While we were laying around in the shade at the beginning of segment 3, somehow the subject of SPAM lunch “meat” came up. Just Clay enlightened us to the theory that SPAM stands for “spiced ham and something else”. Camo quickly rebutted with his doubt, and the Google game was on. I can’t remember what the final verdict was, but it was quite the banterous exchange and I caught myself pretty much laughing throughout the whole thing.

​Some mountain bikers, actually it was more like a thousand mountain bikers, were using the trails in segment 3, so there was a lot of traffic in the parking area. A group of three of them showed up as we were resting and pulled some folding chairs and a cooler from their car. I watched as the bikers sat in their folding chairs and cracked open a couple cold IPA’s. Man those looked good. I hollered at one of the bikers “hey I have $5 for one of those cold cans!” He smiled and apologized, saying they only brought one for each guy. He did however, offer us a couple lemon flavored sparkling waters. I was happy to take one, as i wanted something at the moment that didn’t taste like creek or spigot water.

I finished the sparkling water and crushed my can. I looked around for a trash can or dumpster at the parking area but couldn’t find one. Looks like I’m packing this one out.

I told the guys that I’m going to head down the trail ahead of them. With everything going on in my home life at the moment, I really felt as if I could use some alone time. My hiking partners have absolutely no idea what’s going on in my personal life, not even that I’m having any problems at all. It was tempting at times to kind of open up and vent my frustrations and what not, but I think it was actually kind of nice to have them not known at the same time.

I headed down the trail, dodging mountain bikers along the way. I tried putting in my ear buds and listening to music while I hiked, but every time I would put them in it seemed a biker would race past.

I saw a small doe at one point that just kind of kept walking in front of me as I hiked. We had quite the conversation about the forest, the trees and venison as table fare. We agreed on some topics, and disagreed on others. All in all we parted ways happy with the experience.

A while into the hike I came up on a guy standing off the trail. Right about the same time I said “Hey there, hiker!”, I realized that the guy was trying to pee and thought he was all alone. You could tell he was startled. I cannot remember his name, but he was wearing a blue shirt so I’ll call him Blue. We hiked together for a while and he explained to me how he ended up on the trail. He was a ski instructor from Utah, and one of the guys from his work had made mention of hiking the trail. Blue, in turn, told him he’d go with him. He explained that this whole exchange occurred during an evening where a lot of alcohol was consumed, but he committed to something and had plans of following through. He told me that his hiking partner, Short Rib, had hiked the PCT in 2014.

A mile or so later we ran into Short Rib at a little creek where he was filling up. He immediately looked familiar to me. Whether we had met on the PCT in 2014 or that he just had a familiar face I don’t know. I asked hike if he had ever met Wisdom, the French guy that gave me my trail name, in 2014 on the PCT. He said it didn’t ring a bell; that is, until I said he was the only crazy Frenchman hiking the PCT with a machete. At that point, he knew exactly who I was taking about.

I met back up with Just Clay and Camo at a water source another mile or so up the trail. We continued our hike after a quick filter. It was pretty easy hiking from that point, though my legs and feet were starting to feel a little tired. My right heel in particular, felt as if I was just walking on a big bruise.

We found a perfect spot to camp right next to a creek, with fast clean and cold water. We set up camp and started cooking our evening meals. After a day of only Lara bars and rando-snacks, a hot meal sounded awesome. Tonight’s menu for me was lentils with top ramen seasoning, and the other guys had their vintage Mac and cheese from the museum. They seemed to be happy with it. Just Clay enjoyed his mac, even though most of it he spilled on his pad and had to pour back into his pot. To bed we went, sore and tired but yet looking forward to tomorrow’s hike.

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