Day 45: Tuesday, June 18

Tenting at Charlotte Lake (PCT mi 788.9), walked 8.7?? miles today

Woke up this morning after sleeping about 10 hours, hit up Jenny's again, then went to the Eastern California Museum for a few hours. Really neat place, they had quite a bit about the Owens Valley water rapeage of the early 20th century, which I remember ChrisP used to decry even back in high school although I didn't know much of the story til now. Also a display on the Manzanar Japanese internment camp, one on a local badass named Norman Clyde from the 1920s who has a first ascent of damn near everything in the Sierra, a photograph from Death Valley in the '20s of a Ghost Riders in the Sky situation where an actual mule team 50 miles away was reflected in a mirage in the clouds above the Panamint mountain range, and all kinds of odds and ends about the settlement of the California and Nevada desert. I could see the rest of my adult life flashing before my eyes, me idly wandering for days on end through small-town museums all over the most remote parts of the West ... hope Kristin doesn't mind.

Jenny's for lunch one last time, except now it was filled, incongruously for this town, with suits from the nearby county courthouse on their lunch break ... Independence, which is basically a speed bump of a town, is for some reason the Inyo County seat. (Side note: I've had to fight off the urge to say things like "I'm Inyo national forest, hikin yo trailz", for past few weeks.) Stuck my thumb out and within 5 minutes got a ride in a van that already had 4 other hikers in it, plus two boys from Tennessee ... The dad driving was about to drop off his son and a friend, both age 14, for a JMT thru-hike. All us hikers told them they'll be the coolest 14-year-olds ever by the time they finish. It was a long 25 minutes pretzeled on the floor of the van with 2 other people but eventually we got up to the trailhead around 4. There were a ton of PCTers there, some of them flaming morons, so I started up the trail sooner rather than later. Immediately was in a bad mood from the obscene weight of my pack and the fact that it was trail I'd already done and it didn't even count for the PCT. The wind literally blowing me off the trail near the top of the pass oddly did nothing to cheer me up. Knew I wasn't going to have the energy or the fight to get over Glen Pass, supposedly the steepest in the whole Sierra, 2 miles after reentry to the PCT, plus that wind scared me a bit, so I turned right away for this place, Charlotte Lake, a mile off the PCT in the other direction. It has a bear locker, which I need because my food doesn't even come close to fitting in my canister right now and this is a legendarily bear-problematic area, according to Jill back in Eugene.

No other PCters here, because it's a mile off-trail, just two older Muenchner men who are out for a few days in the Sierra. I told them I'd been to their city and loved it, but I neglected to practice my small arsenal of German phrases on them ("Wo ist die Getraenkeshop?" "Ich moechte ein liter Weissbier, bitte!"). Going to try catching up to Bow and the Israelis tomorrow. I know for a fact that they all bought way too much food to be making miles anytime soon.