After staying in Bishop for a few days my group headed back to the trail. Once we got there we encountered a group headed back down the mountain. This group went in before us and turned back due to dangerous conditions. The group was made up of experienced thru hikers so their decisions to turn around was an eye opener. Already this year multiple thru-hikers have been swept away in the river and almost died. The snowmelt has turned what are normally small streams into raging rivers.
At this point my gut told me not to go ahead. I almost never have gut feelings but I when I do, I listen to them. So I told my group I wouldn’t be going on. The next morning I woke up and they were gone. I packed up my stuff and when I got back to the parking lot, they were there. One person in the group got sick, so between that and my choice, they turned back. I was super surprised and happy to see them because I thought we had split up for good.
From there, we headed back to the hostel in Bishop and worked on a flip flop plan. Flip flopping is a technique where you skip a section of trail and come back to it when conditions improve. In our planning, we decided to go a cabin, owned by a girl in our group, for a few days and then skip up to Sierra City, about 350 miles ahead of where we are. From there we will hike all the way to Canada and then finish with the section we are skipping. It makes me very sad to break up the continuous footpath from Mexico to Canada but I can’t justify the risk of continuing. I want to be around for many more years so I am swallowing my pride and bouncing up. -Noel Nelson (Bishop, CA)