Day: Saturday, 13th August 2016
Miles: Zero Day (0)
Not to be confused with Mt.Etna, the furious volcano in Sicily. Etna, California is alas known for having distinctly less energy. I didn’t ever plan to spend time in Etna, but then some of the best moments in life are those sporadic opportunities that come across your path. In Etnas case, some people said it was a fun spot to resupply. In my case my complete and absolute shoe-implosion was reason enough to rest up (along with accepting a shoe delivery through the Hiker Hut hostel and camp in Etna).
To be fair, this shoe implosion was entirely user-caused. I wore the same pair of shoes from Tehachapi, CA to Etna, CA. That’s over 1000 trail miles. Foolhardy at best, downright stupid at the worst. These shoes really did feel so good however. I was entirely comfortable until a few days back, and entirely happy to wear them. So it was that I decided to take a rest day, my first in over two weeks (in fairness) and likely a good idea to replenish reserves and allow my feet to air out.
As places go, Etna wasn’t exactly a happening spot, but what it lacked in energy it made up for in sheer unadulterated simplicity. You could check out and not worry about a thing here because nobody would ever bother you, partly because nobody would ever guess that you could possibly be somewhere as dull as Etna, CA. It was quaint and so so friendly, but a quiet backwater likely deserving of more from humanity. Sidelined by tourists and industry, and living it’s life in a lonely forgotten corner, the paradise of wilderness right there and unused on its doorstep. If nothing else than fooling around on bikes like we were teenagers, the amazing Bobs for food, an excellent coffee shop and an entire downtown of closed shops, it was a fascinating view into the sad death of rural America.
Contented with my fill of local news and a very comfortable bed for the night (I paid the extra $5 for a bed inside), I rested very happily in Etna. For all its sadness and lack of development, it was a truly happy and contented little town, accepting of its stature in life, generous and open-armed in the extreme to the weary visitor who arrived form the hills. A restful place to stay and certainly one I’m glad I decided to curiously act on.