Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Day 72 thru 87- Mammoth Lakes to South Lake Tahoe

Leaving mammoth was challenging. We woke up at the campground, got up early, then stopped by the store to drop stuff off at the hiker box. Of course we ran into a friend, Cat Stealins who I hiked with last year on the PCT. That of course delayed us a bit, but we eventually got out of dodge.

The two days it took to get to Tuolomne were challenging but beautiful. Garnet Lake was gorgeous. We did not want to camp at the water's edge, so we climbed up up up past it, hunting for a spot above with a view. We found a fantastic hidden spot just before sunset and had a great view for dinner.

We arrived at Tuolomne meadows in the evening, with varying reports of how late the store would be open. Some kids told us 7pm, so I sent grant running for beer "don't wait for me and don't look back". He made it before 7, whereas I did not, especially since I was stopped by a concerned parent looking for his sons coming off the JMT " excuse me miss, are you off the JMT?" "Yes, but I'm in a hurry (thinking he just wanted to chat)" " have you seen two young men?' "Sir, I have seen thousands of young men on the trail!" Sigh, I couldn't help him, and I was mad at the delay while also ashamed of myself for being impatient. Such is life, but he found them either way. I think asking him where the store was clued him in to looking for his hikers there.

The next morning was a tad challenging to get our boxes as they were overworked and stressed out, somehow mistaking my smiling face and chattiness as being impatient. After he told me to calm down when I thought I was being friendly may have led to an exchange of words as that made me quite unhappy. Anywho, after giving at least half our food away to a destitute hiker, we escaped.

Those last couple of days in Yosemeti were quite beautiful, nice leading to stunning view at the park border, Harriet and Dorothy lakes (grant's mother and maternal grandmothers' names) with more stunning mountains as a backdrop.

Near the end of the section at Sonora Pass, hwy 108, we climbed a very exposed and beautiful ridge. Fear of being scorched by the sun proved to be unfounded as instead we got caught in a huge, awful hail storm, hail so big we were afraid of being knocked out. Hiding in the scrub brush was marginally helpful, but we ended up screaming in pain "f#%$ g'ddammit, f@#$, Aaaaahhhhh!!!!" as we covered our heads with our arms, soaked, cold, and scared.

It finally ended, the landscaped blanketed in white like a snow storm. We ran the rest of the way afraid the storm would start up again, and made it to sonora pass at 6pm, a 19ish mile day, and a day early for meeting our friend.

We called our friend and somehow convinced her to make the two hour drive to get us right then. We met her and her daughter at Kennedy Meadows North after a hitch, hugs all around, dinner, and a long two hour ride back to her house where we had the best zero of the trip. A normal/real life friend, hardly any chores, no hiker trash, good peeps, fuzzy dogs, a picnic and swim in the lake, a beer on the deck while we watched the rain, plus wonderful food her recent high-school graduate awesome daughter made us. Aaahhh, stream of consciousness zero day. Thanks W. And F. !!!!

Back on trail, only making it five miles north with our hangovers turned into about ten hours of solid sleep in our snug little tent home.

The Sonora Pass to hwy 4 section was nice,except for the fourth of July was an all-day rain storm. After trying to hide under trees off and on all afternoon, the rain increased so much we got so cold and nervous it wouldn't stop we finally set up the tent and sat shivering inside. Of course, 15 minutes later the rain finally stopped for good, so we packed up the muddy tent at about 5pm and hiked on until about 8pm, getting about 18 miles in.

Ramping up to 20ish mile days, hwy 4 northbound was absolutely stunning, wildflowers peaking with fragrant mintgreen sage brush. Nice rock formations. Lovely.

We made it to Carson Pass where the volunteers at the visitor center were also making trail magic feeding long distance PCT hikers. We caught them at the end of the day so they pleaded with us to eat as much as possible. I ate two apples,  bananna, two bags of chips, a soda and twizzlers in about ten minutes and didn't feel a thing...yes, hiker hunger is a real physical phenomenon and I am already afraid of when I stop carrying 30 pounds 20+ miles a day. Ahhh, future-me problems.

Hey, so we made it to South Lake Tahoe. Grant called his mom to ask her to help us get a room as we were overwhelmed by choices and she has traveled here several times. Well, she hooked grant up with a room that he is sharing with me as an early bday present, and neither of us will ever deserve this kindness. Nevertheless, we are EATING and drinking, washing our down items in our ensuite front loading washer and dryer and generally enjoying ourselves, so THANKYOU H.!!!! Yes, I my have cried (again) when we saw the "room". Holy shit we are lucky sons of b%$@%es!!!!

Daily Stats:
Day 73 - less than nero...  .3 miles to car camp without a car at reds meadows
Day 74 - red's meadow alternate, JMT alternate, totals 12.5 miles
Day 75 - finish JMT alt 1.7 miles, PCT mile 922.9 to 942.5 = 21.6 miles Tuolumne Meadows
Day 76 - mile 942.5 to 949.6 - Tuolumne Meadows nero/half day
Day 77 - mile 949.6 to 967.8 = 18.2 miles, today is 1,000 miles on our feet when including Mt Whitney and Kearsarge Pass!!!
Day 78 - mile 967.8 to 982.4 = 14.6 miles, up late (0630), challenging terrain
Day 79 -  mile 982.4 to 998.6 = 16.2 miles up late again, can't seem to get the miles in!!!! :( Dorothy and Harriet lakes, leave yosemite
Day 80 - Hail storm and friend day!!! Sonora Pass, plus pass 1,000 miles of PCT day!!! Mile 998.6 to 1017.1 = 18.5 miles
Day 81 - Zero with W. And F. In Murphy!!!
Day 82 - Nero, mile 1017.1 to 1021.9 = 4.8 miles
Day 83 - July 4th, rain day, mile 1021.9 to 1040.7 = 18.8 miles
Day 84 - late start hiking at 0830!!!, mile 1040.7 to 1060.2 = 19.5 miles
Day 85 - Carson Pass trail angel day, mile 1060.2 to 1081.7= 21.5 miles
Day 86 - make it to Tahoe - mile 1081.7 to 1090.0 echo summit parking = 8.3 miles
Day 87 - ZERO in awesome South Lake Tahoe. In room laundry  means down cleaning day :) thanks again H.!

Pictures on instagram

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