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[pct-l] Attempted JMT trip report

I just got back from an attempt of the JMT.  Due to lack of vacation
time and a desire to push ourselves, my buddy and I tried to do the
trail in 6 days.  We bailed short of completing the trail on day 5
after about 180 miles, but still had a great time.  We were blessed
with phenominal weather.

Points of interest for others planning a JMT hike this year:
- very little water between Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows.
- no significant water supply issues elsewhere until Muir Pass
(southbound).  That's about as fas as we made it, so I dunno about
south of Muir Pass.
- mosqitoes are non-existant.
- Red's Meadow store and restaurant will be closing down this week
(not sure if the shuttle to Mammoth Lakes will still run).
- VVR will be closing in early October.
- no snow to speak of anywhere. (again not sure about south of Muir
- There was a fire in Sequoia NP from The middle fork of the Kings
River to the Palisades. It crossed a section of the PCT/JMT(not sure
exactly where that is, but that's what the rangers told us; we
stopped right before that point).  Signs along the trail indicated
that it was safe to move around in that area because the fire was
contained, but hikers should be alert and watch for flare ups and
contrinuing hot-spots).  The river valley in that area was filled
with smoke in the afternoon of Wednesday September 18th.
- Still saw lots of JMT hikers.

If you want to read a really long and probably dry trip report, read
on.  Otherwise, delete now.


Long Trip Report:
We tried our very best and managed to pull off some days that ranged
between 34 and 38 miles, but we ultimately bailed on day 5 due to
injury and fatigue.  The first day, we did 37 miles and I felt good
the whole day except right at the end.  I now realize that I didn't
eat enough and was probably a little dehydrated also.  We went
through a section of about 18 miles that we had no water, so I am
sure that I didn't drink enough that day.  When we stopped, it was
almost dark and I was cold and shivering.  I put on all my clothes
and got in my bag and warmed up, but I had NO APPETITE.  I knew that
I should have eaten something, but I was nauseous and didn't feel
like eating at all.  Those symptoms were also consistent with mild
altitude sickness and that was a possibility since we went from 4000
ft to 10,000 feet in one day and slept at 9600ft.  Normally, I don't
think that would be a problem for me, but since I was dehydrated and
did eat enough, I was probably more susceptible to that.

Day two started at 5:30am (just like day 1).  We got up and packed
our gear and started up the first big pass (11,050ft).  This pass was
fairly easy since we started at 9600 ft.  Once we reached the top, we
made the mistake of running down the other side to make up time and I
plowed my left big toe right into a huge boulder.  We were on a
quest, and I was determined so I just ignored it and continued as if
nothing happened.  It seemed to be ok, and we kept up a good pace.
Later that day, my toe started to throb and hurt, so I told Mike that
I needed to stop running.  We stopped running and my toe kept getting
worse.  Once we reached a stream, Mike suggested that I soak it in
the cold water.  I took off my shoes and socks to reveal my black and
blue swollen toe.  Mike had broken his toes about one month before
the trip and said "wow, that's what mine looked like when I broke
it".  I soaked it for about 15 minutes and it felt much better.  I
was a little concerned at this point, but there was nothing to do but
make our way to the next rest stop, Red's Meadow Resort(a favorite or
Tom Hanks we were told).

We kept running/walking all the way to Red's Meadow and passed by the
Devil's Postpile National Monument.  I was glad to see it because the
last time I did the JMT, it was foggy and rainy in this section and I
never saw it.

After totaling 34 miles for the day, we finally made it to Red's and
made a b-line for the restaurant.  Fortunately, we made it before 7pm
because they close at that time.  We ordered copious amounts of food
and ate it all quickly.  Our photographer friend, David, was waiting
for us and we were glad to see a familiar face.  I was craving V8
juice for some reason (probably for the sodium and potassium) and the
Resort's store was out because they were reducing inventory in
preparation for shutting down for the winter, which was to take place
next week.  David generously volunteered to take the bus back up to
the highway and then go to the store and get some V8 for me.  It took
him about 2.5 hours to do this round trip.  I was really appreciative
when he returned, and quickly downed 4 can of the six pack of V8

After getting dinner, we decided to rent a cabin from the resort and
get a good night's sleep in a real bed and enjoy the warmth of a
heated room.  So we secured a cabin for $100.  I thought that was a
bit steep, but I was glad to pay it.  I didn't even care when we
found a mouse in the cabin.  The mouse was eyeing some D-CON bait in
the corner and the next morning I discovered his lifeless body near
the bathroom door.  Like I said, the warm and cozy cabin was well
worth the $100.

After we got the cabin, Mike and I cleaned up while David was getting
my V8.  After our showers and claiming our beds, we discussed the
plans for the next day.  I decided that my toe would really be better
if I would stay off of it for a while, so I decided layoff for at
least one day.  Mike suggested that I get the toe x-rayed while
enroute to the next rest stop where David and I would meet him.  That
sounded like a great idea, except that I just quit my job and didn't
have insurance.  I didn't want to pay like $1200 just to find out
that my toe was broken and that there was nothing they could do for
it, so I quickly decided to skip the x-ray.

The next leg was 38 miles to Vermillion Valley Resort (VVR).  Mike
would run the entire leg by himself and David and I would drive to
VVR to meet him.  The drive was gonna be a pretty tough drive since
they only way to reach the resort is from the west side of the
Sierras and we were currently on the East side of the Sierras.  We
would have to drive a few hours back to Yosemite, then go all the way
through the park, then drive south a few hundred miles, then drive
down this terribly remote road that culminated in the last 16 miles
that is so difficult and treacherous that it took us 1.5 hrs to drive
the last 16 miles!!  The road is one lane (perhaps could qualify as
half a lane in some spots), and twists and turns through the
mountains with no guard rails or safety features such as reflectors
or painted stripes.  In fact, street signs were even scarce.

David and I finally managed to make it to the resort about 10 minutes
after Mike.  I think that Mike's navigation was easier than ours even
though his physical effort was obviously more strenuous.  Our trip
was a lot of fun because we went through Yosemite and David
instructed me on some photography techniques and let me snap a few
pics with his $30,000 worth of camera gear.

When we arrived, Mike was ready to eat and so were we.  Our waiter
looked very familiar, so I asked him if I knew him and he said "you
look familiar also, are you from Houston?"  Mike and I nearly fell
out of our chairs.  It turned out that this guy, Joe, used to work at
the Wilderness Equipment store about 8 blocks from where I lived in
Houston.  I had spent a lot of time in that store and bought some
stuff from them.  I immediately remembered him from the store and he
remembered me.  What a small world!!

During dinner, Mike told us that the run was very difficult and the
trail was getting harder and harder.  I knew he was not exaggerating
since I had done the trail 4 years before.  Mike suggested that he
wanted to quit because he didn't feel like he could do the next long
section by himself.  The next section was 103 miles before the next
rest stop.  I was going to pick up the trail at that rest stop and
finish the last 50+ miles with Mike.  At this point, I started
thinking about returning to the trail sooner because I didn't want
our adventure to be over so quickly.

We soon ate and retired to out tent cabin, which cost a mere $45 per
night.  It came with a full-size mattress and a wood floor, so we
didn't complain much.  We went to sleep soon and we all woke up in
the night very cold.  It's hard to heat up a huge tent that usually
sleeps 10 with only three bodies.  In addition, the fact that the
tent had a raised wood floor allowed the cold air to come in from
underneath and flow through, which makes it like a deep freeze:  the
cold air keeps moving through and taking the warm air with it.

The next morning, we all woke up early and talked about the day's
plans.  I decided to return to the trail with Mike and he was
ecstatic about that.  We stuffed our fanny packs full of food for the
103 mile trek.  We got ready, said goodbye to David and hit the trail
at 10:18am.  We took the advice of Joe, the waiter, and took a
different trail back to the JMT rather than the one suggested in the
guide book.  He said that the Bear Ridge Trail was less steep and
less distance that the cut off trail from VVR to the JMT.  He was
right; we made great time and made it back to the trail in no time.

In this section, we started to pass a lot of people.  They were all
amazed at the small packs and all of them stated that they couldn't
believe that we could make it with such little gear.  We were really
hauling butt this day because we started so late; and we were able to
go fast since we had eaten well at VVR for both breakfast and dinner.
We were cruising up steep inclines and passing people with large
packs as if they were standing still.  We had to make 40+ miles for
the first two days so that we didn't run out of food.  We planned on
doing 40+ for the first two days and then having 20 miles or less to
do that morning in order to make it to the next rest stop: a motel in
Independence, Ca.

After cruising all day in high gear, darkness fell when we had only
covered about 25 miles. late start).  We decided that we had to hike
into the night in order to get the mileage we needed.  We donned our
headlamps and continued walking.  Our pace slowed dramatically
because we were tired and because we just could not move as fast in
the dark for fear of misstepping and injuring ourselves.  The night
hike trough King's Canyon National Park was spectacular.  The almost
full moon caused the landscape to appear monochrome and almost outer-
space like.  The moon gave off a ton of light and the towering rock
walls around us and the roaring river below us were really very cool
looking in the moonlight.  Mike mentioned that is was really cool
hiking at night with a friend, but that doing it solo would be very
different and probably scary.  I agreed.

We crossed the river numerous times on modern sturdy bridges made of
boards and steel.  King's Canyon NP was very nice in this respect:
all of the river crossings had these nice bridges over the river
below that was rushing through a narrow canyon.  We crossed this one
bridge and continued south on the other side, since we were headed in
that direction before crossing the bridge.  The trail seemed to
wither away and in about 200 yards, we saw some tents and heard a
voice say "there are no more campsites over here.  you'll have to go
back across the bridge and get one over there."  We replied back that
we didn't want a campsite and were just looking for the trail.  The
voice responded by saying that the trail turned north right after the
bridge and that we needed to turn around.  I quickly pulled out the
map to confirm and realized that the voice was correct, so we
apologized and moved on.

By this time, it was probably about 9pm and there were certainly no
other people still hiking.  We passed another camp in the distance
and noticed that these people were completely disregarding the "no
fires above 10,000ft" rule.  In fact, they had built a HUGE roaring
fire that actually looked quite cozy to us since we were hiking in
the cold night.  We commented how these people not only were breaking
park rules, but also were not following Leave No Trace (LNT) ethics.
LNT states that you should not use any piece of wood for a fire any
larger in diameter than your thumb.  I have also heard other less
conservative sources suggest that you shouldn't use any piece of wood
larger in diameter than your wrist.  Either way, these guys were
using full-on big logs as big as my leg.  As we hiked up the next
pass, we could see their fire for miles, which certainly detracted
from the feeling of wilderness for us.  IN addition to conserving the
forest resources, I realized the LNT guidelines make less noticeable
impact for others and allow everyone to enjoy the wilderness and
allow us all to enjoy the feeling of being in a remote area, even if
hundreds of other people have permits for the same area.  That
certainly galvanized my commitment to LNT principles.

We continued hiking in the dark and as we moved up the incline to Mc
Clure Meadow, we could hear the roaring river crashing down the
cliffs next to us.  It was really interesting hearing the river and
only being able to see it at very rare instances when we would get
close enough and the refection of the moon was just right.
Sometimes, the moon would light up an entire length of the crest of a
waterfall and it looked like someone was shining a light from below
the water.  It was really beautiful.

Soon, we reached the beginning of the meadow and came to a large
river crossing with no bridge.  I guess that they Park Service did
not feel like they needed a bridge here because the river was not
confined to the narrow walls of a canyon and was wide and shallow and
did not flow as fast.  Fording the river here would be much easier
without a bridge than in the canyons below, but since it was night
and getting colder by the minute, we didn't really want to get all
wet.  The river was fairly wide at this point; perhaps 100ft.  We
searched for a way to cross without getting wet and too much time
here considering our ambitious plans.  We finally located a log that
went about 2/3 across the river.  At the end of this large log, there
was a smaller log barely floating in the river but mostly stuck on
the rocks that stuck out of the shallow water.  Mike walked across
the big log and stooped down to reposition the smaller log in a way
that would allow us to walk on it in order to make it to a small
island of rocks.  Mike made it to the island and I started my way
across.  My legs were really tired and my knee was starting to hurt,
which constricted my range on motion.  I had to really concentrate on
keeping my balance and bending my knee past the comfort level when
needed.  Mike stuck out his arm as I approached him and I leapt for
the rock island.  I made it!  Now all we had to do is make it across
to the other bank, which was still about 20 ft away.  We meandered
through the rocks that were sticking out of the water and finally
made it to the other side, then searched for the trail.  I remember
losing the trail in this spot 4 years ago in the daylight, so I knew
we could be in for a long search.  Fortunately, we found the trail in
only about 10 minutes.

We started down the trail at an even slower pace, and I noticed how
fatigued I was feeling and realized that I would need some sleep and
rest in order to get my pace back to a faster rate.  Our plan of
hiking through the night to make up the distance wasn't really
working because we couldn't move as fast due to no light on a rough
trail and fatigue.  It looked like we would need a few hours of sleep
in order to rejuvenate and recharge our energy stores in order to
keep moving at a faster pace the next day.  I looked at my watch and
discovered that it was already 11pm, so I told Mike that I wanted to
start looking for campsites.  It was much harder to look for a
campsite in the dark than in the daylight, especially with my small
BlackDiamond Ion Headlamp with only two LED's.  The small headlamp
only weighs 0.9 oz without the battery and works well for its size,
but I am glad that Mike had decided to take his larger headlamp with
4-5 LED's so we could see the terrain easier and locate a good flat
spot for camping.
For this section we decided to use the Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight
2-man tent that I have instead of our own personal shelters which we
had used on the previous legs of the trip (Mike had constructed a 1/2
lb tent and I was using a 1/2 vapor barrier bag as a bivvy bag).  The
older Clip Flashlight tent that I have is about 3.5 lbs and is a
great lightweight tent for ultralight hiking.  It made our fanny
packs much heavier than the 5-6 lbs that we carried on the previous
sections, but I think it was well worth the weight because these
upcoming sections would be at a higher average altitude and thus a
much lower temperature, especially if we were caught on one of the
many 12,000 ft passes and had to bivy.  The tent would capture both
of our body heat better and keep us warmer.

We soon located a decent spot and started to set up the tent.   It
takes no time to set up this tent and we were done and unpacked in
about 10 minutes.  I immediately climbed in the tent and then under
my 14oz down blanket.  Mike decided to go wash off in the nearby
river.  I was already nice and warm when Mike came back, but after he
got in the tent, his body heat added to the already warm tent and
made it nice and cozy in there.

We originally decided to get up at about 5:30am and start hiking
again, but in reality we were both so work out that we slept until
about 7am.  We soon got up and broke down the tent and started moving
again.  I could tell that I was moving a little faster than I was the
night before, but I was still less than 100%.  The truth was that the
trail was taking its toll on me.  Every step north was getting
rougher and higher in altitude.  We had hoped to come really close to
going over Muir Pass the night before, but ended up about 12 miles
short.  Today we were gonna hit the pass  as our first major climb
and we needed to be moving quickly in order to have any hope of
reaching the Onion Valley trailhead in time to resupply before our
food ran out.

Our food situation was not that good.  We had crammed our fanny packs
with as much food as would fit, and we still were in serious danger
of running out.  After day 1 when didn't eat enough, I realized that
I had to eat about every 2 hrs in order to refuel adequately and
that's exactly what I did leaving VVR.  This day, however, I realized
that if I kept up that rate of consumption I would run out of food.
I tried to eat about every 3.5 hours in order to save food.  I
couldn't really maintain that rate of consumption and keep up a fast
hiking pace.  I wasn't sure what I would do.  I surmised that if I
needed to hike out the last day with no food, I could probably do
about 20 miles with little or no problem.  There were also a few
ranger stations between here and there, so I wasn't too worried.

On our way up to Muir Pass, we started passing people with big packs
who were moving much slower than we were.  As we passed them, we
would ask where they were going.  Many of them said that they were
going to the South Lake trailhead.  I wasn't familiar with this spot
and asked where it was.  It turned out that this trail was only about
7 miles past Muir Pass and was about 12.5 miles long and ended on a
road with a few lodges on it.  If we took that trail, we could finish
the day with 34 miles and be at the trailhead and probably get a ride
down to the town of Bishop.  At this point, we could resupply, and
come back to the trail.   ...at least that was the plan for the

We kept moving toward Muir Pass, which was 11,995 ft in elevation.
It seemed like the pass was not getting any closer.  My toe was
starting to bother me again, as was my knee.  Eventually, I stopped
to look at my toe because it felt like something was in my shoe.
When I looked at it, I was somewhat surprised to see a blister at the
end of my toe.  I hardly ever get blisters, but I guessed that
because my toe was swelling due to the previous injury, it made the
shoe fit differently and also made it interact with the other toes
differently.  The blister was actually quite large for being at the
end of the toe; it was about the size of a gumball.  I pulled out my
swiss army knife and duct tape and fixed it up.  When I put my shoe
back on, it felt so much better.

We continued toward the pass and the trail just kept going and
going.  I originally thought that we could make the 12 miles to the
pass in about 3-4 hours.  It had already been 4 hours, so I thought
the pass would be close.  Eventually, we could see the hut that was
built on Muir Pass, so I knew we were getting close.  Unfortunately,
we were on a 5-6 hr pace, not the 3-4 hr pace that I had thought.
This meant that we would not make it to the trailhead until after
dark and this would reduce our chances of getting a ride into Bishop.

When we arrived at the pass, there was a myriad of people hanging out
at the hut.  It should have been no surprise considering the
beautiful weather.  We were very blessed with great weather this
entire trip.  Everyday was sunny and warm, even in the altitude.
Four years ago when I hiked the JMT in the first two weeks of
September, it rained 9 of the 10 days on the trail.  Needless to say,
I was very happy that we were having good weather.

We started down the other side of the pass and Mike seems like he
wanted to get a move on, so he was really moving down the trail.  I
sort of struggled to keep up with him due to my toe and my knee,
which increasingly started to hurt.  The huge steps down or up were
what really caused pain.  Every time I had to make one of the giant
movements with my knee, it felt like my ligaments were just being
stretched and stressed to the max.  I knew that it was just
tendonitis or ligamentitus, so I tried to ignore it and keep moving
toward the trailhead.  The though of a warm bed and a good meal was
really what kept me moving.

Soon we reached the junction with the SouthLake trail.  We were at
8700 ft and had to go over Bishop Pass, which was at 11,900 ft.  The
pass was only 6 miles away according to the map and a few passing
hikers, so we thought that if we really pressed on, we could get
there in 3 hrs.  We left the trail junction at 4:30, so we thought
that we could reach the pass by 7:30, then run down the 6 miles on
the other side and get to the trailhead by 9 or so.

We started up the trail and it was tough.  There was no kidding
around on this trail, it was just plain steep.  Mike was moving much
faster than I was, but I kept him in sight.  The trail meandered up
the side of this sheer rock wall that was probably a little steeper
than 45 degrees.  The trail roughly followed the path of the river as
it fell down the granite slabs.  The river was really a spectacle as
it flowed over the flat granite.  It reminded my of Wagon Wheel falls
in Yosemite near Glen Aulin High sierra Camp.  It was nice to watch
the river and wonder why it flowed in this spot but not another spot
as I climbed up the steep terrain.  It was also refreshing to fill my
water bottle when we crossed its path.

Finally, we reached a part of the trail that flattened out.  The
altitude was 10,700 according to my watch.  I was happy because I
realized that we had climbed 2000 ft and only had 1200 more to go.
There was a huge basin here and a few lakes.  Many people were
camping and we spoke to some of them as we passed.  We passed one guy
who was setting up camp while his buddy was relaxing in his sleeping
bag.  He asked us how far we were planning on going tonight.  We told
him that we were going to the trailhead and he said "Oh, great!
Please look for our friend, Bill and Mark.  Tell them where we are
when you pass them".  We told them that we would certainly do that
and continued on.

In this section, the trail just rolled on and meandered up and around
all sorts of small little rolling hills.  Since we wanted to hit the
pass as soon as possible, this seemed very frustrating.  Every time
we came over a little hill, I realized that the pass was much
further.  This sort of thing happens a lot when hiking, but this pass
seemed particularly frustrating in that respect.  Perhaps it was
because we were so anxious to get down.

It started getting dark and the temperature was dropping.  I stopped
to put on my long sleeve shirt and I saw Mike in the distance putting
on more clothes and talking to two figures.  I guessed that the two
figures were the "Bill and Mark" that the camper asked us to locate.
When I arrived to them, I was correct.  Mark informed us that the
person that we thought was relaxing in his sleeping bag was actually
sick.  Mark suspected that he had HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary
Edema, a very serious condition that can be life threatening).  Mark
told us that the guy was having trouble at 8700 ft and they removed
everything from his pack and started back toward the trailhead, but
apparently he couldn't go any farther and they stopped at 10,700.
Stopping at a higher elevation would certainly cause his condition to
worsen.  Fortunately, Mike was carrying some Diamox, which he gave to
Mark to give to the sick guy.  We asked Mark and Bill about the
trailhead since we had not been there and we would probably be
arriving in the dark.  Mark told us that the trail was fairly easy
going down and that there were several lodges near the trailhead.  He
said that there was a lodge called Parchers Lodge about one mile down
the road from the trailhead and another lodge called Bishop's Lodge
about 1/2 mile past Parcher's.  He also told us that the trailhead
was at 7000 ft.

We kept hiking toward the pass and it was practically dark by now.
Soon it would be completely dark and we would be hiking at 11,000 ft
in the light of the full moon.  The light of the full moon made me
feel like we were exploring Mars or something.  All we could see was
the gray tones and shadows of the rocks, and we were so high up that
there were no plants.  I hiked without my headlamp for about an
hour.  Soon, we reached a sign that marked the pass and started down
the trail behind the shadows of the mountains behind us.  The shadows
and the rough terrain required us to use our headlamps at this point.

Starting down the other side of the pass was definitely cause for
celebration.  We started trying to move a little faster and make
better time.  Mikes' headlamp allowed him to see a little better than
mine and he was really moving.  I tried to keep up as best as I
could, ignoring my toe and knee as much as possible.  Because I
couldn't see very well, sometimes I would place my foot partially on
a rock and this would cause me to start to twist an ankle.
Fortunately, my ankles are very strong and I have never really
sprained an ankle.  I kept moving down the hill, and kept placing my
feet wherever they may land.  My ankles were bending and twisting all
over the place and I just let them do it.  It wasn't painful and I
wanted to get down, so I just did it.

We kept moving down and seemed like we were at 10,300 ft forever.  I
know we were moving fast and thought that the trailhead should be
coming up soon, but Mark had told us that it was at 7000ft, so I
figured we had a lot more trail to cover in order to go down that
much.  We kept moving forward and finally reached a nice wide trail
that was flat with few rocks.  In the bright moonlight, you could
almost jog down it.  We were cruising down this trail and eventually
I saw parked cars in the distance reflecting off the moonlight.  We
arrived at the trailhead and the sign indicated that it was at
9500ft; Mark was wrong.

Now we had to hike down to Parcher's Lodge and use the phone to call
a taxi to take us to Bishop and get a motel.  Mark had said that it
was only a mile, but we were both skeptical since he didn't know the
true elevation of the trailhead.  We started down the road and were
definitely able to move really fast since it was a nice paved road
and the moon was so bright.  I bet that we were going at least 4
miles per hour, which means that we should have been at Parcher's in
about 15 minutes.  We walked for at least 45 minutes before we
reached Parcher's.  I surmised that Mark was basing the distance on
the time it took to get from Parcher's to the trailhead in a car.

When we got to Parcher's, the place seem closed down and there was a
note at the office indicating that the manager had to go into town
and was not there.  We found the payphone, but there was no phone
book, so I called my wife to ask her to locate a taxi service in
Bishop, California.  I waited for her to call us back, but it seemed
like she was taking a long time so I picked up the phone to call
her.  When I did, she was on the line. Apparently, the phone does not
have a ringer and she was calling for several minutes.  She informed
us that there is no taxi service that runs in Bishop after 11pm.  We
tried to call several other places: hotels, tow trucks, etc.  No one
wanted to come get us and it was 27 miles into town.

We were very shocked when another hiker appeared in Parcher's.  We
were even more surprised to see that it was Mark.  We told him about
the situation and he said that he had to get into town to the ranger
station to tell them about the condition of his friend.  He also
suggested that we hike to the next loge only 1/2 mile away.  We
agreed and started hiking.  WE hiked for about half an hour and Mark
said "I guess distances seem closer in the car", which confirmed my
suspicion that he didn't really know the distances but was guessing
based on how long it took in a car.

Suddenly, we were all very surprised to see the headlights of a car
coming up the road.  We flagged him down and Mark asked if he could
take us to Bishop's Lodge.  I interjected and asked if he would be
willing to take us all the way to Bishop for $20 per person.  He
agreed and we all piled in.  Once inside the car, we started talking
to the guy and found out that he was the manager of Parcher's Lodge.
We told him about Mark's sick friend and he seemed happy to help out
for that reason.

He dropped us off in town and Mark grabbed a room at the Best Western
and Mike and I stayed at the Holiday Inn.  Mike and I made a post-
midnight trip to Denny's (The only place open after midnight in
Bishop), then came back to the room showered and hit the sack.

The next day, we woke up late and decided to hitch back to Yosemite.
We made a sign that said "Yosemite" out of cardboard and marked up
with a magic marker.  We sat by the road next to a gas station after
purchasing our 25-cent under-shirts from K-Mart.  We figured it would
be easier to get a ride in a non-stinky shirt.  After sitting in the
road a while, we thought our prayers were answered when a guy who
stopped for gas recognized our gear as ultralight gear and inquired
about what we were doing.  We told him and he replied that he was
attempting a speed ascent of all 15 14ers' in California and wanted
ideas for lightweight gear.  Our hopes were shattered when he said
that he was heading the opposite direction and could not give us a

Approaching a wait of nearly one hour, a van finally pulled over and
a long-haired kid stuck out his head.  Mike was on the pay phone and
I yelled to him.  He ran over and we hopped in the van.  Two kids
introduced themselves as Reid and Josh.  They said that they could
take us as far as Mammoth.  We were happy to go that far and thanked
them.  When we arrived in Mammoth, they asked if we wanted to be
dropped off in town or on the highway.  WE suggested that we had to
eat and that being dropped off in town would be better for that.
They said that they hadn't eaten yet and asked us if we wanted to eat
with them.  We said sure and offered to buy their lunch.  They were
happy about that and offered to take us to Yosemite. We finally
reached my truck about dark and started back to Sacramento so Mike
could catch his plane and I could drive back to Eugene.

The trip was extremely fun, but grueling.  Right now, I have no
intentions of trying that again, but I bet that I will change my mind
in a few months :-)
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