Monday, May 6, 2013

Day 16 - Ziggy and The Bear, An Oasis 5/2

By Hedgehog

Starting Mileage: 191.3
Ending Mileage: 210.8

The fire appeared much more contained as we started our hike. We later found out it was about 75% contained.

Forewarned about the hours of hiking back and forth as we wind our way down to the valley floor I was determined to not let it bother me. This would be sorely tested. 

The decent held a few bright spots including the 200 Mile mark and running across a few other hikers.
That's about it.
Sometimes you just focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

At the bottom of the decent was the first water since the river we had lunch at the day before, it is a fountain kindly provided by the local water utility. 

Once on the valley floor it was a 5 mile walk across sand, under a blazing sun to I-10 and a bridge that would provide some shade.
Along the way we came across a sign from the power company that they were working on the high tension lines overhead. Furthermore if helicopter operations were underway we couldn't proceed. Luckily no flight operations were underway and we didn't need to wait.

Under the bridge we found our first non-Magic Man trail magic.  This was 2 foam coolers full of soda and water courtesy of a previous PCT hiker, DNA.

After a brief respite we continued on and debated if we'd stay at the hostel just ahead or if we stop in and wait for it to cool down before doing some more miles in the evening.
The hostel is just off trail and is run by Ziggy and the Bear. It isn't a traditional hostel, it's their home and they offer camping in their backyard that's what we knew and then we got there.

When we arrived we were immediately greeted by Ziggy with orders to sit and take off our shoes as foot baths would be drawn up once Bear was done sorting the inbound packages for hikers. We also signed into the guest register, I was hiker  #180 and BooBoo was #181.
The chairs were under a large permanent awning that had just been installed this last year expressly to provide shade for hikers.
Most of the backyard had carpet laid over it to prevent too much dust. Two temporary awnings were also stretched over the carpet to provide more shade with a third about to be erected. These temporary awnings covered the area hikers could sleep for free.
There was also free fresh fruit, water, power charging station, port a potty, and separate shower building for the hikers to use.
The shower was 1 at a time, we were informed by a mischievous The Bear, when he brought out the water for our foot baths.
We decided to stay the night. 
Ziggy later remarked The Bear did not seem to be his 81 years of age, I would have guessed a decade or two younger for both them.
A sign board with relevant hiker info (water/forecasts/temperature/etc) was displayed prominently cand showed a temperature of 105°.
They were a fun, lively couple as they greeted incoming hikers and prepared fresh communal salad for dinner for everyone there.  By dinner there was 18 of us hikers. After dinner they offered ice cream to all of us.
Amazingly they do all of this out of kindness and donations from hikers. 
I rambled a bit there but that kindness deserves notice. It was much needed and greatly appreciated.

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