Tenting deep in the heart of the Sierra (1019.8), walked 1.3 miles today
Really crushed some miles today. Woke up after a crappy night's sleep in a hot stuffy room, enjoyed a free continental breakfast, then did my grocery shopping at the Bridgeport General Store. Prices were exorbitant--$2.35 for Idahoan packets, $6 for a jar of Skippy, $8 for a six-pack of Coors after taxes. Went to the PO and mailed my warm stuff back home to Eugene and said SEE YUHHH to my bear canister, which went back to Santa Ynez, CA. My pack now looks roughly like a middle-schooler's bookbag but with enormous hipbelts. Ate lunch with Brown Bag, who had just come down into town, and several markedly overweight locals at the Jolly Kone diner.
At this point I was checked out of the hotel but unwilling to leave town just yet due to sloth, an overfull stomach and bad weather on the horizon. So I headed to the laundromat to see what was the haps. No Day was there, I owed her a beer from two days ago when she recovered my lost flip-flops and hiked them a few miles up the trail to me. Bought her a 40 at her request, then I sat in the laundromat for a few hours with her, Instagate and a guy named Spark. Charged my phone and caught up on all my trail friends' blogs, including Spins' harrowing CDT blog (spinscdt.blogspot.com) which makes my adventures seem unadventurous. A thunderstorm passed through for an hour or so while I was in there. At around 3 I was ready to leave but rain still threatened and I wanted to eat one more time. Tucked away an enormous burrito at The Barn around 4:30 with the laundromat crew, then finally went to go hitch, allegedly one of the hardest rides to catch on the whole trail. So before I was even at the edge of town, without popping my thumb out, a van with a family driving home to Carson City pulled over and motioned me in ... They were heading back from LA where their son had just played in an AAU national baskteball tournament for 8th-graders. They took me about 15 miles to the intersection with the smaller Hwy 108, where Songbird and Banana Ripper were already standing waiting for a ride. After 15 minutes or so, a really interesting fellow named Ian gave us all a lift up to the pass in his rented Chevy Cruze. His story was that he comes out to the mountains all the time, by himself, from Pasadena to bomb down the roads from the passes on his longboard. Sometimes he golfs too on these trips, and he apparently always listens to the Grateful Dead really really loud. But he's always alone and says he's crashed multiple times at speeds over 50mph. He appeared to be about 40 as well, way old in my imagination for a solo skateboard/adrenaline junkie. His response when I told him I was from Eugene was, "Oh, I used to buy a shit ton of shrooms up there like 20 years ago." (He's not the first person I've met to express the "I've been there before, I was doing a lot of drugs at the time" sentiment in regards to Eugene.) He was very kind and took us up to the pass even though he hadn't intended to go all the way up there.
From there it was an absolutely miserable 1.3 miles uphill on a way-too-full stomach til I found a flat spot with water nearby and said no mas. Songbird and Ripper soon joined. 25s for the next three days to Echo Lake, where I meet my dad.