Start – Mile 872, 6:00 am
End – Mile 879, 9:30 am
Miles – 7 (plus 1.5 off trail to get to VVR)
I may have been able to cobble together enough meals out of snacks to get to a place called Reds Meadow, which has bus service into Mammoth Lakes where there are full grocery stores, but that honestly sounded miserable so I committed to roll the dice and see if I could get my resupply done at VVR.
Getting to VVR either requires about 6 miles of off trail hiking along Lake Thomas Edison or you can take a ferry ride across the lake after a mile and a half side trail down to the beach. The ferry only runs twice a day and not wanting to get stuck doing extra non-PCT miles I opted to try to make the early ferry at 9:45 am, which required about 8 miles total from where I camped last night.
To get that done by about 9:30, I made sure to be up and hiking by 6, with only one moderate ridge to go over before dropping into a deep valley along Mono Creek. It was close but I made t with a little time to spare.
It’s pretty nice riding across one of these lakes on a boat after having trudge across lake openings and seeing so many lakes that I’ve walked next to but not really had the chance to enjoy any more than aesthetically.
The boat arrived at Vermillion Valley Resort around 10:15, and I quickly got an orientation from the staff and came to see that “resort” is used loosely in this context. It’s the type of camp that you would go fishing with your dad in the 1960s. The store is mainly stocked with whatever was left behind by hikers who never picked up their supply packages in previous years, but it was enough for me to resupply for a few days to get to Yosemite. Another hiker told me they found a food item for sale that was 23 years old, but I can’t confirm that.
I was pretty excited for a shower and a real meal, and luckily got in early enough to get a small breakfast from the kitchen. After that I paid for a seven minute shower which only lasted 1.5 minutes because the water pump for the entire resort died and they lost all of their water supply.
The lack of water closed the bathrooms and the kitchen, unfortunately. But the TV still worked so those of us here were able to watch some of the World Cup matches on Telemundo.
I also got to reconnect with a couple folks I know, including Cool Runnings, Driver, Photon, and Bandy Legs. So that part was fun but I had been looking forward to a full dinner for a couple days and as the realization that the kitchen wouldn’t be opening today set in, those of us camping for the night resigned ourselves to the fact that we were going to have to make do with whatever scraps the store had, and that meant tiny microwave burritos. Pretty underwhelming, but it was a change from my normal hiker food and I was able to get an almost complete rest day, so I can’t really complain.
I had been planning to go straight through to Yosemite, but now I may stop for a meal at a place called Reds Meadow which is also supposed to have a restaurant just to make up for the lack of a real meal here.
My disappointment was nothing like that of a couple other hikers I know, Jamba and Dayglow, who arrived around 7pm after hiking 26 miles to get to VVR mainly for the promise of a hot prepared meal. The look on Jamba’s face when I broke it to him that the restaurant wouldn’t be serving tonight was pretty crushing.
So instead of hanging around here tomorrow I’m going to take the early ferry back to the trail and start the last push to Yosemite. Should be there in about 5 days.