Town days can be highly stressful — endless chores that must be attended to, calories to be consumed, cleaning to be done. Kennedy Meadows is not a town. It is a place with a year-round residence of 20 people, despite the population sign reading “200.”
As it isn’t a town, there isn’t too much to do. I woke up early this morning, with a hope for pancakes in my heart. I joined a gaggle of other dirtballs (although I feel quite clean in my new shirt and hat) in the parking lot of the Kennedy Meadows General Store, behind which we slept last night. I talked with one, named Andy (who is flirting with the possible trail name Too Cool), about philosophy and history and the disappointment of where they collide. It was a lovely way to start the day.
We had all sat there as the world heated up around us for two hours. No truck came to drive us to pancakes. Eventually the general store’s owner called and found the restaurant where the pancakes reside was mysteriously closed for the day.
The disappointment was hard to get over.
I went into the store to buy a pint of ice cream for breakfast, and found it was my turn for laundry. What joy!
As laundry was churning away in the blackest of water, I ate my pint and played rummy with Rainbow Dash. I was whiling away the hours until Ant arrived.
The hours passed as some of my fellow hikers got drunker and drunker, showing off the stick and poke tattoos they had given themselves the night before (hepatitis, anyone?), and commandeering four wheelers.
It was finally Ant’s hour of arrival. An hour after that, I asked the store’s owner about the bus.
“Oh no!” He exclaimed. “No public transport comes here. It stops 26 miles down this mountain,” pointing the way.
I worried away until a girl piped up, “I can take you. I have a car.”
The owner replied, “I must have raised a nice daughter,” with a proud, goofy little smile on his face.
Dash and I hopped into the lovely, fast car with the sweet girl and her childhood friend, off down the mountain. The road was a great big sweeping thing, showing us the magnitude of the mountain we were on, and the stunning beauty of the vast, flat desert below. We had walked it all. We had walked right up into the sky.
We found Ant at a picnic table in a lonely Shell station in the middle of nowhere. After hugs and huge grins, we all got back into the car for a night of planning.
What to do about these feet?