Still Riding that Train
Beginning Elevation = ~9,000 (not on PCT)
Ending Elevation = ~5,500 (not on PCT)
Weather: sunny and clear, high 80°F
The sun coming up was this morning. Around 6:45am, the sun finally popped over the ridge and struck us with light. We hadn’t talked about a time getting going, so we enjoyed being slow with our morning tasks.
Eventually Snickers, Kool-Aid, and myself had finished breakfast and the packing of our packs. We had some good conversation, which for a lot of the time, I enjoyed just listening to the other guys. They both have backgrounds with art and had a lot they could relate to one another. Me on the other hand know little about art, but find it all very intriguing. I was content hearing their stories and whittling away with my knife. The end result was these three stream kayaks for the Taboose Regatta, which took place at 9:00am on the water pouring down the trail by our campsite!
Calzone and Cheer joined us just prior to the big race. The super notched one that I’d spent the most time on won. Then, at 9:10am, we had crossed over the dang frustrating river and began our walk back down the mountain on the other side.
We knew going into it that this was going to be a struggle. There was a reason the trail was placed on the other side of the river, mainly that this side is steep and pretty much a solid talus slope (essentially broken off pieces of rock ranging from giant Toyota Camry sized boulders to softball sized, some dangerously loose and most jagged).
It was pretty rough. It ended up taking us about fours hours to get back down to the crossing spot from the day before! Scrapes from bushwacking, some close calls with rocks moving, and an injury to Snickers made for a frustrating climb down. Once there though, it was all smiles on our faces and laughs at how ridiculous the whole thing was. We had lunch right there.
Around 2:00pm we continued our path down to the trailhead. The terrain was steep and soon became a familiar desert-like setting with flowers, sage, butterflies, and even my old friends the lizards!
At 3:30pm, we arrived at the Taboose Pass Trailhead very happy indeed!
Cheer had arranged a ride for us to get picked up around 5:00pm from a trail angel. Woo hoo! We had a while waiting around in which we all found spots to sit. I burrowed myself in the bushes hiding in the shade of a rock (it’s quite a bit hotter down in the flatlands), but soon heard noises and thought the snakes were coming for a sneak attack ambush. Thus, I went back out into the openness and sun.
Near 5:00pm, we got a message from our driver that she was on some dirt road that was in rough condition trying to find us, but was about to turn around! We quickly got our packs on and began treking down to find her. After a mile maybe, we saw her black Jeep Wrangler coming up and flagged her down.
It all worked out perfect in the end. Debbie and her little dog Poncho saved the day! It was a good thing she had a vehicle capable of off-roading because there were some serious rocks and ruts in the gravel drive. We were quite squished in the back seat and Poncho took a nice seat on my lap for a good stretch. Soon we were on 395 headed north to Bishop!
Once in town, we checked two different hostels for availability, but both were full (lots of hikers retreating from the mountains it seems). We then checked in at the nearest motel, the Bishop Town House Motel. Rather than cleanup we opted to go straight to food. Sometimes you just got to do it. It was off to the Mountain Rambler Brewery. Good times and great food and beers. The nachos especially were a hit!
With the exception of Kool-Aid, we were all in for our traditional ice cream night cap, which for this particular instance was a gas station special. We picked out our scream and sat outside the Sinclair Dino-Mart. We also got to once again visit with our friend Songbird and her fellow crew of hikers from Tennessee. We were all celebrating being safe in town and were excited to see each other.
Tomorrow will be thinking and planning and such, but for tonight we did our best just to enjoy the good times.