Zero in Lone Pine
Weather: Warm down in town, cool up at the trailhead, sunny and clear
So four guys in a small room doesn’t make for the greatest sleep. We all slept some, but nobody all that well. I was up at 5am and went down to the lobby. I went outside to check out the sun rise reflecting on the massive wall of the Sierra…
When back inside, I poured a cup of coffee, picked out my comfy chair, and then continued the uploading of my photos/blog.Dad was down soon later. After a while, we went with Kool-Aid over to the Alabama Hills Cafe again for breakfast. This was a gem of a restaurant in my opinion.After breakfast, dad and Kool-Aid went to check out the stores in town while I returned back to my cozy chair. Apart from Lone Pine being geared towards the historic old west filming scene, the town is at the foot of Mount Whitney and several other hiking areas, so it had a few nice outdoor type shops worth visiting.
Around 9:00am, dad and I walked down to the Lone Pine Market and purchased our food resupply. It had a good selection, but was one of the more pricey grocery stores I’ve visited on trail. We brought our supplies back to the motel patio and began sorting, reducing excess packaging, and seeing how things fit into our bear canisters. My food did not fit. Dad’s did. I had to part with some pop tarts, which were too bulky. I still kept so I could snack on them prior to leaving on the trail though. In the end, we somewhat had things figured out.After resupplying food, was getting our packs packed and everything out of the room for noon check-out. I was stressed with timing today and the feeling of being rushed getting things done. Dad is learning that I am a bit tight about certain things like this, mainly getting out of the room on time. We succeeded though.
The rest of the afternoon for me was spent hanging and getting caught up on the WordPress. Dad, Kool-Aid, and I did have a nice lunch at the Pizza Factory (salad bar for dad, toasted subs for me and Brian). Dad found himself a new book since he finished his first one and also opted to walk around and see the town some. He found the time to do some research into various flowers that we’d debated about earlier on trail too. I still don’t know if I trust his info. all the time though.
Around 4:15pm-ish, Pop Top, Cheer, dad, and I walked down and across the road to the intersection out of town. The way our group’s plan shook out was that us four would go up to the trailhead today for a tomorrow morning start to hiking. We thought it’d be good to acclimate some by sleeping around 10,000 feet. The other three: Kool-Aid, Snickers, and Calzone had packages at the Post Office and would wait to pick up their supplies tomorrow morning (Monday) at first opening. They’d then get up to the trail as soon as possible and start hiking. We’d then hope to meet either at camp that night or the next night.
Team First Ascent wasn’t having success hitching, so I called some numbers that dad had obtained at the outfitter for trail angels. The second call to a guy named Kurt was a winner winner chicken dinner. We collectively paid $60 ($15/person) for the 40 minute ride and 7,000 or so feet elevation gain up to Horseshoe Meadows trailhead. Dad chatted the whole way with driver Kurt hearing about the local history and what not. He loved it. Dave H has a very curious mind…very thirsty for information about new places, and Kurt, having lived in the area his whole life, was happy to provide.
After arriving at Horseshoe Meadows trailhead, we set up camp in the woods just a ways away from the restrooms and bear boxes. Then, all but dad went on a scouting mission to assess the creek crossing situation. He stayed to read and guard our camp from bears and small critters alike. During our brief expedition we discovered that the snow bridge we’d crossed the day prior had collapsed and the stream was noticeably more full. Likely a foot higher and in most places, twice as wide. The meadow itself was visually less snowy too, lots of melting going on!We returned to camp with two options for the morning cross and feeling happy that we’d gone scouting. Cheer and I had taken our shoes off and waded a bit in the quest for information and I learned that melt water streams do indeed feel like you’d expect, actual ice water.
Upon returning, we found the camp guardian, Dave H, holding down the fort. We then ate dinner. Dad and I had packed some hot dogs, buns, and fixings. It was tasty. We then were able to throw out trash and put all our smelly items into actual bear boxes (big metal containers likely placed their by Leslie Knope and the Parks Department).
It was an early night. I left my rain fly off, a risky move, but it was awesome to look up and see the half moon and stars. Excited to get things started tomorrow!