Date- October 15, 2019
Elevation- 6,414 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 5.6 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 2,275.4 miles
Weather/Temp- Clear, 60s, 70s
Injuries- Sore hip flexors/lower back
Pain level- Low
Wildlife encounters- Zero
Days without shower- 0
Days without laundry- 0
After a hearty hotel buffet, Swift dropped us off to finish the last miles into town. Jetpack actually started a mile ahead of me, because that’s just where she happened to be when Swift got her. When I was about a half mile down the highway, I passed by a roadside shooting range.
I’ve never seen anything like it before. It was just a long gravel turnout with concrete barriers forming the firing line. There was about 20 yards of open ground where you could set up targets, and then there were empty desert hills behind that area. People could just pull up and start shooting, and they did. There was a father and son shooting a scoped AR, and another man down from them who was doing some pistol work. What a sight to see on the side of the highway… as the shots rang out. I could hear the rounds popping and whizzing, as they spun off or through their targets and into the hills.
Another mile past the shooting range was a female state penitentiary. I later heard that the inmates had a penchant for flashing hikers or drivers when they were out in the “yard.” Everyone was inside when I passed by, so I wasn’t visually assaulted.
An older man pulled over in his truck and introduced himself as “Mack.” He was a local trail angel who gave us water and invited the three of us to have dinner (his treat) later that evening. We agreed and took his number.
We were all done hiking by noon and having lunch at a Mexican restaurant called El Cafecito. It was excellent. However, when I was pouring honey on my sopapillas, a dead fly came out of the nozzle and onto the bread. It looked exactly like the mosquito preserved in sap from Jurassic Park… and Jetpack had to ask me not to eat it along with my sopapillas. I humored her.
LOCAL TRAIL ANGEL
After errands and chores, we all met Mack at a joint called the “Wow Diner” for dinner. We had a great time! Mack is a surgeon from Alabama whose been living in Grants for the past several years – helping out hikers, buying them dinner, and letting them stay at his house. As it turned out, he’d read my A.T. book. Small world!
After dinner, I rode back to Mack’s place to have a couple drinks and shoot the breeze. Swift took Jetpack back to the room because she was getting up early to hike out, and wanted to go to bed early. Swift joined us after dropping her off. We hung out until almost 11 pm sipping scotch and homemade génépi from France. He even replaced my headphones with a pair he had lying around. Mack is one hell of a character and a great guy! A true southern gentleman, overflowing with that classic southern charm. If you met him on the street, you’d never guess he was a surgeon – but after a short interaction, it wouldn’t be hard to fathom. He was also familiar with where I live in Florida, so it was fun talking about the common places we both enjoyed.
Today was supposed to be a Zero day, but ended up being a Nearo day instead. I was super unproductive regarding the blog and writing. I don’t know if I’ll hike out tomorrow. This next section is going to be crazy – at least for me.
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