Roosevelt Lake is in view as I start a steep descent off the Four Peaks.

There’s a sound of a large diesel truck, but no road. Maybe a plane?
Damn

Oh, it’s the dam. The Roosevelt Dam. There’s a bridge that crosses the waterway, the damn, and presumably beyond that, the marina. I read that there’s a bar.

It’s a Friday night, the bar has to be open, right?

Right?

It becomes very clear on this steep decline that I should have gone a size higher in my shoes. I can feel the shoe consistently rubbing against my inner left big toe.

Normally, I don’t get blisters. I don’t really have any feet problems at all, except for the continual renewing of soreness of the bottom padding of my feet.

I suspect, however, this is going to be a blister. My next pair of shoes will be a full size larger than my normal shoe size, not just a half size. I’ve got about 100 miles before my current shoes will need to be replaced.

The sun is close to being down, but I will be off the mountain before sunset. This is the best possible situation. I can find somewhere to dry my quilt; maybe the bar.

Getting to the road feels great. It’s like I’m already dry. It’s about a 3 mile walk to the marina, so I try to hitch. There’s not many cars, and the ones that do pass have no interest in picking me up.

Night hiking on a road is no problem. I’m so happy to be out of the mountain that this doesn’t phase me at all.

I put my thumb out in the darkness anyway.

I picture Fred passing by, saying, “Let’s pick this fella up”, and Ethel screaming, “No, I don’t want to die! He’ll kill us!”

Maybe.

I see the marina, but it’s not clear how to get there. Lots of lights, though.

The visitor center is just up the way; they have water and WiFi and a ranger station. Maybe there will be life there.

No such luck.

It’s all shut down and closed. Bathrooms are also closed.

But the WiFi is working, and the water is accessible.

I’m very thankful that it’s quite warm. It’s not toasty, but warm enough that I don’t need my down jacket, and barely need anything more than my nylon shirt.

I eat some dinner and plug in my electronics to an exposed wall socket. It’s dark, and there are no people anywhere, but being within infrastructure feels good.

There is a trailer park nearby. Christmas lights are flashing. Maybe employees of the marina live there.

I’m about 40 minutes drive from the closest “real” town. There’s no Uber or Lyft, as the population of that town is around 8000.

I walk around and eventually find the walking bridge to the marina.

It’s a ghost town.

The bar is an exposed patio that closed at 3.

But there is a bathroom. It’s kind of awful, and small, but it is heated, just barely.

I can set up shop here.

I hang my quilt and down jacket and socks on the tiny stalls, and I lay out my sleeping pad halfway onto the floor to use as a sit pad.

I prop up my feet on the stall that’s only 3 feet from the wall.

It will take a while for everything to dry.
But there’s no one here. Anywhere. I guess this is it for the night.

A fellow thru-hiker sends me a message, and I tell her where I’m at. She’s about 200 miles ahead of me.

She tells me of a trail angel that helped her out in the area.

I feel strange about contacting him. I *can* stay in this bathroom all night.
It’s not ideal, but I’m not in danger. I probably won’t sleep though.

She encourages me to contact him, so I do.

I tell him where I’m at, and ask him if he’s available to take me to that closest town. It seems like a huge imposition.

No response.

Ok.

An hour later, he responds, and calls me.
He can come pick me up, and he has an extra room, but his college daughter is having a party, and there might be noise.

*cough*

This man, whom I’ve never met, is going to drive 40 minutes to pick me up, put me up for the night, and drive me back to the trail tomorrow morning.

I am in awe of the trail angel community.
I certainly didn’t ask or presume that kind of treatment. But I’m not going to turn it down.

He picks me up in a massive white truck.

I guess trucks aren’t so bad.

We talk. We get along well.

He gives me turkey, and lets me stay in the extra room, while all my gear lays out in the heated air.

His dog won’t stop barking at me. Maybe I’m dangerous.

The party consists of a TV and several people sleeping on the couch. It’s a rage.

He leans over to whisper to one of the people at the party who is making himself a sandwich in the kitchen.

"No offense, but this party is lame. You guys need lessons."

The part attendee smiles and gasps, “Everyone went to sleep! I don’t understand either”.

I hope his sandwich redeems the night.

There’s some extra blankets in my room. This is amazing.

I plug in all my devices, curl underneath the blankets, and fall fast asleep.