Last time we left off, I was off trail, phoneless, covered in blood + soot, and 2 hours away from the closest trailhead. Let’s pick the story up where we left off, because it’s about to get good.
Day 72: Zero in Sonora
Welp, I didn’t sleep muuuuuch last night… but I did finish the 300 page book I bought at Walmart! Cheers to that.
Also, cheers to waking up behind a Starbucks. Coffee 🙌.
I waited around until 9 for the AT&T store to open…. but then they told me they don’t fix phones. Lame.
However- there’s a place that does across the shopping center! They opened at 11, so I twiddled my thumbs and used Siri to call friends for a little bit.
Around 12:30p I had a beautiful, working iPhone in my hand. Praise.
But how am I going to get from Sonora to Hetch Hetchy? It’s kind of easy to hitch around town, but to hitch to an unpopular trailhead inside a National Park? Near impossible.
Enter Bobbi Bankston.
Bobbi and I met in Waco, TX during an event at the Magnolia Silos. I quickly learned she lived in the Yosemite area and we swapped numbers “just in case.”
Welp, the case came so I shot Bobbi a text. The “Yosemite Area” is huge. She could be hours and hours away.
NOPE. Bobbi was only 10 minutes away!!
Not only did Bobbi pick me up from my homey shopping center (the same day from returning from vacation, mind you), she brought be back to her family’s house for the most enjoyable night ever. Her 3 boys (Kade, Kooper and Kruz) greeted me with a warm welcome and were eager to hear Trail stories. We played cards. We ate fresh fish. We drank beer, soda and wine. We talked all things small business (Bobbi is the magic behind The Mason Bar Company). It was just the best!! Thank you, Bobbi and Chad. Love you guys.
Waking up in a soft bed with miles to hike is a MUCH better feeling than waking up in a shopping center. Dang.
After a breakfast at the Bankston’s, we hit the road to Hetch Hetchy. The views were beautiful, and we had Hillsong soundtracking the drive up. We stopped for coffee and treats (one of the boys accidentally took my cinnamon roll, but it was so worth seeing his icing-covered face). Seriously, best day.
When we rolled up to Hetch Hetchy, the Bobbi and the boys walked 1.5 miles with me up the trail. Kruz almost stepped on a snake (it was huge!) and we all gaped at the beauty of Hetch Hetchy Valley.
Before departing ways, the Bankstons prayed over me and DANG. Heading a 14 year old ask the Lord “for [His] favor over Andrew on his journey, and for [His] hand of protection over him” was just the soul remedy I was craving.
Going up the trail, I was in such a good mood I didn’t even mind the triple digit heat. I was on cloud nine. And after about 15 miles, I finally reached some crazy water. I waded through a few swollen lakes, and hiked in crocs and underwear for 4 miles. Classy.
Oh! And I just did a food inventory- I’m 95% sure I can make it to South Lake Tahoe!! My original plan was Bridgeport via Sonora Pass. And then Markleeville. But SLT looks pretty doable! Cheers to that!!
Day 74: Wilma Lake to Sonora Pass Approach (mi. 1004.7)
Today I swatted six mosquitos on my arm at one time! New record!
In other accomplishments, today I crossed the 1000 mile marker of the PCT!! Holy smokes. I never anticipated 1000 continuous miles in my life. I can officially hang with the big kids (Vanessa Carlton, The Proclaimers, etc).
In all seriousness, I’m a little giddy and overwhelmed by how the Lord has given and given and given over the past 2+ months. Wowzers.
Getting back on the PCT today felt better than I could have ever expected. Alternate routes are over. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a straight shot of 1650 miles to Canada. Praise.
Today was beautiful. Check it out!! Lots of snow. Lots of creeks. Wet feet ALL day long, but it was no sweat. I crossed over Dorothy Pass, officially exiting Yosemite National Park. My next Park will be Lassen in about 350 miles.
Anyway. I’m going to really try to get up early tomorrow. To do this, I need to sleep. I might take a Benadryl for optimal comatose. 💀
PS- is the Chamber of Secrets everyone’s least favorite in the series? Dobby is on my nerves. And don’t even get me started about Lockhart.
Also, I think Rowling had incredible potential to further incorporate the magic of Horcruxes here. Not sure how, but maybe some things to make readers go “wow!! I wish I would’ve caught that!!” in HBP and DH.
^ 5 minutes after I wrote that, Rowling just introduced Vanishing Cabinet 2 of 2. Well played, Jo.
Day 75: Sonora Pass Approach (mi. 1004.7) to mi. 1020.2
GOODBYE HIGH SIERRAS 👋👋👋👋👋👋👋👋👋👋👋👋👋👋👋👋👋👋👋
Wowowow. Today was good. stinkin. day. I confidently, and unregretedly (not a word), snoozed a solid 2.5 hours past my alarm. Before packing up, I made oatmeal and drank coffee… this is what feeling human is like! I could get use to this.
Sonora Pass was a breeze. Sure, it was a pretty snowy approach, but the 6+ mile ridge walk before the descent was straight up amazing. And the descent down was composed of long, buttery glissades.
I had planned to continue hiking straight from the descent, but convinced myself I deserved a burger + a coke. It’s not every day you finish hiking the High Sierra, right?
Welp, after an hour of waiting for a hitch into Bridgeport (a real town with lots of restaurants, about 30 miles away), I decided to take the much easier hitch into Kennedy Meadows North (not to be confused with KM South [mile 703]). The hitch took 2 seconds, and before I knew it, I was swapping stories and sharing a meal with the kindest couple around.
Their grandkids are currently on the PCT, so we talked a good deal about the trail and its hardships. I consumed my burger, fries, and approx. 74892 refills of root beer before the couple kindly paid for my meal AND took me back to the PCT.
I hope to never get used to this caliber of kindness. It blows me away every single time.
Just up the PCT from Sonora Pass is a little bit of phone service. I binged on it for about an hour before *really* needing to hit the trail. The hike went quick. Although just a few miles from the big guys, these mountains seem tamer. So, so interesting.
Because of my late wakeup and 3 hour lunch break into NKM, I didn’t *quite* make today’s miles. I’m about 4 short, but suspect it’ll be easy to make up tomorrow. TBD.
Also, look at today’s campsite!! Holla holla. Last time sleeping above 10k feet on the PCT. This is bittersweet. 😪⛺️💥
Day 76: Mi. 1020.2 to Noble Lake (Mi. 1044.0)
Yeah, the Horcrux part of Harry TOTALLY should’ve died or put up a fight when he got bit by the basilisk. No question.
Day 77: Mi. 1044 to Mi. 1068.0
I forgot to journal today and I can’t remember what happened!! Probably just a lot of hiking, reading, sleeping, and eating. My bad. I’ll do better. But I’m loving the trail and hiking actual miles, I promise!
Day 78: Mi. 1068.0 to Hwy 50 (mi. 1090.0)
Today I felt like a superstar. Additionally, people are FAR too kind to thru-hikers. Just in a few miles of hiking, I was offered oranges, a Coke, trail mix, and homemade muffins from different people.
I gladly accepted the Coke from a ranger and the muffins from a kind woman I met up the trail. Also, my hitch into town gave me $10 for food!!! What?!??
Tonight I rolled into the wonderful South Lake Tahoe with just enough time to check into my reeeeally fancy $49 motel room, buy a new phone charger, eat some dinner, and skip over to see the new Spider-Man. SO GOOD. Seriously. Go see it. Marvel created the movie we’ve all been waiting for.
After the movie I went to the grocery store and snagged some snacks. During this little shopping experience, I lost my new phone charger. Yay.
Day 79: Zero in South Lake Tahoe
Towns. Woof, am I right???? Spent most of the day doing laundry and searching for my ID I dropped somewhere. Probably walked around 8 or 9 miles today. Ready to get back on trail! Also, I sent home my bear can and snow gear. Bye!!
But South Lake Tahoe is actually really neat. I’d love to come spend some actual time here one day. Maybe even do some skiing!
Until the next update!