PCT: Day 241: Vermilion Valley Resort

Day: 241
Direction: Southbound
Trail location: 1779
Cumulative miles hiked 2019/2021: 2429
Cumulative miles hiked 2021: 413
Miles hiked today: 9
Elevation: 9309
High/low temp/humidity: 67/49/40
Spinning on the turntable: Jenny Lin: Glass: Piano works

This morning I again needed to use my headlamp to prepare breakfast. I might be able to conserve a little headlamp power if I sleep for another fifteen minutes! Maybe I’ll shift my wake up time from 5:30 to 5:45.

The trail down from Silver Pass has been very rocky.  I’m seriously wishing for boots instead of trail runners. My feet are ANGRY!

Today I headed into VVR for a little resupply. I could have carried more food and skipped VVR, but it’s a bit iconic on the PCT, so I opted to swing on by and see what all the fuss was about.

As it turns out, my definition of “swing on by” and reality were slightly different. The lake has pretty much dried up. Gone. I saw a few hikers headed back towards the PCT, but not many. I saw a sign that advised against hiking alone. Well, duh. I’d guess that 15-20% of the hikers are also solo hikers. I understand, and agree with the logic of hiking together, but that just isn’t happening this year. The trail does have a fair number of JMT hikers, so it’s not like I’m all alone out here.

What’s missing?

During a “normal” year you can catch a water taxi from one end of the lake to the other end. The drought has brought an end to that, so I hike on the trail near the lake. The trail went “up”, and then the trail went “down”, and then the trail went “up”….and my irritation grew just a tiny bit with each elevation oscillation. It certainly wasn’t terrible, but it was more annoying. Just pick a bloody elevation and stick to it!

Fire burn out

While most of the lake has evaporated, there is still some water left in what I assume was the deepest portion of the lake.

I arrived at VVR right around 11:30. Someone on the front porch rang a bell, greeted me, and took me inside to talk with a cashier. In short order I had a room, a burger and a free beer.

I’d like to say that I spent the day talking with other hikers, engaging, living in up. In actuality, I did my laundry (added to invoice), restocked my food (added to invoice), and read a book in my room. I jumped at the opportunity for shower (added to invoice). One token gave me 8 minutes of water. I might have taken 90 seconds for the water to warm up. I’m not entirely clean, but I’m way better than I was. I had a few root beers, a beer, a Snapple and some Frito’s (added to invoice).


I went to sleep to the sounds of the staff zooming around the compound telling folks to put their food away, there are bears that meander through the campground.

Tomorrow I’ll catch a ride to the trail head (10 bucks) and then head for Selden Pass.  The rides to the trail kick off at 8AM, after everyone has the opportunity to eat breakfast (and settle their bill).


  1. Daddy Warbucks

    Capitalism at it’s FINEST!

    • Heidi Halverson

      And yet free beer.


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