The Magic Table

July 29, 2018

Dawn comes quickly in the summer, waking us at a ridiculously early hour. Forest Service Road 23, which would lead us to the town of Trout Lake, 17 miles away, had no cars and no phone service. Philosophically, we began walking, and were rewarded with a spectacular sunrise from behind nearby Mt Adams.

The second car to pass us on this seldom used road was going away from town, but stopped anyway. The couple were taking hiking friends to the trailhead, and assured us that they would pick us up on their way back!

They dropped us at Trout Lake Grocery, wishing us good hiking. Jay and I walked around the corner to eat breakfast at the only cafe in town, then asked at the grocery for lodging options.

The cashier kindly pointed to the wall which sported a list of five places. “I know for a fact that the first two are already full,” she told us.

I began phoning, and was delighted to make a reservation at Trout Lake Cozy Cabins.

“Check in time is 3:00 p.m.” I was told as I made the reservation. I looked at my watch. We still had six hours!

“Hmmm,” I was thinking fast. “We need to buy supplies, but after that, is there a shady place on your property where we could wait?”

“Oh sure,” the lady on the phone assented. “We’ve got tables and a hammock. And we could probably let you check in a bit early, once the cabin is cleaned.”

I grinned. She knew just what a tired hiker needed!

We bought food for the next week, then began loading our packs at a table beside the grocery. Scott and Teri, PCT hikers we had met two days ago, arrived, having hiked five miles to the road and gotten a ride from a local trail angel. We traded hellos, glad to see familiar faces. As we shouldered our packs, the cashier came out of the store.

“Did you find a place to stay?” she asked.

“Yes, thank you. We made a reservation at the cabins a mile away.” I smiled as I adjusted my hip belt.

“You’re not walking there, are you?” She looked concerned.

I paused, unsure of what to say. How else could we get to our destination?

“There’s a trail angel inside. I’ll just tell him to take you!” She turned and whisked away.

A few minutes later a man came out of the store and lowered the tailgate of his truck. What could we say? “Thank you,” seemed inadequate.

A couple minutes of pleasant conversation brought us to Trout Lake Cozy Cabins, a lovely place with gorgeous cabins nestled between shady trees and beautiful flowers.

Knowing we would have wait time, we had succumbed to temptation and bought a locally made huckleberry pie to keep us company.

A maid kindly loaned us dishes so we didn’t have to eat hiker-style, with our hands.

Just as we began eating, a man approached, carrying a quarter of a chocolate cake.

“We’re packing up to leave. We’ve had a family reunion here this weekend. I was wondering if you would like some of our birthday cake?”

Who could resist an introduction like that? We enjoyed talking to Jeff for a few minutes, telling him about our adventure, hearing of hikes he had taken in the past.

As he stood to go back to packing his car, he asked, “Look, we’ve got a whole watermelon. Could you use it?”

“Sure!” My mouth watered at the thought of one of my favorite summer foods. “We can always share it with other hikers. Let me walk back with you so you don’t have to make two trips.”

Back at his cabin, Jeff introduced me to Yvonne and Samantha. They asked more questions about our hike, while Jeff handed me the watermelon. Then he came out with a whole armful of groceries! “Maybe you could use these sandwich makings?”

A few minutes later, Jeff’s grown son came over with more food! He sat and talked with us, asking questions about our hike and telling us of his favorite outdoor adventures. Such friendly, generous people!

When he left, Jay looked at the bounty spread before us. “It’s as if we sat down at a magic table!”

So began two days of rest, with delicious food, friendly people, and a very comfortable place to stay!

8 thoughts on “The Magic Table

  1. Hey Sarah and Jay,
    I can’t wait to come to USA for the first time in my live.
    Every of your stories makes it harder to wait for following May …
    Looking forward to seeing all this huge trees, waiting this tasty berries, having this endless width scenery you describe and I am absolutely curious for the people we will meet.
    Besides I would ask two questions if I’m allowed to ask?!?
    The shorty you are wearing, while cradling the watermellone like Frances Houseman, it is cycled up with a Mosquitonet – isn’t it?
    I’m thinking about doing so since I read the Mosquito-Post. Does it work?
    Have you both a good time and a save trip furthermore.
    Mary

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  2. Dear Mary,

    Oh, you will have so much fun next May! How exciting, to be planning your own adventure while you read of my adventure!

    To answer your questions. The mosquito net “bug pants” work well. They protect my legs from ticks, which can spread Lyme disease. If I did not wear the bug pants, I would have to carry and use a great deal more insect repellent. Sometimes the trail goes through dense brush, and the bug pants protect me from ticks, spiders, and other bugs. When I am walking, the bug pants also protect me from mosquitoes. But when I stop for a rest, the mosquitoes can bite through the netting if it is next to my skin. If the mosquitoes are very numerous, I put insect repellent on the netting of the bug pants. That works well, and it is healthier than putting the repellent directly on my skin. The bug pants are also much cooler than long pants.

    To make the pants, first I ordered “bug pants” from Amazon.com. The pants come completely made of netting. But they are not comfortable to wear, and the netting rips when one sits on the ground. So I cut the legs off the bug pants and sewed them to my shorts. They are now very comfortable and much more durable.

    We wore these pants when hiking the Appalachian Trail last year, and never received one tick bite. (Ticks are a serious problem on the AT!). Many people don’t think ticks are a problem on the PCT, but they are spreading rapidly. Also, I like the bug pants for protection from mosquitoes biting the backs of my knees.

    I do think these are a good thing to have. So far we’ve only seen two other hikers with bug pants, but I think the idea might catch on.

    Good luck, and have fun planning your adventure!
    Sincerely,
    Sarah
    P.S. If you decide to make your own bug pants, I recommend buying the extra large size. You will cut off and discard the upper pants, and the legs will have lots of extra netting to provide protection.

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  3. It was so great to meet you both and we were so glad to be able to share with you. Talking with you both have me itching to get some some trail time soon ! Good travels and I look forward to reading more of your adventures.

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    1. We felt honored to be the recipients of your family reunion bounty! But especially we enjoyed getting to talk with you and your son a bit! Conversations with fellow hiking enthusiasts is a large part of what makes this hike fun! Hope you get your trail time soon!

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  4. I was with the “reunion” group you met at Cozy Cabins. Didn’t meet Jay but found you friendly and gracious. Glad we could share our excess food with you. Good luck and happiness for the remainder of this trek

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