I should mention that Jen has two modes of operation. Total Walk Star (thanks Whitney!), or slouch potato. Whilst in Slouch mode, she’s addicted to Rue Pauls’ drag race, as well as many other less entertaining reality (cough cough) shows, such as vindictive trophy wives with nothing better to do than back-stab people that are, from most perspectives, indiscernible from themselves. Ya know, I’m all about the bitter and the hate, but I really can’t get into the self-loathing misplaced hatred thing. Maybe because I’m part Jewish.
In her finger clicking travels, she has found this slogan/meme/catch phrase, that until five minutes ago, I didn’t know was from Bianca Del Rio, one of Rue’s amazing “girls.” Not today, Satan, NOT today. Today was Satans’ day. The PCT was against Jen, and Jen gave in to despair. That’s the hard thing about challenging yourself every day, somedays you lose.
If you don’t have a total melt down every 150 +- miles then you’re not really doing it right. Life, and hiking the PCT, is allot like Jiu Jitsu, and since I haven’t been able to train up here in Idyllwild, that’s all the BJJ you’re getting in this episode. Except it’s me, so I’ll fit it in somewhere.
Jen has a toxic relationship with her new boots. She loves them, and what’s not to love? They’re full leather, classic in a Sinatra-might-hit-you sort of old-school way, and solid, so that there is that support that a lighter shoe won’t give you. Sure, the lighter school is light and fast and pretty, and usually won’t hurt you, but they’re also sort of like a metro-sexual (yes, I know that was at least ten, probably twenty years ago, shit, this isn’t a hip blog) way. So, she, an uptown girl, fell in for a downtown boot, and he’s not good for her.
Today, things got ugly, and she had to call me, not the cops, ‘cuz I’m discreet. Aside from blogging about it. For the record, I did NOT rescue her. I didn’t carry her, cut down her miles, call in a chopper, nothing. I did what any metro-sexual would do, since we are largely physically unable to actually render aid. I was there for her. I held her hand, let her cry, and then she walked anyway. In Jiu Jitsu scoring, this was no tap, Satan wasn’t even up on points, he got an advantage today, but like the pussy he is, he couldn’t finish. Sorry, this wasn’t the only BJJ reference in this episode. You have met me, most of you, so you know.
The blisters got the best of her today, and she ended up putting those Ray Liotta in Something Wild boots in her back, and going lesbo. By that I mean she wore her birkenstocks. Don’t call me a hater, I drive a Subaru. I’m an ally.
The plan was to hike from 140 where I dropped her among the desert flowers, and pick her up again at 166, where a 2013 fire forced a reroute. This is the PCT, especially in our current and future weather pattern. Wild fires frequently derail or detour hikers, and in the big scheme of things, many hikers detour many miles. Jen is kind of a purist when it comes to things shes’ obsessed about (remember, only one “N” when shorting her name, or you’ll get cut like a bitch), so she wants to hike every mile she can.
Many hikers were out at mile 15o, where the Paradise Cafe, serves burgers and pie, and an obscene looking brownie thing, which I watched this 150 lb Scottish guy eat. Normally, watching the Scots eat is not encouraged, but I couldn’t turn away. This was not like watching a man raised on Haggis work his way through a sheeps head, this was pure poetry. Jen ate two pieces of pie, ala mode, btw. Impressive, but not giant brownie thing impressive. They rejoin around 178, Taqhuiz Peak, or 180, Saddle Junction, after the closure. Jen wasn’t having it. Mile 166 followed by a run down a bunch of gnarly switchbacks as acceptable, just barely. Until the blisters started slapping her around.
She decided to come out at mile 163, cutting off an entire 3 miles out of 2640 or so, and come out at Cedar Spring, where I would drive in and grab her up, and then redeposit her after a night at Taqhuiz Peak. Total miles would be the same, actually, as if she hadn’t detoured, they’d just be slightly different. This didn’t sit well with her, but the trail is closed, and no longer the PCT at that point. She would have made a good Catholic.
This is where the wheels kind of came off. I rode the bike up the canyon (an immense Honda dirt bike purchased just for this type of opportunity), and started hiking up the trail to meet her. I hiked and hiked, and having gone nearly as much as Jen does before coffee, I started to worry. No cell service, so I re-checked the text messages, looked at the map, and started regretting not bringing water.
Soon enough I get a message from Jen: “I’m at the intersection, heading down.” By now I was well past where I thought I’d meet her, but she’s hiking in Birkenstocks, having a shitty day, and not her usual motoring self. I keep hiking, and an hour later, I’m not sure that things aren’t going the wrong way. I get Jen to send me her location, as I’m now high enough in the Canyon to get cell service. Not good. She’s a mile off the PCT, heading towards Palm Springs, the nearest civilization, if you call Palm Springs that. Why do people go there? I don’t get it. It’s like somebody decided that Las Vegas had too much culture, too few laws, and not enough heat. Like an inverse Chicago, you take the shitty out of a place like New York and concentrate it into a new, hellish world. WTF, it’s not like L.A. or San Diego are freezing or something and you need a warm place to get to……
Now she’s got to turn around, and hike up a mile of rough trail, with huge blisters, and these miles don’t even fucking count. Crap. I hustle up the best I can, hit the PCT, then go over to the wrong side, looking for Jen. It takes a while I left at 1, thinking I’d see her and her tortured feet at 1:30. It’s now 2:30. I find her. Not good. The PCT and Satan have won this round, and she’s crying, and out of water, and wearing cheap plastic sandals.
Of course we hike out, and we make it over to the right side, and the walk is really kind of pretty, and the number one insect on this section is ladybugs, so I know it’s going to be okay. We find water, although we weren’t too low, and climb onto my big bad-ass motorbike, and say hello to the boys, and get a steak dinner. All is right in the world, and Jen is going to take a couple of days in camp to let her feet heal, and once, again, Satan is defeated, and Jen will continue walking the walk, while I talk the talk.