NoBo to SoBo

So much happened yesterday after I wrote down my reflections from the trail that I’ve only just found the time to sit and update you from the quiet cowboy town of Lone Pine. The events which brought me here occurred as follows…

At 11am I was still sitting at my small campsite wondering what had happened to UB. A handful more hikers passed me and reiterated the story of him camping near the spring at mile 731 the evening before. When Dingo and Mud told me he had hurt his knee and wasn’t his usual spritely self, I started to wonder if I should go and look for him and take one of the new knee braces Dr Sole had given me.

I decided to leave my pack behind with the squirrel that was throwing pine cones at my head, and take just a litre of water, some trail mix and my hiking poles with me. Initially I thought I’d walk for an hour, and if I didn’t see him by then, I’d turn back. I passed a few groups of hikers on the way including a trio from New Zealand who I hadn’t met before. All reported passing UB at different points in the day so it was hard to get a sense of how far back he was until I saw Sierra Bum, Werewolf and Maraika who said they passed him half a mile back sitting in the shade. They said he would be super stoked to have company again.

When his red hat finally came into view I almost started skipping down the trail and I could tell from his body language he had no idea who I was until I called out his name. He sprung up in shock despite his sore knee and it took a few minutes until he could comprehend I was actually there and how I came to be there. He thought when I came into view that I was a SoBo (southbound) day hiker who wasn’t carrying any food.

His knee was in bad shape but he put on the knee brace and I carried his pack (which felt like a day hiker’s pack compared to mine) and we walked back to my campsite and backpack via the stream I filled up at the night before. Not only had UB hurt his knee, but he’d also run out of his Aquamira drops to sterilise water after the bottle leaked. He was using a cross between a kettle and a billy to boil the water after his cooking pot ended up over the ridge along with his hiking poles on Black Friday. He was in a state of shock and relief and managed to hobble the 4 miles to collect my backpack and then continue on another 5 miles after boiling up some coffee.

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We headed to the Horseshoe Meadow trail head which led down the mountain to a road that leads to Lone Pine.
We made the decision to exit the trail not only because of UB’s knee, but because neither of us would have had enough food to slow down to 10-15 mile days and still make it to Independence. It was another 2.5 miles down to Horseshoe Meadow but the scenery was postcard perfect, and despite losing the trail momentarily, we reached the campsite and trail head at the other end in just over an hour.

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Our optimism turned to concern when the car park we reached was empty and the options for a ride looked slim to none. I heard a car in the distance on the road ahead and literally unclipped my pack as I started running and let it fall to the ground as I sprinted after the car and waved it down. I was lucky it had stopped 50 meters down the road next to another vehicle. I completely interrupted the conversation between the two drivers when I raced up panting, spurting out the fact that I was a PCT hiker and my hiking partner was injured and we were in desperate need of a ride to Lone Pine. One of the guys (Ian) was British and joked that there was no way he could help out an Aussie. They said they would need to move a few things from one vehicle to the other and would then spin around and come and pick us up!

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We were so relieved but after 10 minutes of waiting with the two cars out of view we wondered if they had maybe changed their minds. During the wait another car pulled up with a man named Keith who asked if we were in need of a lift. He only had room for one but was prepared to move things around if necessary. We decided to wait for Ian to return so Keith pulled out a cold beer for each of us while we waited. Trail magic returns!

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Sure enough Ian and his rock climbing mate Tim returned and drove us over 20 miles and at least 4000 feet down to Lone Pine. On the trail you don’t often have any perspective of how high up you are. It wasn’t until we drove down the winding switchbacks that we had any appreciation of just how high up we had been. The temperature was also noticeably higher, even at 7pm in the evening.


We were so thankful to Ian and Tim for the lift as they had driven entirely out of their way only to turn around and drive all the way back up the mountain. We’ve heard since it’s very difficult to get a ride back to the trail. Some people charge up to $30 per person.
We checked into the Dow Villa Motel and went straight to McDonalds where UB ordered 5 cheeseburgers and I polished off my own huge burger and one of his leftovers.

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Lone Pine is home to many old western films with gorgeous views of the mountains including Whitney in the background and huge rocky boulders surrounding the town. Depending on UB’s knee and the ability to reduce some pack weight by posting gear ahead, we’ll either leave tomorrow or Monday morning.

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15 thoughts on “NoBo to SoBo

  1. Pingback: NoBo to SoBo | UBSeRiOuS

  2. HI Rozanne,

    What an exciting story. Suspense, intrigue, injury, foreigners (to the US anyway), beautiful scenery, good characters, courage and caring, and a happy ending. So glad for the happy ending. I think UB should stick with you for awhile. Looks like you are starting a very beautiful part of the trip. Enjoy.

    Donna

  3. Hi MukMuk,
    Lovin’ your blog! Discovered you thru UB’s blog. Hope you’re both healing quickly and back enjoying the trail soon.
    Guy
    PS Glad to hear you enjoyed seeing the fighter planes. Many years ago I was one of those pilots flying overhead.

  4. Hey there!! Glad u and UB were able to connect!! Sucks being on the trail injured and all alone…I bet he was so happy to see u headed his way (probably thought u were a mirage, at first ;o). How are your feet doing? Did those socks help at all?

    • That’s so funny you say that, UB did think I was a mirage coming back down the trail!! The socks are working wonders and the Cliff bar flavours you chose were delicious! I honestly can’t thank you enough. We’re both excited to hit the trail again this afternoon!!

  5. Hey Muk Muk! Please let me know if you and UB need anything! We’re happy to send supplies! We’ll be at the Dow Villa on Friday night, June 14th after climbing Whitney. We are super bummed we’re gonna miss meeting you two legends. My brother and I are having so much fun following you on your journey. You guys really Inspire us! Take care, be safe, and take care of those feet! And watch the bears 🙂

    • Wow thanks for your super kind words. Such a shame that we’ll only miss you by a few days! UB and I had to laugh at the term ‘Legends’ although I’m completely flattered! We hope you have an amazing climb up Whitney. We hope to be at the base by tomorrow night. Maybe see you guys up the trail? 🙂

  6. Rozanne, huh? I like Muk Muk. I’m so jealous seeing your blog, and I’m wishing I was back on the trail already. Sorry to hear about UB’s knee — chin up and rest it out. I’m going to be following you guys’ blogs the rest of the way. Get me to Canada!

    Missing yall and the trail,
    The Hiker Formerly Known As Yardsale

    • Yardsale!!!! Miss you more man. I hope you enjoyed the end of your trail journey and were able to take everything you wished for from the experience. We are thinking of you and will carry you with us to Canada!

  7. Hello Rozanne. I was speaking with Steven Spink the other day and he told and showed me what you are doing at the moment. You have come a long way since answering the phones on a Saturday morning at ABC Wagga for a bunch of Gardeners. Keep up the good work.
    Cheers
    Barry Anderson.

    • Thanks Barry, great to hear from you and hope you’re doing great! I will always cherish my Gardening Talkback experience with you and Adrian! Sending love to you both and thanks for following along!

  8. Great Blog Muk Muk!

    I the trip up to Whitney is good, and UB is having a better time. Take it easy and don’t push so hard, the trail is not going anywhere! Beside you got until October 10th Right!? Although by then you might have snow in Washington. 🙂

    I am hoping to do some trail magic with my kids at the end of summer, I will keep track of your progress and hope to see you and the rest of the through hikers when you all make it the last part of Washington!!

    • Hey Wolfman, hope to see you in Washington, seems so far away with all of these huge mountains in our path!!

  9. Hi darling, such an eventful day. So good that you got that ride into Lone Pine. Hope that the rest made you ready for the climb on to Mt Whitney. Success and I hope that UB’s knee will be strong enough. Love Mutti xxoo

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