We have made it to Frodo and Scout’s house in San Diego. Who are they and what does this place look like? Well, Frodo and Scout are two incredible trail angels who have an army of other people who drive shuttles for them and help cook amazing food and keep tons of fresh hikers in check. Scout and Frodo put hikers up for nine weeks during hiker season, which is frequently A LOT of hikers. There are around fourteen hikers here tonight. I am totally not used to being back in the trail world again and am having a hard time introducing myself as Pony Bear.
Walking into Scout and Frodo’s is like walking into an oasis. The house is a cool pool of shade with sun filtering in through blinds, there is a huge kitchen with sky lights, make-your-own-burritos set up on the counter, and the back yard. The backyard. Sigh. They have cleverly (or perhaps out of necessity) replaced their grass with turf, which is nice and scratchy on your feet. From the patio, which has ample chairs for everyone, you can see down into the ravine behind their house where other homes cling to the hills, some of them looking as though they are their own organic structures, adding on new wings and roofs whenever it suits them.
There are four large white tents lined up along the edge to the ravine and inside them are other hikers. Other hikers. It is so different to start a trail this way, surrounded by other people before we even step foot outside. We actually know people now, before we start hiking… On the AT we just got out of a car and headed down the trail, awkwardly smiling at other hikers as we went. Last night we told jokes and discussed gear and slept in at tent with six other people.
A couple of hours after we got there Simon and Steph showed up. How good is it to see people you haven’t seen in years? Let me assure you, it is good. It is good to reminisce, and fart on each other and get right into making new memories.
We walked to a store and got some water bottles. We walked home and chatted with new friends. Because we have already done one long hike we know that even if we never see these people again we will remember so much about them. We know their stories and we will tell them. Maybe we will see some of them for the rest of the trail, maybe we won’t. That is how the trail works.
Already we are trying to convince Simon and Steph that they should just stay. Tomorrow we get up at five, get packed by five thirty, and leave by six. We are gone. Off to somewhere new and unknown. I am feeling an unbelievable sense of adventure. I have a vague sense of what is ahead, I know there will be good days and I know there will be bad days, I know we will make friends and try to outrun people we don’t enjoy. I know we will see beautiful things. Adventure is afoot. Tomorrow we head into the desert.