Nevertheless, We Persisted
My day began with a trip to the Looney Bean of Bishop, a lovely coffee shop on the main street just a short walk from the motel. A cappuccino and asiago cheese bagel really hit the spot. I enjoyed the time to myself just to catch up on writing and such, then after a while joined Cheer and Kool-Aid when they arrived.
Kool-Aid would be ending his PCT experience here in Bishop. Leading us through the Sierra and out the Taboose Pass Trail was the last hoorah for him, at least for this particular adventure. His overseas adventure of teaching art in southern China begins in about a month and so he’s looking forward to connecting with friends and family prior to leaving for that! That and getting all the things in order…you can imagine one would have a few things to line up prior to moving to a new continent. During our chatting at the coffee shop, he let us know that he planned to start heading north today to the Lake Tahoe area after doing some gear selling in town.
Calzone joined later still in the morning and her, Cheer, and I did some brainstorming regarding our plans for tackling the rest of the trail. It was kind of hard to figure out the best plan for us. We knew we wanted to avoid the worst stream crossings and snow too if possible, so we tried to figure out where the northern end of the Sierra Nevada was. After a few different schemes, we settled on a plan:
We’d start by skipping north about 500 miles where the PCT passes by the town of Chester, California. From there we’ll begin hiking north again with the goal of reaching the U.S./Canada border still. If all goes as we hope, we’ll then make our way via planes, trains, or automobiles (whatever it takes) back to Chester, CA and start south to finish out the skipped 500 miles. Since we’re planning to be super hikers and knock all that out before the weather gets rough, we’d love to finish it off with a bang by summiting Mount Whitney! Great plan right!?
This wasn’t what any of us had originally planned, but going through the plan and believing that we can still pull it off felt good! I feel confident…like Chancellor Palpatine upon his declaration of the first Galactic Empire, “My resolve has never been stronger!”
To make things even better, we decided we’d take some time off from the trail for a little “trailcation!” And what better place to go on such a break than Yosemite National Park, a place which I’ve never visited but have heard many tales of it’s outstanding wonder and beauty!
I had actually been planning to take some time off-trail for a family vacation too that had been scheduled way before I even decided to thru-hike the PCT. So, starting tomorrow through the June 28, will be Trailcation #1 with Calzone and Cheer in Yosemite and Trailcation #2 will be June 29 through the 5th of July with the fam in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado! I am super excited for both!!!
The rest of the day was spent like a lot of the other zero days along the journey, a mix of relaxing and also taking care of the necessary tasks/duties. After our lengthy visit to the coffee shop (a favorite of ours in the town of Bishop), I joined Kool-Aid on a jaunt over to the Mammoth Mountaineering Gear Exchange Shop. I perused for deals while he talked to the staff about selling some of his items. We each walked out with some “new” $3 t-shirts too since his was ripped and I wanted something else to wear during my time away from the trail.
Soon after, Kool-Aid was packed and ready to go. Our hiking team met up to say our goodbyes and well wishes and then parted ways, Kool-Aid over to the side of the road in hopes of hitchhiking north. The rest of us (Calzone, Cheer, Snickers, and myself) checked out of the motel and made our way over to The Hostel California and got ourselves a room for the night.
This place was great! We ended up getting a room of bunks for the four of us, plus two other hikers. It was pretty full even after a batch of hikers had left that morning…my guess would be 98% of the guests were PCT hikers. It had all the things we needed and then some and was nice and bright colored!
Once settled in, we did some laundry across the road, got to see some friends from the trail who were also at the hostel (and exchange tales of the trail as well as plans going forward), and then visit the famous Eric Schat’s Bakery for lunch…a bit full of traveling tourists, but such a cool place with displays full of all kinds of breads and tasty treats. Their giant sandwiches were indeed very scrumptious. During our lunch conversing, Calzone, Cheer, and I did some more scheming for our trailcation to Yosemite and came up with a plan to rent a car for our journey!
The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent hanging around and getting things ready for our next steps. Snickers sadly had developed an injury to his knee during our descent down the infamous talus of Taboose Pass, and so he was resting it with ice on and off. I did some pack rearranging, blog writing, and then to finish the night off joined some others in the hostel living room to watch Dead Poets Society on VHS.
“Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”
– John Keating
At the end of the flik, inspired and shook a little, I watched as the end credits rolled. And then realized nobody was going to turn it off since everyone had fallen asleep but me. Not surprisingly seeming as it was way past “hiker midnight,” 9:00pm, when most hikers go to sleep. I clicked the power button off the old school box TV and made my way to my top bunk, excited that tomorrow we’d be making our way to Yosemite!