Day 24: Tuesday, May 28

At Paul's house in Wrightwood (PCT mi 369.5), a zero day

Woke up at 6:45 very uncomfortable from the heat and stuffiness of the bunkroom, decided not to try to get back to sleep, packed up and headed into town for some breakfast with the intention of hitching out afterward. When breakfast was over, my body was screaming at me, and it was something along the lines of "What the fuck are you thinking trying to hike right now?" Legs hurt, had a stuffy head and I was seriously sleep-deprived from the last two nights. Walked back to the hostel, found it thankfully mostly vacated, and was able to sleep a few more hours in a dark cool corner until about noon. Woke up a brand new man.

Replayed the morning scene where I packed up and headed into town to eat with the intention of hitching out afterward. This time, the intentions were foiled by the owner of the Yodeler, Paul, inviting me and two other hikers, Slider and HB Special, to his house for the night. He said we would stop at the grocery store along the way and cook on the grill at his place. Then Slider mentioned he was a chef in Portland. So things began to look somewhat zero-shaped. I stayed there on the deck of the Yodeler until 5, shooting the breeze with the ten or so thru-hikers who stopped by at various points during the day.

Once he was off, Paul did indeed take us to his house, and it's a very nice one. He's got the mountain view out the back and the desert view, all the way to Vegas on a clear day, out the front. I made spaghetti al limone while Slider off the cuff made the best grilled vegetables I've ever had in my life ... I don't understand how so many people I know, many of them perfectly good cooks, have made so many grilled vegetables that just pale miserably in comparison. And HB made Italian sausages wrapped in bacon, which were also excellent. The food and beer kept coming out, and we shot pool as Paul played records that he'd amassed during his years as a music industry executive. Then he showed us newspaper clippings of himself with Ronald Reagan and lots of other very famous people from his time as a California state representative. He occasionally went on long, intelligent but extremely pessimistic discourses on the nature of American politics and society in general. Finally we all went to bed at about 11:30, which is like 4 a.m for hikers. I'm on an air mattress for the night.