Day motherfucking two. Ugh, the SECOND day! To describe the second day of our Creekside to Coast Trail or CCT we used one of the two expressions you’ve just read. My first inclination was towards the first but hey, to each their own. Zack, my awesome neighbor nicknamed, DANGER (you should read that in a shout) and I decided to embark on the CCT after careful planning and in Danger’s case, WAY TOO MUCH packing. The first day was like a 90’s kid on a slip and slide…we got from point A to point B quickly with zero injuries or setbacks (there was also a lot of inappropriate banter and conversations about burritos).
We arrived at Portola Redwoods State Park in a cloud of mosquitoes and when I say the word, cloud I mean it. We ended the day with whiskey, peanut butter and Trader Joe’s sausage. I loved Danger on this trip. You see, with Zack and I, backpacking is a serious sport and weight is everything so avoiding the foods Danger brought is a necessary evil. She graced our trip with whole avocados, TJ’s sausage, whole packs of rice crackers, coconut oil for cooking and a whole rind of cheese (good eatin’!). Zack and I had ramen noodles and Cliff bars.
Day motherfucking two. The day began without incident and we were feeling pretty confident until some bullshit circumstances slapped us on the ass and we ended up lost for two hours. Now, I can’t go into too much detail about this leg of the trip because it involved us doing things our grandpas wouldn’t be too happy about such as maybe or maybe not trespassing and getting separated from the group (as if being lost wasn’t terrifying enough).
Throughout this entire day I’m relying on the steps being counted by my Garmin watch as a gauge for when we will make it to Big Basin State Park and as we made it back to our original route I look down to my immense satisfaction and see 9.5 miles on my watch. I knew we had a 10 mile day and figured the watch might be off by a mile or so; anyways, I figured the end was near. Nope. As our group is walking down a very hot dirt road, Zack stops and says, “Man, I can’t believe it took us 6 hours to go five miles.” I’m stopped in my tracks by this comment and surprised myself with my explosive reaction. “WHAT DO YOU MEAN FIVE MILES? The WATCH says 9.5 MILES.” He then whips out a map and shows me that we have, in fact, gone only 5.something miles and there were at least 4.5 to go. Now I’m yelling at him although I sincerely did not mean to; “HOW CAN THAT BE? THERE CAN’T BE A FIVE MILE MARGIN OF ERROR ON THIS DAMN WATCH! NOOO NOOOOO!” Now, you might be thinking, “Calm down, cray cray!” but there was a little part I left out. Big Basin State Park has a general store where they sell snacks, extra equipment and the goddess of all camping treats….BEER and this store, as Zack claimed was closing at 4pm. At this point it was past three. I sat down on the side of the road as the blood flow in my head went from silent to roaring-fire-audible and I had a nuclear melt down. I threw my backpack down on the ground, glad to be rid of it for a second because the damn thing was poking me in the back (I packed it wrong), bent over and fought back Alice in Wonderland size tears. I realized, of course my behavior was childish and I kept apologizing to Zack and Danger; “I’m sorry, guys it’s just the watch….it said 9….ahhhhhh!” I’m also imagining myself beating the tar out of the random stranger who is drinking MY BEER. Nothing to do but keep going. The last 4.5-5 miles was done in near silence. I was on a mission and anger was the only thing driving me. We decided to take a short break around 1.5-2 miles away from headquarters at a so-called vista point (not super scenic in my opinion). We all plop down on the ground, pissed off, in pain and nearly defeated when this cyclist arrives and flicks the shit into the melted chocolate so-to-speak (meaning this break was our last chance at some morale boosts and he ruined it). We hear his bike bell approach our resting ground and start clearing some of our stuff out of the way for him. He comes jumping up like Richard Simmons just after his taping of Who’s Line is it Anyway and says, “Hey guys!! Great day isn’t it?” The response in my head was neither friendly or ladylike. Zack, being the southern gentleman he is, says hello back and offers a snack to the happy cyclist. This conversation was like many where the two travelers discuss where they had been, how long it took, sights they saw, etc. What this happy fucker said next turned my tired frustration into Frankenstein style rage. “Oh yeah, the whole park is so beautiful. Can you believe it only took me 30 minutes to get up here? But hey, it’s much faster on a bike, hahaha!” I had a vivid thought of throwing his bike off of this peak churning his bones to make my bread. Not really but you get the gist. “Oh it only took you 30 minutes you @#$%#2553@$$%^?!!!”
We left our vista point with my pack correctly adjusted, heads down, pace consistent. We finally arrived to headquarters via a small bridge at the edge of the parking lot. I had to wait a few minutes while Zack and Danger caught up; I felt victorious and sad at the same moment as I stared at the store that had closed hours ago. No beer, boo. I was also feeling a little annoyed because the store’s lights were on, probably for inventory or end of the day cleaning. As Zack and Danger caught up I said, “Those assholes are teasing us with the lights on.” We take a moment for a well deserved high-five and walk slowly towards headquarters. All the while I’m staring at the store and notice a rack of shirts on the deck. Wait a minute. I see the door open and someone go in! Zack and I stop, look at each other and take off running. OMG THE BEER IS OPEN! My back no longer ached and the pack was no longer heavy as I take off on a penguin style sprint to the store while Danger is behind me yelling, “DON’T FALL!” Best. Beer. Ever.