The Arizona Trail: Part 39

Friday, May 3rd, 2019

Okay, so I don’t want to scare people off from hitchhiking as a means of getting around. We’ve done so countless times without a single bad incident, but we had our first one today. I don’t even know if it counts given that he wasn’t even trying to take us anywhere, but it was a creepy experience nonetheless.

We stuck our thumbs out by the trailhead we slept by to get to Jacob Lake. We were craving a warm breakfast and wanted to get a few snacks before completing the trail. We weren’t having a whole lot of luck.

Then a green Subaru Impreza with Idaho tags drove by heading in the opposite direction of where we were going, so we just waved. Sometimes people will turn around and help us out, so it never hurts to be friendly. He pulled over immediately, so we were initially excited. When he got out of his car, he circled the two of us staring at us up and down like we were specimens to be examined.

“You wet?”

“A little damp, but no,” I said.

“You thirsty?”

“No.”

“You hungry?”

We told him that we had been hiking the Arizona Trail and wanted to eat at a restaurant in Jacob Lake. We asked if he wouldn’t mind dropping us off there.

“No, I’m not going that way.”

He grabbed a jar of Kimchi from the backseat, and handed it to Frisbee.

“This stuff is the bomb diggity! This should hold you guys over for 2 miles. You need something to eat it with?” he said as he grabbed metal chopsticks from the backseat of his car.

“No thanks, we’re going to hold off until we get to town. We’re craving breakfast food,” Frisbee said. We both smiled and thanked him for the offer. I thought, maybe this guy is just eccentric.

He looked at us incredibly offended, then circled Frisbee, staring at his legs. He looked at us like one looks at an article of clothing they’re interested in purchasing. I was wondering if he was going to kill us and wear our skins like a suit. He was really starting to creep me out.

“You must be a runner with those legs,” he said to Frisbee.

“Sorta, but I’ve been hiking a lot.”

He continued asking weird questions and told us that he was collecting money from a life insurance policy.

“After the fire, life has been SO much better!”

Red flag! Did this guy kill someone? Frisbee and I looked at one another with the same plan in mind. Don’t piss this guy off since he’s clearly mentally unstable, remain calm, and get the hell away from him. We thanked him, told him we were just going to walk and we wished him well.

“So this is just one of those chance encounters?” he asked us, looking annoyed.

“Yes, thanks for stopping, we’re just going to walk to town,” Frisbee told him.

Frisbee tried to give the guy a fist bump. Both of them were wearing gloves. The guy leaned away in disgust.

“Whoa! No thanks!”

We thanked him again, said goodbye and started walking down the road towards town. He continued talking to us, but we kept walking. As we got further away, he began yelling at us. This continued for a solid minute before he got back in his car and drove away. Frisbee and I remained calm during the incident, but we were both prepared for the worst if it turned into a “us versus him” scenario.

Once we were sure he was gone for good, we stuck our thumbs out again. A friendly guy from Hurricane, Utah driving a pickup truck pulled over and took us to Jacob Lake. He pointed out a Kaibab squirrel as it crossed the road in front of us. The small population of the tufted-eared squirrels is only found in a tiny pocket in that section of the North Rim. We hoped that the intimidating circumstance that we just endured would remain just as isolated, if not more.


To be continued…

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