7/24/18 – Wind of Changes

Day 34

Miles: 0

Today is rather emotional day. It is my mom’s 70’s birthday but before I can call her to wish her happy birthday I receive a message from her letting me know that my aunt, her older sister, passed away in the morning. The entire family is in shock.

Today we also leave the trail. Temporarily but it still breaks my heart. I wish more than ever that I could be out there putting in some miles, letting hard climbs and sweat change the thoughts that fill my mind. But Yosemite Valley is officially shutting down and though Tuolumne Meadows remains open who knows what can happen in the 5 days before we would get there. And then there’s the smoke. Most northbound hikers agree it was not enjoyable.

Hitchhiking from Kennedy Meadows is not an easy task. We walk for a mile from the resort back to Hwy 108. Couple cars drive past us but it’s Tuesday. The traffic is past its weekend peak.

An hour later, a car stops. Sarah is a military wife and a photographer offering her behind the camera skills to other military families. She has a friend on the PCT this year and she is curious about our trip. We’re curious about what brings her for a trip along 108. Sarah’s circumstances are not so happy. She is returning from her sister’s funeral. She urges us to always wear seat belt. Her sister didn’t. It possibly cost her life.

At Bridgeport we stop for lunch. New idea enters our mind. Instead of heading to Reno, we could spend few days in Mammoth Lakes. It would put us closer to the trail and if conditions improved earlier it would be easy to hop back on. Plus we have never been so it would be nice to explore new town.

Five minutes after finishing lunch we have a ride. Gerry is a helicopter pilot working for a hospital in Nevada. She spent 7 year flying helicopter in Nigeria. Dave showers her with questions that she’s happy to answer. Today Gerry is on her way to visit her parents in Mammoth Lakes. She knows the town well and gives us many good recommendations before she drops us off at the Davidson Street Guest House where we booked a night.

The Guest House is really a hostel with several private rooms. Upstairs there is a large lounging room with comfortable sofas and a patio. The place is older and could use little touch up but it’s clean and a good deal in the otherwise slightly overpriced world of Mammoth Lakes.

For the first time on the trail we have an access to a kitchen. We take the free trolley to a store about 1.5 miles away and get ingredients for our favorite avocado salad. The big plate leaping with vegetables is so good.