From the swanky ski resort town of Mammoth Lakes, I passed through the little woodsy cabins of Reds Meadow before getting back on the PCT. I stopped by the general store there to pick up a meshy bug head net. The mosquitoes had been a nuisance throughout much of the Sierras and we were informed that these pesky bloodsuckers would not disappear until Sonora Pass up trail. It proved to be the best 4 dollars I ever spent!
Once on trail, I got to go right by Devils Postpile National Monument, which is an incredibly bizarre rock formation that looks like hundreds of posts sticking right out from the earth.
Rabbit had his Tenkara telescopic fly rod (compact fly rod that fits in a backpack) sent to him in Mammoth Lakes. He purchased a 10-day license and did quite a lot of trout fishing during our lunch and rest breaks. The “keepers” we consumed for dinner and were a nice supplement to our usual hiker cuisine. The catches made were Golden Trout, Brook Trout, and Rainbow Trout. Being an avid fisherman, Rabbit gave me a few pointers on gutting and preparing fish for a meal.
On Day 50 we hit 1000 miles! This was a mental booster for the both of us to think that we had walked that many miles since we commenced this undertaking on the 14th of May. Yes, we still had 1,600 miles to go but it was cause for celebration. I took a few puffs on a cigar and fist-bumped rabbit for the good work (thru-hikers always fist-bump in lieu of shaking hands to reduce the spread of germs).
The next few days spent hiking to Sonora Pass was predictably beautiful and the mozzies did die down (mosquitoes were turned off like a switch after Dorothy Pass coming out of Yosemite). There was still some snow on the passes and some “marmot-blazing” (our coinage for cutting switchbacks above 10,000 ft) was required to get around these snow blockades. The views on top of these mountain ridges made me stop and realize just how fortunate I was to experience this spectacular creation!
Once Rabbit and I reached Sonora Pass we hitched into Kennedy Meadows North (the other Kennedy Meadows!). I must admit that I’m new to hitch-hiking and was unfamiliar with the finer points of thumbing for a ride before hiking this trail. While not getting a hitch as fast as some hikers, particularly the females (aka “ride brides,” we did manage to get a ride into and out of town from some of the locals.
In the cowboy-run camp of Kennedy Meadows North, we resupplied from the general store, ate a gourmet cheeseburger, cleaned our clothes in the wash house, and charged our then-drained electronic devices. It was a productive stop.
We resupplied with four days of food to get to South Lake Tahoe. This stretch was a breeze. No major elevation gains, no big mile days, no mozzies, views at every turn. What more could a hiker ask for?
Making our way to Carson Pass, we got some trail magic (cold pop, chips, and fresh bananas) from some Ranger ladies and other friendly volunteers who had come up from Sacramento.
We tented right outside of Lake Tahoe with a campside view of this massive body of water that separates the states of California and Nevada. The morning going in, Rabbit and I woke up at dawn, ate our last breakfast (emptying our food bags), and booked it to the trailhead. From here we made two separate hitches and got dropped off at Denny’s in SLT for a stack of pancakes, sausage and bacon, and a side of French toast! And a coffee of course.
We walked to Safeway to resupply and then to Mellow Mountain Hostel to check in and drop off our food-heavy packs. The hostel gave us exclusive access to Lakeside Beach so we spent the afternoon swimming and working on removing our farmer tans!
We took app-based rental bicycles called Lime Bikes to an all-you-can-eat Chinese joint out at the edge of town. This kind of restaurant is what thru-hikers dream about on the trail and in their tents at night to satiate their “hiker hunger.”
It’s now Day 55 and tomorrow we’ll have to say goodbye to the recreation-happy town of South Lake Tahoe and get back on the trail to make some miles. After all, that’s what I came out here to do!