For hikers, they also lack one other essential feature of civilization we take for granted: Restrooms. (The ranch does have them available for employees and guests, but due to concerns about septic system capacity, they request that hikers "hold it" until they leave the ranch and return to the woods.) And there just plain aren't any showers -- which normally isn't too much of an issue, since they are located a stone's throw from some natural hot springs that guests (and hikers) are free to use.
Unfortunately, the hot springs are across the river. When I -- and a half-dozen John Muir Trail hikers -- tried to reach them last night, the thigh-deep flow was strong enough that nobody felt safe trying to get across to them.
* * *
In other news, my knee healed up some overnight and feels normal again -- but it still twinges when walking downhill. This is a matter of some concern, because if walking still hurts after a night of rest, then inevitably walking on it (and there's still plenty of downhill left to go) will make it hurt more, and at some point it will cross the line from strain to injury. If it hasn't already.
I want nothing more than to just keep going and finish the damn JMT already. I'm less than 100 miles shy of that landmark, and a similarly small distance from 1,000 PCT miles. But I can't afford to push on at the expense of injury. So I'm going to wait here another day, feast off of the hiker boxes (last night's meal: couscous in tomato basil soup, mopped up with rye crackers), finish Truman Capote's In Cold Blood (which another hiker abandoned in the hiker boxes as well), and cross my fingers that the knee isn't still bothering me tomorrow. If so ... I'll need a longer rest in a real bed, and maybe a doctor's visit. Which probably means going home again.
If anyone lives within reasonable distance of Fresno who might be willing to drive up tomorrow and meet me at Florence Lake, please respond to this post. I don't know if I'll be hiking on tomorrow or limping down to the lake to bail out, but a ride (and maybe crash space) would make a trail halt much more pleasant.