I’m up at 8 and think I’ve slept in; the rest of the room isn’t up until 9. You think we’d be well-rested after yesterday, but not so much. We’re apparently not taking the morning bus, which leaves soon, back to Independence, so I guess we’re getting out at 1.
The morning passes by quickly, all wrapped up in writing and Game of Thrones1; before we know it, we’re late for checkout. We get out in 20 minutes, come down to The Neighborhood being chastised by Mrs. Raj, the owner’s wife, for not being out yet. I feel bad, but there’s not much to say other than “whoops” and “sorry”. At least we cleaned and left a tip for the housekeeper.
We shift over to McDonald’s for food and to kill time, end up overstaying our welcome there, too. I’m a little annoyed about this one – we were paying customers – but we’re apparently only allowed a half-hour in there, despite the fact that many many tables are open. Oh well.
But the bus back to Independence is on its way anyway, so we head down to the JCPenny to catch it. Outro and Sprinkles try to hitch until being told it’s illegal in the city proper. The bus, when it comes, has just enough room to fit the locals and the hikers – crisis averted. So it’s off, on a really odd route, to Independence.
Once there, everyone abandons me for the inside and, presumably, the bathroom. Outro comes back, Yoda comes back, and 30 minutes later, Sprinkles and Homegrown come back, having eaten. I’m annoyed, mostly because it’s 100 degrees in the shade again and I could’ve been in the AC with them or finding a ride up the road. Oh well, I guess.
So we all walk over to hitch – kind of. Yoda and I go to the main road with our thumbs out; the others are sitting on the roadside of the side road we need to be on, a ways up. No one says anything as we dance and sweat it out; when I walk over to find out what’s going on, I find out we were trying to hitch for nothing. A trail angel drops off and picks up here. And no one came to tell us. The communication breakdowns are concerning, and the darkening sky, ripe with rain and lightning, is even more so.
Soon enough, a trail angel picks us up, but it’s not the one we were expecting – Donna Saufley of Hiker Heaven is there, loading us into her Subaru. She was visiting a friend in Bishop, and her kindness knows few bounds. So she sweeps us off and up to Onion Valley.
At Onion Valley, the storm is in full swing; we wave goodbye to L-Rod and huddle 9 hikers into the best-smelling privy I’ve ever been in to escape the cold and wet. Other hikers make it down from 2 miles up; too much hail to even camp up there today. We lament our timing, and consider heading back down to Independence, but all the day hikers have already bailed, and we probably couldn’t get a ride. So the campground down here it is.
We’re settling into an empty spot when another group with two spots decides to leave, decides to give us their pre-paid spots and some firewood. It’s quite a consolation for not getting up that hill and back to the trail today.
Then it’s communal eating near a roaring fire, lots of learning about new-to-us folks, and, when the rain starts to scold us once again, bed.
Start: 788.9 • End: 788.9 • Day: 0, though not for lack of trying
Notable Accomplishments: Did not die by lightning • Met some new hikers • Saw L-Rod!
 HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO WAIT UNTIL APRIL AFTER THAT. AAAAH.