Day: Monday, July 11th 2016
Miles: 906.6 – 914.6
Westin Monache – Remote Camp 914.6
The inherent problem with taking a rest day is the concept of the town vacuum. A humans ability to be taken in by the bright lights and luxuries without the easy ability to slip out from its pull, and its allure, is well documented. All of the PCT guidebooks, books, movies, YouTube guides and verbal sources will proclaim that places are a vacuum, the veritable Bermuda Triangle of the trail. Mammoth Lakes is certainly recognized as such and I will say the pull was enormous. Our comfy bed at the Westin didn’t help, a late checkout, a last dip in the hot-tub. Just one last trip to Ben and Jerrys. The town had a clutch onto the four of us and it wouldn’t let go!
As we eventually tore ourselves away, the four of us slowly made our way back to the bus to Reds Meadow, Ben and Jerrys in hand, like a last sad momento of freedoms lost! The sun was shining, it was FOUR PM, good lord, today was supposed to be a 15-20 miler!! As we arrived to Reds Meadow and completed some final repacking and dropping things into the hiker box, we again stagnated having met CheetoBurrito, Detour and some other familiar faces. We ended up sitting at the central area and hanging out for a further time, before hitting the trail to Devils Postpile National Mounment, a short detour from the PCT and certainly worth a look (to compare it to Ireland’s Giants Causeway, a similar formation of hexagonal basalt). The sun was dropping in the sky, with my ambitious targets fading as quickly as my dream of another Ben and Jerry’s ice cream shake.
The Postpile is an interesting spot, it’s not a competition but the Giants Causeway IS a lot bigger and since its by the sea, a lot more immense in its dramatic qualities, but the Postpiles have their uniqueness and a particularly beautiful section of curved basalt, almost like a cathedral ceiling. It was worth the detour, if likely not worth a road trip. Within a mile of the piles (no pun intended), we were back to the Pacific Crest Trail, and venturing northwards once again. After a few miles, Srocket and Blue decided to settle in by a beautiful River bridge. I opted to keep rolling for another while and managed about 4 extra miles before turning in. Given a need to define a personal mileage goal, I opted to aim for Sierra City or beyond by 07/25 which mandates some additional miles for me over the next week. Irrespective of my slow start today, I did worry that may mean I won’t see Srocket and Blue for a bit, but the trail works in strange ways so hopefully we’ll catch up when I inevitably slow down at the same time they speed up!
After entering the Ansel Adams Wilderness, with water close by and after a somewhat tricky night-section (a deer scared me senseless at one point when it ran at me, instead of away after being startled by my headlamp), I hit my camping mat with only a dream of that Westin bed to assist me in counting sheep! Tomorrow I aim for Yosemite, and a huge milestone on the Pacific Crest Trail is just ahead.