Destination: Vermillion Valley Resort
Miles: 4.5 (plus 1.5 off trail miles)
Cumulative Miles: 2443
We woke up this morning without any bear incident. It seems (for us) Bear Ridge was a name only, as we did not see any last night or this morning. After packing up we made our descent off Bear Ridge.
We have added a day to this leg, which was a result of slow acclimatization and a late start at Kearsarge Pass. The miles in the Sierras are difficult. Not only do we face higher elevations and serious climbs and descents, but the trail is also knobby. Often we are walking carefully across loose talus or boney granite. Sometimes we have to lift our body and pack up a two foot step, or slowly drop down two feet trying not to roll an ankle.
With the additional day of hiking, we found ourselves low on food. Fortunately at Mather Pass we met two Canadian women who gave us a little, and the group we camped with the night before last gave us some Top Ramen. This set us up fairly well to make it all the way to Red's Meadow. We, however, had it in mind to side trek to Vermillion Valley Resort (VVR), but we did not know if it was still open.
When we reached the trail junction to VVR, we sat down to decide whether to take a gamble. If VVR was closed, we would have added three unnecessary miles to this leg. A shower, a burger, and more food was mighty tempting. We were more or less resigned to testing fate and heading down, but we decided to flip a coin. Tails came up, telling us to head toward VVR. Feeling a little hesitant, we flipped again. Tails again. We donned our packs and moved quickly down the trail towards the ferry.
When we arrived at the ferry landing, we were happy to find out VVR was still open, and the ferry would be arriving in half an hour. We met a section hiker who was leaving the trail, and had a surplus of food. Once we had ferried across Lake Thomas A Edison, he walked us to his truck and dumped all his food on us. Then another hiker offered us food. He is hiking the John Muir Trail, and misjudged his food needs.
Now with all the extra food given us, we will be able to bypass our next town stop, offsetting time lost by heading in to VVR. Once again, everything always works out on the trail. People's generosity continues to restore our faith in humanity. We are getting well rested after a hard leg. Tomorrow morning we will take the ferry across the lake, and start our four day leg to Tuolumne Meadows. Hopefully it is still open.
Time for homemade pie.
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