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Day 50 – May 23, 2022

Zero in Bishop, CA

0.0 trail miles | 0.0 tracked miles

The Bishop area is well known for hiking and climbing opportunities, and there are no fewer than four outfitters within a 4-block radius.

I took advantage of my second zero day to fine tune my gear a bit. I sent a few items back home to shed weight. For example, instead of an inflatable pillow, I find it easier and more comfortable to roll my puffy jacket inside a stuff sack. Also, I replaced the stuff sack for my quilt, which I lost in a desperate battle against the wind at the top of Mt. Whitney, as well as my water filter, which froze on my way up. Finally, I purchased small bottles to carry olive oil—it’s an easy, healthy, and efficient way to add calories to any meal.

More importantly, I acquired an ice axe once again. According to hikers ahead, the conditions on Mather Pass are poor, and I’d rather spend another $100 than risk my life. I’m annoyed that Yogi at Triple Crown Outfitters in Kennedy Meadows offered flawed advice. I would have kept my ice axe if she hadn’t suggested I send it home.

Additionally, I finished resupplying for the next 6-7 day stretch, which involved a two-mile walk to and from the grocery store. I am packing significantly more calories than before. Additions include nuts, dry fruit, olive oil, and extra energy bars. To make everything fit into my bear canister, I had to repack my freeze-dry dinners and get a bit creative.

7-8 days’ worth of supplies for the journey ahead!

Furthermore, I switched room at Hostel California. My new room has a private bathroom and a window.

In the afternoon, I caught up with a few hikers whom I met in Kennedy Meadows and who arrived in Bishop today. Ten of us cooked up a spectacular vegetarian feast for dinner, which was a real treat.

After weighing my options, I have decided to split up from my hiking group and stay another day in Bishop.

Michael already went back to the trail yesterday, and I sense that he’d rather be independent. I enjoy hiking with Joe, but I don’t have a strong connection with some of the folks I’ve been with since Kennedy Meadows. There is one individual in particular whom I don’t particularly get along with. My experience is pretty typical; few groups stick together 5 months in a row.

I hope that Arnaud and Evan, two hikers who were a few days behind me, and with whom I have a stronger connection, might reach Bishop tomorrow. Unfortunately, I do not have a way to get in touch with them at this time.

Also, from a practical and logistical standpoint, slowing down may have benefits.

  • It’s still early to be in the Sierras, and there is still significant snow accumulation ahead. Given the warm temperatures, the conditions are steadily improving, and every day makes a difference.
  • Two of the next resupply points (Vermillion Valley Resort, and the store and post office at Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park) are still closed, and the bus to Mammoth Lakes isn’t operating yet.
  • I’d rather avoid being in town over Memorial Day weekend next week, as it will be challenging and expensive to find a last-minute hotel room.

Tomorrow, I will let Joe and the group leave ahead of me, and I will move to Eastside Guest House, a more upscale hostel.

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