After the long days of this section, we had earned an extra day, and decided to take a zero when we got to the town of Bishop. With this in mind, we roused ourselves early to get to the trail head and try and catch a ride. After a chilly night, we were glad to get moving and warm up numb fingers. Quickly continuing our descent off Forester Pass, we enter a very engaging section of the trail containing groves of trees and small stream crossing. Following a river for a while, it began to remind us somewhat of the trails from home, and one could easily spend some pleasant days camped in this valley. But with showers and warm food beckoning, we marched on and began the climb out of the valley towards Kearsarge pass. Looking at the steep mountain sides, we wondered how we would get out. A short, sharp climb led us to the Bullfrog Lake junction. Here we turned off the PCT, and wandered past a couple of beautiful lakes. With the trail a pleasant gradient, we were happily surprised. This happiness was soon cut short as we started another climb, this time to Kearsarge Pass. While beautiful, the lack of calories and proximity to town made the trail more arduous then it should have been. Upon reaching the top after some frustrated actions, we decided to move quickly over the last five miles. A long winding downhill section plunged us towards the desert valley far below. Even with the reasonably gentle gradient, we lost altitude quickly, climbing down to a dead end road at the Onion Valley trail head. Because of the nature of the situation, we situated ourselves at the end of the trail in hopes that some of the day hikers we had seen coming down, would return and offer us a lift. Sole Catcher managed to pick up one spot in short notice, while Rattles and I found ourselves in the back of a pickup truck a little while later. An older couple had come to pick up their daughter who was hiking the JMT, and they kindly took us all the way to Bishop. From here we found the nearest decent hotel, although they all seemed to be expensive or booked out by people in the State Championship Rodeo Tournament being held. The next day and a half was spent eating, cleaning and sorting. Bishop being a reasonably compact town meant we could shop with ease, and admire the photos in a local gallery focused on where we would hike in the next week. Another highlight for me was finding a huge punnet of strawberries for five dollars. Fresh fruit is high on my cravings list. Rested and well fed, we awaited tomorrow, which would see us hike back over 12,000 feet.
Miles hiked – 13