Total Miles: 1034.2
The calendar turned a new page today into the month of July, marking yet another small milestone and reminding me of all the little ways in which thru-hikers both mark progress and also motivate themselves to continue pushing down the trail: every 100 miles, 1/4 of the way, 1/3 of the way, half way there, the next town stop, a new calendar month, every trail month, a new state, the next water source, the next break spot…..and the list goes on and on, an endless string of carrots from Mexico to Canada.
The whole group of us, minus Beardoh and Sweet Pea, gathered for a big breakfast at the small restaurant at Kennedy Meadows Resort before heading out to the road to try our luck at hitching back up to the trail. When we arrived to find that Beardoh and Sweet Pea were still standing there, we thought we might be in for a long wait. Within 10 minutes, however, a truck towing a fifth wheel behind it pulled over and offered us a ride up to Sonora Pass. The man then ushered all ten of us into the camper for the ride up. It was truly unlike any hitch I’ve ever had before, and when we all piled out at the pass, the man, his wife and their infant son videotaped the procession of dirty hikers stepping out onto the pavement with pride.
Gazelle, of course, would not allow it to go unnoticed that today was Canada Day, and since I grew up vacationing in Canada, have always lived fairly close to the border and most importantly was married to Emily in Canada, I have a soft spot in my heart for the day. Any nation that invents poutine is a place to be treasured.
Mercifully, the mosquitoes north of Sonora Pass have been nearly non-existent. One of the trail angels serving up trail magic at the pass yesterday offered a compelling theory: the granite mountains of Yosemite to the south were non-porous, thus causing more water to pool and mosquitoes to thrive; but the volcanic mountain soil north of the pass allowed for far better drainage, drier conditions, and as a result far fewer bugs. Whatever the reason, it was a true relief to be without them for a change.
The other reason to celebrate was the absence of the bear canister we’d each been carrying for over 300 miles. Dropping two pounds from my pack made a noticeable difference, not to mention that it meant I could finally go back to packing it the way I preferred rather than having to rearrange the puzzle pieces to accommodate the bear can. My pack finally feels like my own again.