9/9 – Thankfully we got a hitch with the FIRST car who drove by. And we rented a bedroom in an adorable little green house in the heart of downtown Salida. It was awesome to have our own space – especially since it was just a few blocks away from everything. Myke and Naomi were the only hikers in town so after getting settled went out with them to the Fritz for scrumptious tapas. The evening was divine. Partly because of the amazing spread we feasted that was more gourmet (pears & Gorgonzola, curried mussels) than the usual hiker town fare and partly because it was just the 4 of us. Even though I hadn’t showered in about a week and was wearing my grubbing hiking clothes, I felt elegant and refined. It was more like a double date in “real life” than the surreal trail-obsessed life we often lead during thru-hikes. Ok, so I’ll admit we still talked about the trail a lot, but we also broached other subjects, like the alluring nude-in-nature photos lining the wall of Fritz.
9/10 – ZERO DAY! Yay! Our first day of zero trail miles in ages and thanks to a compact downtown we didn’t put in many town miles either. We did our chores, buying food for the next section, using the internet and also had plenty of time for fun stuff. A friendly local named Ray treated us to a home-baked breakfast at the Downtown Bakery and told us of his adventures hitch-hiking across Europe and Asia. We chatted with Tia, who owned the house we were renting. She’s an artist and art therapist who is moving to India to live in a community there. And we explored many of the art galleries and little shops in Salida. I was especially taken by Fringe, which was chalk full of amazing fabric and gifts. The colours and patterns were magnificent, many with a vintage feel. I added “start sewing” to my To Do list when I get home.