a journey of 2,652 miles
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL 2018
starts with a single step.
Miles 788.5 (+1.5 on Bullfrog Lake Trail) to Onion Valley (7.5 mile hike). Creek camp to Bishop.
It was so nice to get into camp early yesterday and knowing that today we will finally reach Bishop. Sweet civilization, we do miss you sometimes! We get up extra early in order to get to the Onion Valley trailhead from where we hope to get a ride as soon as possible. When we get up it is still kind of dark, but by the time we leave camp, we can already see the surroundings. It is very quiet, it’s gonna be another beautiful sunny day and the prospect of soon eating a delicious breakfast puts us in the best mood. It’s only 7.5 miles to the trailhead from here. We are currently not on the PCT and in order to leave the Sierras we need to take this 9 mile detour across Kearsarge Pass. Twice. Because when we get back on the PCT after our zero-day in Bishop we will have to climb Kearsarge Pass again. From the other side. 18 miles extra. Oh the things we do for some delicious food, drinks, a shower and laundry! By now we have also run out of food anyway and the resupply we will be doing in Bishop will have to last for 9 days until we reach Mammoth Lakes.
Back to the moment. Kearsarge Pass is ahead of us. It’s another steep climb. It’s beautiful. The landscape is so serence, untouched, it’s so quiet. And suddenly, out of the blue, we see two deer standing less than 5 meters away from us. They stand right by the trail where we have to walk and they don’t budge at all. They look at us curiously when we are less than 2 meters away from them. But they don’t seem bothered by us at all. How special is this! The sun is not yet shining down into the valley, but the peaks around it are already glowing in a warm light and are reflected by the many lakes in the valley. After less than 40 minutes we reach the top of Kearsarge Pass and with that, step into the bright morning light. The other side of any pass is always so great to look at! This feeling of accomplishment, of seeing something new that was always there – I love it! From here we can see all the way down to the desert valley again. There are new lakes that render us speechless. We take it all in. There is also a marmot there having breakfast. We join it and have our own little first breakfast consisting of our last Snickers bars. And we have cell service here! I quickly call up some hotels in Bishop to make a reservation. The Red Roof Inn it is. $139 a night, but the cheapest we could find and at this point we don’t care. We are so excited to be sleeping in a bed tonight and get to have a shower. Oh those little things!
We quickly make our way down to the Onion Valley trailhead. We still have 4.5 miles to go, so it should take us at least 1.5 hours if not more. And then we are finally here. We cross the parking lot which is full of cars even this early in the morning. There is nobody about to leave and we already start wondering how long we are gonna have to wait for a ride down to Independence, or even Bishop directly. But before we can put our thumbs out, a van passes us, slows down and asks if we are interested in a ride down. Yes, of course, we are, and thank you so very much! This lovely couple has camped at the Onion Valley campground and now they are on their way back home to LA. We quickly toss our packs into their already pretty stuffed van and jump in in the backseats. The drive down to the desert floor leaves us astonished. We are back in the desert! Nobody warned us that we were gonna be back in this hot climate and we are not sure if we like it! They drop us off in Independence from where we will now try to get a hitch to Bishop which is still about 40 miles away. But this time we have no luck. We give up after about 40 minutes and decide to wait for the bus that will leave about 1.5 hours later - and then go for breakfast at a nearby coffee shop/store. We have cell service now and just kind of drown in the flood of messages that has reached us in the last couple of days. We are busy replying to texts, reading the paper etc., and head back to the highway 1.5hours later. I try my luck again and put my thumb out – we might not have to wait for the bus after all – and actually do get lucky after about 15 minutes. A really nice Mexican American called Carlos stops for us and off we are to Bishop. It takes almost an hour to get there. The drive through the desert makes us think how we actually managed to hike in these conditions for almost 7 weeks. It’s crazy, but it already feels unimaginable!
When we arrive in Bishop we quickly make our way to the hotel. Luckily our room is ready for us even if it’s only noon. And so our zero begins. Unpacking, showering, doing the dishes, throwing away the trash. Then over to the laundromat to get the laundry done. Check out the mountaineering stores in the meantime. Buy new shorts for me since I lost my last ones in Chicken Spring Lake. Buy new shoes, insoles and braces for Dario because he’s been showing symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis. Poor Dario, he’s really suffered in the last couple of days as his right foot arch has been really painful. With two more shopping bags and about 350$ less on our bank account we make our way back to the laundromat and put our clothes into the dryer. The stuff sacks, tent foot print etc. we take with us and hang them up to dry in a nearby park. We chill there for a while until the rest of the laundry is done and then head to McDonalds. We stuff our faces for 20$ (which is actually a looot of food) and then go back to the hotel to rest for a little while. We’ve made plans with Sirio “Doors” from Switzerland and Simon “BBC Radio” to have dinner later tonight. We crave some authentic Pasta and there is an Italian restaurant nearby. We meet up later, it feels so good to see those guys again, they’re both so awesome! Dinner is good, not as authentic as we’d hoped, but it’s a lovely night with lots of wine and beer and excellent company. When the clocks nears 11pm we leave the restaurant and decide to do our resupply. Yes, Shopping at 11pm – welcome to ‘Murica! In we go to Von’s. We are a little drunk, quite tired, but in a very funny mood. We get the resupply done in less than an hour (for 9 days! Tipsy!) and walk back to the hotel. Everyone complains about the 1 mile walk back to the hotel. Thruhikers are interesting people. Simon and Dario even miss the junction back to the hotel and walk a few extra yards. By 1am we are finally in bed. In bed! Yay! :)