(Continued from Night hikers make it to Burney)
After leaving Animal Style, Jet Pack, Hawkeye, Boom, and Maverick at the Alpine Drive-in, I headed home to write up articles on the Old Station barbecue.
While I was writing, my daughter HanaLyn called. She lives in Maryland and had gone to the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia to hear Hillary Clinton speak. I was very interested in her first hand take on the experience . As we talked the phone made that strange little sound that let’s one know someone else is calling.
I didn’t catch the call, but I figured that it might be the PCT hikers calling because they wanted to jump in my pool. So I called the number of the phone they had used at the trailhead to call me.
Animal Style answered.
When I first met Animal Style in Old Station and heard his accent, I thought that he was French. No, he was from Israel, the second Israeli hiker I met this year. I think it is so cool that young people from Israel are coming to America to hike the PCT.
Anyway, Animal Style had lost his shoes. He had taken them off at the trail head, when he sat down to rest and wait for a ride. He wasn’t sure if he had left them at the trail or if he had left them in the truck that had given him a ride.
Animal Style is a very determined and definite young man. Every time that he mentioned the man who gave him a ride he repeated the whole phrase “Bob the Plumber from Bieber, California.”
I took the Local Pages phone book with and headed over to meet him at the Safeway Store. Our search for his shoes began. As you can imagine, shoes are very important to a PCT hiker. 2600 miles is a long way to hike over varied terrain through temperatures that range from extreme heat to extreme cold. Many hikers who start out with the wrong shoes have to have better ones shipped to them along the way. Losing one’s shoes is a major impediment to continuance.
Animal Style wears Brooks Cascadia 11 Trail-Running shoes size 14.
So Animal Style either had to find his shoes or buy a new pair.
Because he didn’t know if he had left the shoes at the trailhead or in Bob the Plumber from Bieber’s truck, our plan was to try to find Bob the Plumber from Bieber and to also check the trail.
When he picked up the two hikers and took them to the Alpine, Bob the Plumber from Bieber was on his way to the casino to buy cigarettes. He was driving a blue pick-up with a trailer attached. So before heading to the trail we drove to the casino to see if he was still there. No luck.
Next we headed out to the trail head. As we went Animal Style was busy on his smart phone. Because there was no Bob the Plumber from Bieber listed in the Local Pages, he called every plumber from Alturas to Shingletown to see if anyone knew Bob the Plumber from Bieber. Because it was Sunday, many did not answer. Those who did could not help us.
We drove to the trail head and Animal Style showed me the spot where he had taken off his shoes. They weren’t there. Next we drove to Burney Sporting Goods to see if they had any shoes good enough for the hike to Mount Shasta where there was an outfitter who carried Brooks Cascadia.
Animal Style came out of the store and said, “They do not have a very good selection of shoes.”
So next, he began calling shoe stores and sports outfitters in Redding. We reached a few but they did not carry the shoes he wanted. On the website of one store, he found the shoes he wanted.
Could he rent a car? I had already been through this with Fred Wilkenson. No place in Burney or Johnson Park rents cars to travelers. I called a friend who might be going to Mt. Shasta. He had been there today but he wouldn’t be going again till Wednesday. I thought about going to Redding but my car was having some problems and I was taking it to Mike’s in the morning.
We sat for a moment and took a deep breath.
“You know,” I said, “I just have a feeling that everything is going to work out all right and something good will come out of this.”
“Do you really think so?” he asked, “All I can think of is frustration, and money, and time.”
Animal Style and his friends had rented rooms in Burney Lodging so I took him there. As we went he was looking at his phone.
“You know,” he said, “It says here that there are only 500 people in Bieber. Do you think that if I called somebody in Bieber they might know Bob the Plumber?”
I told him probably so. I also thought that if Bob the Plumber from Bieber found the shoes in his truck he might bring them to the Alpine or to Burney Lodging.
When we got to the motel office we told Nancy Bobo who is also a trail angel to be on the lookout in case anyone dropped off Animal Styles shoes.
We found his room and his friends and said our farewells. He gave me a small gift for my help.
Later that evening the phone rang. It was Animal Style. He was very happy.
“I found Bob the Plumber from Bieber!”
He had called the grocery store in Bieber and they knew Bob the Plumber. They gave Animal Style his home number.
“Bob the Plumber from Bieber is going to drive 50 miles from Bieber and back to bring me my shoes! I just wanted to let you know.”
He thanked me again for my help. But actually, I hadn’t done anything. Animal Style had found them by himself. As the old Chinese wisdom book the I Ching says, “Perseverance furthers.”
As I write this, Animal Style is hiking into Mt. Shasta with his friends wearing his Brooks Carrier 11 size 14 shoes.
God bless Bob the Plumber from Bieber.