Mile 1017 to 996
I wake to the sound of no rain, a very welcome non-sound. After another cowboy breakfast we start the painful process of hitching back to the trailhead. There is no Terri or Daniel to take us. We are back to depending on the kindness of strangers. Apparently today, no one at the lodge is that kind of stranger, so we hike a mile to the highway to try our luck there.
After what seems like an hour, a tiny sedan stops and four thru-hikers with packs climb in, like clowns getting into that tiny car at the circus. Only today not all the clowns fit, so Dish Cloth and I are left behind. Eventually a pickup truck stops and offers us a lift, if we are willing to ride in the bed. It is full of ice chests, propane tanks, fishing gear and who knows what else. Everything is soaking wet, but we smile and say thanks as we climb in. The ride from below 7,000 feet to 9,600 is freezing cold. At Sonora Pass we are anxious to get going, if only to thaw our blood.
Most of the trail is covered in snow, but it is not as bad as we expected. All the rain from the day before may have helped melt the thinner spots. Dish Cloth, Klutz and I use GPS and stick close to the original trail route. BLT, Mountain Goat, and Loran decide to push straight up to a lower pass. We make good time up to and along the ridge, but there is no sign of the others. Their makeshift adventure leads them to cliffs and dead ends. They eventually double back and follow our prints in the snow.
Along the ridge we get a good laugh at the PCT sign which mistakenly says “PTC”. After the ridge, we drop into Kennedy Canyon. There are several significant water crossings, some we can rock hop, but others we just wade. The mosquitoes are out in force. We practically run to keep from being eaten alive. We push on up and over Dorothy Pass to Dorothy Lake. We are now officially in Yosemite National Park. We share our camp with deer and marmots, both of whom seem very interested in licking our urine. I guess they crave the salt, which is why deer lick fishing pole and trekking pole handles. It is truly wild in the wild.