Despite my misgivings regarding the Lone Ranger look-a-like, I went to the Whitney Portal Store to enjoy a big, hearty breakfast with my friends. When we passed the Mt. Whitney Trailhead, all of us cringed at the sign as we had gotten our fill of the Mt. Whitney trail.
We went inside the store and were greeted immediately by the famous Doug, a happy and charismatic man who seemed to love meeting new faces. He began taking Arthur’s order as I glanced around the store to check out some gifts and trinkets.
My attention was drawn back over to the counter where there was a little commotion between Arthur and Doug. They were acting up and having a good time. Two personalities that instantly clicked.
When it was time to place my order, I noticed some books on sale at the counter with maps of the Mt. Whitney trail in them. When Doug noticed me checking out the books, he grabbed one, wrote an inscription in it, and handed it to me, free of charge. I thought he was kidding at first, but he was serious. What a nice man.
When Doug went back to the kitchen to prepare his world famous hotcakes, I flipped through the book and noticed that some recipes were included in the back, even the recipe for the giant hotcakes.
Doug returned and brought out two–rather four–plates of hotcakes. There were two hotcakes, but because of their mammoth size, they had to rest on two plates each. Arthur ordered one and so did I. We couldn’t believe our eyes. These were literally the biggest pancakes we had ever seen. There was no way any one person could eat an entire cake. However, I decided I was up for the challenge.
We all sat out on the patio and, amid a swarm of bees, ate our breakfast. Arthur shared his hotcake with Gina and Eddie. I tried to eat mine, but ended up splitting it with Farrah. The two of us still couldn’t tackle it and most of it was left behind.
The bees were out in full force. I tried my best to scarf down my scrambled eggs and bacon before they could get to it, but I couldn’t eat fast enough. The bees obviously liked Arthur; his plate was covered with them. I had never known bees to be carnivorous.
“What’s the matter?” Doug’s voice boomed from the window overhead. “You can’t eat all the hotcake?”
“I tried, Doug. But if I eat one more bite, I’m going to barf,” I said.
“What do you mean? You don’t like the hotcake?” Doug appeared hurt.
“Oh, no, of course I like it. I love it, actually. It’s just that it’s really a massive pancake and my stomach can’t take anymore.”
Doug chuckled and left the window. I stared down at my unfinished pancake, knowing I’d have to toss it. What a waste.
We sat on the patio talking, laughing, shooing away bees, taking pictures of visiting chipmunks, and greeting weary hikers as they sat down for breakfast around us. We could tell which ones had just completed the Whitney hike because they all had “the look,” as we called it. That tired, drained, washed out, ugly, dirty look that we all wore the day before.
After taking a few more photos of chipmunks and blue jays, we headed back to the cars with the mysterious arch on our minds. I glanced at the restroom near the parking lot with the strange feeling that I should pay it a visit, but I didn’t really have to go at the moment, so I got in the car. By the time we reached Movie Road, I was brewing and stewing, and not because of the intense desert heat.