Miles hiked: Nero out of Mammoth Lakes, really ~7+ miles but on paper just 4
Camped at: JMT alternate mile 1.5 near Johnson Lake with Cat Burgler and Firestarter
Today felt like a bust. At least Cat Burgler, Firestarter, and I were able to collectively shake our heads and realize that for tomorrow we’re on the trail and can just pack up and move forward. We did see a lovely side trail, as unplanned as it was!
This morning I felt mostly efficient in town doing my last chores – breakfast (always the most important! And I fit in 2), going to the PO where happily both of my boxes were present, setting up the loaner tent to make sure it would work out in the backcountry, back to the PO to mail items home and the original tent to Big Agnes, etc. I’m glowing from all the new items – new shirt (tangerine), clown shoes, and tent…when did I begin to own so many orange items?? You can certainly see me coming down the trail now. I got some just classic looks this afternoon when I had both my umbrella rigged for the exposed areas and my head bug net on! The other backpackers were envious, that’s what I’m telling myself ;).
The trip back to the trail was mostly efficient for needing to take 3 buses. For a smaller town, they certainly have their public transportation worked out! Back at Reds Meadow by 11:45, I hung out with fellow hikers just going into town along with Cat Burglar and Firestarter for about an hour, eating a bag of ruffles and French onion dip, along with an orange soda. Oh, and a nectarine. Not the best lunch, but it’s what I wanted. My tummy made it’s displeasure known as I hiked sluggishly through the heat and sun an hour or so later. We had fun laughing together and at Day Glow, who literally dug through the trash can at the Red’s Meadow store for her resupply before asking for the hiker box.
Back on the PCT, I took the Devil’s Postpile alternate, which is a cool geologic feature (it’s a National Monument) and despite nearly tripping over the tourists and day hikers looking miserable in the heat, I read the interpretive signs with interest. The JMT and PCT then split for about 14 miles, and I had planned to follow the JMT as there were many more camping options for this Nero day. Firestarter and Cat Burglar had planned to do the same, and they caught up to me when I stopped at a creek 1 mile into the alternate. We hiked on together, and unfortunately none of us caught the fact we took a side trail about half a mile later instead of the JMT. The signs at trail junctions aren’t always obvious to us, as sometimes (as in this case) they simply list which lake (or feature) the trails head towards. We went up a very lovely trail, saw a great waterfall and then realized we in fact were not on the trail we had thought we were on. Ughhh. We booked it back down to the junction and are camped here, as none of us could stomach going further today. Fresh start tomorrow!! Even with this detour (we weren’t lost we just didn’t know precisely where we were for a while) I should still be in Tuolumne on Wednesday. For some reason, the thought of hiking to Yosemite seems like a big deal to me. It always seemed so far away, and a major milestone to reach it :).
Now I’m cozy in my loaner tent, which refreshingly smells new. Yes, I sniffed it. So so happy not to have to struggle with the zipper any longer considering the ever present mosquitos.
Day Glow re-supplying!