This morning was pretty much the same as the morning before. We slept in and then ate another large breakfast.
After breakfast we packed up all of our things, including the heaps of food we bought for the next 9 days to Mammoth. I didn't have a scale, but I'm sure this is the heaviest my pack has been to date, probably just over 50 lbs.
Once packed, we walked around Bishop a little, including a stop by Mountain Light Gallery which had some of the most amazing photos I've ever seen; very inspiring stuff. Most of it was taken by Galen Rowell. My favorite photo was one his son had taken at Yosemite Falls at night. There was a lunar rainbow at the base of the falls where the mist was spraying, and then a clear sky with stars up above. Truly a breathtaking scene. There were many other great photos as well, and we commented on how the photos really captured what we have been seeing out in the Sierra but have been unable to capture ourselves with compact digital cameras.
After our stop there we split into groups of two and attempted to hitch back to Independence. It took a little while, but 12 Ounce and I got a ride from a guy named Matt who had recently been divorced and moved to Bishop so he could get away and rock climb more. He had also been to a Buddhist retreat in LA earlier this weekend. It's always interesting getting hitches. Unfortunately he could only take us to Big Pine, which left us 25 miles from Bishop still. So we stuck out our thumbs again and after about 15 minutes got another hitch, this time with a Hispanic father and son, Pedro and Marco. They happened to be hauling scrap metal from Nevada to LA in their semi truck. Yes, that's right, semi. We got to sit on the bed in the back of the cab while driving down the road in a semi. Definitely something I never thought I would do, but so glad for the experience.
After getting dropped of in Independence, we tried to contact a trail angel, Uberbitch, to give us a ride back up to the trail, but her phone was off so we left a message and then tried to hitch. This was definitely the most difficult section to hitch because traffic is very limited going 15 miles from Bishop to the Onion Valley TH. We tried to hitch for a while, but then got hungry so we got some food at Subway, and then got back out on the road to try our luck again.
As we were eating our sandwiches, a man named Kurt pulled up in a pickup truck with trash cans in the back and two dogs. He offered to drive us to the trailhead for $20, but had to go get his other truck first. We happily agreed to pay him for a ride and waited until he came back with the other truck. Little did we know, he did bring back another truck, but still had two dogs with him in the canopy in the back. They weren't small dogs either, they were wolf dogs. We loaded the packs in the back, then the dogs, and then Colin, while Gangsta Rap, 12 Ounce, and I squeezed into the cab with Kurt. It was quite cozy in there.
When we made it to the trailhead we did some last minute preparations and then headed up the hill a couple miles to Heart Lake where we set up camp for the night. We enjoyed the warmth of the sun, then made some dinner, and got in our sleeping bags.
It's great to be back up in the mountains, and I look forward to the string of passes we will be crossing in the next 9 days!
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