The big hitch & skip

August 12

Mile 1048 – 1055

I wonder what happened to the guy who said he would keep walking to where the trail was closed. Personally, I really don’t want to be that person who needs to get rescued. I can just see that playing out, me needing a ride from some fire fighter who really is busy with other things at the moment. Just even the idea makes me feel guilty.

I wasted time at the cafe, eating and eyeing possible drivers. I almost got a ride from two hikers who were finishing JMT. They weren’t going quite the same way. But they did have some extra stuff to pass along. 

Once again, I took up my position at the side of the road. This time the hitching gods were on my side! I got picked up by a superhero botonist on her way to Portland. As we zoomed along (cars are so fast!), she kept an eye on the plants at the side of the road. Once we had to pull over to identify a plant. A plant that I’m intimately familiar with. I call it the toilet paper plant. The leaves are big and soft and contain no poisons or stickers. I now know it is a kind of daisy. Toilet paper daisy.

One really cool bonus to this trip is that I get to see all these bits of California that I never knew about. Being from the coast, I tend to classify anything more than 50 miles inland as the Meth Zone. But this highway 395 seems like a real gem. I never knew about all this Eastern Sierra zone. Maybe someday I’ll come back and do a bike tour. Or a van tour, so I can buy All The Books.

At the trailhead at Highway 4, I had to go check how the trail gets closed. Was there a chain across the entrance? A polite yet firm Forest Ranger? Nope. There was a sheet of paper stapled to the post. I guess they just expect hikers to be adults and follow safety instructions.
One hundred miles north and the trail was all new! Different rocks! Different flowers! It even smelled different.

There were some neato rock formations. I wanted to make some more miles. Was I being paranoid or did this place feel bear-ish? I kept jumping at sounds. I haven’t seen any bears. Or mountain lions. I would love to see big predators, just not real close up. 

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