Day 52: Nearo (nearly zero)

2.4 miles (702.2 to 704.6)

Dad, Cucumber, and I go to Grumpy Bears in the morning. The guys order breakfast and tackle the humongous pancakes. I have a lot of food left in my food bag, so I stare at the humongous pancakes and try to use the WIFI. No luck. Too many hikers have come in and the WIFI isn’t even accessible anymore. I won’t be updating my blog anytime soon. 

Jukebox and Cucumber and their humungous all-you-can-eat pancakes.

We stop by Triple Crown Outfitters so Cucumber can buy a few supplies for the Sierra. Yogi, who runs the shop and is the author of the famous guidebook, is as wonderful as you’d expect. She’s knowledgeable and helpful. We enjoy our visit and leave with shiny new gear for Cucumber. 

I spend the next few hours packing and repacking my backpack with my fully loaded Bearikade Expedition bear canister. I’m used to the Bear Vault bear can, but I couldn’t fit all of my food in it when I tried loading it at home, so I purchased the gargantuan Expedition. I have to switch out a few of my stuff sacks for a few of Dad’s in order to make it work. Then we have to go back to Yogi’s for another stuff sack for my down jacket. Then, everything finally fits. I wish I’d found a way to make the Bear Vault work; the Bearikade’s larger diameter means I can’t pack things around the canister the way I can with the Bear Vault. The next weeks are going to be frustrating, but eventually I’ll get used to this beast of a canister. 

With Yogi at Triple Crown Outfitters.

We sit in the shade and eat lots of food. I’m going to hike over to the campground this afternoon and spend the night there rather than endure another noisy night at the store. Cucumber will meet me at the campground tomorrow morning and we’ll hike out together. We intend to tackle the High Sierra snow and steam crossings together. 

Dad drops me off at the trail and I resume my trek northward. The air is hazy with wildfire smoke. My pack feels awkward weighed down with the giant cylinder full of food. I hope I can get used to this. I’ve never carried so much food in my life. 

Smokey afternoon haze.

I reach the campground after a short walk. Dad is waiting, sitting on a picnic table, reading his Kindle. We walk down to the river and soak our feet. I rinse my socks. We walk back. We eat. I set up my tent and take a nap. Just Mike (who I spent the afternoon with in Tylerhorse Canyon) arrives and decides to camp with us, making a little village of three Copper Spur tents. 

Tomorrow will be another milestone. I’ll enter the Sierra, and water will be available every few miles. The landscape will grow more and more beautiful with every mile. I’ll be hiking with a new partner. We’ll learn a whole new skill set. It’s going to be an adventure. 

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