Day Sixty Eight: ZERO

You can now call us the River Bandits, as well as Hiker Biker Gang. Today we looted, and came up with a lot of treasure. We hadn’t thought it would end up a zero, but it was. And it was a productive day for our gang.

I made a pot of communal coffee at 7AM for the peeps, promptly kicked it over onto Jimminy Cricket’s ground sheet, but it didn’t go to waste. Nemo slurped it up (while I made a fresh pot…).

It was an interesting start.

We crossed the river again – this time, the boys had empty backpacks. We planned to fill them with food for our resupply, and keep hiking.

Except, we didn’t keep hiking.

We hit the jackpot.

The Muir Trail Ranch has a system where John Muir Trail hikers (who are doing a smaller section of the PCT) can ship a resupply box there for an outrageous fee. PCTers could always ship there, too, but seeing as it’s a charge of like $50US PER BOX just to receive some dehydrated food, we generally charge right on past and head to Mammoth – instead spending that money on hostels, burgers and beer.

The beautiful thing about section hikers resupplying at MTR is they overdo it. Every time. It’s hard to figure out how much you’ll eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner – plus snacks – for a week out on trail, especially with your appetite all over the place. It is such an expected thing that they won’t take all their food that MTR has set up hiker boxes, organised into prepackaged meals, home packaged meals, trail mix, oatmeal, bars/snacks, drinks, toiletries and more.

Days ago, when our planned 15mile days became a lot less than that, we knew we’d come here to hopefully pick up some more food.

It was a gamble, of course.

But it was a solid gamble.

We scored big time.

Across the course of the day, we wrangled fancy dehydrated meals that sell for $15+ (Mountain House, Backpacker Pantry, Alpine Faire), we got handfuls of bars, there were bags of potatoes and ramen and granola and MnM’s and Snickers and chips. There was even hiker GOLD: salami, gin, tortillas, bacon, fancy dark chocolate bars, jerky beyond our imagination. We played cards and offered to clean up peoples’ leftovers – literally. We even swapped out some of the meals we got because better ones came in, as more and more hikers went through their boxes on their way north or south.

We tried to do a little math at the end of the evening…

There’s gotta be at LEAST $1,500 worth of food here all together.

This pile, for example, is just the bars pile:

There was so much abundance that we came to a pretty solid group decision of skipping Mammoth entirely and pushing straight for Toulumne Meadows.

We were able to supply six of us with SEVEN DAYS worth of good food, and still put back leftovers we didn’t want.

It was insane to look at it all together! Even the organisation had to be pretty tight; we sorted it into food groups (breakfasts, snacks, lunches, dinners, meats, desserts, drinks), and went one for one picking out what we wanted. We even emptied what we’d still been carrying since Bishop, just to start from scratch and be on equal terms.

It was a lot of fun. The haul we pulled in together was unbelievable.

We’ve even got a pile of communal food that we’ll divvy up the weight between us and whip up for family meals. Tonight’s was vegetable barley with a rice medley and garlic potatoes, followed by bags of almond AND peanut MnM’s, apple cider and gin.

We’ve got a good gang here.

Our packs will be heavy, but the laughter and fun and amazing stash of food we each have – for free! – will make up for it… I hope 😉

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