As promised, I will now tell you about the day I hitchhiked back to Mammoth to have my phone fixed (as well as an interlude about several other towns in between). This would be my third time in Mammoth. I hitchhiked there when I first got injured and couldn’t hike (just to spend some time at least exploring new towns in order to pass the time while my body healed). During this trip, we stayed in a condo rented out by a bunch of hikers, slept in a church, visited the Davison hostel, where I lounged in a hammock and Necktie played guitar, listened to music and watched music videos at the library (the photo above is us listening to “Free,” by Rudimental, one of my new favorite songs/videos), opened packages of food (for some reason, filled with Mexican candy!) from my mother, and got Necktie some new gaiters (courtesy of my wonderful mother who makes them for half the price that Dirty Girl makes them; feel free to contact me for a custom order!). I also got to draw on people, Necktie got to play some music in a cafe and we all got free smoothies for it, and, as we hitchhiked to Tahoe, Necktie discovered a guitar in a truck wagon and played some music on it (the video that got pretty famous on Facebook is here).
We then hitchhiked joined up with a fellow hiker, Tonka, and hitched north to Lee Vining, where we hung out at a cafe and camped in the middle of a football field and got free breakfast and showers from someone who is part of the firefighter crew due to the recent fire in their town. Then, we hitched to Tahoe (in an RV! with a puppy!) to spend the 4th of July somewhere we hadn’t been yet. Tahoe was interesting, and I was fascinated by how I could cross the street and no longer be in California but in Nevada, but it was a little too big and overwhelming for me (keep in mind I’m used to being in the woods alone most of the day). Nevertheless, we had a lot of fun at the beautiful Lake Tahoe, where we waded in the water and Necktie entertained locals and tourists with his music (you can see a video of him doing that here and here), met fun locals (one guy makes his own amazing natural hygiene products; check him out, I included a photo of his company–I even opted to carry more weight in my backpack so that I could have his massage cream and soap with me to make life better when I’m sore and achy and smell terrible), petted domesticated wolves, ate free pizza, and just walked around town, exploring, as injured town-exploring partners should do.
We then hitchhiked to Truckee on the night of the 4th with our patriotic hitchhiking signs and spent three days there in a trail angel’s vacation rental (seriously, if you’ve never been to Truckee, go! and stay in one of the beautiful homes by the river) where we ate gigantic slices of pizza, where Necktie discovered a street piano player who let him join in and earn some tips, after which some sweet ladies from out of town bought us drinks. The next day, we had the gigantic pizza one more time, Necktie played some Beatles in an ice cream shop, used Necktie’s street-playing earnings to have an at-home movie night with ice cream and popcorn (we watched my favorite movie, “Atonement), and the next morning, said goodbye to our favorite little town, and left.
Now our vacation was over. I was feeling capable of carrying a pack without the weight hurting my lower back, and it was time to return to Mammoth and hike from there. This would be my second time in Mammoth. We tried to hitchhike all the way there but ended up stranded in Gardnerville. It was getting dark as we asked around at the gas station if anyone was heading south, and we got hungry. Being the broke PCT hikers that we are, we bought four pieces of chicken at KFC and opted out of the biscuits when we found out they were $1.49 each. While waiting for our food, one of the staff members (I believe she was a manager?) gave us free sodas, and as a thank you, Necktie played her some music (the video is here). When our food was handed to us, we went outside to eat and discovered four free biscuits inside. That already made our night, but then, a man in line at the restaurant whom Necktie asked to take a photo of him with the KFC staff, came up to us and asked how we felt about staying at his house for the night. Seeing as late-night hitchhiking was unlikely to be successful this time (though we have done it before!), we agreed. This is where I took the black-and-white photo of Necktie playing guitar in a living room which I posted earlier, and where we received a feast-like Starbucks breakfast, where we were stocked up on snacks to go, and where we were invited to come again of we ever come through their town again. Then, we were back in Mammoth, where someone bought us free drinks as we walked by a bar, and then we slept soundly, and hiked out the next morning from the Agnew Meadows trailhead.
After this, we hiked for two days, ended up in Tuolomne Meadows campground, I had that painful, achy night when I cried myself to sleep, and the next morning, while Necktie took a bus to Yosemite to summit Half Dome, I hitchhiked to Mammoth to have my phone fixed.
This is post is already getting long and is full of so much trail magic and miracles nonstop, but there’s more I must share…tomorrow!
***Note: This blog post is a continuation of my PCT journal entries from late July. It picks up right after Marmots, Laughter, Crystal Lakes, and Tears. Reminder: This is an old entry from a journal I kept while hiking the PCT earlier. I am no longer on the PCT and I had to get off of the trail due to my injury in late July. I just wanted to share my last few days on the trail with everyone who may be wondering. There’s so much I didn’t have a chance to tell you!