It may be true that I camped within a half mile of a road, that I sleep at unpopular times for hikers, and that, if only a cursory look around were given, one might have missed my bright fucking orange sleeping bag. I still cannot forgive Ewok for waking me up with the gentle hippie percussion of his huge, sonorous steel drum at 7:30. There are enough night hikers for me to feel justified here. Rarely can I sleep much at all; my legs jump around with crazy electrical current most nights and I flip from side to side bemoaning the lost fat pads that used to make my hips comfortable. Having ended at 3 the night before, gotten to sleep around 5, and been awoken at 7:30, I was angry. I yelled that night hikers were trying to sleep. The drumming stopped. I felt like a bit of a prick.
Walked down the trail in a grumpy mood, worried about water, hoping the cache had been magically stocked. A mile from the road, I saw Far Out ahead of me talking to a couple of day hikers and holding...a beer! I strode down and was introduced to 3 hikers from last year who had picked a hot Saturday to perform trail magic. They handed me a cold Budweiser from a backpack and instructed us to take the trail to the parking area and find the little supplemental cache of water and treats that they'd brought. There were beers and cookies, grapes and sodas and there was a 5 gallon jug of water. Across the road, we could see that the main cache hadn't been stocked yet, so we took a small amount of water and sat under a big pinion pine drinking all the carbonated things available. A few more hikers showed up doing the same thing. Most of them had had to walk the 3 mile alternate to get more water after the first dry cache.
An hour later, a car pulled up. When the dust cleared, I saw that it was filled with water jugs and gatorade and Starbucks coffee drinks. Magnanimously, I went down to help. And gatorade is really hard to pass up. Strangely, these were also just random trail magic suppliers. They offloaded much of their burden and explained that they were helping out because of reports that the cache was empty. During their explanation, a third vehicle pulled in. The actual cache folks. At the same time, Windsong and Pinecone appeared with a crazy story.
As we all helped pull down the empty jugs and fill them, the girls explained what had brought them in behind us. They had counted on the Kelso Valley cache, but, seeing it empty, had pushed on, hoping that this cache had water. This had happened the previous day, however, when both caches had been dry. Arriving at this cache with little more than a liter between them, they'd acquired another liter from a friend and backtracked a total of 14 miles to the alternate route spring. What a shitty detour. And now, the cache was triple stocked and the couple who run it were offering us all sandwiches and powerade We feasted and drank. Our moods improved. Eventually, we all scooted up the mountain in the evening, drunk on liquids.
What a great day.