Agua Caliente Creek to Somewhere Out There
Miles: 115-131 (16)
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
This place got crowded last night. Every hiker that was in Warmer Springs yesterday tried to camp here for some reason. Critter was snoring like a chainsaw, so I popped my headphones in and put Miles Davis Sketches of Spain on repeat. I’ve always loved that album, and walking through all this sand has made it better somehow.
I hike with the mother and daughter duo, Heather and Bailey, for part of the morning. They’re a frisky, free-spirited couple of girls that came down from British Columbia. Heather will leave the trail in 100 miles or so, but Bailey is going all the way. I like them-they remind me of my quirky friends Pippy and Zippy, from the Colorado Trail last summer.
The word on the trail is that a nearby trail angel is having a little Cinco de Mayo shin dig for all the thru-hikers today. Since it’s hotter than tiger balls and I’m running out of water, I take the short detour to a single, tiny house in the middle of the mountains to see what all the chatter is about.
What I find is a comprable to a hiker-trash festival. There’s a basketball hoop, guitars, a drum set, and a piano. There’s a makeshift kitchen, serving generous portions of tacos, potato salad, and macaroni salad. Coolers of beer and soda are scattered here and there. When lunch is over, ice cream is served, then everything is cleaned up so dinner preparations can begin. A short game of trivia commences; if you answer correctly, a kind Mexican woman in a rocking chair throws a mini Snickers Bar at your face. Someone is passing around two bags of Rice Krispie Treats. “do you want tainted, or untainted?” What the shit kind of rabbit hole have I fallen into now?Everyone is rounded up for a potato-sack race, and one of our two hosts invites everyone to stay for as long as they want. “You can camp anywhere, except for the driveway.”These folks LOVE backpackers, like it’s their job. And they are REALLY good at their job. Hikers come and go all afternoon. It’s tempting to stay, but this place is just one of endless pit stops on a trail that already feels like an alternate universe. Bailey, Heather, Kett, Ben, and I hike out into the sunset and meander up five more miles of switchbacks.