Tonight I am back in my tent again sending you an update on my trek, day 22, Friday, May 2.
I had a challenging day today and trekked 12.36 miles, and now over 319 miles since I started. I am camped in a pretty unusual camp spot. Well, lots have been unusually, so this is just another. I made it to Tom’s Place, which is at the top of the Sherwin Grade. I was hoping to make it here today, but had some doubts. I would call the trek up the grade today my Mt. Everest climb.
I have a few more climbs ahead, but this one was the longest and almost nonstop uphill. I had a good night’s sleep and was feeling fairly good in the morning. I woke up this morning and felt something that I really haven’t felt the whole trek, humidity. Everything was moist, including the sleeping bag, tent, and everything inside. It was 78 degrees by nine in the morning, and it was humid. Great way to start my uphill climb! I just set my mind to doing it and reminded myself that everything after this would be easier.
I wanted to go light, so I only took my two 32 oz drink bottles. That was a mistake, but not the only one. The road was level for about a mile and then started uphill, and it didn’t stop for six miles. I went through the community of Paradise, which is sparsely built and has very nice homes. I just had a drink and was walking by a house when a kind woman asked me if I need a drink? Stupid me, I said no thanks, I just had one. Did I regret that an hour later, especially after I was already into my second bottle. I was a little (actually a lot) worried because Lower Rock Creek, where I had hoped to get water, does not run near the road for miles.
I was still going uphill and stopped to rest, when a motorcycle pulled up to me. It was Rick, the man from New Zealand that I had met yesterday. We chatted for quite a while and he offered me his water. I said, “yes, please!” He saved my day because I did not find water for another two hours and 3-4 miles.
I was questioning myself and felt I had hit a wall. The temperature had reached 92 degrees and I could feel the altitude affecting me. I forced myself to take a break near the community of Saw Meadows, but at this point there was no shade. When I finally got up to start again, I found myself a little light headed. I had seen that the temperature was suppose to be around 65 degrees in the mammoth area, so where was it? I walked about another half mile and came to an actual top of a hill. I could see Rock Creek below and the road ran downhill for about a mile. I was ecstatic, like I found an oasis. Unfortunately, that mile down was about a 600′ loss in elevation that I had to make up later. My total elevation gain was only 3,600′, but I think that with the heat and the altitude, it made it tough.
Once I got to the bottom the temperature dropped a little because of the trees and shade from the canyon. The stream was so cold that I could barely keep my hands in the water as I was filling my bottles. Drinking the water was like getting it out of the fridge. I found a ton of camp sites along the creek and would have been happy to stay, but I had only gone about seven miles. Unfortunately, the rest of the five miles was more uphill. I just found myself stopping and going, stopping and going, even resting for 20-30 seconds. I do have to say that the views were spectacular and there were very few cars. Once I hit 395 and saw the traffic, it confirmed that I had made the right choice by taking the old road.
Once I hit Tom’s place I was pretty beat and didn’t think I had the energy to go any further. The trouble with Tom’s is that there are regular camp grounds up the side roads, and I didn’t want to stay in a regular campground or go any further. There are also some rental cabins in the area, so finding a secluded spot would have been difficult. I decided just to go a little further, maybe to McGee Creek, but I was really tired. Just as I walked past Tom’s Restaurant and Store on 395, I heard and saw part of Lower Rock Creek flowing down to the highway. I walked up and saw this spot and that was it. I am tired and I am staying here. As it turns out, I set up early enough to walk up to the restaurant and actually got a great healthy meal. We use actually use to come here frequently when the kids were little, so it felt familiar. It’s kind of a fun place.
The waitress asked where I was staying, and I just said down the road a bit. I can actually see the back of the restaurant from here, but my site is well hidden. I have camped in so many different locations, that when I am tired, anyplace is good. I am only ten feet from the creek and it is very loud and soothing, so I don’t hear the road.
Today was a very tough day, but a good one in that I made it up the mountain, and what was probably the hardest climb of my trek, is over. June Lake is about thirty miles away and I should be able to make it in the next two days? Hopefully by Sunday. From here to the Mammoth turnoff is about half way and there aren’t any real steep climbs. From Mammoth to June Lake there are several steep climbs, one to a little over 8,000′, but I’ll try and take it in stride since I will be like that stable horse knowing I am almost home.
Now I am ready to lay here and read my book!
Hope to update you tomorrow.
Best wishes to all, and please keep sending me your good thoughts, blessings, and prayers,