After another cool evening nestled in beneath the foot of the mountains, we awoke to thoughts of a hot, cooked breakfast. Unfortunately, we still had 13 miles to hike before we could allow such cravings to be satisfied. Another short, sharp climb led us back out of the lake-filled valley and above the ever-present mosquitoes. A small glorious section of flat trail through pine allowed us to appreciate the glimpses of mountain peaks. A winding descent from here gave us the speed to cover the miles quickly, eating up the distance towards town. Once towering trees ripped from the ground showed us the power of winter weather, and made us appreciate the almost perfect sunshine of the last few weeks. With thoughts of warm showers and food ahead, we stopped only once to refuel on snickers bars and look out to the green meadows and babbling streams. A few wooden footbridges and duel log bridges let us keep our feet dry, and we bounded along. A series of switchbacks dropped us down towards Reds Meadow, situated in a valley that featured a road and some buildings. Here, we hiked a mile through a large section burnt from a fire many years previously. Some regeneration had begun to take place, but it still brought back memories of heat and long exposures in the sun. Just before we got to our hitching location, Rattles happened to look up the hill and spotted our first full size black bear. Except, due to the sun in California, he was almost as blonde as I was. Happy to watch him lope up the hill, we finished the last mile with smiles on our faces. At the general store, we had hoped to catch a shuttle into town. We quickly found out that it wouldn’t start for another couple of days. So a hitch was required, and for once, all the cars heading down the hill were full of people. It took us, split into pairs, over an hour and a half to finally catch a ride. Once in Mammoth Lakes, our first immediate stop was fresh food, followed by accommodation. Sole Catcher and Jo found lodgings at the cheap Motel 6, while Rattles and I stumbled upon a very fancy lodge in the middle of town. Apparently the women at the front desk took a liking to Rattles, and quoted us a sumptuous room far below its actual price. One look at the room and Rattles was hooked. The rest of the day was spent eating and relaxing amongst the luxuries of civilization.
Miles hiked – 13