Tuesday, 11 September 2018
Rush Creek (38.8) – Red’s Meadow/ Mammoth Lakes (59.2): 20.4 miles / 651.5 total miles walked
I was grateful for a relatively warm morning. It’s so nice not having to freeze your butt off when you get dressed. And with the temperature around 40°F/5°C I deemed it warm enough for shorts.
I packed up quickly, descending into the valley before climbing back out. Good thing we hadn’t camped further down, because the air became progressively colder, the farther I dropped into the valley. Brrr…but the morning light was worth braving the chill.
After I managed to knock out the 5 miles to Thousand Island Lake in under two hours I sat down for a Ramen and Tuna breakfast, waiting for Sink to catch up.
Sink showed up a little while later, she was still coughing like crazy and we were both worried. A few hikers passed us and one of them stopped to talk. She was a doctor and told Sink it would be best to see a doctor, to rule out pneumonia or edema. 🤒
Now the time for a decision had come. We were right at the junction where the JMT and the PCT split. The closest exit points were about 8 miles away on the PCT and 16 miles on the JMT. Hmmmmm…….
In the end, we decided that Sink would take the PCT, getting a ride to Mammoth and a doctor at the closest trailhead, and I would book it the 16 miles on the JMT and meet her there that night.
So I left Sink with a weird feeling in my gut at 9:45 in the morning and just started hoofing it. I had a few climbs to tackle, and the trail was the same rocky, annoying way as the last day. Too many big steps, talus and generally hard to walk on, except for maybe 4 of the 16 miles.
I still made good time, stopped for water twice, but otherwise just kept up continuous movement until I reached Red’s Meadow at exactly 5:07pm.
I almost went with relief, I had made it. A 21mile day in the Sierra Nevada, with over 2500ft elevation gain and the last two miles in ankle deep sand and gravel. I was almost weaving on my feet, the only thing I had eaten since breakfast being a half of a Lara bar. I just couldn’t choke it down….just kept on moving.
I stumbled into the store and talked to the really nice lady behind the counter about finding a ride to Mammoth, when a hiker walks in. I had seen him get out of a car and just pounced on him, pretty much inviting myself along for a ride to town.
Greame is from Scotland and we had a really nice talk in the way down to Mammoth, where I was dropped off at the Cinnamon Bear Inn. (Gotta love that Scottish accent)
Sink had already made it to our room, we had coordinated online while I was jogging down the mountain. 😁
The Inn offers free wine and cheese until 6pm, and guess when I got there……5:54pm. Score!
I had a shower, Sink’s leftover Italian food and then just passed out exhausted. Thankfully, all the scary illnesses had been ruled out and she feels a little better. Mission accomplished.
Now I just have to coordinate with the damn postal service tomorrow, trying to finally get a hold of my package. (Long story)
Keeping you posted….