May 30, 2017: Hiked Miles 741.7 to 745.3 + 3.5 miles to Horseshoe Meadows campground (7.1 total)
Woke up to a gorgeous morning. It was cold, but not as cold as the morning before. The sky was a bit cloudy so the sun hadn’t emerged to warm us up yet. We took our time packing up and eating since we had a very short walk planned this morning.
We enjoyed an easy walk up the mountain with the perfect conditions. It was cool, a little cloudy, and just warm enough while we were hiking.
After hiking a few miles, we started down a side trail that would take us down the other side of the mountain in order to hitch into Lone Pine. We thought our hike between Kennedy Meadows and Lone Pine would take us at least four days so we planned to stop there to resupply and Colton had some packages sent there. But it only took a little over two days so it seems silly to go into town already, but we do need more food and to pick up our packages. And we haven’t showered in like a week. But that’s not important.
Our hike down the northeast side of the mountain had a lot more snow. We ended up on our butts more than once. It was pretty entertaining. There was quite a bit of snow runoff so our feet got decently wet. The trail was basically non-existent so we attempted to follow other shoeprint/ slidemarks down and just blazed our own path for awhile.
Well turns out that the campground isn’t open yet. So much for trying to find a ride. We didn’t have service so there wasn’t much we could do besides keep walking. We walked about a mile down the road until we came to a locked gate. There were a few cars parked outside of it, but noone around to give us a ride. So we did all we could and kept walking. Lone Pine was a long 20 miles down the road so we were hoping we wouldn’t have to walk that far. A little farther down Colton got cell service so we started calling trail angels.
We got ahold of a couple people but they wanted $80 for a ride! Yea, no thanks. We figured we could eventually get a ride from one of the day hikers parked at the gate even if we had to wait around until the afternoon. We decided to look online at hotel rooms while we waited and booked one of two rooms left in the whole town. Didn’t know this little town in the middle of the desert was so popular.
All the sudden a car started driving towards us down the hill! He pulled over and said he could give us a ride down for $10 each. Sounded a lot better than $80 so we took him up on it. We started down a long drive down the mountain with the most gorgeous view. I had forgotten how high up we were until we put it into perspective with the valley far below.
We finally made it to Lone Pine and got dropped off at the post office… only to find out Colton’s packages weren’t there yet. Not cool. We checked the tracking number and found out they wouldn’t be here until tomorrow afternoon. Way later than we wanted to be here.
We decided we needed food before we figured out what we were going to do. We found the first place we could that had food and chowed down. I think I’m getting too used to trail food because normal food just doesn’t taste very good anymore. And the portions are never big enough. I think I just get my hopes up about eating real food while I’m on the trail and it can never live up to what I imagine. Guess it’s back to instant potatoes and protein bars for life.
We decided to reroute Colton’s stuff to Bishop. He could probably survive without his rain pants until then and we decided to just buy another sleeping bag liner here and return the other one in Bishop.
We found a few gear stops so we both bought more fuel, titanium spoons (since ours keep snapping in half), Colton bought a new platypus reservoir because his had popped a few days ago and he found a sleeping bag liner. I already have a liner that I had shipped to me in Kennedy Meadows and it makes a huge difference in cold weather. It adds another 25 degrees of warmth and turns my 30 degree bag into a 5 degree bag. Colton also needed some new microspikes since the ones he bought are a size too big. But after checking out all the spikes, he decided to buy some smaller crampons instead that are a little more durable than spikes.
After shopping we finally checked into our hotel and got some showers. Colton made another trip to the post office (luckily this is a one-street town) to return his original microspikes and then we set off to do more chores! We walked down to the laundromat and started a load of clothes and then went grocery shopping. Being a small town, prices were a little high, and choices were a little limited. So between the grocery store, the gas station, and the drug store we were able to resupply. We have a few different items then normal, but it’s always fun to try new stuff, right!
We dropped our stuff off at the hotel and ran back to throw our clothes in the dryer. Colton had stated earlier in the day that he was definitely getting pizza today so of course we had to go to The Pizza Factory. We got an all-you-can-eat salad bar and a large pepperoni pizza. And once again my trail taste buds won. Even pizza doesn’t taste good anymore. I don’t know what is wrong with me. So I stuffed myself with salad. At least I got my weekly veggies.
After dinner we grabbed our clothes and walked back to the hotel. The clouds were rolling over the mountains and it made everything look magical.
We sorted through all our stuff in the hotel room and attempted to fit six days of food into our bear canisters. Somehow I got all of mine in. I think everything is crushed into dust but food is food. My bear canister weighs like 20 pounds. I’m not too excited about hiking that out of here tomorrow. Colton fit everything other than a couple tuna packages and his massive bag of chips into his. Either he’s eating a lot of food tomorrow or we’re gonna be feeding the bears tomorrow night.
Colton started researching the crampons he bought and found out that they won’t work with his trail runner shoes. They’re only supposed to be worn with hard sole boots, otherwise the metal bar that runs under the sole of your shoe can snap. Ugh. Not something we want happening to us 13000 feet up in the snow. So our early morning start tomorrow is getting pushed back a bit so he can exchange the crampons for microspikes. At least we can sleep in… ha, that’s a good one.
I think town days are harder than trail days. I always look forward to them, imagining all this time relaxing, the great food I’m gonna eat, beer I’m gonna drink, time spent catching up with people from home, watching the news to see what’s actually going on in the rest of the world outside the PCT. Yet they always fly by and there’s always so much to do. I feel like I need to get back to the trail to destress.
So far the snow hasn’t been as big and scary as everyone has hyped it up to be. But tomorrow I think that will all change as we start getting even higher up in the mountains. I’m excited to see what the conditions are really like and a little nervous for all the craziness that is supposedly out there waiting for us. But I like to live by the theory that if something scares you, it’s probably exactly what you need to do. Guess we’ll find out soon enough.