Tenting at Glen Aulin (PCT mi 948.4), walked 5.9 miles today
Took a rather unexpected nearo today. Woke up late, at 8am, was relieved to find that I hadn't unwittingly crashed anyone's site in the dark last night. Not many people around, in fact ... saw Two Hats nearby and chatted with him for a bit, then took my sweet time packing up and headed over to the Tuolumne General Store to resupply. True to their reputation, they did have a pretty thorough selection of hiker food in a very small space ... had no trouble finding food to get 75 miles up the trail.
Outside of the store there was a shady area with a few picnic tables and it was completely overrun with hikers. Hard to describe the scene except that it looks kind of the way those big groups of bums do when they take over a park or a public square in Eugene in the summertime. Everyone's way too relaxed, a little rowdy, and there is shit just everywhere ... Everybody's backpack is in some state of explosion and outdoors gear and food and trash and people cover pretty much every surface. Ended up spending about 7 hours right there hanging out and periodically popping into the store for more food. Ate 8 bananas today. Had my first microbrew in awhile. Met a lot of cool new people, including Sexy Legs (who is a guy), Other World, Hitch, Double Sprainbow for the first time in a few hundred miles, Happy Hour, Twice, the Viking. Messenger and Chozen One were also there, as was Squeaks, who I hiked with wayyy back on the very first days of the AT in April 2011. Like, she and Chevy were two of the first people I ever talked to on trail. Chevy doesn't seem to be in the picture anymore, however.
Sprainbow and I talked for a little while about what makes hiker blogs blow up with traffic all of a sudden ... She said it's as soon as something really crazy happens on your hike. For her, it was getting married to her hiking partner (have never been able to recall his trail name, probs because it pales in comparison to Double Sprainbow) on the street in Lone Pine by another hiker, 789, who had just been ordained online. For someone else she knows, it was having all their food destroyed by a bear somewhere quite far away from civilization. She also said that when hikers start linking to each other's journals, traffic increases, so for that, I will plug her blog, rikaandolislongasswalk.com. Guess I just need something radical to happen to me, or I've got to make it happen myself. I will take suggestions in the comments.
Genuinely did not feel like walking most of the day, but at 4pm sharp I could feel my energy come back all at once and I needed to leave. Left at 4:30 and walked what I think are probably the 6 prettiest miles of trail so far, along the Tuolumne River. Not jaw-dropping, stunning, disbelief-inspiring--just pretty. Sit back and go, "Ahhh" type of thing. Communing merrily with the deer and the pikas and the marmots, with that ukulele cover of Somewhere Over the Rainbow playing in the background ... that type of hiking. Got to Glen Aulin at 7:30 to find that it wasn't what I expected, it's kind of like a small semi-permanent village in the woods. Wandered way up and to the back of the backpackers' zone to a more secluded area and found Other World already here ... Was hoping for a bunch of the crowd from the store to show up, but even if they did, the Glen Aulin site is just too spread out and they'll never find us, or us them. What to do. A great day regardless.