Today I woke up an hour and a half later than normal, at 5:30 am. Since we were only 3 miles out from Reds Meadow Resort where we were going to try to get into town, and Reds did not open till 7am. It was nice to start out the day without having to use my headlight to see. We made good time. The motivation to get to town, combined with it all being downhill, allowed us to get there in 45 minutes.
It turned out that the road to town was closed until the 4th, so that there were only two ways to get to town. The first was to catch a ride with a volunteer or someone who was staying at the resort. The second option was to hike down to the gate by the road, which was 7 miles away, then walk to the ski resort and ride on the trolley into town. We decided to try and hitch a ride. While we were waiting, a guy drove up and said he was there to pick up his son, and on his way back down he could give us a ride, so after an hour we got a ride.
It turned out his son was hiking the John Muir Trail (JMT) and after five days of not having much fun sliding around on the snow called it a trip. The man did not have the combo to the gate, but on the way up it was only dummy locked. While we were getting on the road, he met a park ranger who was not too happy that he was going up without being a guest or working at Reds, and changed the lock to the gate. When we got to the gate, it was locked. Thankfully, one of the guys who worked at Reds was there and tried to let us out, but the combo he had was wrong since she changed the lock. After making a call to get the new combo, he was able to let us out.
The first stop was to a discount grocery store. I had never been to one before. Oliver explained that when companies had product lines that were not doing hot and were going to get discontinued, they sent them to discount grocery stores to be sold for cheap. I was able to buy pretty much all my food there and was pleasantly surprised at the money I saved. I did buy a half-gallon of chocolate milk and Oliver and I split it. From there we went to an outfitter where Lucky Hat got a foam sleeping pad to replace his holey air pad. Then we went to a thrift shop where I got a pair of Patagonia long underwear for five bucks and Oliver got a couple of ski poles to use in place of his broken trekking poles.
The next stop was to a laundry mat where we started a load of all our dirty clothes. I kept an eye on the machine, and Lucky Hat went to get some pizza since the McDonald’s was closed down. Oliver went to get wifi and charge his phone up. After the laundry was done, I hit up the Vons to buy the few food items I was not able to get and bought a salad for lunch.
After meeting back up with Oliver, we went to the Motel 6 where my folks had sent a new pair of shoes. Lucky Hat was waiting there for us and I went up to the lobby. Turns out that the Motel 6 had recently added a new policy of returning packages to sender if the recipient did not have a reservation. And so my shoes had been sent back to Austin.
I had to get a new pair of shoes. I was almost shoving my toe out of the side of my shoe. They were definitely not going to make it more than a couple of days at the most. So, I walked across the street to a store called Foot Loose Adventures, where I was able to buy the same type of shoe that I had mailed.
Today turned out to cost a lot more than I thought, an almost $200 town stop after getting my new shoes and promptly throwing out my old ones. Oliver, Lucky Hat, and I caught the trolley and then a bus that took us to the resort a couple of miles from the gate.
We walked almost all the way to the gate before getting a hitch for the last half mile from some weekend hikers who were going to walk up the road as well. We walked almost all 7 miles back to the resort meeting a couple who were hiking with their dog; they were going to hike from Agnue Meadow, which was 6 miles on the road from Reds. We were able to get a ride the last 3 miles by a man who worked with the forest service, but it had to be on his own time.
We dried out some of our gear in the sun and had dinner around 6 before getting back on the trail. We hiked for about an hour, before setting up camp within view of Devil’s Post Pile National Monument.
I was slightly disappointed with how rushed it felt in town. I wish I could have had a little more time in town to eat and recharge, but I am glad we were able to get in and out. I was worried we were going to get stuck in town, which I don’t think I could afford after having to buy shoes.