Our trail angel’s name is Theresa, and Tumbler told me before I headed downhill that she has left some kind of goodie bag where she will pick us up later. He adamantly says that she’s picking us up here, at this mile, where the water fountain is. I look around to no avail. Also, when I look at my maps, it says that a mile away there is a gate and through traffic is not allowed to go past it. How is Theresa meeting us here? It doesn’t make sense.
Savvy shows up about an hour later and we commiserate over the long hike down and the surprising heat. I tell him that I think we’re at the wrong mile for pick up. He checks out the water fountain. It says that people should “treat it the same way you would treat any other water on the PCT.” If it needs to be treated, why did they make it a water fountain, and not a faucet? Strange. Savvy wants to hang out and treat some water, and I start to pack up so I can look a mile down the road. When he sees me packing up, he decides he wants to go, too.
It’s a road walk to the gate, so the heat is reflecting back up into our faces. After about five minutes, I second guess myself. What if I’m wrong and I’m adding a mile of pavement walking for no reason? What if TnT don’t realize we’re a mile down? Maybe I should wait for them. I tell Savvy my worries. He responds by repeating back to me all the reasons I had originally given to move forward. We keep walking, and he continues to just say the same things over and over again, and he’s starting to sound a little condescending to me. Like he’s talking down to me. “It was my idea to go down there in the first place, you know,” I remind him. “I know but…” and then he explains yet again why it’s okay to go a mile further. I’m starting to get frustrated. I haven’t been arguing with him about going forward, and we’re still walking forward, so why is he lecturing me about going forward? Maybe the heat is getting to him?
All of a sudden, Savvy starts laughing. It is a knowing, arrogant laugh. “What?” I snap, “What is so funny?”
“When is your birthday?”
“February, why?” I’m losing my patience.
“Ah-HA, a Pisces!” he exclaims.
“No, I’m an Aquarius.”
“Well, yeah……but,” he draws out the ‘Well, yeah’. Is this guy about to tell me I’m wrong about my own birth date? “You’re right on the edge. You’re basically a Pisces.”
What. The. Fuck. “NO, I was born on the FOURTH of February. Right in the MIDDLE of the Aquarius sign. A TRUE Aquarius.” I’m pissed that I’ve somehow been forced into an argument about something I care nothing about: astrological signs.
“You are just like my ex-wife. She’s a Pisces. She couldn’t make a decision about anything. If she wanted new towels for the bathroom, she would buy a towel of every color and bring it home, rather than make a decision in the store.” Savvy continues on, but I stop listening.
I also stop talking. I don’t trust myself to say anything that’s not horribly mean. So I say nothing. Savvy has crossed the line. Compare me to his ex-wife? How dare he. He knows me zero percent. I don’t need to be talked down to, lectured, laughed at, and then compared to someone who broke his heart. Way too intimate, in my book.
We get to the gate, Savvy finds the small bag that Theresa left. Inside are chips and water. (Thank you Theresa!) We find a little shade. I know I need to get away from Savvy. It’s only 1 p.m. We have three hours. I tell him I’m gonna find a place to lay down, and he deigns to tell me where to lay! ” No, I’m gonna lay over here. I like it better over here.” Once I finally have some distance between us, I start to relax, and I doze on and off until TnT make it to us.
I’m SO happy to see them! But I’m not leaving my little groundsheet oasis. I can’t participate in group conversation at this point. I just want Theresa to get here so we can leave.
She shows up promptly at four. We all cram into her Honda, relieved to be heading to her house for a Spaghetti dinner. She stops at a gas station for Tumbler to buy his ritual 12 pack of Bud Light. In the car, Texas announces that she doesn’t see what’s so great about In-N-Out burgers. Theresa and I defend the honor of California’s sweetheart burger. Texas shrugs. “It’s no Whatta Burger,” she says. Sniff.
We get to Theresa’s apartment. She lives here with her sons, and works at the local hospital as a Surgical Technician. We apologize for our smelliness, and she says, “Oh, it’s nothing compared to what I was working with today. This person’s foot….well, I’ll spare you the details; let’s just say that I had to deal with some ‘Stink Foot’ today.” We all cringe and groan and say “Ew”. Theresa is super casual and laid back; she has a great sense of humor, ready to laugh at all our jokes and stories. And her Spaghetti hits the spot. I enjoy a gigantic plateful.
After dinner, Theresa gives us all a ride to Big Bear Lake. I thought Chris was pretty bad on those mountain roads; Theresa is Queen Scary Mountain Driver. I hold on to dear life as she shoots around curves and spills into the other lane, seemingly blind to the oncoming traffic. I can see Tumbler in the front seat, his hand gripping the door handle. I start to feel car sick, and spend the next 20 minutes focusing on not vomiting half digested Spaghetti all over her back seat.
Finally in Big Bear, there’s some hotel confusion. Savvy was going to stay at the hostel, but it’s closed for a private party. Theresa drives to my hotel next, which we have a hard time finding, because it has a different name than what was given on Expedia. I jump out of the car, and thank Theresa profusely, telling her to look me up any time she is in Sacramento. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Savvy on the phone. There’s no way he’s gonna stay here, I think. He’s on a budget and this place is overpriced. I can’t get to my trekking poles from under all the gear in the trunk, so I ask Texas to hold on to them for me, then run inside before Savvy can get to me.
I check in, head to my room, sigh in relief. A bed! A shower! Laundry! Then I hear a ding from my phone:
Hey! I’m in room 307. I have your trekking poles! When should we meet up?
Savvy has followed me to my hotel.
(Thank you, Theresa! You were so awesome to come pick us up and drive so far to get us to where we needed to go. And your dinner was great, too. I appreciate it.)