Days: 052 to 057
Date: Wednesday, 14 June, to Monday, 19 June 2017
Start: Left the PCT at Mile 788.5
Finish: Left the PCT at Mile 788.5
Daily Miles: 0.0 PCT
Total PCT Miles: 788.5
Weather: Generally hot and sunny
Nutrition: Lots of food
Aches: Face, hands and various abrasions and bruising on the body recovering
Highlight: None in particular
Lowlight: None in particular
Pictures: No pictures
Map: Click here for Google Map
I spent the last three days of last week in Bishop replacing some gear and clothing that has become too worn, and recuperating from the previous week’s rigours. My facial wounds made me well-known around town and my name was remembered in the delicious bakery I frequented for breakfast and lunch.
Bishop was hosting the California State High School Rodeo Championships, so boots, denim, big belt buckles and cowboy hats were in vogue, and in contrast to the garb worn by the PCT hikers in town – shorts, sandals, T-shirts and unkempt hair. The locals were welcoming, and there were some excellent outdoors stores, which enabled me to replace my aging tent with the exact model I wanted, get another hat, and buy some new shorts with a drawstring waistband so that I can keep my shorts up as I lose weight.
I made a bus trip to the busy resort of Mammoth Lakes to collect my “bounce box” from the Post Office there and spent a lot of time working out where I could get back on the trail and avoid the worst of the snow, how I would get there, and what a revised schedule would look like. I decided to rejoin the trail near Chester at Mile 1328.8, skipping 540.3 miles, which I will return to do later. There will still be snowy sections ahead, but I’m hoping they will be short and not particularly dangerous.
It was good to take it easy for a few days, and I could feel myself regaining strength, though the giardiasis is still with me. I took the opportunity to see Wonder Woman in the small local theatre (glad I only paid $5!) and met a few of my hiking friends from earlier in the trip, some of whom were skipping ahead like me, and others returning to tackle the high country.
To get to Chester, I hired a car (asked for a compact and was given a minivan) and spent the weekend driving to Reno via a circuitous route which took in Death Valley and Las Vegas and then some parts of Nevada, including the Extraterrestrial Highway, that I have not previously visited. It was an enjoyable roadtrip and a nice change to be driving along through very hot desert (110+°F) with cold drinks on hand. I always have mixed feelings about Las Vegas. There’s lots of good value to be had in terms of entertainment, accommodation and food, and it’s amazing what has been built in the desert, but there is also plenty of visible evidence of the negative impacts of gambling. Reno is a poor cousin and perhaps more depressing.
After spending last night in Reno, and returning the hire car this morning, I caught a bus to Susanville (1.5 hours) this afternoon and very early tomorrow morning will catch another bus to Chester and then hitchhike the 7 miles to the trail and start hiking again. There is currently a heatwave, forecast to last until the end of the week, which will likely make hiking unpleasant. I have mailed my crampons and ice axe to my next town, Dunsmuir, where I intend to pick them up for snow in the Lassen area. While waiting at the Greyhound bus station in Reno, I bumped into Brandon, who was also now skipping the High Sierras. He returned the PCT in the High Sierras from Bishop, but after two days and several more creek crossings, one of which was particularly dangerous, he exited the mountains deciding discretion was the better part of valour.