I feel like one of those old-timey waitresses when I write down orders for the cafe at the resort. It’s all in code, designed to allow us to move the line of customers quickly, and it took a bit a studying to get the whole menu down. Plenty of it makes sense, like RCS=Rock Creek Special, a grilled cheese with jack, grilled tomatoes and ortega chiles, or BBB, the Barbeque Bacon Burger. You have to be careful with things like the Classic Burger, because that’s HB, to save CB for a cheeseburger. When we talk about the pies to the kitchen, we almost always use the shortened names. I might run a ticket back and let the pie lady know that I need 2 DAs and a Boys ala with F/N (two dutch apples and a boysenberry ala mode and forks and napkins to go.)
Yesterday, I ordered 2 slices of Pecan Chocolate Chip–PCC– with whip on the side and F/N, and packed them into a cooler for the long ride into the hot Owens valley below. We were on our way to pick up a couple girls who are through hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail, and my thinking was, shouldn’t PCC be the perfect gift for someone on the PCT? 🙂
I first heard about Pinenut and Ant (their trail names) a few months ago when they interviewed our friend Ariel for their blog. They run Cycked, inspiring folks to consider both outdoor adventure and civicly minded projects, perhaps even blended into the same endeavor (like hiking the PCT to raise money for the Gold/Bold Youth Program of Seattle, as they are! )
I’ve been following their progress up the PCT, starting several months ago with their first steps just above the Mexican border. It’s been a pretty successful run, until Ant began suffering from painful plantar faciitis in the feet. After a couple weeks, and with ever worsening feet, the pair decided to split up, with Ant continuing on to Seattle, and Pinenut forging on with their friend, Rainbow Dash. Pinenut has continued to post travelogues from the trail whenever she had cell service, and I saw that they were getting close. When she said they would be at a trailhead just a bit south of us on our day off, we made plans to pick them up.
From our regular perch at 10,000 feet, it’s hard to remember that the valley below is into full-on summer, with daily temperatures above 100. The temperature climbed as we sailed down to the lowest point on our trip, but we expected a reprieve at the Onion Valley Trailhead since it sits at about 9000 feet. Instead, we started up towards Kearsarge Pass under cloudless skies and a punishing sun. We were enjoying the scenery, but the heat was really getting to me. We saw tons of PCT hikers (it’s a big year for the trail, and most folks heading north on it are in a bubble that mostly travels together) and we kept asking about the girls. No one had seen them. We stopped asking for a while, and when we were about a mile away from the pass, I tried again. “Pinenut? Yeah, you just passed her!”, laughed two lanky young men. We turned back around and flew down the trail to catch up with our quarry.
Pinenut and Rainbow Dash are veteran outdoor enthusiasts, and they carried their huge backpacks with ease. Each armed with a set of hiking poles, they gracefully sail over rocks in the trail by setting down their poles on the step below and swinging down over the obstacle. They are lean and tan, fast moving, strong women with huge laughs and infectiously easy smiles. We talked about their past adventures (biking from coast to coast for Ant, and hiking the Appalachian Trail for Rainbow Dash) and realized that we all share the same opinion about life; it’s meant to be lived now, not held off for a later date that might not arrive.
When we reached the car, I asked if they would like their pie now or later. “Oh, definitely now!”, they giggled, “We’re always hungry!” After that sweet appetizer, we loaded their gear into our car and drove to Lone Pine for dinner. The girls had recently been fantisizing about what they would most like to eat once they were off the trail and each had her wish: a veggie burger for Dash, and chicken, mashed potatoes, and real live, non-dehydrated veggies for Pinenut.
For a overnight stay, we shuttled them to our beloved Alabama Hills, where they can camp for free, and easily hitch a ride back into town. They will spend one more night in Lone Pine, at the house of a friend of a friend, and then get a ride back to the trailhead where we picked them up to continue north. They hope to make the Canadian border before autumn snow starts in the mountains of Washington.
Business at the resort is really starting to pick up as summer arrives. While the daily array of pies used to last until 4 or 5 each afternoon, we are beginning to see a big line right when we start selling at 10:30, and we are sometimes sold out by 1.
The weather has been glorious, inspiring me to get out more for walks before or after my shift. Because of all the snow the first few weeks we were here, I only recently discovered the trail right across the road from us that follows Rock Creek down a series of cascades to a beautiful pond.
We are also able to get workouts in on the equipment in the backyard. The resident cat, Kyle, particularly enjoys watching the proceedings.
And the crew continues to find entertainment wherever we can, leading to some interestingly strange scenarios that you probably wouldn’t see in a group with access to tv and internet!
****PS: If you are interested in following along with the adventures of Pinenut and Dash, or donating to the charities they are supporting, please visit their websites:
Pinenut for Gold/Bold Youth of Seattle, an outdoors program for ages 11-18 at Cycked.org.
Rainbow Dash for the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society at livinghighonlife.com