Miles - 15
I wake up before anybody else and I’m on the trail for 5:30. It’s a few miles ascent then I join the Kearsarge Pass which is a 7 miles hike and 2000 ft to climb out and down into Onion Valley from there I can hitch 15 miles to Independent. I pass by several beautiful lakes. After being in the desert for 700 miles the glory of all the water never gets old and the lakes are incredibly blue. Since I was already at a decent height the descend doesn’t take that long to reach the gateway to the side trail. I meet York going out and we chat briefly. We met at Kennedy Meadows and share a similar trail name. He is section hiking and heading back to the trail. Up and up I climb, the path gravelly and slippery. I reach the saddle and look back behind at the greeny. I’ll be back by nightfall hopefully. Going down the other side seems to take forever. Down and down I go, it’s a popular area as I pass loads of people. A lady gives me some peanut butter spread and I pass a trail pack heading up. It consists of a man riding a horse and two donkeys following.
By the end of it my feet are ready for a rest. I hobble over to the water fountain and can’t seem to work the tap. A guy who was passing comes over and makes it work then he asks if I want a lift down. Easiest hitch ever! He waits for his brother and also two other PCT hikers. They are called Confucius and Melo. We put our bags in the back which is laden with logs and get in the back seats. We are still several 1000ft above town and my ears pop twice as we drive down. It’s a small town and he drops us at the petrol station. There are showers, laundry, a subway and a decent store to resupply at. I get a large tuna subway and refillable small drink. I charge up my phones and message people as I haven’t been in touch with for a weeks.
The group I camped with last night arrive and we claim the pavement/sidewalk and benches as hiker trashs commences. It’s so hot down at city level and we all wilt in the shade drinking beer. The majority of people are going to hitch or get bus to Bishop and go to the hostel there. Melo and I hitch back to the trail - to Onion Valley. There are others hikers waiting for a lift in the shade sitting down and lazily lifting a thumb at every car that drives by. Melo and I stand and wave energetically and we managed to get the first car. Three guys are heading up for a long wkd. We discuss what our last meals would be if we were on death row. I think mine would be a Sunday roast followed by cake and custard. It’s 5ish by the time we get there and a decent time to hike after the afternoon heat has faded. Back up I hike. I set off first and amaze myself with my stamina. I only stop twice! It felt a lot taller coming down today. I’m amazed with what a large subway can do. It’s a nice hike up and I loose the sun on my way up. Once at the top I’m bathed in sunlight again on the other side. I chill on the top and Melo overtakes - he is scared of heights so doesn’t want to stop. I start my period. I walk down and camp at the bottom next to Kearsarge lakes. Melo is already there with his tent. The moon is huge and bathes everything is light.