We woke early, left most of our gear behind, and biked to Camp 4 to get a spot for tonight, since the backpacker site is one night only. To our surprise, there was already a group of roughly 20 people waiting in line when we got there, around 5:30AM. We were very jealous, as most of them were sleeping in camping chairs or on sleeping pads on the ground.
A lesson we learned quickly during this trip: whenever you see a river crossing on the map, you can expect to climb. The San Joaquin was no different, and by 10am I had wrung the sweat out of my gloves during the steep climb up from the valley. It wasn’t a scorcher but with little air movement and no shade we had gotten off to a sweaty start to the day. Today is our last climb from the valley up into the Sierra Nevada’s which is exciting though!
We left the campsite around 6:30AM and headed up the hill towards Sequoia National Park. At the gate to the park, we met a local cyclist named Bill.
He hung back on his road bike to ride with us to Ampitheater Point. He gave us copious information about the park and the surrounding area, in addition to giving us incentive to climb faster. He has done the climb over 100 times, and he told us that there are 24 switchbacks and 240 turns. The extra company was greatly appreciated, and there was definitely more conversation than there would have been otherwise.
This morning, we had an odd assortment of things for breakfast, including leftover Oreos and hot dogs. We would have loved to watch the news, but there was no cable in this motel. Rachel finally changed her tire that had been slowly leaking since a few days prior; a piece of wire was the culprit again. We’ve only bought a few new tubes over the course of the trip, so we each have a tube or two with a lot of patches!