Saturday, July 4, 2009

Mammoth to Bridgeport

After a slog though the High Sierra, we were definitely in need of a break and Mammoth treated us well in that regard. Best of all we had a wonderful visit with my dear friend, Clare. She picked us up from the shuttle out of Red's Meadow and we took care of the usual "town" errands: laundry, shower and food! Clare confirmed that we were in need of the shower and laundry especially.

All clean, we picked up the next morning and headed to Yosemite Valley. It was a treat to car camp at the White Wolf Campground with a picnic table, flushing toilets, and a fire pit. But the real treat was a driving tour of the valley. The towering granite cliffs, wispy waterfalls, wild flowers and crystal clear river made for some overwhelming scenery. We were especially happy to see all these postcard worthy sights since the trail doesn't pass through this part of the park. The highlight of our non-hiking visit to Yosemite was a glorious float down the Merced River in an inflatable boat - PBR and snacks in hand! Some good fireside chats and good eating with Clare, she left us in Mammoth to take care of some errands before we luxuriated for one more night at the Mammoth Mountain Inn. This was a birthday/anniversary treat from Chris' parents.

The next day we were slow to get on the trail, bogged down with one last town meal, the shuttle back to Red's Meadow and catching up with other hiker's. We finally set out on the trail around 2:00pm with a heavy heart. I always have a hard time leaving town and this long rest and visit with Clare made it especially hard. We only made it a couple of miles before camping at a real campground after getting lost for about an hour. A delightful group of boy scouts let us pitch our tent on their site so we could save a couple bucks and they peppered us with questions about the hike all night, especially the dads. The next couple of days of hiking treated us to some rolling terrain. We had one high elevation pass- Donahue - that we crossed under threatening skies and finally drizzle. But as soon as we dropped down into Tuolumne Meadows back in Yosemite, the clouds lifted and we skipped through a lovely grassy stretch hugging an amazingly clear river. Our goal: get to the store before it closes at 5 for burgers and a quick grocery resupply. Mission accomplished, we ended up camping at the Tuolumne campground right behind the store.

Beyond Tuolomne, the trail through Yosemite was rocky steep and remote. And the mosquitos were unlike anyhing I've seen before. I actually donned a very dorky headnet and the mosquitos were clinging to the screen so thickly, I couldn't see the trail at times!

The bugs and terrain were a bit demoralizing, but our efforts paid off during our planned resupply at Bridgeport on July 4th. It was a tough 30 mile stretch, but a pickup finally pulled over at Sonora Pass and let 5 of us thru-hikers pile in back. We were let off in small town America- a rodeo was underway, American flags and swags everywhere, moon walks and live music on the court house lawn and open containers! So our intentions of a quick turn around after grocery shopping were foiled and we decided to stay. We pitched our tent in a local character's front yard, next to a bar with great burgers and celebrated the 4th barefooted in the sunshine watching a Johnny Cash tribute band while lounging on the lawn of the historic court house, beer in hand. We decided that this hike was as much about making miles as seeing and celebrating our country in towns along the way. I did think about the circus on the Esplanade in Boston, but we were happy to be where we were. Emily

1 comment:

  1. You both write so beautifully. I cringed at the thought of all those bugs! Yuck! The images of your 4th are so nice. You described it so well, I felt like I was there. Miss you.