I hobbled my urine-soaked self back north. I did not get a signal out until I got close to Crater Creek. I called home and told my husband I was heading back. My adventure was over. Or so I thought...
As I limped into Red's a bus pulled up. I asked the driver about catching a bus in the morning into Mammoth so I could connect with a bus to Reno. The driver said that if I did not leave with him now then I would not make the connecting bus for at least another day. Still humiliated, I jump on the bus (un-showered) and sat on a piece of Tyvek. He dropped all the riders off and told me to stay on the bus and that he would drop me off at the McDonalds where I would make my connection at 8:30. As I was limping off the bus he pointed out the bus shelter and said "there is a nice hotel next door." I thought I won't need a hotel for a wait that is less than an hour.
So here I am, limping through the Mammoth McDonald's parking lot, covered in urine. I make my way to the 3 sided plexiglass bus shelter and read the schedules. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!! Now I know why he said hotel... 8:30 AM.
So you are saying to yourself... go check in and get a shower. OK. Easier said than done. I have a travel bank card. It is linked to our main account but I keep just what I need on it. I had just told hubby 24 hours prior not to put more money on it for a few days as I would be in the woods. At this point I had no idea how much was even on the card. I called home to get hubby to transfer some funds for a hotel. Not noting time change between Eastern and Pacific Time, he was sleeping. So I tried to log in to the account via my cell phone, something I never do. Pretty secure bank as it locked me out on my second failed attempt. It is getting colder. I am wet from urine. My knee is throbbing and swollen. I am sitting in a bus stop with a backpack.
I call home again and tell hubby what I have done and could he transfer some funds and get me a room. Slightly annoyed and overly worried, hubby hangs up and goes about trying to fulfill my request. He calls me back, slightly more annoyed than before... not only have I frozen my card but I have frozen ALL of our accounts. A little problem that can be fixed at 8 AM Eastern Time. As I was attempting to convince him that I could handle this and I would just sit here through the night a new issue arises... A bear is standing 3 feet in front of me in the middle of the McDonald's parking lot. He stood on his hind legs twice and he (or she, I did not inquire) was clearly taller than me. Eventually he finishes poking around for food and wanders off. Are you serious? I have been in the back-country for 2 weeks and no actual sighting of a bear. Now I am in Mammoth Lakes, covered in pee, freezing my ass off and here I see bears. WONDERFUL!
I did call someone out of cold and desperation but was too embarrassed to follow through with their offer so I lied and said I had everything taken care of. I was so broken, defeated, and humiliated that I could not face anyone. So what did I do? What any rational homeless person would do... I found an overgrown field near McDonald's and set up my tent and went to sleep for an hour. Mr (or Mrs) Bear would not allow me to sleep any longer. He kept bumping into my tent while playing with my bear canister. I eventually blew my whistle and as it ran off I stuffed everything in my pack and went back to the bus shack.
At 6 AM I went into McDonald's and bathed in the restroom. Bought breakfast (card working now) and had a bite to eat while I warmed up. Made my way to CVS Pharmacy and bought a stunning outfit, and caught my connection to Reno.
That my friends was MY summer adventure.