Total Miles: 788.5
Days off in town are a strange breed. Without fail, I imagine them to be as relaxed and restful as can be, sort of like my new friend Morgan here, the family pug at the Courthouse Motel where Proton, Sweet Pea, Beardoh, Dreamcatcher and I are staying.
The reality of the zero day, however, is quite a bit different. Between laundry, showers, shopping for resupply, eating, writing blog posts, calling family members, eating, cleaning/drying gear, catching up on emails, hitting the post office before it closes, and eating yet again, I'm always at a loss to explain exactly where the day went. With a body that is constantly operating at a calorie deficit, I'm considering using one hand to do all the items on the list above while I use the other to feed a non-stop conga line of ice cream and hamburgers into my mouth in future town stops.
Speaking of eating, the undisputed gem of Independence is this little taco trailer that warranted no less than three trips in the 36 hours we've been in town.
Zero days are also about tending to aches and pains that may have been difficult to manage on the trail. My crushed finger is one thing, but I don't know what to say about this tan line. The sun and I simply do not work and play well with one another. My compression socks, though incredibly helpful for my shin and Achilles, have had the unfortunate side effect of creating this most sexy of sunburns...
Though it will never be confused with a good look, a sun burnt knee is a far cry from a more insidious danger on the snowy high mountain slopes we've traversed these past days under bright sunshine: snow blindness. Without protection from the sun and glare, the cornea itself can become sunburned in an alarmingly short amount of time. Just one day without sunglasses over Forester Pass caused one of our hiker friends to have snow blindness, the classic, not to mention painful, symptom of which is feeling as though there are grains of sand in your eyes. Pleasant, no?
Just as the sun began to set on our zero day, Gazelle and XC rolled into the motel, weary from several long, hard days and a successful, though very cold, summit of Mt. Whitney the day after the snowstorm. We made one final visit to the taco truck to celebrate their arrival and to plan out the next few days. The two of them will take a day off tomorrow, while the rest of us will head back to the trail in the morning. If all goes according to plan, we'll all be hiking together in six days time.