June 6, 2017: Hiked 13 miles on Bishop Pass Trail from the PCT to Parcher’s Resort
Another early morning. Another soaking wet everything. You know how it goes. Such is life now. It doesn’t even bother me. I love getting up early and tackling the day even if if scares the hell out of me. And freezing your butt off for a few minutes isn’t too bad when you know you’ll be sweating it off soon enough when you start hiking. I look forward to my hot, instant coffee and peanut butter slathered breakfast biscuit and trail mix that I eat with my headlamp because it’s still dark outside, still bundled up in my sleeping bag because it’s freezing. I can’t wait to start my day and see what lies ahead of me.
The day started off climbing up a steep hill… surprise! The first half mile of switchbacks was a clear trail and we got excited that we were going to have an easy walk into town….. oh man, we should know better by now. The clear trail turned into a massive, rushing creek cascading down the rocky mountainside. We had to rock/log hop trying not to slip into the icy water and end up on a long, bumpy waterside down the hill.
We did luck out with having this one bridge uncovered for one of the millions of crossings.
After more climbing and more water we emerged soakng wet into a sunny, snow field surrounded by lots of mountaintops. The sun felt great for a few minutes until we started sweating through our multiple layers. But we were determined to get to the top of the pass so we kept chugging along. We hit the top and were so excited to take a break and take in our last downhill climb for the day.
Our way down was in the sun which meant lots of glissading and lots of slipping around in slushy snow. Glissading is fun. Slipping is not.
We passed a bunch of lakes, trying to avoid getting too close to their icy edges.
We started seeing traces of a real trail and got really excited.
We made our way down to an actual road and hiked a mile or so down to the little campground to see if we could hitchhike into town.
Steve, a nice man from Bishop who had been scouting out the fishing in the area, picked us up after a bit and took us into town and gave us a lot of great info on all the geography we passed.
He dropped us off at the car rental. We had planned to get off the trail for a few days once we got to Bishop. Once Colton decided to do the whole trail he decided that keeping his apartment back home all summer was a waste of money so we had to go home to move all his stuff into storage. And we planned the timing to surprise his little sister at her eigth grade graduation in a couple days.
But of course the huge town of Bishop was out of cars on a Tuesday afternoon in the middle of June. Just our luck.
But the word no is not in our vocabulary anymore. I found a car rental in Mammoth, just 45 miles up the road and luckily they had a car there.
Before we figured out how to get to Mammoth, we had to pick up our resupply package we had shipped here from Kennedy Meadows with all the extra food Kjerstin had sent us that we couldn’t fit in our bear canisters. Don’t worry, we’ll be eating that on the next section. Colton also had his package that never showed up to Lone Pine shipped here. Now we were loaded down, hot, sweaty, stinky, and starving and had to get to Mammoth in an hour and a half somehow to pick up our car. So we did what we do best… walked out to the highway and hitchhiked.
We waited probably five minutes when Butcher, a local ski patrol, picked us up on his way back home to Mammoth. He told us about how he had been clearing trees in the backcountry this spring and had a tree he had cut roll onto him and crush his pelvis and how he had just been cleared to drive and today was his first excursion out driving himself. Totally reassuring. We do like to live dangerously I suppose. We had a great time talking with Butcher and learning a ton about the local area and laughing about how crazy the snow is this year.
He dropped us off at the car rental and we picked up our cute little Hyundai Veloster and finally hit the road. First stop…. food. It was now 4:00 and all we had ate all day was a protein bar snack and breakfast at 5:00. In hiker-terms, that’s borderline starvation. Deli sandwiches had never tasted so good. We instantly crushed them on the road and started our beautiful drive up 395. It was a perfect day to drive and it felt so good to relax, listen to music, and enjoy the simple things in life like a daytime drive through the countryside.
Colton was stoked to be behind the wheel again.
We called our family to let them know we were alive and got back in touch with reality.
We made a quick stop in Reno at REI, because it’s our favorite place in the world now. We had a gorgeous drive into the sunset, stopped at taco bell for dinner, which still tastes like crap even after living off top ramen for a week, passed a million deer, and now we’re amazed that we’re still awake and it’s almost 11:00. And while home and a bed could not come soon enough, I already miss our daily trail routine and cozy, little tent-home.