The plethora of noises that came out of that creek bottom last night was out of control. Every type of critter you could imagine. Not to mention the ever present blood thirsty screams of the local maniacal cows… Such a chorus!
It was a beautiful morning with loads of condensation on our tents. We packed up and were out by 7.30. Lots of interesting basalt formations today as we followed rock creek.
After such a lumpy bed last night (every time I’d roll over I’d slide to a different part of my tent, wake up, and listen to the critters) I told Sandy all I want today is somewhere flat to sleep. Funny enough…
Later on it was hot, and we stopped often to make shade for the dogs. At one small stream we watered up right before a rancher came by in his truck. Glad we got that water before he drove through it! He stopped to chat a bit and wish us well.
We had heard rumors that there was water at the Grain Elevator at Revere, and by the time we showed up there we were just looking for a place to stop in the shade and drink said water, that was available on the east side of the outbuilding just to the west of the grain elevator.
As we approached the elevator we were greeted by a large dog (Chloe) and then quickly after, by her owner Ronnie. Ronnie was there spraying weeds and doing whatever it is you do when you work at a grain elevator. We asked if he minded if we just cooled our jets in the shade and not only did he say “ok”, he went and dug out a couple chairs for us!
Naturally he was curious as to what we were doing so we chatted a bit. He listened for a minute and then disappeared, only to show up with cold water bottles from the fridge! My mind was blown! COLD water!
He went back to work and we spread our tents out to dry from the condensation the night before. We were also doing our best to make good use of those chairs and the available shade. Every now and then we’d see Ronnie doing this or that. During one of those times the weather came up and he said it was supposed to storm that evening. If we wanted we could stay in the back room of the outbuilding… the door doesn’t close all the way but we’d be more protected that way.
We didn’t know how to feel about staying, we’d have to sit all afternoon and evening so we wavered. Sitting and waiting is one of the hardest things you can do when you’re on a long hike. Gotta keep moving man! Finally we came to the agreement to wait until 6, and see how we felt. The Columbia Plateau trail crosses over the John Wayne about 3 miles further on and I thought we could shelter under the overpass if it did get stormy. We didn’t want to be exposed and also the tallest thing around, lightning is a major worry.
A bit later Ronnie came back and said he was done and was going to pack up. Oh, and do I like roast beef? Sure, I said, and he handed me hunk of meat left over from his lunch. He made sure to point out that he’d cooked it on a pellet smoker, not a Traeger, he said, but still…
“What about iced tea?” he asked… uh, sure?! So there we were, sitting in the shade with iced tea complete with actual ice cubes, roast beef, chairs, a flush toilet… this was getting ridiculous. Then he topped it all off with, “What about an otter pop? You guys like otter pops?” Out came the frozen treats!
Eventually Ronnie and Chloe left and we sat watching a hawk hunt and return to her nest and babies with the occasional tasty morsel.
Finally 6 rolled around and we figured why fight a good thing? We decided to stay. I swept out the back room which was barely big enough for all four of us, but would definitely work. While we were doing this I noticed an SUV go by pretty slowly, odd since out here people usually do about 90 on the gravel roads. Not to mention I’d seen this guy go by before…
Eventually he came back around again and stopped. I was prepared to tell him Ronnie gave us permission to be there. Turns out his name was Ammond (possibly Almond depending on where in California you’re from), and he was hunting rattlesnakes. The elevator is prime ground I guess given the rodents attracted by the grain and the fact the snakes also like the concrete that heats up in the sun and stays warm into the night. He knew Ronnie and wasn’t surprised by his generosity. He verified the forecast and the storms moving in. He’d already found a couple snakes that evening so he pulled out the rattles and showed us. Then was like, “Hey, you want a cold beer?”
So to top off this crazy day there was cold beer. Seriously! You can’t make this stuff up!
But you already know what the best thing was right? The best thing of all… was that flat, smooth, beautiful concrete floor to sleep on. I had gotten my wish.