We wake up in the morning to a strange sound. Is that…? It is! Rain! It makes me happy to be cozy in my tent with the putter patter all around me. There is a coffee shop nearby so I ask if anyone wants something to drink and instead we all walk in our rain jackets together. I get a London Fog (earl grey tea with vanilla and cream.) Shh. Don’t tell my body I had caffeine.
At the shop, we’re discussing how we want to handle the day – there is 6 miles of road walking to get to the beach, a short beach walk, and then several more patches of road and beach. So far, Dexter has been adamant that she wants to walk the road pieces – but this morning she says, “I think it’s obvious I’m going to start hitching in order to stay with you guys.”
“Aww,” I say. “We like you, too.”
The rain stops and our tents dry a little so we pack them up and start walking, our thumbs out. We haven’t been super successful with hitching out here – people aren’t as familiar with the trail and most don’t seem to know exactly what we’re doing. Are we travelers? Homeless? Hikers?
But we get lucky and a guy named Pete pulls his big van over, asks where we’re going and agrees to take us. He has to take his kayak out and move his fishing gear for us to fit. “Is this the adventure van?” I ask. He says yes.
Pete tells us that he’s been traveling all around, that in this are he’s been really into hang gliding. But mostly he liked to travel and get seasonal work. He tells is if we’re under 31 that Australia has migrant worker visas and we can do farm work for decent money. He did it but aged out. He wishes he could find more opportunities like that but hasn’t seen any.
He drops us off and we walk the beach. Dexter’s map shows a trail after a mile road walk, but we walk and walk and don’t see it, though Dexter thinks she saw a few old, overgrown trails. We keep walking and then take a break at a truck pullout and Dexter realizes we have 9 more miles of road walking and damn, we really just don’t have it in us. The road is windy, the shoulders not especially generous, and honestly the road just hurts our knees and feet and ankles and hips. We try for a while to hitch, but nothing. So instead we call a cab. So much for no more cabs. But! This one is only $20, and takes only 15 minutes to come get us. Now that’s more like it.
We set up at the hiker camp. There are lockers with USB ports which we are all impressed with. It’s been interesting the mix of people at these hiker/biker camps – they are primarily bikers, who group together in the same way hikers do. Normally I would want to be chatty but often it feels a little fruitless since I won’t see them again – most of the bikers are doing 50+ miles a day. I am most jealous of them on the downhill road walks. But there are also people in the camps who don’t seem to quite be hikers or bikers. Some of them wear jeans, or have big tents, or don’t seem to have a particular destination. At this camp there is a couple who don’t seem to have hiking gear but say they decided on a whim to hike 200 miles to a hot springs the man had visited when he was younger. The man goes on about how incredible this campsite in and how they’re staying for a few days because it’s so nice.
He offers to make us dinner which is nice, but we decline and go to Mexican food instead. We don’t want to, but we should do laundry, so I power walk back to camp, take a shower, get my clothes together and power walk back to the laundromat. I just want to get it over with. I spend the time writing blogs and letting the laundromat dog, who reminds me of my dog Echo and sits in front of me in order to get attention.
We get done around 8. It’s good to have clean clothes. It’s hard to figure out how long we can go because the temperatures are mild, the towns and showers are frequent, but so are normal people. How much stink is acceptable? I’m not exactly sure.