Day 49 – May 22, 2022
Zero in Bishop, CA
0.0 trail miles | 0.0 tracked miles
Bishop is pretty nice as far as small towns are concerned. The charming town center features Old West facades, murals, several outfitters, and various dining venues. Several major grocery stores are located a mile away from the historic center.
After spending the night at the Best Western, I moved to Hostel California, a popular PCT thru-hiker hangout.
I enjoy staying at hotels for the convenience of on-site laundry and a comfortable room (besides, I like collecting points), but hostels typically offer a full kitchen and an opportunity to meet like-minded guests. Hostel California was fully booked when I arrived yesterday a day ahead of schedule, but I managed to secure a reservation for the next two nights.
The vibe at Hostel California is quite special. The door code is 420420, and the initials of “The Hostel California” elegantly spell THC, which sums things up. I would rate the property as a dump—my room is as large as a prison cell, dark, and does not have a bathroom. However, it’s cheap, and I was offered a significant thru-hiker discount while checking-in, despite booking online.
I took advantage of the kitchen to make a 10-ingredient salad loaded with fruit and vegetables. Fresh food and vegetables are virtually impossible to carry out; trail food is all about calorie density and shelf-stable products.
My goal for the afternoon was to make a plan for the next section of the Sierras, which is considered the most challenging on the Pacific Crest Trail. The trail crosses some of the highest passes in the Sierra Nevada range, the conditions can be unforgiving, the snow becomes difficult to navigate in the afternoon, and there are few bailout points. Planning ahead is essential.
As luck would have it, I found a perfect plan on a napkin! The numbers in circles indicate days. Basically, the passes are spaced evenly enough that it’s possible to hit one pass a day, with an exception for the longer stretch between Muir Pass and Selden Pass. I will need to carry 6-7 days’ worth of food in order to make it to Vermillion Valley Resort, which is situated between Selden Pass and Silver Pass.
Michael, who arrived in Bishop a day before me, decided to head back to the trail today, so our paths may or may not cross again. Joe and the rest of the crew arrived at Hostel California in the afternoon. Naturally, they chose to the brewery tonight, but I decided to stick with my vegetable diet.