see them for long. They were headed down to the Anderson's as well, so we joined together for the last 6 miles. Both are excellent singers, and in fact they wrote an a capella song, ' There's a Fire in My Crotch' as an ode to the terror of chafe on the trail. Quite hilarious, and I heard it about three times throughout the evening.

We made it down to the road around 4, but had no cell service to call for a ride, so we practiced the good old thumb technique. It took about 30 minutes before one of their neighbors drive by and picked all four of us up. The Anderson's place doesn't look like anything special, in fact, the random junk scattered around made it look the exact opposite if the finely tuned machine that is the Saufley's. But Joe and Terrie were no less welcoming, and I soon had a beer in hand. There was a pretty sizable group there, and some were closing in on seven days there. Yikes, I don't want to go that route. We all hung around for awhile before the two Israeli guys, Pepper and Mace, broke out the video of how they earned their trail names. Lets just say they tested some bear spray  on themselves, with extremely painful consequences. The highlight for me was Mace washing out his eyes while muttering 'poor bear, poor bear'. They said they'd both had to go through tear gas training in the military and that this was much worse. A bit later Lion King brought out a taser he'd received as a gag gift, and people were trying it on their arms. Hikers are a slightly crazy bunch... Everyone had their stuff set up in the expansive backyard and in the 'Magical Manzanita Forest' behind that. I plopped my stuff down, then helped gather firewood before dinner. And what a dinner. Taco salad to feed an army of hikers. This was heavenly, and I found out they do this free every night. No wonder people stay so long. Plus in the morning they make pancakes and coffee for everyone. This would be a dream come true for some hungry hikers. After dinner we all sat around the fire talking, plus Matt and The Escalator provided musical entertainment. I called it around 10, and was one if the first ones to fall asleep. All the rest were too busy partying, and I have to imagine they'll all be here another night...

Miles Today: 20
Trip Mileage: 478

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