Week 9 (minus) and 10: R&R
Part of the going along for the ride with Dino and co was that I decided to mimic the permit change that Dino had already done. I had already known I wasn’t going to go straight through the Sierras when I joined them, but hadn’t decided what to do. Her plan sounded solid, and it allowed me to go back home to Seattle to walk at my graduation ceremony. Given that, during the zero in Ridgecrest, I changed my permit to allow me to start hiking north bound (NOBO) in Chester, CA ten-ish days after arriving in Kennedy Meadows (KMS). My permit now details three legs – the first from Campo to KMS, then Chester to the northern terminus, and then Chester to KMS. The last leg will be southbound (SOBO).
Chatting with a couple who I had originally met near Acton, I discovered they were headed to Burbank airport the next day from KMS. I managed to duplicate their travel plan to get myself back to Seattle. This meant I got to catch another ride with the same trail angel who had driven the girl gang from Ridgecrest back to the trail!
She drove six of us hikers down from KMS. The couple and I got out at a gas station in Inyokern where we waited for a bus. The bus took us a few hours to Acton, where we got on the Metrolink. That took us a few hours to the Burbank area. We parted ways there, and I got a pretty decent apple fritter before hitting a Del Taco for a fast food burrito I could take on the plane. Then I walked to the airport and hopped on a plane to Seattle. Home at last, after 18 hours of travel. It is kind of cool to know that there are places remote enough within the US that that is how long, and complicated, getting home is.
The first action item back in Seattle was attending graduation. It was incredibly weird to be back on campus after having left in March, but by the end of the ceremony, I was definitely glad I got to attend.
I also spent a lot of my time off trail planning food for the stretch from Chester to Ashland. I was on a bit of a timeline to make it, since I was being picked up by friends in Ashland with whom I would be going on our annual camping trip with at that point. Thus, I put together resupply boxes for most of that stretch in order to streamline my time off trail to try to keep things efficient.
I also took a visit to my orthodontist while I was at home. I haven’t mentioned it yet (I don’t think) but I have been progressing through Invisalign my entire time on trail. A while back I suspected that it wasn’t going as planned, so I took the opportunity while in Seattle to check in with the ortho. I, sadly, was correct that it wasn’t going quite right, so they have to make me new ones.
I didn’t just get stuff done while on my time off, I also dilly-dallied, watched TV, and spent some time with friends. Most of them seemed a bit worried about, or just wanted to see, the blisters from back before Wrightwood. Fortunately for me, those blisters, and blisters in general, haven’t been an issue in a while. So, to you folks who have been following along and may have been worried about my blisters, worry no longer. They are healed.
I also spent some time at REI, where I bought some injinjis (everyone loves them so much I was having some FOMO) and a XL ursack to store my food in for the rest of the way to Canada to protect the bears. A fed bear is a dead bear!
It was over far too quickly, but not nearly fast enough. I spent a lot of my time at home wanting to be back on the trail, but still felt that I could have gotten way more down with a couple more days.
It was almost as much of a hassle back to trail as it was to get off. This time I flew to Reno, where I walked to REI to buy a fuel canister, then got on a series of two busses (where I met up with Dino!) to get to the trailhead.
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