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[pct-l] More HitchHiking Experiences
A couple of years ago I hiked the JMT north to south. So, I drove my van
to Whitney-Portal and paid a local $15 (he wanted $25) to give me a ride
to Lone Pine from the trail head. He offerred to take me to Yosemite
for $175, but I told him I needed the money to buy food! He dropped me
off in town and said that if I was still there hitching a ride, that he
might give me a free ride to Bishop -- yeah right.
I hung my sign out, smiled and made sure the drivers could see my
backpack. Quickly, I got a ride from a fisherman who was going to the
next creek to fish, and I thought my luck was pretty good right off the
bat. But, he travelled about 15 miles out of town and left me on the
highway, cause he was gonna fish the creek. About 1 hour later, I was
still there, trying to get a ride, but no one would stop for me.
Suddenly, I realized that I might look kind of odd, out there on the
highway, in the middle of the desert. I mean, what would you think if
you were driving out there and saw a hitchhiker with a backpack out in
the middle of the desert -- only some kind of trouble maker would get
dumped out in the middle of nowhere, right?. I could see that
expression on the drivers face, one of mistrust. Finally, after 3 hours
of thumbing, I got a ride from a drifter in a yellow pinto.
This guy was living out of his car, and I had to force my backpack on
top of the clutter of junk covering his backseat. This guy told me how
he was once married, had a family, divorced, became an alcoholic, got in
trouble with the law and just simplified his lifestyle such that he
could live pretty easily out of his car. He had that look in his eye,
like he was proud to be a survivor. But, unfortunately, he was gonna
stop in the town of Independence at the employment office (really). An
hour later, as luck would have it, he picked me again, cause nobody else
In Bishop, I got my next ride from an artist who lives in Mammoth. As
we approached Mammoth, he said "see that mountain, there? That's Mt.
Banner, where my wife and I got married, right up there at the top".
Apparently, they road horses to a base camp, then he, his bride, the
preacher, and the entourage climbed to the top of Mt. Banner, changed
into tuxedo and wedding dress, and they exchanged wedding vows! What a
story. About 5 days later, when I picked up a resupply package in
Mammoth, another local person confirmed the story!
My next ride from Mammoth to Yosemite was great. A man in an
air-conditioned Ford Explore gave me a ride, a cold sandwitch and a
drink. We really hit it off, cause we had similar interests in having
our own business. This guy sells fly fishing equipment to stores on the
Eastern side of the Sierras. He has a great job -- one that requires
that he spends time fly fishing with his customers (and gets paid for
it!). When he dropped me off, he asked me if I was going to fish on my
trip and I said yes, but that I would use a hand line and a couple of
flys. He gave me about 8 flys from his collection, and two of them are
the best flys I have ever used. I stopped at Dollar Lake (near
Rae-Lakes), to try my luck with a hand line and the flys. I was hungry
for fish, having failed to catch anything on the 2 prior attempts and I
was running low on supplies and not feeling to energetic that day.
Within half an hour, I caught 6 trout, and I quickly cooked up some rice
and the fish and had a great meal. I got so full, I just laid in the
sun and digested for a while. The smell of the fish was really strong
and I wondered if a bear could smell it too. I still have those 2
favorite flys and they work great! I even gave a live demonstration to
a friend on how to catch fish with a hand line -- the trick is having
the right flies.
Overall, I felt I had pretty good luck in getting a ride. I started
thumbing at 9:00 am from Lone Pine, and arrived at the backpackers
campground in Yosemite at 6:30pm. The people I met were strangers, but
they posed no threat and I really felt this was a great way to begin a
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