Bishop, CA to Seattle, WA
After due consideration of all factors I have decided to end my pursuit of a thru hike of the PCT this year. I am disappointed that my ambition did not pan out and you may be too. I concluded that the risk to fun ratio did not make sense any more with the huge snowpack remaining and the creeks still rising. In my best estimation, continuing would have meant cooling my heels in Bishop for at least a week maybe two while the current heat wave runs its course and the runoff begins to subside.
Perhaps then I may have been able to continue within my risk tolerance but with an already late start, finishing before the snow flies again in the North Cascades would have been improbable. Personally, making more creek crossings in peak thaw exceeded my recreational threshold.
Many others have also decided to abandon the Sierras for now and have opted to skip forward and/or hike segments north to south. For myself, I wanted to walk a continuous path south to north and the idea of piecing it all together some other way does not appeal. Call me a purist but also call me now a section hiker having completed the first 800 miles or so.
I am okay with the decision and last night tried to impress upon my compatriots that discretion is the better part of valor. There were many long faces and anxious questions as people tried to decide what’s right for themselves. I imagine some dogged individuals will resume the attempt and I wish them safety and well being.
After coming to my decision the problem became how best to get home. Rental cars in Bishop were all booked two weeks out and the bus to Reno only runs once a day at 7:30am. Using some of what I’ve learned about the kindness of strangers, I made a sign and attempted to hitch a 3.5 hour ride to Reno.
The universe soon provided in the form of Frank and Luna, a young couple from San Diego, who graciously thought to lend a hand to a scruffy stranger on the side of the road. They were headed to Reno/Tahoe for a weekend of snowboarding and other fun. Snowboarding in June is a another good indicator that plenty of snow persists. I enjoyed getting to know them both and am super thankful for be invited to join their 9+ hour road trip from San Diego to Reno. As we drove north on Highway 395, impressive amounts of water had gathered in the lowlands fed by overflowing rivers. We even passed two hikers who concluded that a 150 mile highway walk was their solution to the runoff problem. Um, no thanks.
We arrived in Reno and went to a place Frank had worked in college for some food and drink. Lest you ever doubt the power of good karma, both he and I won $250 in a span of minutes at the bar top poker machines. Woohoo!
It was a happy parting and I enlisted Uber once again to get to the Reno airport and figure out a flight home. I was able to finagle a two hop flight home through Portland at the last minute.
I am truly grateful for your support and am sorry that I couldn’t take you all the way to Canada. I hope you can be happy knowing that while not by the route I had imagined, I did indeed walk and have found my way home.
I’ll write again to capture for myself if no one else the things I learned from being on trail 40+ days. For now, my wish for you reading this is that you also pursue whatever calls to you from deep within and find nourishment in whatever results.
I am blessed. I am happy. I am home.