My original plan was to get a motorbike in Portland and ride it all the way down to Los Angeles, following the resupply towns along the Pacific Crest Trail. With the expected rent for a Harley Davidson Sportster 900 for 10 days coming close to 2000USD from EagleRider, I decided against it and went for a road trip by car. Weather proved me right. And Tinkle decided to join spontaneously – her Canada road trip couldn’t happen without the driving license left at home. So part of the tramily (trail family) could spend ten more days on the PCT. 🙂
Picked up car at 3pm at Portland airport after doing some clothes shopping in the shopping center there. We drove up to Cascade Locks – crossing the famous Bridge of the Gods by car this time.
Go up early enough to make it to Timberline Lodge – to have the amazing breakfast buffet one more time. Driving up to the lodge at 6000 feet showed me that it was a good decision to go by car instead of motorbike. Very foggy and rain drizzling.
The drive to Bend, OR turned out to be very beautiful. Oregon’s flat fields was something I saw the first time. The trail had led us mainly through forests and the lava fields.
We stayed in Bend. Thai food for dinner and movies.
Started in Bend after a late breakfast. Quite nice if you don’t have to do 20 miles hiking where getting up with first light is necessary. First stop was Elk Lake, taking a nice scenic road towards Shelter Cove, a resupply stop we had visited Aug 16. At that time, lots of hikers had been hanging out in front of the store. The PCT tent was full with hikers as were the hiker boxes there. Now, Shelter Cove was more or less deserted…
Next stop was Crater Lake. When we came here first Aug 13 hiking the PCT, we were worried about the smoke from the forest fires. This time, clouds and rain were changing the views…
We came into Ashland around 7pm. Dinner at Sauce, a vegetarian restaurant we had visited during our last stay in Ashland together with Crumbs.
Shopping in the morning in Medford near Ashland. It is so nice to browse outdoor shops – this time REI. Finally got myself a PCT T-shirt. Had an In-n-Out burger. Left around 2pm towards Seiad Valley. Driving small roads, looking for a campground, following the beautiful Scott River road. Just before campground, we saw a small black bear crossing the street. Bear sighting number 4 after three sightings during the hike. It made the camping at night time exciting again.
Started from Campground. Picked up coffee at Starbucks in Yreka. My favorite Dunsmuir Cornerstone Cafe for late breakfast/lunch. Visited Burney Falls. Old Station to take gas. Hat Creek Rim Scenic View point. Passed through Chester – I had spent here several days during my thruhike recovering from a flu. Stayed in Quincy.
Heading on towards South Lake Tahoe. Quick stop at Donner Pass. Remembering the long day that we had hiking into Donner Pass. Driven by a liter free beer, we walked until late. And the marketing worked. When we had finished the beer, it was dark and the legs were heavy – so we stayed in the hostel next door which is conveniently owned by the bar owner.
Came to South Lake Tahoe at 14h. Made it to the post office just before closing time to picked up my replaced Darntough socks. A few words about socks: Many people hiked with toe socks from Injinji. As popular for normal socks are Darntough socks with their lifelong replacement warranty. I had to replace my two pairs three times during hike due to wear / holes in them. So I am not too impressed about their durability.
Some more browsing in outdoor shops in South Lake Tahoe. The city was so full that it turned out difficult to find a place for breakfast – finally accepted a waiting time of 30min. Our next stop just outside town was Echo Lake – Tinkle wanted to get a hat for Mermaid. The general store there was already closed for the season. Continued on to Sonora Pass. Getting back into the Sierra, the views were amazing. We had a picnic stop in the afternoon before we drove on to Mammoth Lakes.
We checked out the Mammoth Mountaineering Supply shop – so nice to browse in outdoor shops. Enjoyed coffee and Wifi at the Looney bean coffee shop. Then up into the mountains towards Red’s Meadow. Went for a walk around Devil’s Postpile – that section had been full of smoke when we were hiking.
Drove on into Bishop. Getting into Bishop while hiking the PCT had been more strenuous – we had to go over Kearsage pass to Onion Valley campground and hitchhike from there. Extra 7.5 miles each way for the necessary resupply.
Checked Eastside sports shop in Bishop – did I mention that it is nice to hang out in outdoor shops? Went to Schat’s bakery, got some cinnamon rolls.|
We picked up a hitchhiker, Alex from France on the way to Onion Valley Campground, above Independence. The views on the Sierra got nicer and nicer – difficult not to miss hiking in the mountains. Next stop was Kennedy Meadows – the gateway into the Sierra. Continued on to Lake Isabella. Dinner at Nelda’s. Stayed in Paradise Cove Lodge outside Lake Isabella – after checking the Hobo campground :-p – unfortunately closed.
Did some food shopping in Vons in Lake Isabella plus coffee from Starbucks. Took a small canyon road towards Tehachapi. Drove on to Cajon pass to visit the McDonalds there. A popular stop for thruhikers. I had probably never used the free refill that much before. But right after Cajon pass was a possible 20 miles stretch without water – who says you should not hydrate on soft drinks? This time – diet soda only.
Driving to LA. We returned the rental. I decided to hang out in Venice at the Samesun hostel for a couple of days. Enough time to decide what to do with my remaining time in the US. Tinkle took the Amtrak to Seattle.
The road trip was good. It was nice to see some of the places again that we had hiked through during the last 5 months. I had mostly happy moments on the road trip. Coming back into the Sierra was maybe the most touching moment for me. It is clearly my favorite section. So many good memories in this remote part of the Pacific Crest Trail / John Muir Trail.
On the road trip I lost some tears here – during my through hike, I surely lost my heart.
Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere.
And sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.