This is the question we have been asking ourselves. Yesterday, as the temperatures continued to rise, we rounded a bend to find Michael and Ted sequestered under a tree. As we approached Michael called out to us, asking if we had any rope. Next to him was a bear canister. “Wait, have you been hiking with a bear canister?” “No, some dick named Dallas left it here.” Sure enough, inside the canister, along with mashed potatoes and a GIANT collapsable trowel, was a note from Dallas: Had to drop some weight. #Enjoy -Dallas. We all groaned. As if we were going to enjoy carrying out the extra ten pounds. Michael and Ted, having found the ditched gear, offered to carry the ditched gear and we promised to relieve them of it the next day for the hike to Lake Morena.
Luckily for us, while we were camped at mile 8.81, a truck with some boarder patrol agents drove by on the jeep road and agreed to take the bear canister off of our hands. Unluckily for Dallas he had already become the butt of every joke, the reason behind every mishap, the trail dick.
Today, at the beginning of our hike we passed a father/son pair packing up their campsite who offered us a machete that they had found on trail. And you won’t guess what they found with it, a note from Dallas, gladly gifting it to whomever was lucky enough to find it. Then after descending down into a valley before our only climb we discovered more damning evidence. In a very shady campsite where a couple empty two liter pop bottles and a crushed looking can of tuna fish. One one of the bottles was another note: Thank you to whoever left this water here, it saved my life -Dallas. We grumbled something about poking Dallas’ eyes out with a trekking pole if we ever met him as we crushed down the trash and stuffed it in our side pockets. Really Dallas?
Now we are at Lake Morena, which is pretty incredible. There is a “hiker area” which has tons of trees for shade and large open areas perfect for drying every piece of gear we own. Because, oh yeah, when we woke up this morning everything was soaking wet. The inside of the tent looked like the underside of a particularly thunderous cloud, just waiting for a small gust of wind to come along so it could rain down droplets onto us. Our sleeping bag had beaded condensation coating the outside. Our packs were covered in dew. Kyle and I were feeling discouraged until we got out of our tents and someone said, “Is everyone elses’ stuff soaking wet as well?” Isn’t it funny how a shared experience makes you feel so much better? We all breathed a sigh of relief and chuckled at how much it sucked that everything was wet. Now, in the hot sun of Lake Morena everything has dried, our sleeping bag looks like five hundred bucks again, and we are resting in the shade of a cool gazebo.
Also, they have showers. Also, at the ranger station they had a rattle snake in a tank on display and clinging to the mesh ceiling of the cage was a white mouse. Another one had burried itself in the shavings. The ranger told us the mice had been in there for five days. We implored him to let the mice out since it was clear they had survived a mini hunger games. I don’t have much hope for their lives.
P.S. So, we discovered last night that I forgot to pack us breakfast. Oops. I just want to publically thank Kyle for not flipping his shit when he found out. I think it helped that I told him about it after dinner, so he heard about it on a full stomach. But really, he is amazing, and I would have probably castrated him if he had made the same mistake so I am lucky to have him.
P.P.S. Last night we met Dallas. No surprise there, considering he was leaving dated notes all over the place. We were all hanging out in the gazebo when a nice young man came over to wash out his socks. We chatted a bit before I asked him his name. “Dan. But you can call me Dallas, that’s where I’m from.” You could have cut the silent tension in the gazebo with a knife. All of us were looking at anything but eachother. For a whole day now we had been damning this exact human being and describing all the things we would say to him if we ever met him. Now here he was. My heart was beating out of my chest but I couldn’t chicken out so I started the conversation. It ended up being a good talk, hopefully Dallas felt the same. As the story usually goes Dallas just lacked the knowledge of LNT that every hiker should start with. I think he legitimately thought that someone was going to be overjoyed to find a bear canister full of food on trail, it was an expensive piece of gear after all. After we drilled a little LNT into him he seemed to realize his mistake. So I guess I can’t be mad at Dallas anymore. Dallas, I am sorry for calling you a dick.