June 2, 2018
Day 73 was another zero day, which really helped me recharge after the stress of climbing Mt. Whitney and Forrester Pass, and to prepare myself for an 8-10 day trek before the next town stop. Sparky and Ghosthiker were planning to go to Vermillion Valley Resort, but I was not. I’d heard it was a bit on the pricey side and so I hadn’t planned to stop there even before my budget was looking stretched. I could just as easily wait for Sparky and Ghosthiker in Mammoth Lakes, our next planned town stop after Bishop.
I slept in until about 6:15am, then waited for the young German girl in the 4th bunk to depart before finally getting out of bed. Sparky and Ghosthiker had left about an hour ago to get coffee I assume, but I was feeling so heavy with sleep I didn’t even move when they were getting up.
I took my time comfortably getting myself woken up in the privacy of an empty room, in a bed large enough to stretch and flex my sore muscles in, washed my face in the bathroom, changed into my loaner clothes from the hostel – some oversized shorts and a Hostel California tshirt – got some coffee in the hostel dining area, and casually went through my things to prepare to hike out tomorrow. So much to do! So many little things. This is why zeroes are good. No rest can be had if you’re in a hurry to get things done and get back on the trail.
I’d slept like a rock that first night at the Hostel California, but Sparky and Ghosthiker did not. They told me when they returned from coffee and breakfast that they were each thinking of getting their own hotel room that night. Sparky has trouble sleeping with earplugs in and I guess there were people outside in the courtyard talking late into the night. I was dead to the world and didn’t hear them. Ghosthiker sleeps with earplugs all the time but there was light coming in through cracks in the doors and windows, which make it hard for her to sleep. Sparky and Ghosthiker don’t usually stay in hostels so I could understand that they hadn’t slept well. I’m more accustomed to sleeping in a house full of people and even in a shared room. During my trip to Boston, I spent over a week at a hostel in the downtown area, and it was amazing even if it was a little noisy some nights. I always slept well.
As we sat together discussing their hotel plans, they both felt bad for “abandoning me”, as they put it, but I just smiled and laughed a little and assured them I would be just fine. I enjoy staying at hostels, I told them, plus this one had a fantastic hiker atmosphere and it would give me a chance to socialize with other hikers. Not only that, but there was a full kitchen I could use with a ton of free food in the fridge and pantry that had been left behind by other hikers, the free loaner bikes, a comfy queen bed all to myself, and a living room stocked with books, DVDs, and board games. I believe at that moment there was a group of hikers in there watching the Fellowship of the Ring on VHS with a small analog tv!
My trail family departed for their respective hotel rooms later that morning and I wandered into the kitchen to see what kind of snack I could throw together. It may seem silly that I do this, but my dad raised me to always reach for the leftovers in the fridge, to consume the things that might not keep or that were almost gone/empty. That way nothing was wasted or took up unnecessary space. Between some abandoned peanut butter, a 1/4-full squeeze bottle of jam, and some slightly stale rice cakes, I did not walk away hungry and even grabbed an extra late-morning cup of coffee.
I borrowed a bike from the hostel and went to grab a few things at Vons grocery store, which was fun. I hadn’t ridden a bike since early the previous summer when I traveled to and from work primarily on my road bike. Way too long to go without riding, in my opinion. The bike I borrowed from the hostel was a townie with a crate on the back and was fun to ride. I got some real milk to put in my coffee tomorrow (as opposed to powdered creamer – yuck!), some good cranberry juice to ward off the UTI, and a small bottle of whiskey that I’ve basically been sipping from all afternoon. I’m not really a day drinker or much of a drinker at all except on special occasions, but I was determined to spend my day feeling calm and unrushed, and whiskey helps with that. I chatted with other random hikers while I went about my day. It was lovely.
Met up with Sparky and Ghosthiker later in the afternoon and we hit up the Mountain Rambler Brewery for dinner!