So my last stop was in Mammoth and I nearly had a panic attack on the way out of town. The more time I spend out in the woods, the harder it is to bounce into town for short periods of time. As I've mention before, the list of things to do in town grows and grows as you approach and then you have usually something like one day to get it all done (which almost never happens). Not to mention there are so many people and things going on it makes my head feel like its going to explode. Anywho.
Chips and I took the bus full of tourists back from Mammoth to Reds Meadows and put in 17 miles in the afternoon. It was nice out, and once we were away from the tourists I had lots going on in my head. It felt like a storm up there. I had left the chillers and was really upset about it, not that that's super surprising. The first time I lost my crew I felt lost and here it was happening again. Chips tried to comfort me but it did nothing. I felt like I was loosing my family again, Blah. The views were amazing, and got me through, but things just felt off. I went to bed hoping they would feel better in the morning, but no luck.
The next day was a long one - 24 miles (and Canada Day!) We got to the top of Donohue pass and I had service. The only reason I was checking was to get in touch with my mom to change our pick up location - chips and I had decided to push a bit farther since we knew we would be taking a zero in the near future. After a quick phone call, we waited around in attempts of seeing our Canadian buddy Shake'n'Bake but after two hours we decided to move on. The rest of the day was downhill, through one of the mellowest meadows possibly known to man. This might be too much info but I had to poop, and was waiting for a real bathroom that I knew would exist once we got to the bottom of the valley. Pooping in the woods is often times great, but not with the mosquitoes as bad as they had been... so I waited. To say it was rough was an understatement, but once I got to a real bathroom my day was substantially better. From the bathroom which was in the Yosemite employee housing, we road walked to a giant canvas pop up store for tourists. Overpriced snacks galore. After eating, repacking and hanging with some fellow hikers chips and I were back on the trail. We hiked until dark because you have to be 4 miles from the road in order to camp - so four miles it was... then I crashed.
The next morning was beautiful, and calm. We walked and walked, the usual plod, meeting new folks (one crew that hiked super early and set up camp super early - Kind of envious), swimming and eating. I also learned the power of the caffeinated snack so if anyone has any suggestions - I'm all ears. They make a world of a difference.
Mile 1000 was a hoot. I still can't believe I've walked 1000 miles. There were about ten of us hanging out, in the middle of the woods on the fourth of July, celebrating in our various ways. One group of guys shotgunned beers, while chips and I ate fancy Mountain House meals and enjoyed some wine and cheese. One glass of wine will really shock the system when you hike this much - just FYI. After 2 hours of drinking and lounging around in the middle of the woods looking at some rocks placed in the shape of some numbers, we pressed on another for another six miles to a campsite at the bottom of Sonora Pass. I smelled a fire a mile or so out, and sure enough when we got to the campsite there were a about ten people total - aka a through hiker party! We met some new people and had some snacks before bed.
The following morning was one of my hardest days on trail so far. One thing that I find helps me get through rough times out on trail is music. Sometimes it just is a dramatic mood lifter. I woke up and somehow I had been logged out of my Spotify. I own one album on my phone. One. Daft Punk Random Access Memories. So that was a rude awakening early in the morning. Also my legs were lead. We climbed for the first mile or two and it was all loose stones. I was tired and it was only 830 in the morning, not very promising for a day that I needed to do 23 miles. We walked along the ridge for another few miles which would have been nice but I failed miserably at glissading (when you side down a snow/ice field on your butt) and lost a few things along the way, while simultaneously bruising and scraping the living daylights out of my butt (short shorts are the worst). Chips thought it was funny, I did not. I slipped my way back up hill in my sandals with no traction to reclaim my shoe and a water bottle, then a few minutes later noticed my phone had service. I desperately tried to get my spotify working, but had no luck. Still no music. We pressed on, and I had pretty much had enough I just had to get down.
Getting down was no easy feat either. Sketchy loose rock scramble or sketchy glissade. Our buddy Sing Song did the glissade but after the morning I had, I wasn't in any rush to get back on the snow... not to mention the walk out to where the glissade started was very very scary. Chips and I started down the rock but it was slow, and exhausting. It took us about an hour and a half to get through the last two miles - aka very rough. We got to the road and continued on to a parking lot where we got some serious hiker box treats to up our food for the next few days. After a few more attempts at getting my spotify to work, and a phone call to my dad to once again push out our pick up location, it was time to head back out to the trail. 13 more miles to go didn't sound too bad, until I started. We hiked up for a bit (and got to check out a sweet ice cave some buddies were carving out - photos below) then stopped shortly after starting because I got service and was about to upgrade to about 40 songs instead of the same 8. We started the decent at about 330 - too late. I was tired and if only someone had been counting the number of times I fell. I think it was number 6 - straight on my butt in the mud. I cried. I got up and cried. The trail was literally kicking my butt and it seemed to be never ending. Chips hugged me and I quickly felt like and idiot and pulled it together. A few more falls, wet creek crossings, and slippery snow fields passed and we were finally down to some normal trail. I ate some jerky in the sun and re grouped, but it was still another several miles to camp, we pressed on and when we arrived at camp there were a bunch of new friends!
The pope, Spacejam, Fat Cathy and B Squared were all around a fire, attempting to dry Fat Cathy's underwear. We all chatted around the fire and then onto the usual dinner and bed. The next morning I ate breakfast in bed and told myself over and over again that it would be a better day today. There was no way it was going to be as bad as the day before, it couldn't be. We got moving and cruised, moving at a good pace, and having lunch at a nice creek in the woods (perfectly not buggy spot). I rinsed my feet, washed some socks - since i've switched to sandals its become more pressing that I have clean nice socks ready to go - and since I busted through another pair of darn toughs I was down to one pair - No Bueno. We cruised some more after lunch and I listened to the same daft punk album a solid 3 or 4 times in a row. While stopping for some water, we ran into the pope who warned us of some possible magic ahead - so we were off. When we got to the sign we shot off the trail to find two huge tents, a grill, and the very tail end of some trail magic. I ate and ate and ate - 2 veggie burgers, popcorn, M & M's, and a slew of other random food. The people who were running the shindig were out of food and chips and I were literally the last people to roll in and catch it. They pawned off all of their extra food to us along with a fresh pair of socks for me. MAGIC. It was almost like the trail was apologizing for how mean it had been the day before.
With a full bellies Chips and I were off to do another 5 more miles when we ran into a guy named Windy - who we had met before the pass and were bummed out that we hadn't gotten to know him any better. We talked him into camping with us even though it made his day a 29 miler! We all chatted and got to know each other - hes a super nice guy. The next day we all cruised at different paces but we kept running into him, and once again we all camped together (first time cowboy camping in a long time) at a lake (where we shared dinners and skipped rocks). The next morning we had 15 miles to do before my parents picked us up at a random highway crossing. We were done by noon - and Chips and I were talking about how much we missed and longed for Coppertone (a known trail angel who never fails to provide ice cream and root beer floats). As we were chatting about it I saw the sign, a blue frisbee that says "coppertone is here". I basically ran to the parking lot, and consumed ice cream, and cookies then relaxed and chatted with other hikers while we killed 6 hours. My parents were a bit late but boy was it good to see them.
They scooped us up and we headed to the rental house in Truckee. When we arrived, a second car pulled in and it was full of my cousins. I was shocked, even though I should have known. When I was little we used to go on ski trips all together, and the first few years they surprised us - why would this be any different? All of us hung in the house and while I got cleaned up they cooked. Today has been errand filled as usual, and family filled which has been amazing. I feel so refreshed. Tomorrow I'm headed back out to the trail for a long haul of 600 miles or so to the Oregon border - with no zeros planned between here and there.
As always - spotify playlists are so so so greatly appreciated, as well as contact my mom in regards to sending me treats! It's nice to feel the love - even if its just a letter. I think thats all for now!