Day 52: Tuesday, June 25

Tenting at Agnew Meadow/High Trail trailhead (PCT mi 915.0), walked 8.3 miles today

Took care of crap in town all morning. Could not find any clearance long pants at Mammoth Mountaineering, so I paid a pretty penny for some Ex Officio convertibles, which, in true Ex Officio form, are by far the most comfortable and not-horrendous-looking zip-off pants I've ever tried on. I'd always viewed convertible pants as sounding good in theory but failing hard in practice, but these are actually pretty nice and they were comfortable to walk in this afternoon. Also bought one pair of cheap (only the $13 per pair instead of $20) merino socks to wear until my new Darn Toughs arrive. Sent the busted ones back to Vermont at the PO, and sent my shorts home to Eugene for the time being. Rewarded myself for all this stupid bustling by taking a third shower in 24 hours in the motel room and then eating a fat mound of gelato from Schat's on the way out of town.

On the bus, ran into some hiker dudes I hadn't met before, one of whom, Apache, asked me what I thought was a hypothetical question: say you're trying to hitchhike 800 miles, and someone offers to give you the ride the whole way, but it's a huge fat lady and once you get in the car she a) starts blasting music too loud to have a conversation and b) takes her shirt off and drives naked. Do you continue with the ride or do you get out? Turns out this wasn't a hypothetical question and it had happened to their friend a few days earlier trying to get from Washington to the trail in California. He got out. I wonder if this Apache fellow always speaks in such parables, as this was the first and probably last thing he'll ever say to me. I didn't see him again after I started hiking.

After an hour of bus time, made it up to Red's Meadow and took my gift certificate from Jill to the cafe, where I spent all of it and then a little more on a tuna melt, some soda and a root beer float. The waitress told me that she couldn't remember ever having a hiker come in with a gift certificate, but she'd been expecting me because it was the only one they'd had on file since the beginning of the season. Was extremely lethargic after eating and sat outside with two other guys, Halfway and Two Hats, who were in the same boat of not having a good excuse not to hike, but not exactly springing up to do it either. Finally, around 4, Two Hats made a move toward the trail and we followed. I split off for a bit to catch the Devil's Postpile, which is a cool geological feature that I don't really understand (but I'm sure a lot of my readership does), then rejoined the PCT after 2 miles, stayed on it instead of taking the JMT alternate, and after a nice evening of hiking beside and above a river gorge ended up here with Halfway. He hiked the AT SOBO last year with 6-String, the one other person from my high school in Va. Beach to have done it.

The mosquitos really stepped their game up this evening, but so did I--head net, long sleeves and long pants. Extremely thankful now for those purchases in town. Snacking for dinner in my tent is really my favorite way to go ... For instance, tonight I had about a dozen Fig Newtons, a large avocado, two hunks of Kristin's homemade beef jerky, a Snickers bar, a few handfuls of Snyder's pretzels bits, some smoked cheddar cheese, and some raisins. Almost exclusively I eat all this light and mild stuff on the trail, and then I get into town and do something like consume the following over 24 hours: a huge slutty chorizo and egg burrito, an entire 14" Neapolitan pizza, several double IPAs, a big jalapeno bagel and a cappuccino for breakfast, two enormous scoops of gelato, a tuna melt with a bunch of potato chips, and a root beer float. And then I wonder why my intestines act like Georgia after Sherman's March to the Sea. Thankfully there's a pit toilet at this trailhead (bear lockers too). Every now and then this evening the wind's been shifting to put me downwind of it, but that's a small price to pay for the convenience of having it there when I roll out of the sleeping bag tomorrow morning. Tomorrow's looking like a marathon to Tuolumne Meadows Lodge in time for supper.