Tuesday, September 25
Last night I got into St George after midnight, caught a Lyft, and camped on my hard gravel pad.
This morning I wake, well sometime in the middle of the night. I toss and turn. My air mattress pops. I deflate slowly. Damn. Gotta get a new air mattress.
I get up at 6 am, before the sun and anyone else at the RV park. I use the bathroom, shower, brush my teeth. The sun rises. I pack up. Nice people. I’m a bit of a curiosity. I walk to the interstate on ramp.
Thumb out. I catch a ride with two nice women to Hurricane. They’re in town for a tattoo. They drop me off and wish me well. The next ride I catch in hurricane is CREEPY AF. At first he seemed slightly weird (isn’t everyone in Utah?) A single guy pulls over. I take a pic of his license plate and text it to Jared. Long story short, I do not get kidnapped, but I am afraid I will be. The ride gets creepier and creepier and this weirdo takes me on a back road “shortcut” including a pitstop so he can “meditate”. What? He returns without a shirt. So creepy. Lots of sexual inuendo, commenting on my body etc. Isn’t this how horror movies go? Jesus. I play it cool and keep changing the subject and saying that I’m married. Thank the lord he does not kidnap me. Instead, he drops me in Zion at a shuttle stop. I literally say “thanks for not kidnapping me”. I’m shaking at the bus stop from adrenaline and fear. I get on crowded shuttle that dumps me and all the tourists at the Zion Park entrance.
Fuck hitching. Hell no. I sit. I call a few tour companies. Luckily Kanab Tour Co can pick me up. It’s $200+ and well worth it. Shit why did I have to get the crazy creepo? Luckily I am not a statistic. Thank you Lord, thank you Orcas.
I wait for my ride at the museum. It’s going to be 3 hours but I don’t explore Zion. I wait. In my eyes everyone is a creep and I just want to hide from all their grossnesses. Ick. My emotions begin to recover.
At 2:30 Cory (a very nice man from Kanab Tour Co) picks me up and drives me to Kanab. We share trail stories and I tell him about my horror hitch. I land at the post office at 3:50 just before they close to send home my busted thermarest and a few things I’ve decided I don’t need. I call my mom.
I go to Willow Canyon outfitters plus coffee shop and get a mocha and a new sleeping pad. Isn’t there something else I needed? Can’t remember. I get a sandwich at Subway to pack out as my trail dinner. Kat from the outfitters is running late. I catch a ride with her at 5:20.
We drive to the AZT trailhead and state line campground. I recount my horror hitch to her, too, gateful I am safe and unharmed. The take-away: always text a license picture, feel ok about turning down a hitch (better the creep knows where you are on some stretch of road than getting in his car), thumb discerningly (?), splurge on the shuttle, etc.
Kat drops me at the trailhead at 6:30. I’ll just stay here in a campsite for the night. I send my inReach “safe at camp” message to Jared. Eat my squished Subway sandwich. Set up camp and check out the informational placards. So much history here.
I remember what I forgot to buy at the outfitters. Fuel! Crap! It’s been a long day. I hope my food will rehydrate via cold soaking for the next few days. I soak my breakfast oats now. 30ish miles to Jacob Lake (I think I sent fuel there…).
I crash early and plan to wake at 5. Gotta get in those miles…