Ah! A zero at the Saufleys! We didn’t get much sleep last night because it’s difficult to ignore the late night celebrations. I think it wound down around 1:30am and I woke up with the birds at 5:30am. This trip would be a whole lot easier if earplugs worked for me and I wasn’t such a light sleeper. Today was a good zero though. I was up early and got a ride with other hikers to REI where I was able to get a new Platypus (my connector tube had broken), good sunglasses, and another multitool (I lost mine!). Then I went to Subway and was able to eat a meatball sub, which is the second highest in calories on their menu. When I got back to the Saufleys, I rode bikes with Top Shelf and Blister down to the grocery store to fill in some more snacks, get a milkshake, and buy hot dogs for grilling at the Saufleys for dinner. Then I got to totally chill and watch shows. Ah! Great way to zero! Here is a brief video tour of Hiker Heaven.

Now that we have taken a nero and a zero, everyone is back together again. Practicallly everyone I’ve mentioned over the past two weeks has hauled butt to get here together. It will be quite congested going to the next town in Tehachapi over the next 5 days. Here is the thing…there are a couple stops along the way. The Andersons are 24mi away and we will get there tomorrow. They are considered the party version of the Saufleys…like extreme part version…totally not my thing, but there is supposed to be a quiet section I can retreat to. Top Shelf and Blister say we have to at least see what all the talk is about. I’m really tempted to just stay at the campground by the trail instead and will decide tomorrow. Then, another day after that is the hiker hostel called Hikertown. I hope I can get used to all these people…

Another bit of news…it has been announced that Tuolumne Meadows won’t even open til 4th of July this year. It is at the north end of the Sierra section and that is pretty essential for hiker resupplies. Someone did some calculations and even if we did 15mi days up to the Sierras and then 12mi days in the Sierras, we’d still be just at the 4th of July. Then other rumors are that other resupply places won’t open til later than that! We are getting down to the wire and unless a heat wave comes, it looks like we are going to be taking more zeros and getting more congested. Again, a lesson I just have to learn. Just accept it and go with the flow:(

Finally, I keep getting emails to formally introduce Top Shelf (aka Will) since it appears we will be sticking together through the Sierras. We met at mile 79 where we both camped with a group (including Blister and Speed Bump Sr)just past Scissors Crossing. As a side note, Blister will hopefully stick with us into the Sierras too. Speed Bump Sr took time off to heal some tendenitis and should get back on the trail in a week or so. He will jump around and we may see him again north of California.  The day after we all camped together, it was hot and Top Shelf walked up as I was taking a shade break just before mile 100. We realized where we were and agreed to hike together to take pictures for each other to document the big accomplishment. We finished that day together and found that we’ve been on the same schedule ever since. Top Shelf will hardly let me video tape him and all he wants everyone to know is that he likes to hike and ski. I’ll add that he is 24yrs old, from Seattle, has a strong work ethic, a great heart, and he loves chocolate milkshakes and Cherry Garcia ice cream when we get to town. We work well together as a team and it’s nice to have that compatibility. We have a similar hiking style of getting up early and taking few short breaks so we can end early and relax at the end of the day. He’s a bit faster and efficient than me, but for some reason, he doesn’t mind waiting a few extra minutes while I repack my bag a million times! He would probably say it’s a fair trade for all the journaling I do that he can tell his friends and family to read. It looks like we will be on the same schedule through the Sierras, until I branch off to finish the John Muir trail, so I know it’s a bit late, but I hope everyone enjoys the introduction. Here’s a picture of Top Shelf on one of the Saufley’s bikes with their electric company T-Shirt on.

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