A light rain fell again when I arrived at the visitors center at 11:25 a.m. I dropped my pack outside on the porch and went in to dry out and warm up.
There was no cellphone service here, so I couldn’t call the hostel on my phone. I had read in a trail guide that gift shop employees will usually let hikers use the shop's phone to call the hostel, so I politely asked an employee if this was possible. She not only said yes, she dialed the number for me.
I was told there was room for me at the hostel and I would be picked up as soon as possible. Knowing there was at least 20 minutes drive to get here, I decided to get something to eat in the lunch room.
An hour later, I still had not been picked up. It seemed to me more than enough time had passed, so I asked the gift shop employee if she would mind me calling again.
The same person I talked to the first time answered the phone again. As soon as I asked about the ride he apologized and admitted he had forgotten me. He said he would be right there.
As I was about to go out to the porch to wait, I remembered the unauthorized purchases made on my credit card when I had dinner with Felx, Stick and Stitches. Because of these bogus charges, my wife Kim had to close the charge account, but that was after I had purchased a pair of trekking poles at Galehead Hut.
I didn’t like the idea of having the charge on that purchase bounce, so I went back to the gift shop employee and described my problem. I asked if there was a way to reach the accounting department and give my debit card number instead.
“Just a minute,” she said. She went back to the phone, made a short call, and a minute later a woman from the accounting department appeared. I had not realized this, but there was an office upstairs.
I explained the situation. The accounting office employee said she would see the transaction when it was brought down from the hut. She then took my name and other information, along with my debit card number, and said she would take care of it.
A short time later, a car from Rattle River Hostel arrived. The driver was a past thru-hiker named Mellow. Yellow was with him, a dog who completed the thru-hike with Mellow.