Wednesday, 25 July 2012
We left bishop late morning and hitched back to the trail head. I tried to look as neat and tidy as possible to get a ride but that has become increasingly hard after 2 months on the trail. We walked to the base of kearsearge pass and set up camp above a lake. The next day I collected snow at the top of glen pass and made iced coffee for lunch. I did not collect any yellow snow. We camped in the river valley at the bottom of woods ck and had a wicked campfire. Wiz and cactus taught me a dice game called silo and we gambled for drink sachets. Turns out peach mango is not a very popular flavour and was mostly used to piss off anyone who bet any other packet first.

The next day we walked up woods creek which ran in part, straight over a slope of solid granite. It had not eroded into a canyon yet and spilled over the rock like a waterside. I did not attempt to ride this slide as the result probably would have been a broken limb and/or face. We crossed over pinchot pass and camped at the base of mather pass at almost 12,000 ft. It was a very cold night cowboy camping and our water bottles had ice in them in the morning. We had a long downhill (my favourite) to the valley floor the next day and Unbeknownst to me I passed cactus who was soaking a severely injured foot. he didn't end up catching up to wiz, Dubz, action pack and I before the end of the day but He would have been impressed with the camp site we made beside the creek with such extreme speed. I believe we should probably be classed as thru-campers now as we are getting up increasingly late in the morning (830 am starts) and finishing early (7pm) to make sweet campfires. The next day was muir pass and it was my best day so far. The climb up was beautiful and we stopped multiple times to soak in the scenery. The best stop was lunch where dubz thought it would have been funny if a narwhal appeared out of the glacial lake and offered us snow cones. Cheeeery flaaavourred. fun times.

On top of muir pass there was muir hut, a stone hut with a cone shaped roof. It was a nice afternoon surprise as none of us had bothered to read our guidebooks the last few days. We had a great view of a mini glacier (not a real glacier) where the remaining snow on the south side of the pass appeared to flow down slope for a couple of hundred meters. Geology! I ran the last 8 miles down the hill set up camp just below 10,000 ft so we could have a campfire. I built a fire. I built the fire to make hot coals. We use them to cook every night now as we like to save fuel, but really it is just a good excuse to stop early every day.

The next day we walked down evolution valley. Cactus had miraculously recovered the previous day after an eagle flew over him when resting. Spirit animal. And he caught up to us when we were chilling at the first spot with no Mosquitos in the valley. We took a mini side trip down to a waterfall to take photos. Ec talked us out of swimming in a dangerous hole below the waterfall, and we took a swim in a calmer spot further down the valley. It was unbelievably cold. George castanza was correct when he claimed shrinkage is a real thing.

Our next major stop was the vermillion valley resort where we caught a ferry to and took a zero day. I had steak, eggs and pancakes for breakfast. Delicious! Cactus, wiz and I played risk and drank beer. It was a very productive day.

The next day we walked to purple lake and I met some kiwis who were doing the John Muir trail southbound. They said the trail so far had too much forest and switchbacks and it was boring. I told them that the trail coming up was amazing and they shouldn't worry. What I didn't know is that they had just walked past Virginia lake, one of the most amazing lakes on the trail. If I have known that I would have told them they were crazy to think any of the sierras were boring. We went for a swim at the lake and sat on the shore for an hour until it started to get dark. We walked on to purple lake where Dubz and Ec had started a campfire for us lazy boys.

We walked the last 10 or so miles into reds meadow and I had a milkshake and a beer. We got the bus into mammoth where little steps had our accommodation sorted. We slept in a condo, dubz and ec made grilled cheese for dinner and I made eggs Benedict in the morning.

Photos now attached.
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Wednesday, 4 July 2012
I walked with Virgo out of Kennedy meadows at night 3 miles to a campground. From the campground we only had walked 12 or so miles the next day before we had more trail magic at swallow bridge. Tom, dip, crash, kooshie, and griffon were waiting with food, beer and margaritas. Unfortunately we had to leave the magic and keep walking and virgo and i did a 25 mile day and i reached 10,000 ft (3050 m) elevation for the first time. I enjoy walking with Virgo as he sets a good pace and we have great chats about life and the trail. I struggled big time climbing with the high elevations and after another big 23 mile day the next day, I knew had to slow down. Unfortunately I did not communicate this to Virgo very well and he ended up waiting for me at Crabtree meadows after 15 miles in the afternoon for god knows how long as I dawdled around taking photos of marmots and chatting to other hikers all day. He ended up leaving about 10 minutes before I got there and I have unfortunately not seen him since.

I walked to Wallace creek to set up camp where I was attacked by a pack of extremely agitated Mosquitos. I ran up the adjacent hill and set up camp on a ridge overlooking the mountains. It was the first time I had camped alone since tehachapi and it was nice to sit back and reflect on the trail so far - the miles I had walked, the desert sections i had finally left and the amazing people I have met along the way. The next morning I walked half a mile to the next stream and found 2 members of the whiskey gang as well as 5 members of the extended whiskey gang family getting ready to split camp. After 3 weeks of walking I had finally caught them.

That day we hiked up forester pass which is the highest point on the trail (13,153 ft, 4009 m). This year is an abnormally low snow year and we had about 20m of snow walking on the north side of the pass. This small section made me miss a switchback and i took the fastest way down to the lake, which was a cliff. I saw condor down at the base if the cliff and he asked what the hell i was thinking. I told him am a pretty extreme dude. The whiskey gang and i camped beside a lake to set up for a 7 mile walk over kearsearge pass into onion valley and bishop the next day. I woke up with my bag covered in frost and my sleeping bag wet from rolling around in the frost all night trying to get warm. As my bag has a semi waterproof pertex outer layer it wasn't too cold, but maybe it would have been a good idea to set up the tarp tent.

We walked out over the pass in the morning and I ran down the hill. having no food in my pack was liberating and it helped being able to go fast with minimal knee impact. We received some trail magic at onion valley where uber and bristle cone were camped out with soup, snacks, beer and soda. Über gave us a ride down to independence so we could hitch to bishop and I had a subway footlong. It tasted the same as in new Zealand.

I picked up a new pack frame that granite gear had sent to me as my old one had snapped 400 miles earlier and had started cutting my back 200 miles ago. Unfortunately my shoes did not arrive in time. Wiz, Dubz and I got a 45 minute hitch in the back of a white van into bishop sitting on pieces of used chip board. It was very hot in the back of the van with no air flow and no seats.

We got into bishop and mellow yellow had sorted out a room at a motel. We slept 6 stinky hikers in the room which was pretty cool as I had always imagined this exact experience when reading books about the pct over the last 5 years. Smelly but awesome.

I purchased some clothes from the thrift store and mellow, wiz and I hit the town. The locals were uncharacteristically standoffish but we found some friendly enough locals to drink with and we drank pitchers to we were kicked out at closing time. The next day was a bit of a write off and we got breakfast and sorted out our resupplies. As the supermarket was a mile away we pushed the shopping trolley with 6 people's food back to the motel like hobos. On the way we got hungry and dipped into KFC. As we did not want to leave our food outside we did the smart thing and pushed the trolley into KFC - i think we are now real hiker trash, or just hobos.

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