Being Mistaken for the Hungry and Homeless

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 and My In-Town Adventures (Post Injury).

I promise to share more of my in-town adventures the next day, and although I’m a few days late, I had to type up my chicken scratch handwriting from my PCT journal and this required a lot of determination! Anyway, here it is:


“I woke up at the campground, surrounded by hikers of all sorts (PCT, JMT, and just day-hikers) and tourists from out of town, state, or country who were seeing Yosemite for the 1st or 50th time. Some hikers were given a bag of fresh cherries, strawberries, and grapes, and another one full of carrots, but they were hiking out and didn’t want to take food that spoiled, so they gave it to me. I munched on this as I hitchhiked to Mammoth. I was soon offered a ride with an ex-forest ranger who dropped me off at the Mammoth post office where a new cell phone screen should have been waiting for me. I’d purchased it at the prompting of a fire station captain who’d offered to fix my phone for free (a hobby of his) if I brought him a case. My screen and new filter (I had ordered a new filter because I was getting tired of the thin stream and effort required to drink from a Sawyer Mini; I ordered a Sawyer Squeeze to fix this problem) was not there because, apparently, Amazon can’t deliver mail to post offices, addressed to “c/o General Delivery,” which they’d done plenty of times before.

I had to contact another backup, a local phone repair guy in Mammoth named Matt Taylor. He was busy, and while I waited for him in the village and made backup plans, I scribbled “Tuolomne” and “Yosemite” on a piece of cardboard to use as my hitchhiking sign on the way back (in case my attempt to have my phone fixed failed). An older man with a cane came up to me and asked me if I had money for dinner. I told him I’m a PCT hiker and dinner was in my backpack, but he began rummaging in his wallet for money. I thought he’d gotten the wrong impression with my cardboard sign, and explained to him that this was a hitchhiking sign, not an, “I’m hungry,” sign, but he smiled, and said, “Still, dinner’s on me tonight.” I didn’t know how to accept money from a stranger, and said so, but he persisted. I took it, and he left  with so much joy on his face and in his heart that he would have skipped down the street if he didn’t have to walk with a cane.

Meanwhile, I had made plans to grab lunch with a friend I’d made the first time I was in Mammoth. The man who was to fix my phone freed up at the same time and offered to meet me where I was. I told him I was waiting for the bus to take me to a restaurant where I was to have lunch, and he offered to pick me up himself and take me there. While I ate tacos, he fixed my phone in 15 mins, and because the screen wasn’t brand new but had been tested, I got a nice discount (I recommend to all other hikers!). Afterwards, the friend I ate lunch with let me take a shower at his place and took me grocery shopping, bought me ice cream,


and dropped me off at the fire station where I said “hello,” to the wonderful man who had first offered to fix my phone for free. He shared with me the awesome news that one of my good friends, K-Bar, who’d gotten off the trail decided to get back on! Apparently, he’s also a taxi driver, besides a fire station captain and phone repair guy, and he had driven my friend to the trail just a few days before. We chatted for a bit, and then I left to go hitchhike back to Tuolomne to go hike out again the next day.

I attempted to get a ride for maybe 15 mins, and then a girl ran across the street and asked me where I’m going. I said, “At least to the 395 Hwy from where I’m more likely to find someone headed towards Yosemite.”  Although she wasn’t headed that way at all but was just a local hanging out in town, she drove me the 3 miles there, and then kept driving. I told her she could drop me off anywhere on the side of the highway where there’s room to pull off if someone wanted to pick me up, but she said she’d take me further, to June Lake. I asked if that’s where the mobile mart was, which I’d heard about but had never been to, and she said, “No, that’s another 25-30 miles past.” We soon passed June Lake, and I told her she could pull over anywhere to drop me off. She said she’d decided to take me all the way to the mobile mart, just because she was free that day and didn’t mind helping me out.

She dropped me off there and headed back home. I realized the mobile mart was right on the junction that goes towards Yosemite, a perfect spot to find a ride with someone going that way. Within 5 mins, someone offered me a ride. He was traveling around in his seatless travel van while the wife and kids were out-of-state for a wedding. He had me sit comfortably on a Thermarest mattress (remember, no seats in his van besides the driver seat) and served me an iced coconut water as we chatted about books and traveling the entire drive up.


I was now back in Tuolomne Meadows, and although I didn’t know anyone there (two weeks off trail caused me to be one of the stragglers; almost everyone I knew was way ahead), I befriended many interesting new people (such as flip-flopping, former northbounder, current south bounder, Luk L’Pahitt, whose blog you can find on Facebook by searching up his fun, fake name). Soon, familiar faces began to arrive (hikers I knew from months ago who’d also taken time off in town for one reason or another). I had not expected this! I hadn’t seen many familiar in about 3 weeks, and this was such a pleasant surprise. We all had a bonfire, shared stories of past adventures, and then hid ourselves away in our tents to slumber peacefully.

Note: 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.

About elinatravels

I’m Elina Oliferovskiy, a Russian-born 27-year-old restless soul who’s never really found a place to dig her roots in deep ever since I moved to the United States in 1998. I move every year or two, backpack for months at a time, and occasionally live and travel in a motorhome--and I (usually) love every minute of my (somewhat) nomadic lifestyle. Feel free to follow along on my journey by reading my blog!
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2 Responses to Being Mistaken for the Hungry and Homeless

  1. Bill Miller says:

    Alexandra Solzenitzen!!!!


  2. Michael says:

    I have enjoyed the videos on You Tube…interested to know how you liked all the gear you won in the raffle…did it all work out for you? Sorry your injury ended your journey…keep your chin up and stay in the fight!!
    I’m a cancer survivor planning on some long distance trips…doubt I could thru hike the PCT or AT but I will do a couple sections at least. Love watching your stuff.


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