I wake up excited. TOWN!
All I have to do is hike like crazy, go over Kearsarge, down to Onion Valley, get a ride to Independence and hitch to Bishop! No problem!
11 and I are especially motivated. We keep looking at a map of Bishop and fantasizing about the restaurants. I’ve never been quite this dirty in my life, so a shower is coming in a close second to food.
Kearsarge Pass is off the PCT and the tread and grade of the trail changes noticeably. It’s kind of just a path straight up. But, I have a new friend – GU gel. I slurp down a caramel flavored tube with a yeti on the package and, before I know it, yeti power activates! I devour the pass for lunch and fly down the other side. I’m rocking my headphones, singing out loud. Gu may be the answer to all my pass problems!
11’s specialty is downhill. Even though I’m all yeti’ed up, she still beats me to the camp where Uber Bitch and Bristlecone, two hikers from 2013, are rumored to be angling. The vibe at their camp is a little weird – we can’t quite tell if they want us there, but Uber Bitch fills bowls of chips and salsa and I can’t pull myself away. We start discussing our exit plan and Bristlecone says he’ll drive us 15 minutes to Independence and we can get an easy hitch the 40 minutes to Bishop. Awesome!
We pile in his car and become aware of how bad we smell when he rolls down all the windows. It’s a strange thing. We don’t really smell each other or ourselves. Our senses are altered. He’s only going 40, but we think he’s flying down the hill.
He tells us that Owens Valley, where we’re headed, just may be the deepest Valley in the US – deeper than the Grand Canyon. With Whitney on one side and the White Mountains on the other, the valley is over 10,000 feet deep.
As we descend from Onion Valley, we feel the temperature change. It’s easily over 90. Bristle cone drops us off, says good bye, and we attempt to hitch.
It’s like crickets and the guy with the broom. Nothing. It’s so hot. Cars pass. Nothing. 11 and I dance around. We make a sign on the back of a box. We make eye contact with drivers. “Hey. We had a thing going. I felt a connection!” They just drive on by… Drag!
After two hours, we give up and head over to the Courthouse Motel. It’s clean and nicely managed. They give us extra soap, towels and shampoo. We blast the air conditioner and pass out. The alarm is set for 6am so we can make the first bus to Bishop.