Raindrops On Roses

It was hard. It was cold. It was wet. I was tired. I was grumpy. I was wet.

I needed this day to be over. Nothing was particularly horrible, I was just off. We are allowed these struggles, from time to time, especially with all the good moments I've acquired. I remember the second I saw her in the driveway... She smiled and waved me down to the lodge. "Go take a shower and put your clothes in the wash. We had a wedding last night, so help yourselves to some leftovers, too. Dinner is on at our house in an hour... No, this isn't the B&B from your map, we don't charge a thing for you trampers."


Sally and John own a giant outdoor wilderness education center right on trail and have been taking care of the TA hikers from the beginning. I can't describe it. I don't know what to say. When your miserable day ends up to be the best. There were 10 of us at the dinner table, each given an ice cold beer to wash down the mint risotto and meaty cheesy pasta dream. They were experts on the Tararua Mountain range, too, and helped us all plan the next tough section. Thank you, Sally and John, from the top of my heart.


I don't want to write too much here, because part of the magic is being completely surprised by what is in store. The Wild Bird Cache blew my mind. People told me that my faith in humanity would be restored by this hike, and I can fully confirm that they were correct. Strangers, complete strangers, have gone out of their way to support us hikers, often times without even making an appearance. Support is too insignificant a word, but it will have to do. Thank you Randy, Cathy and Bandit, not just for your generosity, but also for teaching us how to be outstanding humans.


And Thy Name Shall Be....

We were unsuccessful hitching into the Dinsmore's Hiker Haven after our first 27 mile day and had to get creative with a truck bed sleeping arrangement. I was too tired, cold and cranky to eat that night, and had the worst night of sleep, worrying about sweet nothings. Hitching in the morning was surprisingly difficult, too. I managed to score two cold beers, a few smokes (gross), and some peanut butter Oreos before our new friend Mike offered a ride. He dropped us off at the Der Baring Store, where none other than the Dinsmore's were munching away on their Sunday breakfast. After a warm hello and smile of relief, the first thing out of my mouth was "is there anyway I can get a Bloody Mary in here?" Meanwhile, my legs were so gashed, scraped and cut up from falling on average 5 times a day, it sure looked like I could use one (or that someone had poured the red drink all over me). Right then and there, the Dinsmore's gave me my trail name. Here on out, I shall be called Bloody Mary, a name I love and take pride in.

Making it official... Jerry initiating my new name with a nice cold Bloody Mary. 

Making it official... Jerry initiating my new name with a nice cold Bloody Mary. 

It's incredibly difficult to understand what exactly a "trail angel" is until you get to experience it first hand. I'm deeply moved, reflecting on the generosity and love I experienced from the Dinsmore's. I feel honored to be a part of the PCT community that they've supported over the years. A lifetime of gratitude sent your way, Andrea and Jerry! 

What is the Hiker Haven exactly? Well, there are warm beds for hikers, plenty of grass to set up camp if you prefer, a private laundry room with loner clothes right next to the shower and toilet fully stocked to help alleviate your hiking odors. Jerry summed it up as a spot in the mountains for resting, but it was a lot more than that to me... It was a place to call home and people to call family. I love you guys! 

Speaking of great people, I forgot to shout out Rachel and Rob over at Joe's Island Music, for helping us get back on trail after taking the wrong path near Cutthroat Pass. You guys are the best!