Destination: A sandy wash on Mt Emma Road
We entered the Station Fire Detour today, which includes roughly 40 miles of road walking through the desert floor. The road asphalt in the heat of the day promised to be fiercely annoying. We were going to have our joints pounded by tread that was not soft. We were going to have our bodies baked by heat rising from the asphalt. The lack of shade was going to provide us ample opportunity to catch sweet red sunburns.
Yet, here the eight of us sit discussing our day. Everyone of us covered the same distance in some fashion, but we all had entirely different days. Here is what unfolded.
After a cold stream crossing early in the morning, we made an easy hour climb over a small saddle before dropping down to a small creek. After that, we made a serious climb up to Devils Chair, and skirted the hillside until dropping down to the Visitors Center for Devils Punchbowl. This is where the day deviated for everyone.
Setting out first, he was on a mission to catch up with Axilla, Danie, and Daredevil. He heard they were going to carry a bottle of whiskey, nursing it down to a drunken stupor while roadwalking. He never caught up with them, but he had four or five people stop him on the highway offering water for his journey. He arrived at camp, a sandy wash, midday and spent his afternoon reading a book and exploring the area.
After walking some of the road walk, he was picked up by a car. He hitched into Little Rock where he grabbed a lunch and a bottle of whiskey. He then returned to the road junction and sat in the minimal shade of a joshua tree, wearing his new hat and polished off a pint of whiskey in the heat of the day, until the rest of us (minus The Mayor) reconnected with him three miles before camp.
Sir Richard Wizard and Train:
Just before starting the roadwalk, they came across a sunday sermon by a Unitarian church at Devils Punchbowl. They sat through the sermon, listening to the preacher teach ideals through a personal account of his hiking experiences. After the sermon, they went to a sunday brunch, where they met an older lady who offered them a ride down the road (as they were now 2-3 hours behind the rest of the crew). Halfway through the hitch, the two of them saw Pat, Uncle Tom, Apricots, and Psycho, and stopped the driver to hop out and join us. They carried a bag of left-over sandwiches from the sunday sermon/brunch.
Apricots, Uncle Tom, and Psycho:
Rolling into Devils Punchbowl, Uncle Tom was told of a hidden vending machine at the visitors center. The three of us drank sweet soda, to help us power through the roadwalk. About five miles into the roadwalk (eleven into the day) Pat caught up with the three of us while we were eating lunch.
The heat of the day was on full blast, and Psycho was not interested in doing the road walk. He had convinced Uncle Tom that hitchhiking was a good idea, but Pat was busy dancing down the street, and Apricots had the will to hold the other two from hitchhiking. Thirty minutes later a car pulled over to talk to Pat who was 100 yards ahead of the other three.
From a distance, we saw lawn chairs pulled from the car. As we rounded the car, we found that the car was a traveling Trail Angel. Minutes later, we were sitting in the lawn chair, and the trail angels were serving us watermelon, chicken tacos, and soda. "Law" and "Order" provided afternoon rest on the side of the highway. While relaxing, and gathering tips on the detour, Train and Sir Richard Wizard hopped out of a car and walked up with their bag of sandwiches.
After the break, we left to continue our road walk (now six of the eight of us). Two miles down the road, a police officer pulled over to tell us a hiker was waiting for us ahead, huddled feebly under the small shade of a Joshua tree. Two miles further, the six of us met up with General Lee.
After a thirty minute break, the seven of us chose to walk into Little Rock for margaritas. The mexican restaurant we walked into didn't serve alcohol, but had killer deals on food. We ate an early dinner, and walked over to the gas station. Apricots bought new sunglasses, as hers broke five hours earlier. We also picked up some beer, wine, and whiskey and walked the final three miles to the sandy wash, our campsite.
All seven of us found The Mayor here eagerly awaiting our arrival. Now we are sitting under the star lit night, enjoying our drinks sharing all our stories. It is amazing to look back on a day that was supposed to be difficult, yet proved to be full of magic as well as different for all of us.
Tomorrow we have another twenty miles of roadwalking. Who knows what strange magic awaits.
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