Day 41 | mile 722.4 - 745.3

Well, sleeping at 10,111 ft was supposed to be my Sierra sleep setup test. And I passed, but barely. I got an F+. My bag was great, but I could feel the cold ground through my sleeping pad all night long. So, I didn’t sleep that well.

Woke up at 5:30. Oatmeal. On the trail at 6:30. A little cold. My fingers were numb even though I was wearing gloves. The views were incredible and the miles were easy. 

Stopped for water 6 miles. There was a chatty section hiker camping nearby. We talked while I was filtering. Her name is Melissa. She was talking about her hip pain and how she doesn’t think she could do the whole PCT. Then she goes “I had some mushrooms last night”. My automatic response to mushrooms kicked in, “ohh that sounds really good!” She goes, “yes, it was. You want some?” I was so confused. Was she offering me her last night’s beef stroganoff leftovers? All I could manage was, “what kind of mushrooms?” “Uh. Hallucinogenic mushrooms.” “Ooooh”

She told me about her trip yesterday and the day before. Sounded cool, so I ate some.

(Jk. I wish I was that cool.)

Stopped for lunch at a spot that overlooked Owens Valley. The views were absolutely jaw dropping. And it had ATT reception. Double-win. And then this fighter jet flew just over this saddle where a bunch of hikers were sitting (and I was still standing) maybe 200 ft over us. It was so incredibly close and loud. It did a sideways roll and dove into the valley. So cool.

I was still buzzing when Alex called. We got to chance to chat about Mt. Whitney and Lone Pine logistics. I’m coming in to Lone Pine tonight, and he and Brent are coming Thursday night. We begin our hike on Friday.

I ate another 2 packets of oatmeal for lunch. And nutter butters. So hungry.

Put on Ender’s Game to crank out the last 10 miles. About 4 miles from the junction to Horseshoe Meadows I started feeling something in my right footpad. Like there was something in my shoe. I stopped 3 separate times to take off my socks and shoes and shake everything out. It still hurt. I took off the liner on my right foot. Mistake!

The real mistake was to wear the same pair of dirty socks 4 days in a row. I have no idea why i thought that was a good idea. I had never done it before Walker Pass. And I didn’t get any blisters as a result. Don’t know why I decided to mix it up. I was carrying clean socks the whole time. Ugh. Dumb.

Walked 2.2 from the PCT to Horseshoe Meadows. Finished Ender’s Game. A hiker (Tumbleweed) was coming from the parking lot and said there was a trail angel giving people rides into Lone Pine. Phew! I was pretty worried about the hitch. And I didn’t have any food left to spend the night. 

Mike gave me a ride. It was gorgeous. The trail is way up in the mountains, and the town is in the valley (7,000 ft below). You drive on this crazy road with a classic-Sierra dropoff on one side. It’s made even more beautiful by sitting in an air conditioned car instead of sweating your ass off walking it.

Mike dropped me off at McDonald’s so I can figure out my next move. While I was figuring it out I got 2 McDoubles with mayo and a McFlurry. So good.

I talked to Alex as he was walking tot he train from work. I was considering getting an inflatable sleeping pad for the Sierra. But it wasn’t in stock at REI in San Carlos, so that’s that. Also decided to skip the ice axe. I don’t even know how to use it. Don’t really want this $120 piece of metal hanging off my backpack for 200 miles. (Am I going to regret this?)

Got off the phone with Alex telling him I’m heading to the hostel. As I was leaving, the prospect of getting a top bunk in a hostel (I always get a fucking top bunk), waiting in line for a shower, fighting for an outlet to charge my stuff, talking to all the anxious hikers about the Sierra just sounded less and less appealing. I went to Best Western, instead.

I feel super guilty for spending so much on one night at Lone Pine. It was $150. I took a long shower and ran a bath. I don’t remember the last time I took a bath. It felt awesome on my tired body.

Doing laundry now and mindlessly “watching” American ninja warrior.