The PCT is a strange and wonderful place, but for the past 10 days I have been somewhere else having quite a different kind of adventure.
After the brutal descent of San Jacinto I was not in a good way. Plantar fascitis is rude, and left me with no choice but to begin a bus bourn odyssey to the small mountain town of Wrightwood.
When we planned my route things seemed relatively simple. The Google machine estimated it would take me 10 hours, but Greyhound doesn’t care what Google thinks. I would like to say that things started well but…no.
The Palm Springs Greyhound station is a concrete pad in the middle of the desert that is perpetually in a state of being reclaimed and excavated. I became a part of that cycle, huddled in a corner in a sandstorm slowly being reclaimed by the desert and then rising and shaking off all the accumulation. I became one with the desert for a solid 3.5 hours, which was 90 minutes longer than I was supposed to be there.
Eventually my bus arrived and after about 20 minutes, pulled into a bus station and told everyone it was the last stop. I was confused and I soon learned I was in San Bernardino. Turns out, my ride had a four hour layover in what could perhaps be described as purgatory.
Greyhound, as a shuttle for the damned, is truly the opposite of prompt and after spending two additional hours waiting for my chariot (while discussing German trains and their promptness with some travelers who were also stuck) the hulking machine finally pulled up. My timeline was destroyed and the busses to my small mountain town were no longer running so I was forced to make a new plan.
If the San Bernardino bus station was purgatory then I can only describe where I ended up as motel hell. I will not name names or places but I will say somewhere halfway between Palm Springs and Wrightwood there lives the worst motel I have ever had no choice but to stay in.
The walls were covered with unpainted plaster patches and the furniture looked like thrift store projects that were never tackled. The air felt dirty and I was terrified of the bed. I considered sleeping on the floor but it was worse than I would have imagined.
After calming my nerves and perching my belongings on the cleanest surfaces I could find, I covered myself with all the clothes I had and went to sleep listening to the lullaby of the volatile relationship of my new neighbors and thinking that I would rather hike on a bloody stump than be where I was.
The next day I started my journey onward as early as the busses would run and after a three hour layover at a mall (newsflash, teenagers are dressing in 80s hair metal fashion un-ironically) and a long journey of bus hopping through the desert I finally made it to Wrightwood at 6.30pm … Where it promptly began to hail.
Mumbling to myself about how I was in hell while shivering and finding that most every place to stay had no vacancies, I finally found a room and walked shivering down the road to my sanctuary. I was cold and alone but I was here, and tomorrow I would figure out what I was going to do.