Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Day 74 - Cascade Creek to Bridgeport

We spent last night 2 minutes away from the 1,000 miles marker
Sonora Pass caught us with our pants down.
At the beginning of the day we had the normal downhill walk of the last few days. We passed Smuggles, Heat Wave and Lighthouse after several miles (they didn't end up sleeping 0.2 miles from us).
We were getting close to a different mountain range. The Sierras were all granite, but this one was not as rocky, and more brown. The second we crossed a creek over to the new terrain, the mosquitoes stopped. That was awesome.
We had a short, mosquito-less, break, and were joined by Lighthouse. I was surprised to learn he was Scottish. He doesn't have (what I thought would be) a Scottish accent. He did most the trail last year, and is here to finish up some small sections. He has to get to Tahoe, and then just finish the last 60 miles of the trail. Very impressive.
After several more miles we reached the last water source before Sonora Pass. We had another quick meal, and then started our climb. I thought we will get up the ridge, and then get down to the pass. I was wrong.
After a long, switch-backed, climb up, the trail just kept on climbing. There were some downhills as well. But it kept surprising us with more small climbs again and again.
Then came the show patches. It felt almost like we were in some high Sierra pass again. I thought we were over this.
At some point, we suddenly ran into a very sweet dog. He had his dog pack on, and he seemed lost. At first he kept climbing up the side of the trail, and barking for me to follow him. I thought that maybe his owner was in some trouble somewhere, so I followed him. But there was no one around. We decided we would take him down to the road with us, and try to find his owners there. Some beef jerky Idan had convinced the dog to follow us down the trail. We also found some dog food in his pack, and fed him and gave him water.
Luckily, about 5 minutes later we ran into his owner, who was looking for him. The dog got behind, and the owner hadn't noticed he got lost. Well, that ended well.
The cute trail dog, back with his owner
From there it was really almost all downhill, finally. Just as we were starting our descent we met Rock Ocean, who shuttle hikers around the trail. He just came up for a short hike, and told us that if we'd still be stuck without a ride down at the road, when he gets down, he'd take us to Bridgeport. That was a relief.
That's Sonora Pass down there
After a few more snow patches, and another short but very annoying climb, we finally got to the road. And couldn't get a ride.
Failing to get a ride down from Sonora Pass. Lurking behind us is Rock Ocean's sweet van, waiting for his return
Not long afterwards, Rock Ocean came down, and thankfully got us down the long road to town. I thought he was heading in there himself, but apparently he was going back up to pick up someone else later. So we paid him for gas, and got his number to try and arrange a ride back up in two days.
Down in town we were just starting to check out hotel prices, when suddenly Glimmer hailed us from across the street. She got a got a room with Zen Dawg, and they were looking to split it with more hikers. We got in their room and took a shower. Later, Blush and Tea Popping came around, and after some shuffling of rooms they split a room with Glimmer, and we remained with Zen Dawg.
I really enjoyed chating with him. He did the AT several years ago, and generally travels around the world for several months a year. He also told us that Asheville is the place to live in, in the US. Sounds like an awesome town indeed.
Having a veggie burrito dinner at the Burger Barn