PCT Day 151, Double Flip and a Flop with a Hop, Day 70

September 10

Mile 896.1 to mile 878.7, 17.4 PCT miles + 1.5 miles to VVR ferry, 18.9 miles total
PCT total: 1561.7
Running total: 1693.5
I groaned as the early alarms started going off, but then Matthew said something I never thought I would hear come from his lips: “let’s wait for the sun.” Oh how I love that boy & his brilliant ideas! Done!!!
When we DID finally wake up, we found a layer of frost on the bottom half of our sleeping bags- wet sleeping bags in cold weather can be dangerous- I was SO glad that we had planned for shelter that night.

It was quite cold while we ate and broke down camp, and I started the morning hiking in my rain pants, fleece, and puffy. Brrrr.

We started with a short climb of about 500 feet in a little over a mile (with over 400 of those feet in the first 0.6 miles) and on our descent we finally felt comfortable enough to take off our layers.
At the bottom of the descent we found ourselves at Purple Lake- some comments on Guthooks informed us that the Loch Ness monster had recently been spotted there AND that the water tasted purple….not helpful, people!!

We walked briefly by the lake before starting our next 590foot climb, and then we walked down a little ways to Lake Virginia. The sun had yet to bless this side of the trail and it was again quite chilly!!

For a short while the trail was covered in water, forcing us to rock hop along.

I was fascinated by this frost & ice but couldn’t capture a good picture.

We walked downhill for about 2.5 miles before starting our big climb of the day up to Silver Pass, which sits at 10,781 feet. We climbed the 1,588 feet over 3.6 miles, then enjoyed lunch at the top of the pass with two day hikers and two JMT hikers.

Though it was beautiful and we were enjoying our conversation, Matt and I had to get moving ’cause we had a deadline- we had to be at the ferry landing 8 miles away early enough to catch a 4:45 ferry to the Vermillion Valley Resort, and these days it was impossible to know how long that would take us. We set off around 1:20 for the journey down, enjoying the incredible views.

It took us longer than expected, and we arrived to the ferry with less than 10 minutes to spare!!

We loaded onto the boat with a handful of JMT hikers and began the journey across Lake Edison to the Vermillion Valley Resort. The air was already chilly, but between the wind in our faces and the frigid water splashing on us, I was frozen!!

I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if we crashed or if the boat malfunctioned- that water was FREEZING!! I can’t even tolerate the river crossings, so an unexpected and unwelcomed dip in that water would surely be my end…shutter.

When we arrived to the resort we were welcomed by Jim, the owner, and given the low-down.

VVR is another super hiker-friendly lake resort. First and foremost, all thru-hikers receive their first drink on the house, be it juice, soda, or beer. Hikers are allowed to camp on the property for free and have access to the clean FLUSH toilets! (A luxury I hope to never take for granted again!!) For a small fee hikers are able to shower and do laundry. The store is stocked with some backpacking food and snacks and has items like batteries and ziplock bags that can be purchased individually, which is super clutch. {Have I mentioned that I still use the term “clutch” and found out on-trail that that’s TOTALLY not cool?? It’s a good thing I embrace my uncoolness…}

Annyways, the store functions on an “honor system”- we pick up what we want when we want it and stop at the desk to add it to our tab, then we are expected to pay the tab before leaving the resort- since most people leave via ferry, this probably limits the urge to leave without paying, BUT one could easily slip off into the woods without squaring up the tab- I’m not endorsing this, just saying that I’m impressed that they work with this system.

Attached to the store is a tiny restaurant that offers HUGE servings with even BIGGER flavor- we were looking forward to dinner, breakfast, and lunch there!! I think the coolest part of this place is that they offer free food and beer to hikers in exchange for help in the kitchen, which could save a starving and struggling thru-hiker’s hike!

They also have numerous housing options, including a small motel, a “hostel” tent, yurts, and boat trailers. We had previously reserved a motel room, which I was very thankful for- the temps had dropped, our gear was still a little damp, and the room was WARM with a private bathroom!!

After checking in, Matt brought his free beer back to the room and took a quick shower. The water was apparently cold, which was all I needed to hear to decide that I was NOT showering at that time. While Matt cleaned up I listened to the mice dance and scurry around in the ceiling above us, but we didn’t have to worry about them chewing through our tent so it was more entertaining than anything else.

We walked over to the restaurant for dinner, where we enjoyed some light conversation with a few JMT hikers.
I ended up ordering the only veggie option available, a spaghetti dish with a sauce made with olives 😦 the waiter PROMISED me that it wasn’t too “olive-y” and he was right- I was able to pick out all of the olives and enjoyed the biggest, yummiest plate of pasta I have had on-trail!
For dessert we each indulged in a piece of pie ala mode…nomnomnom
After dinner we returned to our nice, warm room, I took a nice, warm shower, and crawled into the nice, warm bed…

Happiness is: having shelter.

One thought on “PCT Day 151, Double Flip and a Flop with a Hop, Day 70

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