June 30, 2018
Back to the trail! I think I might be bipolar. With as anxious as I’ve been the last few days about the prospect of having to end my hike so suddenly, I was reluctant to get up this morning. Not because I didn’t want to hike, but because the guest bed was so comfy, and it felt so nice to be clean, and…it’s such a long way to Canada. But here I go!
After bidding a very fond farewell to Kris, Bob and I made a quick stop at Sprouts so I could grab some garlic supplements, and then he drove me all the way to the Echo Lake Chalet, which was an hour and 45 minutes away! He wouldn’t accept any gas money, of course. I thanked him profusely and watched as he pulled away from the parking area, suddenly feeling quite alone. I’d started at the Mexican border with four other hikers I’d met the previous night, then I’d hiked out of Mammoth Lakes with Couch Potato, who I’d known for at least a few days.
Now, standing at the curb of the chalet parking lot with my pack, I felt more like a solo hiker than I ever had before. It was not a bad feeling, just a strange one. I turned toward the chalet and immediately spotted a few scraggly-looking young people sitting under the trees, their tans deep and their gear battered. Thru-hikers! I went and dropped my pack near them and they greeted me like I was one of their own even though we’d never met. We chatted about the Sierra, about gear changes and how nice it was not to have to carry bear cans and microspikes, and about food.
Cell service was spotty at the chalet, but I was able to touch base with Ghosthiker via text. She and Sparky had just gotten into S. Lake Tahoe and were trying to resupply and get showers, but it sounded like they wouldn’t be getting back on trail until later in the afternoon. I considered waiting for them, but other than the few hikers I’d talked to earlier there wasn’t a lot of hikertrash around or really anywhere for us to sit. This seemed more like an upscale camp and boat launch area, and I didn’t feel comfortable hanging around for too long. I eventually decided to hike out and just take it easy. Maybe make it a short day so Sparky and Ghosthiker can catch up to me easily.
I am now in the Northern California section of the PCT. It felt fitting to be starting a brand new section today. Because it’s 4th of July weekend there were tons of day hikers out. At first, I was like, aw, look at all the nice day hikers getting outside and enjoying the sunshine together! But after a few miles and constantly having to make way for huge groups of people I was more like OMGdayhikerseverywheregetoutmywaybitchigotplacestobe!!!!!!
At Aloha Lake, I took about an hour-long break. It was so beautiful, and even though my feet were feeling pretty good I soaked them for a minute in the cool water. No point taking any chances. I moved quickly along the lake but stopped often, considering stopping and setting up camp early to wait for Sparky and Ghosthiker here because it was just so beautiful. But there were day hikers and weekenders everywhere and I had a lot of energy. I really wanted to move and get away from all the people, so I hiked on.
After hearing other thru-hikers talking about their plans to camp on top of Dicks Pass, I decided I might, too. I pushed on. I considered several tent sites along the way but by that point I knew it was unlikely that Sparky and Ghosthiker would catch up to me tonight, so I ended up hiking all the way up and camping on the pass with the others. Well, sort of. I set up my tent at a distance from everyone else because I wanted to have a good view of the sunset from my tent. I wasn’t disappointed.
I watched the sun set while I made dinner.