Harpo’s PCT Journal: Sep 14-16


 Day 90-92 (Mammoth Lakes to Fish Creek)

Miles hiked this section: 17

PCT hiked so far: mile 2660 – 890

Day 89

We wake early enough to get vegan breakfast burritos at stellar cafe. We are told they sell out by 8am and can’t make more because the grill gets contaminated by meat juices.  After blogging, groceries and a visit to the post office we decide to investigate the pizza shop before leaving town. There we find another EXCELLENT VEGAN PIZZA. We are all packed and ready to leave the shop when suddenly… pouring rain. 10 minutes later we check out the 24-hours-of-rain weather forecast and unanimously decide on an unplanned zero. We could power thru this… But we rationalize we don’t want the alleged prettiest scenery of this section to be socked in the clouds. Also it sucks to start a 6 day section with wet gear. We joyfully get a discount at the hostel, purchase ingredients for vegan Mac and cheese and check out the famous local brewery. Upon return to the hostel we set up Netflix and watch poirot. Twinless and I make Pamela’s vegan brownies. And Groucho kills it with the Mac and cheese. Everyone agrees… It is an ideal night. 

Day 90

We wake up in cozy beds to rain drumming on the window and roof. Despite laundry and showers the room smells like farts and it is all of our faults (sorry mom). We’re willing to wait a bit for the dreariness to lift so Twinless and I walk 3 miles to purchase everyone breakfast burritos. Upon our return I check and the forecast says the rain extends thru tonight. After some deliberation we decide on another zero. We want to be back on trail but not in these conditions. We heard it is snowing in the mountains. So we indulge in more food and blogging and murder mysteries and a cozy fire place and soft beds while rain then hail and wind pummel the roof of the hostel. maybe we will never leave mammoth. 


Day 91

We are packed and ready to roll by 7am with a vow to go even if it looks stormy. Thankfully the clouds are lifting. On the way to the trailhead we see a coyote and Andy -our excellent hostel host- talks about random deaths by trees in the back country. We are dropped at reds meadow… a campground with a store and restaurant. We dawdle writing postcards and drinking coffee before getting on trail at 9:30 am.

It feels distinctly northwest…. Cold fog obscuring any views and drops of yesterday’s rain fall from branches onto my fleece. The birds flit and flutter… So happy for the rain and trying to keep warm.  It’s fall here. We climb up and up… 

I spend much of the day alone. Then around dusk the crew gathers together by windy Lake Virginia. We continue together down into the valley and camp near the creek. 

The views open up as we descend and craggy red peaks tower in the near horizon. At the creek we find the invitation of a fire pit and water bucket. The ground is still wet so it’s safe to make a tiny fire which we huddle around trying to snack our way out of a weight crisis. We have 6 days of food for this stretch – ramen crumbled into tiny pieces, dozens of power bars, oatmeal packets, and random chips and snacks sent by our saviors Lynn, sandy, 3D and kate. We also horde brightly colored drink packets that claim to stimulate via caffeine, electro lites, vitamins or herbs. We each carry at least 12 lbs of just food… and the newish burden of bear canisters which weigh 2.7lbs each. Tomorrow we begin ascending our first major mountain passes and the added weight is daunting. 

As dark falls, so do the temps. Tonight will be in the low 30’s. I get into my quilt and am asleep before the clouds clear and the stars come out. 

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