PCT Day 148, Double Flip and a Flop with a Hop, Day 67

September 7

Mile 926.1 to mile 906.7, Red’s Meadow, 19.4 PCT miles + 1.5 miles off-trail (0.3 to Red’s Meadow, 0.2 on the wrong damn trail, 1 mile around Mammoth), 20.9 miles total
PCT miles: 1533.7
Running total: 1662.2
We woke up to frigid temperatures, a ridiculous amount of condensation in our tent, and damp and frost-covered sleeping bags- at least I was warm inside mine! We were packing up by 0430 and on the trail by 0540, hiking by headlamp. I was wearing my normal hiking outfit plus rain pants, fleece, puffy, gloves, and a beanie- Matt had everything on as well, minus the fleece.

We started with two river crossings- one was easy, utilizing a fallen log and some rocks, but the other was a bit more complicated: there was a nice, wide double-log bridge, but the left log was broken and submerged in water about 1/2 way across the creek and the right was slanted down right towards the water- this might not have been as challenging had everything not still been wet, leaving the logs slimy and slippery. Matt crossed first and made it without incident. I started next, following Matt’s lead of shuffling my feet slowly across the right log, but I made an error of using my left pole on the left log for balance- the further I got across the creek, the lower that left log got before disappearing in the water. I was afraid that when I stopped using my left pole as a crutch the momentum of lifting up my pole would cause me to slip, so I almost had a mini-meltdown. Luckily I had crossed far enough that I was able to reach for Matt’s hand on the other side of the creek and he guided me the last few steps across. The water was maybe 2-3 feet below? And not flowing TOO fast that I’d get washed away, but a fall still could have done some damage and I was SO happy I didn’t have to carry on with wet clothes for the rest of the day!

The easier of the two crossings
After the crossings we soon started our climb up to Island Pass. Within 10 or 15 minutes of climbing we definitely worked up enough body heat that we needed to stop and de-layer.

I was SO glad that we decided not to hike this section in the dark the night before- the High Sierra is too damn gorgeous to hike at night!

After a few more short, fairly steep climbs we had a mostly downhill trek to Red’s Meadow.

With our early start, I realized that we could accomplish a 10×10 & I was determined! I raced on, refusing to take any breaks or stop for water (I definitely still stopped for photos, though…)

With about 0.4 miles to go and 10 minutes on the clock, my heart sank as we turned a corner and saw a Forest Ranger heading towards us- we were so close!!!! I assumed we would have to show our permits and explain why we were headed south when we had northbound permits and maybe even get in trouble, BUT he just asked where we were headed and told us to have a nice day- what?!?? Amazing!!!! We scurried on and made our 10miles before 10am for probably the second and final time on-trail.

Just after the 10 mile marker I turned on my phone to check the status of the shoes I had ordered over a week ago- as I had suspected, my shoes never arrived to the post office. I spent nearly 20 minutes on the phone with Amazon trying to find my shoes, then gave up and continued walking, with the Amazon guy promising me that he would call back.

A mile down trail we hit a trail head with pit toilets, so this seemed like an appropriate place to take a break. I polished off my remaining snacks while I spent an hour on the phone trying to track down my shoes. I had originally wanted to Amazon prime the shoes to my parents house in NJ then have my mom priority mail the shoes to the post office in Mammoth, but Mr. Matt suggested that I save my parents the trouble (and shipping $$) and have Amazon send to the post office instead- I knew that that sounded fishy, but in some light research I learned that some PCTers have successfully ordered Amazon general delivery, so I went ahead and had my shoes shipped to the Mammoth post office…I was so fake-mad at Matt for suggesting that!! My shoes were currently sitting in the UPS shipping & pick-up center in Bishop, CA and not getting to Mammoth anytime soon.
NOW, our trail runners usually last about 500 miles & we were at about 494. My shoes weren’t falling apart yet and could have pushed on further BUT my feet had grown in the last 250 miles and my toes were scrunched!! Going downhill was extra painful, especially when it was hot and my feet were swollen…I needed clown shoes asap!!
Before getting back on trail I made a phonecall to an outdoor store in Mammoth, and was relieved to find that they carried my shoe and had a men’s size that would fit…phew!!
I again left Matt behind fiddling with his phone while I pressed on. After a while I grew concerned that Matt hadn’t caught up with me yet- I kept looking back for him and tried calling him, growing more and more concerned as the minutes passed. I WOULD have waited for him at the trail junction, had I seen the junction…
I was walking down a hill and happened to check the GPS on my phone and realized that I was 0.1 miles off trail- not bad, sometimes it says we are off trail and we really aren’t.

I walked a few more steps and paused- Matt should have caught up to me by now! Shittttt. I stepped off trail as a couple came slowly trudging up the hill towards me. I asked if I was on the PCT and they gave me the “awe, honey” look- nope, not on the PCT. The man pulled out his paper map and showed me where the missed junction was. I hiked back to the junction with them (turns out they live in San Diego, too!) & again paused- did Matt say he was filling water before leaving our lunch break? Could he still be behind me? I figured he was ahead and carried on.

{The next day we found out that Papá had missed the same junction & hiked 1.5 miles off trail before realizing he wasn’t on the PCT! And on his way back he found Arc starting to wander off-trail!! The junction was easy to miss if you weren’t looking for it- the PCT turned off the main trail at a right angle, and those that missed it, like me, carried on straight down the hill! Oops!}
I was on a mad dash trying to catch Matt, who in turn was on a mad dash trying to catch me! I called Matt 13 times, left 1 voicemail, sent 3 messages to the InReach, and 2 texts messages trying to inform him that I was behind him and to wait for me!
I was thirsty, had to pee, and wanted to put sunscreen on, but all these things involved stopping, and each break I took would mean more distance between Matt and I! (I eventually DID stop to take care of all three things!)
I finalllllyyyyyyyyy found Matthew sitting on a log- he had just received my InReach messages and stopped. As I had assumed, he had thought that I was ahead and had been sprinting to try and catch up to me! He, too, didn’t take the time to stop and filter water, thinking I was ahead.
I was beat for the last 3 miles down to Red’s Meadow- my toes hurt and I was tired and thirsty. When we finally reached Red’s, I indulged in a Snapple and an ice cream sandwich while we waited for the shuttle down to Mammoth Mountain.

Devil’s Postpile

When the doors to the shuttle opened, we were SO excited to see Big Momma- she had only gone into Mammoth Lakes for the morning to resupply and we weren’t sure we would catch her in time to say goodbye. We took one last selfie before saying a real goodbye and parting ways.

On the bus we met Chad and Tim (omg I don’t think that’s his name….shit, sorry!!) Chad would like to do the JMT one day and picked our brains about gear and thru-hiking- we happily talked his ear off about long-distance trails and really hope he gets to experience one himself asap! Chad, if you’re reading his, keep us informed- we would love to follow along!

When we got to Mammoth Mountain (the ski area), the guys offered to drive us to our Airbnb- how awesome! This saved us a lot of time and stress, so thank you!!!

At the Airbnb Matt and I showered and gathered our laundry together before heading out to Mammoth Mountaineering for my new shoes- my shoes ended up being 20% off and about $30 less than what I had paid on Amazon, so it ended up working out quite nicely!! The store also offers a 10% discount to PCT hikers, so we grabbed some bars to try out on-trail!

The result of brushing my hair after braids…

We then walked over to Mammoth Tavern for dinner- we got allllll of the foods! Ceviche and tortilla chips, homemade potato chips and onion dip, and fries for the table. I had a huge sangria and plate of shrimp scampi while Matt had a beer, french onion soup, salad, and a braised pork grilled cheese….we rolled home & climbed into our warm bed- it was cold and windy outside, so we were extremely happy to be indoors!!

Happiness is: accomplishing my goal of a 10×10, meeting amazing people(Chad & Tim{?}), being able to say goodbye to Big Momma, and a warm house. Oh. And a big-ass sangria.

One thought on “PCT Day 148, Double Flip and a Flop with a Hop, Day 67

  1. Gorgeous day! Happiness is knowing your friends are safe and warm and still kickin’ ass!
    Somehow, having lived in the Sierra foothills at a measly 3,000 feet for 10 years, I’m pretty sure that the cold weather (especially in the morning, brrrrrrrr!) is going to be sticking around. Hopefully it won’t be “sticking” in the snow sense…


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