Day 40 | mile 702.2 - 722.4

Slept really well. I knew there was no need to wake up early, so I was able to just relax. Woke up at 6:30. Stayed in my bag and listened to the birds. Made oatmeal at 7.

I’m waiting for the general store to open to pick up my packages. This store is so funny. They don’t really give a shit about the posted hours. They just show up and leave whenever. Last night they were open until 9, even though they were supposed to close at 5. And this morning they were supposed to open at 8:30. It’s 9:07 and there’s still a padlock on the door.

general store | the white haired guy sitting in front is the guy who told me I looked 22 a few weeks ago

Went in and put my name on the package list. They have a person who takes the list and looks for packages. They woman working there said to come back in 10 minutes.

breakfast area

I saw a girl I knew (Owl) and went to talk to her. We decided to get breakfast. You could get 3 pancakes and coffee for $5 and/or an egg, a hashbrown, a sausage $1 for each. I got an egg, a hashbrown, and a sausage. And while I was waiting for my name to be called, a girl across the table from me offered me one of her pancakes. She couldn’t finish all 3. 
my half-finished food

Breakfast was surprisingly good. The pancake was hot and the perfect vehicle for (fake) butter and (fake) syrup. The hashbrown was crispy. And the egg was scrambled and not dry at all. I’ll count this as a $3 win.

Went back to the store giddy with excitement to pick up my package. My heart sank when I saw my name crossed out with a big fat zero next to it. That means they didn’t have any packages for me. I was expecting 2 packages and have been so excited to get to Kennedy Meadows to receive them. 

I pleaded with them to check again. They asked me to produce the tracking info for these that show they were delivered to the store. I didn’t have tracking. I told them that people have been saying “oh, there’s mail for you the store” when they learned my name was Olga. I assumed they were talking about the packages, but the store lady pointed me to a basket with a bunch of letters. 

There was a letter there from Philip Webster. It was immaculately written and contained 10 $1 bills for the package pickup fee and snacks. This broke my heart. My friend not only sent me a package, but was really thoughtful about the pickup fee and sent me a separate letter. And I couldn’t even pick up this package. Aghhh.

I was really bummed about it. I sat around trying to decide what to do and scrambling to find tracking numbers. In the end, I decided to just buy some food to get to Lone Pine and move on with my life. 

When I was checking out with food, they let me look at the list of packages they keep. It’s alphabetized by last name. I went to G. Sure enough, my name wasn’t on there. But I noted there was another Olga. I forget exactly what the last name was, but it started with “Ga”. I just thought it was weird and left. Later when I was hiking I realized that maybe they spelled my name wrong when they were forwarding the package. I mean, what are the chances of another Olga with a last name that starts with “Ga” hiking the PCT this year.

this is what happens when you're hiking alone. you don't get the picture you've always wanted next to the kennedy meadows sign, but you do what you can!
I left at 11-ish. It was really hot. The first couple of miles were sandy and quite desert-like. I passed a couple of people. One girl, Emmy, was having the same shin issue I was. I told her about my experience. And she showed me some stretches to try.
not sure why these pictures are so yellow

Stopped for water 6-ish miles in. This guy wearing bright pink pants introduced himself as Flamingo. When I said my name was Olga, he said “Oh! You’re friends with Radar, right? I went to high school with him.” I was mostly amused that Radar considers me a friend. He was always very reserved and I never knew if he found my presence annoying. But he considers me a friend! Be still my heart. :)
another meadow

Flamingo is super religious. He majored in youth ministry. And one of the things he said was “I follow Christ. He is the most important in my life.” Reminded me of James.
there is all this white sage on the trail. so nice to take a piece and rub it on your hands to make them smell nice for a change. (also makes me crave gnocchi.)

I passed all these people I had passed before. It was weird running into them again. But also kind of fun. I explained how I got off the trail and why.

The trail climbed from 6,000 ft to 10,000 ft. Very gradually though. Nothing too hard. The weather got cooler and cooler as I climbed. The day started very very hot. And ended with my fingers numb from an ice cold stream.

Ramen and crackers with tuna for dinner. I’m at a cowboy camp at 10,111 ft under a beautiful starry sky partially obstructed by pine trees. Saw a marmot this evening! Feeling good! No shin pain today.