Saturday September 26, 20.1mi/32.3km
Marie Lakes Trail Jct (926.8/10,069ft) to Red’s Meadow Trail Jct (906.7/7654ft) (CA)
We left camp early, I think Bonus Miles and Cheshire Cat were excited to get to town, showers, and hot food. After two miles, we crossed over Island Pass, but it barely felt like a pass, since we only climbed up a few hundred feet. Even so, we did our “Pass Pushups”, which is when thru-hikers do pushups on top of every long climb to maintain their arm strength.
I hiked for an hour with Bonus Miles until we got to Thousand Island Lake, where we met a waiting Cheshire Cat. We had a nice break and discussed swimming, but it was windy and cold, so instead I took a quick nap on the warm rocks.
The trail split here into the PCT and JMT (usually the run concurrently), and since I’d already seen the PCT section when I was here in June, I decided to explore the JMT section. The two trails re-merge in only 14 miles, so I arranged a 5pm meeting time with my friends, and continued on. Much to my surprise, I saw very few people, and no mosquitoes for the whole day. The trail goes near Devil’s Postpile National Monument, so I took the half-mile side trail and poked around the rocks for awhile.
I was getting very tan after all these months of hiking.
The three of us reunited, and explored the Red’s Meadow resort area. It has a small restaurant, a tiny store, and not much else. Of course, the first thing I did was explore the hiker box for food or free stuff. Nothin’.
Usually, there is a bus that runs every hour to town, but not in late September, when all the tourists have gone home. We found a phone signal and called a taxi, which arrived an hour later. Even though the ride was expensive, it was totally worth it to go into Mammoth Lakes village and get a hotel, shower, and dinner. The Mammoth Brewery food was better than I remembered it, what a great day.