Tonight is my last night in my tent for this trek. I am laying in my old faithful down sleeping bag, which I have had for almost forty years, sending you an update on my trek, day 23, Saturday, May 3.
It’s been a good bag, but I am a little tired of waking in the mornings looking like I plucked a goose in the middle of the night, so I will retire it. Besides, I have also noticed it doesn’t keep me warm anymore on those cold nights.
Today turned out to be a much longer day that I expected and I trekked 20.75 miles, in about 8 hours and 4 minutes. I had an elevation gain of about 1,500′. I had not planned to go this far but Mindee was coming to pick me up this weekend and was going to bring me dinner tonight. I like my freeze dried food, but will jump at the chance to eat regular good. I was about two miles past the Mammoth turnoff and had no cell service for the next 3-4 miles, so I had to keep going until I had service to tell her where I was camped.
I started early today and had a hard time getting out of my bag because it was so cold. It was overcast for most the morning and rather cool, which helps on the uphills. I was prepared for a hot day like yesterday and filled all my bottles from the creek.
I walked by the McGee Inn and noticed that they have a new bakery. The Inn is by itself off the highway and overlooks Lake Crowley. I was pleasantly surprised how nice the bakery is and what healthy and good home baked goods they had. As I was sitting there, a man said hello and mentioned that he had seen me yesterday on Lower Rock Creek Road. He told me that he’d also seem me near Lone Pine and had honk at me out of respect for what I was doing. Funny, I definitely remember him because he has a large six wheel drive army truck that he uses as his RV. When he honked and waved at me, I first thought it was a real military truck, but then I saw the canoe on top. As it turns out, he lives in Virginia City and originally from Holland. We had a chance to speak in Dutch. It’s interesting that I have met two Dutch people on my trek.
When I left Tom’s Place I was able to walk on Lake Crowley Road, which parallels 395. It’s really so much nicer to walk on the quite roads and I try to as much as I can. I had planned to walk on the old 395, which exits just before Mammoth and reconnects five or six miles north. It is shown on the Google directions, but I am always concerned because Google is not always correct. I flagged down a CHP officer that was crushing by and asked her about it. She thought that it was asphalt for several miles and then turned to dirt. I thought I’d take a chance and turned off on the old 395. It was very beautiful because it follows a creek and is away from the new highway. It runs through the area that is being utilized for geothermal power and you can see the wells, pipes, and steam all along the road. After about three miles I came to a gate that was posted that the road was closed and not maintained. Three, four, five miles of dirt? No, I think I’ll go back to 395.
Back on 395, I was finally able to get service and at the same time found this spot. It’s right at the junction of the scenic bypass to Mammoth. The wind started up in the evening and the site is heavily wood for shelter, but I was concerned because the soil is so soft that I could push the tent stakes in with my hands. There were no rocks in the area, but I managed to find some big rocks that are part of the highway culvert. Boy, that was some work after walking twenty miles.
It looks like it’s a little over 12 miles to the end of my trek in June Lake. It won’t be the easiest part of the trek either. I am at 7,400′ elevation and will start out from here going mostly uphill for almost six miles. The peak will be at 8,036′. Once I get to the June Lake turnoff, it will be uphill again until I hit the lake.
I hope to get an early start tomorrow so I can enjoy some down time and a very long hot bath. It will be a bittersweet day for me, in that I have accomplished what I set out to do, and I can finally rest my body, but will miss my days on the road. I looked forward to the start of every day because I never knew what new things I’d see or experience. I will miss that!
Hope to update you tomorrow.
Thank you all for so many positive and encouraging messages.
Best wishes to all, and PLEASE keep sending me your good thoughts, blessings, and prayers,