Today marked the beginning of my 6th week on trail, and almost as importantly, my first ZERO day… Hiker speak for zero miles hiked!
I spent most of the day organizing gear and coordinating logistics which I will get into later.
As many hikers do in this area, I hitched 40 mikes up the road to the much bigger town of Bishop. This is Brett showing us how it’s done with the High Sierra behind us. We got a ride pretty quickly from a lady who was driving from San Diego to Tahoe. I didn’t even have to ride in the back of an open pick up truck…front seat of a Prius!
After spending the last day and a half assessing trail conditions ahead and the potential risks of the upcoming sections I made the only rational decision I could realistically make…skip ahead so as to not get in a position where I have to choose between fording a creek that shouldn’t be crossed or backtracking 40+ miles off a side trail to town. There have been some harrowing accounts posted on Facebook recently (https://www.facebook.com/marcus.mazzaferri/posts/10209213010268845). The situation out there becomes very binary, as in everything is good until, it’s not!
After that decision was made I had to figure out where to go. Snow will not be avoided this year (not my reason for skipping sections either) but I will be able to minimize some of the biggest risks. The final decision is to go to Chester, CA (~Mile 1325) which is 8 miles from the trail and near Lassen Volcanic Park. From there I will hike North to Canada and then I will figure out how to get back to Chester and hike South through the Sierra finishing at Kearsarge Pass, where I left the trail yesterday.
Then there is the matter of figuring out where to leave gear (bear canisters, ice axes, etc) and decide whether micro-spikes are needed (yes).
Then figure out new locations to send resupply boxes to. Lastly, there was the matter of coordinating the timing of three shuttles to get me 350+ miles north.
The other good news is that Loco and Bronco made it out of the mountains today and were in high spirits after showers, laundry, food and drink.
They also had a difficult journey over their last 5 days and were torn as to what to do moving forward, but ultimately liked the fact I had figured everything out and were on board with jumping north tomorrow. So at least I will have some company on the 12 hours of travel to Chester.