PCT mile 942.5 (Yosemite Valley via Tuolumne Meadows)
Oh my, what a day!!! So much happened I can't even begin to touch on it all. However, I will entertain you with the best of the days happenings. My plan was to get to Tuolumne Meadows no later then 4pm...as this was a resupply point for me and wanted to get to the post office well before it closed at 5pm. My goal was to get an early start tomorrow so I wanted to have my pack ready to go and have plenty of rest before tomorrow am. As I will be leaving Hiker Dad and am eager to start piling on the mileage again.
Hiker Dad and I hiked the 1st 4 miles together, then I left Hiker Dad so he could take his time on the trail and take pictures, while I sped off ahead to get to Tuolomne Meadows.
I got to Tuolomne shortly after 3pm. Pilsbury was there, she had already gotten her package and was just chilling with other hikers. There were tons of hikers coming in and out, a few thru-hikers and tons of JMTers. Besides the post office, Tuolomne has a cafe and general store so it is a pretty popular place for hikers. Pilsbury and I chat for a bit, then I go to get my package. I tell Michael, the postmaster, my name. "I don't recognize that name he says, I'm the one that deals with all the packages and I'm pretty sure I don't have it here." He double checks for me and also has me look at the package register to see if I can find my name, sure enough nothing."Are you sure you specified Tuolomne Meadows on the address?" he asks. When I check my resupply spreadsheet with addresses, as I have it saved to my phone, I find out I did not. "It's most likely at the main post office in the Valley then" he says. "I would call for you but our phone lines are down. Your best bet is to go down there yourself to pick it up yourself." Tuolumne has no cell service or internet so I'm unable to check the tracking of the package. How do I get down there, I ask. "Well...your best bet is to hitchhike, the bus that runs that way has already left for the day. Go get some cardboard and I'll make you a sign." So the postmaster gives me directions on where the best place to stand to get picked up and hands me my signs. One thing I want to mention here is that Tuolomne and the Valley are not close. It's about a hour and half drive between the two. At this point I know I won't get to the post office tonight, but at least I can get down to the Valley this evening and be at the post office first thing in the morning.
I anxiously wait for Hiker Dad. Once he comes in I give him the run down and say, "these are your options: 1. Take the shuttle back to Mammoth tonight, there's one that leaves at 6:15pm from Tuolomne. 2. Camp here and take the shuttle back in the morning, or 3. Go along with me." Hiker Dad immediately says, I'll go with you. There you have it...Hiker Dad and Happy Feet are hitchhiking to Tuolomne.
As were standing on the side of the road waiting to be picked up, I tease Hiker Dad and say, "You know I already would have been picked up if I was alone." Needless to say in less than 20 minutes we were heading down to the Valley, crammed 3 wide in a truck cab. The nice gentleman that gave us a ride worked in the park, we got chauffeured right to the backpackers camp in the Valley, had it not been for him, we would have been searching for a camping spot FOREVER. He saved us a lot of stress and time. I think Hiker Dads favorite thing about this hitch was how the driver pulls into the backpackers camp in his truck...usually you have to hike in, but because we were in an authorized NPS vehicle we got special treatment, then our driver gets out and yells, "How do you get a spot around here?" Another camper replies..."shouldn't you know?" The backpackers camp was pretty crowded but another nice man, Mike, offers to share his spot with us, so we squeeze 3 tents in a spot. Mike offers us a beer, I decline but Hiker Dad and Mike sit down and have a beer together. Once we're all set up we sit and have dinner together and talk about our past and future backpacking endeavors and other random conversation bits. After dinner Mike walks me to where I will catch the Valley shuttle to the post office in the morning.
Back at camp we're getting ready to call it a night, I tell Hiker Dad, he must be packed up ready to go by 7am or I will leave him behind. I want my package and want to get back up to Tuolomne and on the trail ASAP. Hiker Dad agrees with the plan/demand.
As an over all comment of the day...this one will go down in the memory books as never to be forgotten (I'm sure for both myself and Hiker Dad). How many daughters get to hitchhike with their dad and share all the quirky experiences that go along with it?