We broke camp before all of the weekend warriors and headed out. We spotted a deer right off the bat and marveled at how they were so nonchalant about our presence. The hike down was beautiful. We followed the river all the way and meandered thru fern grottoes and meadows.
At Lower Paradise Valley Camp we spotted a sign for the bathroom. Perfect timing! We headed up the path and came across a metal toilet on a wooden platform out in the open. Well, this is interesting. After doing our business we continued down.
I rounded a corner, hiking fast and stopped dead in my tracks when I was confronted with a deer nursing her baby. I whipped out my camera and took a billion photos and the deer didn't move, they pretty much posed for us! Eventually they headed off into the bushes and we continued on.
The trail had really steep steps going down and it was hurting my body. The mosquitoes were horrid and I hiked most of the way down with my head net on. Eventually we started to encounter day hikers on the way up which told us we were close to the end. Josh was stopped by a nice lady heading our direction and she told him there was a rattlesnake on the trail. Josh successfully got the snake to go back in his hole and we continued on. The lady chatted us up about the hike and we told her we were coming off the PCT. She was very interested and offered us a ride when we got to the trail head. SCORE!
The day heated up and we had to take a few breaks but eventually we passed Mist Falls and arrived at the trailhead at Roads End. There we met up with the nice lady we met and her and her husband gave us a ride to Cedar Grove where there was a hotel and restaurant. The van they drove was awesome! A 4x4 pop top camping road trip dream. We talked with them about their adventures before we arrived and then bid them goodbye.
Our first stop was the restaurant, of course, and then the ranger station. The ranger told us to get to Grant Grove where we could catch a bus down to Fresno. We headed up the road and stuck out our thumb for a long time. Eventually a big truck pulled over and we hopped in. The driver was a forest service employee who does trail maintenance and we talked about the various Sierra passes as he sped thru the canyon. He dropped us at a very crowded Grant Grove and we thanked him profusely!
We headed in to the ranger station and asked about catching the bus. The lady behind the counter talked to me like I was retarded explaining that I was in Kings Canyon and that there were no busses that came here. After a while I gave up talking to her and we headed outside to try and hitch to Sequoia where the bus should come. We were unsuccessful hitching on a 4th of July weekend. All of the traffic was not hip to backpackers and drove by starring at us like we were an attraction to the park. We even held out a $20 to entice people to pick us up but eventually we gave up. Josh called a taxi and after we were $140 lighter we arrived in the most ghetto part of Fresno. We locked ourselves into a room and made arrangements to get home the next day.
It took some doing but eventually we secured a car the following day and drove to Tuolumne Meadows to get our resupply bucket before the long drive home.
We've been home for about a week now and I am still processing everything that has happened. I will work on an afterthoughts post soon.
Until then, Goodnight.