Day 83, 84, 85

Oct 7, 8, 9
Miles:  0
PCT:  702.4
Total Miles:  966.7
Elevation gain:  0

I spent the night at Kennedy Meadows to rest my feet and plan my next section.  I ran into several southbounders that gave me some info on the trail ahead.  The next 30 miles has no water and is all up hill!!  After what I just went through with 50 miles and only one water spring, I didn’t see how I could climb a large pass with a full food load and 7 liters of water for 30 miles.  I consider this dangerous and fool hearty to consider.  The next resupply is Independence.  After crossing a large pass, you have to hitch a ride from a trailhead parking lot 17 miles into Independence.  I was told that due to the late hiking season, there’s no traffic during the week and very little on the weekend.  It is Tuesday and I expect it to take me a week to get to the trailhead, which means I will be there on a Tuesday.  That’s a long time to the weekend.  Walking 17 miles on the road would destroy my feet.

I was also told that all the usual resupply places between Independence and Mammoth are closed for the season, requiring about 145 miles through very high passes before a resupply in Mammoth.  No way to fit that much food in a bear canister and probably no way I could carry that much food given my low milage due to my feet and the huge amount of climbing I would have to do.  After much mental agony, I decided to skip from Kennedy Meadows to Mammoth Lakes, missing about 200 miles of the best part of the trail.  I am not out here for the danger and challenge.  Maybe 30 years ago I would have gone for it, but for now, I’m doing this trek for health and fitness, not to take huge risks with my life.  I’m skipping ahead…

It’s not easy getting to Mammoth from Kennedy Meadows.  The only way I could find was a $190 taxi ride (including tip) to Lone Pine and take busses from there to Mammoth Lakes.  Ouch…  I got a taxi from Ridgecrest and spent the night in Lone pine.  The next morning at 6 am, I caught a bus to Mammoth.

I spent the next two nights in Mammoth healing my feet and planning the next sections.  I like Mammoth and enjoyed my stay there.  The next stop is Bridgeport, about 80 miles.  I put together a full resupply and fit most in the bear canister and the rest in my Ursack (not approved in the Sierras for bear protection).  All the other hikers that I asked said they could never get all the food in the bear canister.  Rangers check to see if you have one but don’t check to see if you have food not in the canister.  The Ursack has proven to be effective against bears but Yosemite and the surrounding parks have not yet approved it.  It’s a slow process.

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