Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Day 73: 1 Mile Up Kearsarge...and...1 Mile Back Down

We left the hotel at 10am and ran some errands around town before waiting for the bus for several hours. The bus on the Eastern Sierra only runs three times a day, five days a week. When the bus finally arrived we got on with a bunch of other hikers bound for Independence. Josh and I napped on the way, feeling lethargic and still worn out, until we arrived in a very windy Independence.

We grabbed our packs and stood on the side of the road to try and get a hitch up to Onion Valley. Josh was more interested in a boxer puppy that was in the yard of the house we were standing in front of and we kind of just hung out since there was no traffic. After 30 minutes we started to talk about getting a room somewhere that offered rides to the trail head, when a truck pulled up and offered us a ride. The driver gave us a list of requirements for said ride, like we needed to give him $10 gas money if he took us and we needed to wait there so he could go home and do something first. We agreed, but didn't feel very comfortable doing so. The man drove away and we were kind of relieved.

Not long after, a lady who looked like she was going through a bounce box next to her car asked if we were ok. We told her we needed a ride to the trail and she happily agreed. We hung out while she organized her gear and she told us that she had planned to do a thru hike but had gotten off the trail in Onyx. We piled in the car and headed up the mountain while talking with her at length about the trail. She described all of the things we were feeling about quitting, the main reason being it just wasn't fun anymore. By the time we arrived at the trailhead Josh and I were in a weird headspace. We didn't want to climb up Kearsarge before the ride, and now we didn't want to do any of it.

The wind was howling and blowing ice cold down the mountain as we started up Kearsarge and we were slowed by the huge headwind. We were passed by several people on their way down who told us things like, "you picked a bad day to go up" and "it's mean up top, good luck". Josh stopped and looked at me with a quiet desperation in his eyes and I started to cry.

"I can't do this every time we have to get back on trail. I shouldn't hate doing this hike! Something is wrong" I choked.
"I know." Josh replied, "This sucks."
We continued on a bit further hoping to find a place to camp for the night. About a half mile further Josh stopped again and we talked about turning around. It was so windy and cold we knew the further up we went the worse the conditions would get. We sat on a rock and started to talk about quitting all together. I was feeling sick to my stomach with the thought of quitting, and equally sick with the thought of continuing on. We headed back down and I fought throwing up as we descended.

When we reached the trailhead we saw a sign pointing the way to trail magic and rides down the mountain. We sat on a bear box for a while and hashed out our plan. I knew I needed to get into cell service so I could call my Mom, my AA sponsor and my little brother who are my main support group, to get their advice on where to go from here. We headed over to the trail magic and waited for the next ride down the mountain. After an hour or so we were once again in Independence. We thought we still had time to catch the bus back to Bishop but after a while sitting at the stop we realized we had missed it. We decided to go to Subway to eat and use the wifi and see about getting a room.

We decided on the Mt. Williamson Hotel and walked over and checked in. The owners of the hotel were also hikers and very accommodating. We locked ourselves into the room for the night and I text my support group. I couldn't reach a decision on what to do and spent the night tossing and turning. I have dreamed of doing this hike since I was a teenager. My body is strong and capable. What the fuck is wrong with me?

Until tomorrow, goodnight

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