We woke inside a frozen tent that was starting to drip on my head. I tried to lay still to avoid getting my sleeping bag soaked. Josh sat up first and dressed and I followed shortly after. We packed up everything wet and icy and started out toward town.
We yielded to a group of thru hikers that were faster than us and we chatted briefly while they passed by. We stopped often to take photos of the lakes, each one more beautiful than the last. The trail rose in tiers to reveal more lakes until we reached the base of the pass. Here the trail climbed steeply and we tried to make out which notch we were going to pop out of. Of course we were wrong about where the pass was and climbed higher and higher. At last we made it to the top and took photos quickly in the freezing wind. As soon as we dropped over the other side it was warm and we descended passing more crystal lakes as we went. This place is amazing. Truly it is. I can't even find the words to explain the beauty here and the contrast of how rugged the terrain is to cross, is an interesting juxtaposition.
We passed several day hikers and thrus on their way up. We were feeling happy to be heading to town and anxious to get to Schatt's bakery! The lower we got in elevation the better I felt and was almost running down the trail! My legs felt strong and body light in this new found oxygen. It made me realize that after the Sierra I will be ready for big miles in Northern California and especially Oregon.
We arrived at the trailhead and tried to yogi a ride with little success until we spotted a backpacker heading to his car. Josh hit him up for a ride and he agreed but said he was in a hurry. We piled into his little Honda and rode down the mountain. It turned out he was going all the way to Bishop so we were in luck! Our trail angel was doing support for a lady who is trying to break the John Muir Trail speed record by doing the entire 224 mile trail IN 3 DAYS! Holy shit! I can't imagine that!
We arrived in Bishop around noon and the air was thick and hot. We jumped out at the Holiday Inn and tried to get a room. The hotel staff there was really discombobulated and we were hungry/cranky so we decided to leave and get some food before trying to get a room somewhere else. We crossed the street and went into a swarmingly packed Schatt's Bakery. We ordered sandwiches and sodas and fought our way out to find a place to sit. The food was amazing and I was entertained by all of the people. Everyone seemed to be putting on this show for each other, like some weird mating ritual or something. Everyone was ignoring everyone else but moving like they were being watched. Every time we go into town I observe humans with a new perspective and realize we as a species is really weird. I can almost feel all of the tiny dramas unfolding all around us over stuff that seems trivial like not getting a pickle with your sandwich, especially after dealing with things like running out of food or water or being stuck on a high mountain pass in a lightening storm. I used to be one of those trivial people and now, the further I go on the trail, I see how silly I was. In a way it's nice to sit in my smelly clothes and not give a shit about how my hair looks in the crowd but in another way it makes me feel more and more like I don't belong, anywhere.
We finished eating and walked to a couple of hotels to check rates before settling on The Comfort Inn. While we were checking in Josh asked the clerk if there was an alterations shop in the area that could see the seam of his shorts. The clerk offered to sew them herself and handed him a business card for her seamstress business! The trail provides.
We checked into our room and it was wonderful. We sat for a long time in bed even before taking a shower and just rested. The rest of the night we spent getting clean and fed.
Right now it's noon a couple days later and I'm still in that hotel room. Vortexed? Maybe, but I don't care. I'll go tell you about that now.
Until tomorrow, goodnight!