A traveling trail angel, to be precise.
Meadow Mary discovered me while waiting for Billy Goat, who I'd left at Rodriguez Canyon the night before. She offered me fresh fruit -- I took an orange, which I would later eat in Julian -- and a ride into town in her jam-packed camper truck. (My pack went in back with two skittish dogs, Honey and Sugar.)
The road went up a lush river canyon and straight into clouds. Julian was overcast/foggy and chilly, though thankfully not too windy.
I hit the post office to break a twenty and ask for breakfast recommendations and library hours. The referred me to a little cafe that was, as it turns out, opening that very morning. I had some lemony eggs benedict, called Kady and found a souvenir for her at a small jewelry store. Back at the post office again to mail it when Joy found me.
She gave me the deluxe treatment -- apparently, although she had handed out flyers at the kickoff party, I was her first guest. Lunch -- chicken in suiza sauce and sweet potatoes -- was tasty. She also took me grocery shopping so I wouldn't have to rely on the tiny store in Warner Springs, and even delivered it to me since she was going to at WSR that weekend for a Volcan Mountain Presentation Foundation dinner/dance. Wow.
The unexpected hospitality did delay me, though -- I had hoped to return to the trail at 5 and hike a few miles of the long, waterless stretch ahead. I returned at 7 to Scissors Crossing and the storm was still in full blow. It was cold, windy ... and the blister, which I'd carefully repatched and was trying to keep covered with a spiffy new blister bandage from the Julian drugstore, was hurting again.
My morale plunged. The wind having been taken out of my sails by ... well, the wind, I curled up under the freeway overpass and tried to get a little rest amid the chill.