Day 42 | zero in Lone Pine

Didn't actually get to bed until 11:30. Was looking at my resupply options in Eastern Sierra. Woke up at 6:30. The plan was to take advantage of the continental breakfast from 5-10 and hit it twice.
Peeled myself out of bed and limped to breakfast. (See yesterday's post about the blister.) The eggs and potatoes were atrocious, but everything else was good! I had a bowl of raisin bran, a yogurt, coffee, orange juice, sausage, bacon, egg, potatoes, an automatically dispensed pancake, a muffin, and another coffee. Love me a continental breakfast.

I needed to do a few things today:
  1. get a Whitney Portal permit for Alex and Brent;
  2. charge all my devices;
  3. buy a warmer sleeping pad;
  4. decide if I need an ice axe and learn to use it;
  5. figure out where to resupply;
  6. wait for Alex and Brent to get here
I wanted to get the permit out of the way first. The ranger station hours are 8-5 and it is 1.5 miles away from the Best Western. I left breakfast at 8 and tried asking a few people leaving the hotel for ride down. They were friendly, but not friendly enough to let a stanger in their car. Decided to try hitching. 45 minutes later, nothing. I even got some disapproving head shakes. Wat. I almost burst into tears. I would've had the permit by now if I had started walking right away. And I would've walked, but my blister was hurting and this is a zero god damn it.
Finally walked back to the hotel and asked the receptionist if there were any ride services. She gave me a number for a dial-a-ride. Within 3 minutes, a woman picked me in a short bus. Hilarious. She drives this whole bus around to basically be subsidized Uber for individuals. It was $3 to get to the ranger station.
Permit was no problem. It was free and I even got Mt. Whitney toilet kits complete with toilet paper and hand sanitizer. (You have to pack out all human waste.) Got a ride back with some weekend hikers. I wanted to knock out #3 while I had a ride, so they dropped me off downtown.
The main outfitter here didn't have any real backpacking stuff. Their pads were car camping pads. Too heavy. The other store was more backpacking-oriented, but still didn't have the pad I wanted. The guy was nice to talk to though, so we chatted about snow safety and skimo. He almost sold me on an ice axe, but I got stingy. I spent my Lone Pine budget on the Best Western. :)
I walked to the post office to mail some postcards. It was about a mile back to the hotel, so I tried hitching. Maybe I'd have better luck downtown. NOPE. It's the resting bitch face, right? I hate hitching so much. Gave up and walked most of the way there. Finally a truck pulled over and gave me ride the rest of the way there. (My back was to him when he pulled up, so my resting bitch face theory holds.)
I wasted so much time trying to hitch that the breakfast was over. My plan to hit breakfast twice didn't pan out. Went back to the hotel and laid on the bed the remaining 25 minutes before check out. I had made friends with a woman staying in the room next to me when I was out doing laundry. She offered her room to store my pack last night, but I hadn't seen her at breakfast. I wondering if I should go knock on her door. At 10:59, I turned off the air conditioner and checked out.
I had all day to kill, so I asked if I could use the pool and the receptionist hesitantly said yes. I knocked on Alison's door and asked if she wanted to hang at the pool. She said she'd meet me there. I wore my sports bra and underwear (which totally passed for a black swimsuit) and cannonballed into the empty pool. I don't know why it was empty. It was really hot and the pool has a stunning view of Eastern Sierra. Soon enough a bunch of kids and their grandma piled in. It was really fun to watch them.

I was trying to even out my ridiculous sock tan by putting sunscreen on my dark legs and sunning my feet and ankles. Not sure it worked. I was out for maybe 30 minutes when Alison joined. We chatted for hours. She brought a bucket of ice and stolen orange juice from breakfast. She kept refilling her plastic cup with ice and OJ, watering it down with my water bottle, and stirring it with her finger. She was like a character from a novel. We jumped into the pool a couple more times and made the kids laugh. I had a great time. (She's in her 50s, I think?)

Alison had errands to run, so she dried off and got up to leave at 2. She offered me a ride downtown. I laid out another 15 minutes as she got ready. She dropped me off near the library.

The library hours are 2-7 PM. I thought the hours were odd, but once I got her I understood why. It's a tiny building and I was the only person here. I whispered asking to use a computer. The librarian gave me login info. There are time limits on the computer. 30 min/session, 2 sessions/day. Did I mention I was the only person here?

Logged on and updated my blog. I think I got the librarian's respect by typing fast, being quiet, and not using social media. She let me use the computer longer than an hour. When you log in, a window pops up and says "This copy of windows is not genuine". Made me laugh almost out loud, but contained myself because it's the library. Shhhh.

Forrest called at 4 and we talked logistics about his tentative plans to hike from Mammoth to Tuolumne Meadows with me.

Now, I'm sure you're wondering about my battery pack situation. I got a quick charge input battery pack and outlet to charge it. Plugged it in overnight and during the day, and it's still blinking on the 3/4 level. After watching it blink for a while I realized it would stop blinking after a few seconds then turn back on. This didn't happen when I used it with non-QC USB outlet. So, now I'm not sure which piece is at fault: the battery pack or the outlet dingus. The outcome is as clear as it is unfortunate. I've been in this town for 24 hours and I'm not fully charged. And I'm about to go out into one of the most remote parts of the PCT.

Alex and Brent are on their way. Their ETA is 11 PM and our plan is to drive up to Horseshoe Meadow and camp there. It'll be good for us to acclimate to the altitude up there.

I'm hoping to meet up with Alison dinner. She wants to take me to a taco truck here. Posting this now because I'm not sure the librarian will be kind enough to offer another 30 minutes. :)