HIKER BOX DIARIES EPISODE 3: The Day I Arrived In The Land Of 1,000 Tiny, White Penises
Days are starting to pile up out here. One day indiscernible from another. Wake up, pack my dew soaked tent into my pack. Then try to force some water that I don’t want to drink into my body. Jam a couple of bagels into my pocket. Visions of my nine year old daughter and the 2,300 miles that lie between us always drag on my heart. I try mightily to dismiss them, they make the miles more painful than the blistered feet and sore knees. I walk all day. Uphill. Or downhill. I stare at the flowers and the ridge line. I study the ground for snakes, and often get spooked by tiny lizards and ground squirrels. I listen to music, trying to distract from the monotony. Get to camp. Cook the same dinner as night before. Tend to my blisters. Go to sleep with throbbing feet.
Tuesday was the first time the routine had any significant change. I woke at 6am and hiked furiously, deep into a canyon, across a couple of bridges, intending to camp at a place called Deep Creek Hot Springs. It was hot. I knew from the guide that there was a beach and some camping nearby. It sounded like a nice place.
As I came down the trail the hot springs came into view. Several figures came into my line of sight but were initially vague. A few tents littered the beach area and I could hear music playing. As I got closer to the beach area it hit me like a absolute punch in the face. These people were nude. Not everyone. There were hikers there that were clothed. And people would be a misstatement. Men. Lots of naked men. They came from wherever, with coolers of beer, terrible rap music of recent vintage and big heavy tents. There were penises everywhere. Not interesting ones either. No culturally diverse collection here. Two dozen tiny, white penises. (I had to look up the plural form of penis. I thought it was peni, or used some elaborate apostrophe.)
I took a seat and stared into the pools of steaming water, contemplating my next move. The rap music made the process trying. A guy three feet from where I sat, took a big hit off his marijuana pipe and repeated the lyrics of the inane music blaring from the speaker. I desperately wanted to console him and let him know that rap music as a legitimate art form died ten or fifteen years ago. I decided it would be best not to. The music seemed to make the dicks multiply. Several more men emerged from the water and paraded their boyhood a few feet from me as they returned to their spot on the beach. They were followed by a cute girl, anywhere from 16-18 years old. She was the lone naked female around. Her apparent age and flawless form drew stares from others but made me simply uncomfortable. I felt creepier in her presence than I was surrounded by a couple dozen shrunken, white penises.
I guzzled the last ounces of water, choked down some more Fritos and strapped my pack to my back and headed up the trail. It was a great place for some. Just not me. I thought of my children and my wife. I’ve got promises to keep and nine miles before I sleep.
I found a small campsite on the side of the trail a couple of miles beyond the Mojave River Dam. I cooked the same old dinner. I listened to the birds singing before the sun went down. It never really gets dark out here. I didn’t expect that. The moon and the stars light up the sky much more than it does at home. I lanced a blister and fell into my sleeping bag. Another day in the books.
****I’m currently at Cajon Pass at mile 342, doing fine after 15 days on trail.
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Well that sounds interesting. I hope I don’t run into that when I they hike with my 11 year old daughter. Not ready for that awkward conversation.