Date: Thursday, July 7th 2016
Miles: 873 – 878.7
Bear Ridge Remote Camp – Vermillion Valley Resort
The idea of making it to a resupply up to now has always entail more than a little excitement for me. A resupply doesn’t just mean that I get to restart the clock on a food cycle. It means that I have the pick of my options for a day or so, with some implied variety in my diet. It also often means that I’m in a town with all of the things you could wish for – clean laundry, a shower, fresh food and some relaxing off-trail times. So it was with Vermillion Valley Resort, not so much as a resort but a log cabin in the remote woods on the western Sierra, as ill-connected to the “real world” as most places you could think of in California, however what it lacked in phone coverage hot tubs, restaurants and transit connections, it made up for in a hearty breakfast, pie, a fun boat ride to get to the resort and the ability to resupply. What is possibly did lack was any sort of reason in its pricing structure. The visit to Vermillion Valley of less than 24hrs seemed to extract money from me in am every single way possible, even with a nights free camping and a free welcome beer on arrival! So it is with the trail. I walked for 9 days from Kennedy Meadows South, not a penny did I spend, so it was with some pent up fervor that I caught up to the real world with a healthy dose of conspicuous consumption!
Getting to Vermillion Valley half of the fun today. I awoke earlier than Flint and Neil-Bob with the intention of making the 10:15 ferry in the morning. I walked a beautiful 6 miles over the Bear Ridge mountain before descending a series of precipitous switchbacks down to the magnificent Mono Creek, it’s crashing waters marking one of the bigger rivers we’ve crossed, as it decends to Lake Edison a little further on.
As I made it to Lake Edison, fresh with the information from a hiker who passed me that a few people were already ahead, I was very relieved to count the numbers and see that I likely could get on the first ferry trip. As I got a little closer, I realized that one of the hikers waiting was Levi! He had rallied from Muir Pass to here but somehow I managed to catch up to him! A little later another hiker named Muze arrived. The crew for the first ferry was assembled, and as it arrived at 9:30, a whole 45mins early, I realized I might just make it to breakfast! The boat ride was a great way to wake up and get some wind blowing through my spiders-webs. After 9 days of hiking, a huge and cumbersome bear can filled with food and so much elevation gain and fall – I was finally at the time where I could take a break!
As we made landfall a little before 10, we were led to the main lodge at Vermillion Valley and introduced to the tab system they use, the restaurant, the shower, laundry and resupply box system. By 10am, right on the button, we were told we could grab a last minute breakfast before they closed the kitchen – so it was that Levi, Muze and myself all feasted on coffee, pancakes, eggs, breakfast burritos and toast. A veritable Babette’s feast for our weary souls!
After breakfast, I set-to on my chores for the morning, added my nam to the laundry list. Had an amazing shower, and then solved the riddle of my resupply box (due to some minor confusion over the name of the sender versus the hiker, they listed my box under my friends name of Shannon!). A few of us even got roped into some chores in the resort, helping to unload the beer truck when it arrived and needed some additional heave-ho!
After a nap, some resupply box to bear-can Tetris game and general hanging out in the shade, I got to know lots of other hikers including Blue and Srocket from MA/NH, a couple from Sweden and Germany. Pierre from France whom I last saw at Cajon Pass, as well as Muze, originally from Malaysia who I had learned was actually Southbound on the PCT and worked in Utah for a large backpack supplier whom a lot of us use on the PCT (I have one of their packs but not my PCT pack!). By the evening, we had laundry complete and the group came together for dinner, a disappointing food experience made up by some really fun company including some exhausting deliberations around pie that of course inevitably led to us buying a whole pie and eating it. So it is once again with the trail. The people really do make the experience.
As I settled into bed with a full and satisfying evening complete – I was reminded of the pitfalls of staying in a group site, as the 25 tents in the small space contributed to a phenomenal chorus of snores, creaks, tent sounds and occasional Sierra Nevada flatulence! Little did I realize how quickly and deeply I would fall asleep however, the human body will always grasp an opportunity when it comes it’s way!