Yesterday morning, we got a hitch from a guy named Nick who was a beer distributor. He said he picked us up because he once hitchhiked from Missouri to North Carolina to see the Rolling Stones. Jason always says that hitchhikers always stop for other hitchhikers.
We went straight to the Whistle Stop Café for breakfast. I had wayyyy too much coffee. But I love having way too much coffee. I look forward to my weekly cup of hot coffee.
Everyone in the café seemed to know each other. We eavesdropped on a conversation about someone’s dog that had passed away, spending the first few minutes listening in horror thinking that they were talking about a child. It also sounds like an alarming number of people in Kearny have problems with snakes getting into their houses (eek.)
Jason and I mutually agreed to ignore each other and devote our attention to our phones. We hang out all the time, but getting cell service on the trail is rare.
Then we resupplied and went to the laundromat. Our server told us it was pretty much the last building in town, and it was. An extremely old man saw us walking there and pulled over to drive us the rest of the way. What a guy! Kearny prides itself on being the friendliest town on the trail and so far it was living up to its name. The grocery store even had a special section for Arizona Trail hikers!
With a little under an hour to spare before closing, I hoofed it back to the Post Office. It was closed for lunch the first time I tried. I was expecting new sneakers and a replacement part for my trekking pole. I’d be a new woman after this Post Office errand. That is, if everything actually worked out.
I arrived a half hour before closing, marched up to the counter and told the woman working there that I was expecting two general delivery packages. She retrieved a very normal looking, shoebox-sized package from REI, and then hoisted an extra long and skinny box from Black Diamond onto the counter. I knew the box would be long and skinny, but not this long and skinny. Maybe they ran out of appropriately sized boxes and had to improvise. As I picked it up, it felt a lot heavier than it should have. Maybe they gleaned from the mailing address that I was a thru-hiker and tossed in a t-shirt and trucker hat for a little good PR. (note: I know this is an embarrassingly self-aggrandizing idea, but that’s how you start to think of yourself when you thru-hike. It’s not a cute look, but it happens.) I took my boxes into the lobby and ripped into them with my knife. Not a replacement trekking pole shaft, nor a hat, nor a t-shirt. SKIS. Gorgeous backcountry skis. I spent the next half hour on the phone with Black Diamond and pleading the postmaster to let me return the skis to sender. She let me! Another piece of evidence for Kearny being the most friendly town on the trail.
After that fiasco, Jason and I headed next door to Old Time Pizza & Deli. Heaven. We split a pizza and a pitcher of beer. Our eyes were way bigger than our stomachs. This is a cruel truth of thru-hiking. You’re always starving, but your stomach is used to a handful of trail-mix and a protein bar here and there. We leafed through the trail log and spotted a few people we knew and a few others we knew of. Kearny happens to be a good resupply point for both the Arizona Trail and the Grand Enchantment Trail.
As if Kearny, couldn’t be any friendlier, the owners of the pizza shop, Gary and Loraine, drove us back to the trail. Then, when I realized that I left my battery pack in their truck, they drove back to the trailhead again to drop it off! Truly above and beyond friendliness. I’m so grateful for trail towns like Kearny.