Guest Blogger : Bryan Anaclerio. Trail Name: Yum.
Friday June 13 - Full Moon
Whoohaw !!! Hikin' the Mighty Sierras with Glitterbug and Boombox !! A true delight to rendezvous in the heart of the Inyo National forest.
We awoke early from an absolutely gorgeous night lit up by the huge moon. The moon was so bright that we could see the shadows of trees cast upon the ridge of granite to our North. Our hike started with a bridge crossing over Mono Creek. As we got moving and just starting to warm up our bodies, to our wonderful surprise there was a river ford. Nothing like having to do a ford before 8:00 in the morning. We grudgingly prepared for the crossing which was 2-3 feet deep through a swift current. The first 2 steps into the river bring on intense feelings of naseau that only dissipate 5 minutes after the crossing. Blessed be the day, by the time we were really starting to warm up there was the second river ford at 9:06 am. The same feelings of naseau and relief were played over again.
The entire morning hike was beautiful as we were walking along the year round Mono creek in the shade of the canyon walls. Throughout the valley there was an abundance of vegetation and an ever present breeze. The trail work on this particular section of trail is remarkable. There are all sorts of carved granite steps and retaining walls built to prevent erosion of the trail. A small climb lead to a lovely meadow with multiple aspen groves.
We continued climbing until reaching Silver Pass. Atop the pass, we looked down upon multiple alpine lakes where the colors of the lakes were primarily bright green and deep blue. Reaching into the northern stretches of the High Sierras it has become obvious that the mountains are becoming less drastic in their severity.
A meandering walk down the trail off of the pass we found a rake. A rake. This discovery confirmed Boombox's theory that the Sierras are actually maintained by a dedicated group of landscapers.
We walked up the aptly named Fish Creek that was booming with trout. Talk of fish for lunch dominated the conversation until we reached Virginia Lake. Boombox geared up and fished off of a bunch of large boulders. His mission to catch us lunch did not succeed. He had a huge fish on the line, but it flopped itself of the hook and back into the lake before we could grab it barehanded. He caught another smaller fish that he threw back. And failed to land another that took his bait. After a quick 2 hour stop, we continued our northbound hike. We passed Purple Lake (not actually purple) and Duck Lake (no ducks, just seagulls pretending to be swans) and moved ourselves along the ridge. We watched the alpenglow of the Sierras turn the granite and the trees a bright golden color. Worn out and exhausted from a long triumphant day, we grabbed water from a seasonal stream and set up camp on the flattest spot around us. Near our chosen camping spot, there was a haphazard tent set up. This lead us to believe that the tent was either abandoned or the shelter of an individual of ill intentions. These thoughts lead to Glitterbug having crazy dreams about our safety and she physically checked on us throughout the evening. The tent turned out to belong to a grumpy old guy.
It was the last night on the trail before a town stop, so regarding food everything has got to go. All of us ate huge dinners and cooked until all of our fuel was used. Fun night of chit chatting, enjoying Jim Beam and hot drinks. All in all the day was a blast. It was beyond fantastic to hike with these 2 thru-hikers. Their dedication to this adventure is inspiring. I feel very lucky to have such great friends and tremendously enjoyed my time on the trail with them. Happy trails !!!
Miles: Mammoth Lakes
Highlights from town:
Reuben for breakfast west coast style Trolley talks with locals (ask a trolley driver a question about life and you get more than you paid for)
Great mules and tavern food
Turned a 1977 high school reunion into our own engagement party (thanks to Yum's announcements and great relationship with the band)
Danced like there was no tomorrow
Naked sprinkler run
I love my friends and my fiancé! Move to mammoth? .....maybe. Thanks for the amazing weekend Bryan and Kimmie, it couldn't have been a more perfect, relaxing weekend with great friends! We love you guys!
Friends we're with: Kim and Bryan!!!
THANK YOU: Abby!!! For the sweet box of celebratory drinks, card, and bubbles! You are so sweet and thoughtful!
And Kim and Bryan!! For being the most amazing friends and hosts!!! You guys are the best.
Discomforts: Bursa cyst?! Behind my knee I have a bump that's a bit sore, perfect place to nurse it with RICE.
Phewwww!!! Last night was quite the night and had us a little slow this morning.
We finally got the day started and Boombox rode the bike to get goods for our brunch. Brunch included a scramble, bacon, pancakes and Boombox made his infamous potatoes... YUMMMM!! Food coma at its finest!!
Boombox and I organized our resupply and made a shopping list so we could say we did something productive before spending the afternoon over margaritas and the World Cup.
Mammoth apparently has many hot springs so Kim and Bryan took us to some secret ones out in the middle of no where. We started filling it up when we got there and while we waited for it to fill we played baseball with a rock and larping stick we found. The hot springs ended up being a nice little foot soak because it was taking hours to fill.
After a quick stop at the store for dinner goodies, we went back to the house for a delicious pasta feast followed by a cookie ice cream desert and a game of Yahtzee.
This visit was just what the doctor ordered. Seriously.
Mileage: 907- 913
Hard leaving towns, especially when such great friends are taking care of you and being amazing hosts! Slow start to the day. Grocery shopped, box dropped, showered, packed, went to pizza and then the natural food store for half price sammys. Goodbyes, hugs, bus ride, and a milkshake before we hit the trail. Sad to say goodbye though Bryan will be meeting us again soon at Tuolumne Meadows....wish Kimmie could join us as well! We were feeling very sluggish and unmotivated so we called it an early night at 6 miles. Treats for dinner! Diabetes? Maybe. I can eat so much food these days and most of the time I am craving really shitty junk food...oops.
News: we made it to Yosemite!!!
Passes: Agnew, Island and Donahue
We must still be tired from mammoth!! We didn't wake up until almost 730! The air was crisp and our tent was a little dewy.
The hike started a little slow so our breakfast stop came pretty early but of course that helped a lot!
There are SO many other hikers out on this stretch. Many people are doing the JMT south bound and others are just weekend hikers. But it's a little weird to have to pull over so often to let others go by after being on the trail for months and rarely seeing anyone but PCT friends.
Today included three (smallish) passes, Agnew, Island and Donahue. The firsts two were hardly noticeable, and Donahue was a little over 11,000 but barely any snow and a very gradual ascent and descent.
We made our way down into Yosemite and Boombox was nostalgic about hos past trips in Yosemite with his dad and friends.
Got to camp late, again. And discussed that we'd like to slow it down a bit. Feeling a bit burnt out sometimes.
Miles: 935- 943
Short day into T Meadows to meet Killer. Confusion on meet up, but all worked out....never knew meeting people in the back country would be so damn hard. We got into T Meadows later than we expected so we decided to not walk down the JMT and took the rest of the day off in the valley with Killer. He drove us from Tuolumne to the Valley and we all got shitty burgers ad picked up picnic foods from the village store. A short walk later and we were lounging by the Merced River munching on carnitas and drinking beer in the warm Yosemite sun.
It was really good catching up with our good friend Killer; he is currently guiding back packing trips around the valley and spending a lot of time avoiding the chaotic crowds of the amusement park known as the Yosemite Valley. The valley is a fucking zoo! Killer, aka Kevin, is also working on his website and his e-books that teach music theory for guitarist....check him out! Guitartrails.com
After the river we ventured over to the backpacker camping area, which is tucked away from all the madness and is surprisingly quiet for being in the Valley. We played cards at camp and Glitter Bug won! Great hiker trash cocktails were enjoyed during our game full of trash talk and a hiker trash feast of carnitas, Hawaiian rolls and spinach was gobbled down by our endless appetite. The rangers came around and have us a warning about bears and it made the childhood fantasy of being a ranger fade away almost completely. Maybe it's all about where you work, but the Yosemite rangers seem like such tools (very nice folks though and kind of them to give is a heads up about the bears). Great day! Great life!
Miles : 943-949
Friends on the trail: Kevin and Bryan (Yum)
"Just so you know, there are two bears in the bushes over there. They seem harmless but beware." Warned the park ranger while she walked around the backpacker camp in the early morning.
What a pleasant thing to wake up to. We packed up, had breakfast and walked over to Curry Village to hang out in the lounge before heading back up to Tuolumne.
I'm getting really good at figuring out how to get free showers. I found myself in a bathroom surrounded by women blow drying there hair and putting on make up after their showers so I decided I'd try and figure out how to make the $5 showers free. The restroom I was in was apparently for the private tents that people rent. I walked to the desk and said "I'm in room 447, can I get a towel for the shower?" And he handed me the towel with no questions. Now, I feel sorta bad about lying but... Not really. $5 for a shower, com'on. It was such a wonderful hot shower. By the time I got out Kevin and Boombox were looking for me because they thought I got lost.
The drive back to Tuolumne was beautiful!! We got to the store, are some food, chatted with hikers and waited to meet up with Bryan. The plans were to meet at noon and we assumed he'd come to store but he thought we meant on the trail, miscommunication at its finest here. We walked up to the trail after waiting for a couple hours and there he was, he had been waiting for us!
There was talk of going to see Devil Makes Three in the nearby town but instead we decided to get on the trail. We hiked through the most beautiful meadows near the river and past some astonishing waterfalls. We found the perfect place for camp about 6 miles in.
The night ended around a fire with a game a Yahtzee and some whiskey and tequila.