Hiking With Jason

Detached From Reality

Day 51: Nero at Vermillion Valley Resort

Day 51 – 6/11/16

Mile 873.64 to Vermillion Valley Resort 874.5 plus 7.2 mile side trail

Total miles: 8.06

Today was the day. VVR! Real food! Hot shower! Real toilet! Laundry! I was up all night thinking about it. I woke up at 5:05 and laid there for a minute until 5 Star threw a pinecone at my tent. I shouted that I was up. I packed up my stuff and shoved the only food I had left into my hip belt pocket. 2 snickers and a Lara bar. We had to climb about 750 feet to the Bear Station junction which led us 7.2 miles to VVR.

The climb started off ok. I was moving at a decent pace but about 400 feet up I started to run out of steam. I was definitely feeling the caloric deficit over the last 11 days. We reached the top and said a temporary goodbye to Mad Dog. He was going another 3 miles and then taking the boat across the lake in at 9:45. We wanted to get there earlier and make breakfast so 5 Star and I chose the side trail.

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The side trail was rocky and flooded in some sections. At one point I couldn’t outpace the blood suckeres and had to drop my pack and quickly go through it and get my bug spray. By the time I got the spray I was covered in mosquitoes. I hate them with the fury of a thousand dying stars.

The trees thinned out and we finally got a view of the lake. Lake Thomas Edison. That thief doesn’t deserve a puddle named after him let alone a lake. We hopped over a gate and started walking along the dam wall. The lake was very low.

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We got to the end of the dam and I borrowed 5 Star’s phone to talk to my parents. As we were walking up the road the connection kept cutting out and so I said I’d call back later.

I got to VVR and set my pack down outside the store/restaurant. I noticed a scale outside and weighed myself. 152 lbs. I’ve lost 10 pounds. I expect I’ll lose another 10 maybe 15 by the end. We walked in and got breakfast. 5 Star and I both got a breakfast burrito and biscuits and gravy. It was amazing. Real hot food for the first time in 11 days. I was so happy.

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After breakfast we set up our tents. We went back inside the store and got the spiel on the amenities. I paid $6 for an 8 minute hot shower. Hot water! Not since Tehachapi. Over 300 miles ago! There was a building with 6 bathrooms. Each room had a toilet, sink, and shower stall. A real toilet! A porcelain throne. No digging holes and being attacked by mosquitoes! So nice. Although, the toilets are a little high. Squatting just lines up everything nicer. I told 5 Star I’m going to need a stool to put my feet on when I get home.

After the shower we did a load of laundry. Mad Dog showed up right before breakfast was almost over and went in and ordered. 5 Star and I picked up our resupply. It cost $25 to pick up a package. VVR is out in the middle of nowhere. It’s a 3 hour drive to Fresno. A lot of hikers complain about how expensive it is but for all they offer and the location it’s not that bad. The workers all live on site in little cabins. Almost all of them have dogs and the dogs hangout in or around the store.

After getting my package I go inside and sit with Mad Dog while he eats breakfast. We sit there talking for awhile as they close the restaurant until lunch. I borrow 5 Star’s phone again and walk a mile back down the road until I get service and talk to my parents for an hour. It starts to rain so I run back.

By the time I get back it is 12:30 and time for lunch. I order a burger and ask if they can put an egg on it. My favorite. I was so excited. I just couldn’t hide it. After briefly letting my food baby gestate we order milk shakes. It was good. In my resupply was peanut butter oreos. I dipped some oreos in the shake.  We sat in the restaurant again until they closed it at 2 until dinner. The waitress was very nice. She did breakfast and lunch and called herself the “lunch wench.” I offered her an oreo.

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We got up after awhile and went and sorted through our resupply. 5 Star and I had too much food to get to Mammoth, which is only 30 miles away. I put what I wanted in my bear can and the rest I gave to Mad Dog to pick through before going to the hiker box. Mad Dog didn’t send a box to VVR since he didn’t originally plan to stop there. He was going to resupply at the store but 5 Star and I gave him more than enough food to get to Mammoth.

5 Star set up his good on a bear box to sort through. A bear box is a steel box that is at some campsites where you can put food and other stuff like soap that isn’t in your bear can. While sorting through his food a second time I saw there was a tent stake in the box.  Awesome! I lost one a couple weeks back and had been using a stick and rocks that I’d find wherever I camped.

We sat in front on the store on giant logs turned into benches. Trying to move as little as possible. 5 rolled around and it was time for dinner. They did a BBQ. The menu was 1 meat, 2 meat, or 3 meat plus 2 sides. The meat options were chicken, tri-tip, sirloin, and ribs. The sides were corn on cob, regular corn, and baked beans.  I got chicken, tri-tip, and ribs with corn on the cob and baked beans. It was a lot of meat. I tried my best but I just couldn’t fit it in.

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We sat around talking waiting for room to be made in our meat stuffed stomachs for another shake. I asked the dinner waiter if in brought him oreos if he could make an oreo shake. He said of course and then told his dog to get out of the restaurant. Poor pup just laid at the threshold giving sad puppy eyes wanting some scraps.

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While waiting we talked about how from Kennedy Meadows to VVR we had no stops or access to real food in that 180 miles, plus 17 mile side trip up Whitney for me. Yet from Campo to Idyllwild, which is 179 miles, we had Lake Morena, Mt Laguna, Julian, Warner Springs, Paradise Café, and then Idyllwild. So many more places to satisfy our appetite in Southern California.

We ordered our shakes and Mad Dog got a shake with some Oreos too. It was a damn good shake. We finished our shakes and made our way back to the tents. It is definitely a night for ear plugs with all the hikers talking around a fire, trailer campers nearby being loud and shouting, and a generator of some sort running nearby.

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Tomorrow we get to sleep in a bit and get breakfast at 7 then leave by boat at 8. We are going to try for 20 miles with the late start. We also have to go over Silver pass which is just under 11,000 feer. Here is to hoping there isn’t much snow. This would leave us with 5 miles to a junction to a 3.5 mile trail to a lake where Mad Dog’s wife will pick us up. So close to a real bed for a few nights!

7 Comments

  1. Great descriptive journal. Feel like I’m right there with you guys. Wish I was…..but I’m 68 soooo…….keep it up, brother.

  2. Wow good to catch up with you. Scary stuff in the snow and elevation. Food has become important I see why. So I thought border to border is about 1400 miles. You mentioned 2650 miles. Clear that up if you will. Eat up. Uncle John

    • Lots of winding back and forth on switch backs and the trail doesn’t always head north. Heads west for awhile out of big bear.

  3. Your blog has become one of my favorites due to your honesty of portraying life on the trail. I’m planning and training for next year’s thru hike ( @ 65 ) Would be very interested in a post hike gear review along with any ongoing changes you are making. Keep up the pace and I’ll gladly give you a hitch into Trout Lake WA for your re-supply and a stack of huckleberry pancakes @ the local café!

  4. Resupply Technician (Mom)

    June 16, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Glad you had an awesome day of eating. Your resupply technician was pretty darn smart adding those Oreos to the VVR resupply box. She must have known the dinner waiter would gladly add them to your shake. Delicious!!

  5. Glad you finally got some real food. However, my arteries are becoming occluded just reading what you’re eating.

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