PCT miles: 702 to 704
I woke up and tried to get my blogs posted while fewer people were on the wifi. Legend was in the parking lot pouring coffee so I chatted with him and some hikers and then Legend drove us down the street to Grumpy Bear’s for breakfast. Grumpy Bear’s has one breakfast option: Eggs, bacon, potatoes, and a massive (“all you can eat”) pancake that was about the size of a medium pizza and about four quarters stacked thick. I barely finished a fourth of my pancake, but the breakfast was delicious. Right down the road from the restaurant is thru-hiking legend Yogi (of Yogi’s PCT guide) and her online (and in her home) gear shop Triple Crown Adventures so I walked over. Yogi and her partner Worldwide were so welcoming and helpful and cheerful. I got a second headlamp (a lot of early morning hiking likely in the Sierra), fuel, a dry bag for my sleeping bag and puffy for the stream crossings and a handful of other stuff.
I went back to the restaurant where a hiker named Neon was trying to complete the Pancake Challenge – eating a pancake that was about the size of an extra large pizza. I hitched back with Thirsty Detour to the General Store and got my packages from the store – an ice axe and a bear can and food and a headnet. A lot of hikers also got new shoes. I’d told myself I didn’t need them because I’d “only” gotten them in Big Bear – but I’m realizing that was nearly 400 miles ago. Still, they’re holding up okay and I might try to take them to Bishop and have replacements sent there. I’d sent myself some peremethrin and sprayed down my clothes to try to keep the coming mosquitos at bay.
At Kennedy Meadows I tried to talk to several groups I’d hiked with before to see if I could start hiking with them, in preparation for the Sierra. It was a really weird feeling – people have already often established their groups and seemed hesitant to add another person, though they were trying to be polite about it. I saw one guy who seemed to be in a similar position (he hikes faster than me so grouping with him wouldn’t work) get straight up turned down by someone after he asked about joining them. It was a really lonely feeling to realize I was group-less, and I was honestly feeling afraid I might not be able to find a group that goes my speed or near it that would be going to the Sierra.
So I was hemming and hawing about whether to hike out tonight – one group who had seemed willing to hike with me said they were heading out this evening – or tomorrow, when some other people I knew were headed out. I’d basically decided to leave the next day when I saw tonight’s group – LiterBit and Co (and Sole Sister, who was elsewhere packing) – waiting to leave and I decided to grab my pack and join them.
That turned out to be an awesome decision. Sole Sister even seemed a little excited to have me come, which was sweet and a relief from the hesitation I was feeling from other groups. Not to mention, they knew about some trail magic by the trail head, so we all headed there and were fed barbecue, fruit salad, bread, veggies and brownies by hiker Megaphone’s (who I’d never met before) parents.
From there I hiked out with another girl who was walking with the group, Hikepedia, and we hiked the 2.5 miles to the Kennedy Meadows Campground. It was a beautiful night and dark and we heard strange noises in the distance and I was glad not to be alone. At camp we giggled as camping children in the distance tried to scare each other and would scream.
The group has shorter days planned for the next three days into towns, which I appreciate because there are some big climbs to 10500 feet. After that we’ll be in Lone Pine for a day or so before going back to trail to tackle Mt Whitney and enter the real (gulp) Sierra. I’m hopeful this will be a good group to hike with.