By Erika Kar

I have more fodder for the file titled, “It Really Is a Small World After All” or “Strange Methow Meetups.” Last week, Peter Fitzmaurice, Shannon Skibeness and son Nicholas (Nick) Fitzmaurice combined spring break with some California college visiting. Pretty smart planning. Much better than touring colleges in say, Washington or Oregon in April. But that is not my point. Weather seems to sidetrack me. Sorry. Back to the real story.
The Fitzmaurice-Skibeness clan were in the Southern California area to visit colleges for their third child, Nick. While down there, they met up with Cassidy Butler at Cal Poly. Cassidy, daughter of Paul Butler and Bo Thrasher, is a recent Liberty Bell High graduate. As is Cory Diamond, whom they met up with at his college, Claremont McKenna College. So far, this all seems reasonable, right? Those visits were planned. Nothing out of the norm. But then things start getting weird.
While meeting Cory at his college was planned, it was not planned that both Cory and Peter would each be wearing an obscure old Mazama Market T-shirt. Cue the weird sci-fi music. On their way home, the Fitzmaurice-Skibenesses were sitting in row 40 of their Delta flight and who do they see? The Cole family, also from Mazama. Steve, Genevieve and daughters Lucy, Josephine and Phoebe were returning from their spring vacation in Santa Monica. If that is not weird enough, at that very moment, Lucy had been texting with Peter and Shannon’s daughter, Lauren, who is at college in Syracuse, New York.

Don Davidson, former garbage czar and all-around good guy, is also in Southern California. But instead of hanging at the beach and planning for college, he is hiking his last segment of the Pacific Crest Trail. This segment is approximately 600 miles and is his fourth segment, finishing up the 2,600-mile journey, which he will complete in three years. Don is hiking with his part-time Lost River neighbor, Sandy Sanders. They began at the Mexico border, just south of Campo, California, and will hike to Walker Pass in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains.

Don and Sandy were able to begin earlier than expected this year because of low snow levels. But the earlier dates also mean colder temperatures at night. Don says he is thankful for his 0-degree rated sleeping bag. He has also been thankful for the Trail Angels that stash water along the trail in the desert. Hiking this stretch would be much more difficult if hikers had to carry sufficient water for the long, waterless stretch.

On April 11, Don and Sandy are scheduled to enter Wrightwood, California. They will meet up here with former Mazamans, Lliam and Mandi Donohue and their new baby, Ruby. Lliam and my predecessor Mandi moved to Twin Peaks, California last fall.

The moral of this column is this: You can try to leave Mazama, but Mazama will always find you. Or something like that.