After breakfast in Warner Springs, I started hiking late and said goodbye to my dad, who has met me at several points after seeing me off one week ago. He’s got a long drive back to Oregon, and I’ve got an even longer walk to Canada.
Today’s 19 miles were uneventful except for a crazy encounter in late afternoon. Obeying a spray-painted sign saying “trail angel 1/4 mile,” I dutifully went off-trail in search of water and camaraderie (angels are regular people who, out of the kindness of their hearts, help out long-distance hikers). Turned out the angel wasn’t home, but three house-sitters offered to cook a steak dinner anyway, so I hung out with another hiker while the meat simmered. Suddenly two of the house-sitters burst into the kitchen, one armed with a screwdriver and the other with a knife, swearing at each other at the top of their lungs. Before any of the rest of us could stop them, they ran outside, where one proceeded to beat the daylights out of the other with a baseball bat. A hiker volunteered to drive the guy to the hospital, and I walked back to the trail, turned north, and hiked long after dark, glad to leave the whole mess in the dust.