CS 786.1 to Independence (786.1 to 788.5 + 7.2 miles over Kearsarge Pass to Onion Valley TH via Bullfrog Lake Junction)
Daily miles: 9.6
Resupply day and I’m off early to get to the town of Independence. It’s a complicated route that involves walking over 7 miles and covering an off-PCT pass called Kearsarge, then getting a hitch 15 miles into town. So even though I only hike a couple miles on the PCT today, it’s early afternoon before I arrive.
But that OK, because this is a beautiful route that actually probably shouldn’t be missed if you’re hiking the PCT. I walked this path a couple years ago when I bailed out on the JMT because of the big rain and hail storm, so I get to see the terrain I missed a couple years ago.
At trail’s end there’s a parking lot but no cars are leaving yet and all the thru-hikers are queued up in a line waiting for a hitch. After 45 minutes a guy in a pickup comes along and we all pile into the bed of his truck and make our way down the long winding mountain road, wind in our hair. I find a hotel in town, collapse on the bed, and watch game 7 of the NBA championships while eating Subway sandwiches and bags of cookies.