6/30/18 – Bikers and Hikers

Day 10

Miles: 1284.29 to 1,265.40

We are up at 5:15 a.m., at 5:30 Brenda Braaten brings watermelon and muffins for breakfast. We eat and since we still have enough time left before our arranged ride to trail at 6:00, we sweep and vacuum.

The uphill that awaits us starts off the bat. At the lower portion there is lots of poison oak to be careful about. It disappears about half way up. That’s where the switchback steepen but still this 4,000 foot climb is not bad at all.

Short break at the top and then we hike 3 more miles to reunite with Swayed at Clear Spring. This is time to start strategizing about our destination. This is also time we realize that there is some water and some of camping ahead, just not together or even close to each other. Dave uses that as an excuse to take the Buck Lake Alternate where we could get a hotel room and food at restaurant. Swayed is for that option as well. We make a fast ascent of 900 feet to get to the top of the hill where we have cell signal and we make a quick call to make sure room is available at the lodge. With room booked, we put our legs in gear. We have 10 more miles to hike to get there.

Most of these miles are downhill. Gravity helps. We reach the road leading to the lodge at 4:08 p.m. We were flying. Two cars go down the road. Thirds stops and offers us a ride to the lodge. We have a nice chat with Jeremia, the driver who works at the Buck Lake Resort.

Our rooms is not quite ready. Lou, the owner offers us free beer while we wait. The bar is decorated by one dollar bills, every one of them has a name on it of the person who gave it to Lou, some also have a year or another message. Considering the amount of bills hanging on the wall, Lou made quite a few connections over the years.

The Lodge is across the road and up a small hill. Group of people sit in front, we stop to exchange few words with them. They are bikers out for the weekend and they joke they are so lazy that when they needed something from the store where we just come from, instead taking the shortcut, they actually rode their bikes.

After cleaning up, we are on our way to the restaurant for some ribs. Lou mentioned he makes them every day and his ribs are the best around. After the dinner the three of us agree they were not the best ribs at all, they were quite overdone actually but at least the portion was satisfying.

The ribs bring us back in the conversation with the bikers. Their experience was worse than ours. Their ribs were not only over cooked but also burned. From ribs, the conversation turns to smog in London, movies, star filled sky, and many other topics to cover the next 2 hours or so. We started the day climbing out of Belden and now here we are, enjoying laughs with the crowd we would least expect to be with tonight. You never know where the adventure takes you. And that’s the beauty of it.