Zero in Mammoth Lakes
July 8th, 2017
I made a decision that went against the advice of all of my fellow hiker friends, a decision to free myself of my old hippie-ways, I had decided to cut my hair. This trail-blasphemous act wasn’t a popular one, but out of respect for my friends Travis and Alisa, as well as for the poor wedding photographer, I believed that this was best. So, on my way to the wedding I stopped at the first salon I came across.
The jingle of the bell attached to the door got the attention of the hairstylist, and as she turned with a smile I noticed that it quickly faded into an expression of sheer horror. In a desperate attempt to get me to leave she ever so delicately said, “Umm . . I’m sorry but I’m all booked up for the next . . umm . . the next few days.” The sudden absurdity of the situation was comical and frustrating at the same time, but I figured it was best to just move on. I found the only other place in town that cuts hair, and it was at this second shop I realized that all forces in the world were working against me and my need for a presentable look, or more likely that Salon-Lady #1 had called her friend warning her of a homeless-looking man wandering the streets like a zombie needing a haircut. I got the exact same response about being fully booked, but this time I wasn’t laughing. I was out of options, and was left wearing a borrowed pair of dress pants and shirt, flip-flops, long matted hair and a beard that had grown well past the socially acceptable three-inch length. I had given it my best shot, it just turns out that hair stylists aren’t champing at the bit to cut hair that looks like it might house a few dozen different species.
Word spread quickly at the wedding about the Pacific Crest Trail hiker who barely made it into town the day prior to attend his good friends wedding, and it was pretty damn obvious who that might be. I looked as if someone gave a homeless man a pair of nice pants and said “Go get ’em, kid!” But, as the day turned to-night, the wedding guests slowly became more and more intoxicated and people started coming up to me asking about my adventures thus far. It was a great night, and as narcissistic as it might sound it feels good to see how excited people get to hear my story. To see their faces light up in amazement, yeah . . it feels pretty good. For the first time in my life I finally felt like I was part of something bigger than myself. I was a Pacific Crest Trail Thru-Hiker.