Oh boy, what a day.
Before hitting the trail, Tom and I went to the post office so I could send myself some food for upcoming sections. After paying, we got in the car and hit the road. In the car, I ordered a new sheet of Tyvek because I want to make a new (lighter) rain tarp for my hammock.
Once we got to the trailhead, Tom walked me around briefly and educated me on the various trees -- he used to work for the Forest Service, so he has a ton of fascinating wisdom to share, and I was happy to absorb as much as I could before I head for Lassen National Park.
After hiking 15 miles through forests, I arrived at Lassen and decided to stay at the campground and split a site with some other hikers.
Since it was $16/site and there were three of us, I reached in my pocket to get $5 and found ... nothing. Where my wallet has been for more than half of the trail, I found some lint.
Of course, the campground is in a valley without cell service for like 10 miles, so I ran over to the nearby Drakesbad Guest Ranch and begged the use of their landline and called Tom. I had two theories:
I got him on the phone and he went and checked his truck and found ... nothing. Eff. Looks like I'm hiking back to the trailhead tomorrow! Ugh, off to bed I go.
I fell asleep thinking through the logistics of how I'm going to get new credit cards, a new ID, cash, etc before I hit the next town, let alone Canada.
Then I'm startled awake by someone saying "Evan!" This caught me totally off-guard because not only was I asleep, but basically no one out here knows my real name. And those that do are like 200 miles behind me. And no one calls me Evan out here, anyway.
I respond "yes?" and poke my head out of my hammock to be blinded by a headlamp, and then find my wallet thrust into my lap. What? How? Who?
It turns out that Tom and Lois had driven to the trailhead late at night to see if I had dropped it there. When Lois got out of the truck, she found it tucked in a pocket of the door (remember when I ordered that Tyvek?) that Tom had missed during the initial search. Then, knowing I didn't have cell service, they drove to Drakesbad Guest Ranch and just wandered the nearby campground until they saw a hammock and guessed it was me. At 10:30pm.
Tom and Lois: thank you again, from the bottom of my heart.
Everyone else: this is a longer story than I usually tell, but man was this a big one for me. Thanks for your patience. Have a picture from the other day as compensation.