After staying the night of the 26th in Independence, CA, we hitchhiked up to Bishop (~40 miles away) and spent June 27-30 recovering from the last week of hiking.
Start: Independence Inn, Independence, CA
Stop: Bishop, CA (first night at Bishop Village Motel, next nights at EconoLodge)
Miles hiked: 0
Miles hitchhiked: ~40
Because we spent June 27-30 off the trail in Bishop, we are going to give you a quick summary of our zero days, instead of a full narrative. Here are some of the highlights from our time in Bishop:
- Got a hitchhike from Independence to Bishop from an older lady and her teenage granddaughter. Both were very nice; they had lots of stories to tell about the Owens River Valley and its various attractions.
- Spent our first afternoon in Bishop at the Black Sheep Coffee Roasters, enjoying discounted breakfast burritos and yummy smoothies and coffee.
- Stayed at Bishop Village Motel our first night. The room was clean and comfortable enough, but very outdated (decor clearly from the 60s or 70s) and a bit overpriced.
- Stayed the next three nights at the EconoLodge of Bishop, which was a little dirty (especially the carpets) and outdated (no flat screen TV!), but adequate for a couple of hikers looking for a cheap room. (They seem to be the cheapest motel in town that still offers breakfast and has a pool.)
- Spent the better part of every day running the usual hiker errands (resupplying, fixing/cleaning gear, washing laundry, etc.).
- Spent our evenings hanging out by the pool, eating strawberries with Cool Whip and other grocery store-bought treats, watching TV, etc.
- Saw “Inside Out” at the local two-screen movie theater. Loved it!
- Visited the local outfitters, particularly Wilson’s Eastside Sports, which has a larger selection than the other two outfitters in town.
Overall, we spent more time in Bishop than we thought we would, but we needed it. The Sierras are tough in every way–mentally, emotionally, and physically. The quality of the trail is more akin to what we experienced on the Appalachian Trail (steep, rocky, tiring) than on the rest of the Pacific Crest Trail. In addition, we often have to take miles-long side trails off of the Pacific Crest Trail just to reach the nearest town, which is often not very near at all. The difficulty of getting off and on the trail contributes to the overall difficulty of the experience. When something goes wrong, you have to wait days to make it right.
Of course, the Sierras are also gorgeous, and so during our time off in town we agreed to slow down on this part of the hike and really take the time to enjoy our surroundings. We’re planning to hike an average of 12-15 miles per day, which may mean that we’ll end up spending most of the summer in the Sierras. We’ve also agreed to add a few extra town/resupply stops to our agenda. Our goal right now is to hike no more than 5-6 days at a time in between pit stops. Hopefully, these efforts will help us struggle less and enjoy more.