On April 12th 4 months ago I stood on the border of Mexico and California so excited to begin my adventure I forgot to get a picture of myself at the monument before walking into the high desert of southern California (thanks Girl Scout for sending me a pic!). Excitement is putting it lightly, I was stoked.
Over the next 4 months I slept next to freeways and washed my clothes in McDonald’s bathrooms. I stood on the edge of highways with my thumb out and a smile on my face ultimately befriending hundreds of strangers. Hiked through winds that toppled cell towers, forded countless rivers.
After resupplying in northern Kennedy Meadows I thumbed a ride back up to Sonora pass and started my way up the unnamed pass around 3:30pm. Clouds loomed overhead and an occasional sprinkle that eventually turned to snow flakes as I climbed in elevation rained from the heavens. Not enough to warrant rain gear but an unexpected down pour worried me. As I saddled the pass thunder could be heard east in the distance. I picked up my pace and powered through postholes eventually finding myself on a consistent trail by 6pm. I continued down the valley till 8pm managing 7 miles, a total of 15 for the day.
I took advantage of Caleb’s drop off to run home (his wife came to tuolumne and got him) and grab some new gear that arrived later than expected. Those were a new pair of merino wool mittens, some Opsaks so I can carry more food and a large spoon so I’m not getting my knuckles in said food. I savored the zero mile day and jumped on transit the next morning spending over 8 hours on different buses getting myself back to Yosemite. I then had to hitch from the valley with 3 different cars finally getting myself to Tuolumne… Only to find out the post office still wasn’t officially opened yet. Fortunately the post master was a nice dude and got me my packages while they were inventorying. While I was at the Tuolumne store I met a guy named Charlie. Charlie has the smallest backpack I’ve seen on the trail and by his looks I was positive he was crushing miles (moving fast).
So my buddy Caleb expressed interest in joining my adventure for a short 100 mile section starting at Reds Meadows and ending at Sonora pass. Like every beginner he over researched, over packed, and didn’t listen. He also did a poor job hydrating and the moment we started to climb out of Reds Meadows the elevation wrecked him.