Wingman from the Roadside:
Despite getting to bed late last night, I woke early and went over to the Starbucks and called SPOT Customer Service to get the billing and subscription side of the tracker taken care of and to get the new tracker properly linked to the website. Austin with customer support at SPOT was patient and worked with me for what seemed like hours to get everything working properly. We came across one major hurdle, I was not an authorized user. We went through a lot of hoops and included his supervisor and finally it came down to needing Runningbird’s approval to change out the tracker, and understandably so. With Austin explaining to me how to keep him on the line and get Runningbird on the phone at the same time, we tried giving her a call. Well the odds were not good but she answered. She was climbing ice on Donohue Pass at 11,000 feet and didn’t really want to be using her breath on the but she understood the situation. Austin got the full scope of the issue from that phone call. He got everything set up, we tested it, he made some adjustments for me, and overall did a great job. I had to call customer service back once with a fluke on the website link and Austin answered the phone again. What are the odds of that?
By late morning I had packed up a few extra things for Runningbird, left the trailer at Mammoth and drove to Tuolumne Meadows. It was another beautiful day and the traffic was light in the park. I easily found a parking spot in front of the Tuolumne Meadows Store/Post Office/Cafe at about 10:30 and waited. There were a lot of PCT hikers, JMT hikers, Yosemite hikers, families on bikes, families in cars, #SiliconValley2019 people in vans, climbers, people fly fishing, people eating. The place was bustling. There were trails going in every direction. Where was Peggy? She should have been here by now. She had no tracker but that didn’t matter as there is no cell service in the valley. In the months before the PCT one of Runningbird’s friends asked me what I was going to do to keep from getting fat while Runningbird was hiking. Pacing. I do A LOT of pacing. I walked from the store over to where the trailhead crosses the highway and then I found out there were spur trails behind the campground, along the river, along the highway. The plan was we meet at the store. I walked back. Then back to the highway trailhead again. I did that ten times. Turned out Runningbird had gotten some bad directions to the store and went off on a spur trail before getting directions from a ranger on a horse. She got a bunch of bonus miles today.
We shared lunch at the cafe’ and Runningbird resupplied her pack while I attached her new tracker. We visited a bit more as I walked her to the trail and we walked north for a bit together. She will have walked well over a thousand miles by the time I see her next at Sonora Pass.
Runningbird shortly after arrival to “The Store”.
Runningbird and the Wingman, Tuolumne Meadows.
Tuolumne River on the way out.