Mile 948 to 942
I wake early and pack up to go. The “Cheese Burger” bird is calling and we are only 6 miles from Tuolumne Meadows. Dish Cloth is slow to get around, and by slow I mean BLT and I have to wake him. He was up much of the night with a pounding tooth ache. He is close to overdosed on Ibuprofen. Finding a dentist is now on our todo list.
We hike along spectacular cascades and by the Tuolumne Falls. We enjoy more marmots and the biggest jack rabbit I have ever seen. With the right saddle I could have ridden it to town. We also run into Cougar, a northbounder I have not seen since Big Bear. She says, “I remember you. You were hiking with Brian and Bri. You’re Rick, right?” Most hikers are way better than I am at remembering names, real and trail.
At Tuolumne I grab some high calorie snacks and talk the store manager into getting my resupply package from the post office, even though it is officially closed on Sunday. Thank goodness he has a key. BLT has never been to Yosemite Valley and Dish Cloth wants to get pain meds and antibiotics at the clinic, so we jump on the free backpackers bus for the two hour ride. We relax, celebrate not walking, enjoy the views and plug our electronics into the bus AC outlets. Life is indeed good.
I remember a time when a friend of mine visited Yosemite and decided if you stood in the right place you could turn your head 360 degrees and see all the highlights. I don’t mention John’s name, in order to protect the Zahara family, but the story has become comic lore in our family. In fact so much so that my oldest son Daniel, obviously monitoring my SPOT location and realizing I am in the valley, texts “Doing the 360 spin tour?”
After a quicker than normal spin tour of the valley highlights, we return to Tuolumne Meadows with other thru-hikers on the $9 YART bus. On the message board is a note to us that Klutz and Mountain goat pushed on down the trail at 2:00. They were a half day behind, now they are a half day ahead.
You cannot trail camp within 4 miles of the trailhead and it is already 7:00 pm. We pay $6 each to stay at the backpacker’s campground, but our plans are clearly diverging. BLT wants to push big miles tomorrow, so he will have a short hike to Mammoth the next day. Big miles means 30 miles. I am not doing 30 mile days in the Sierra. DC has to wait until the store opens at 9:00, then will start hiking much later than I will start. When DC gets to Mammoth, he may have to zero a day or two to get his tooth fixed, or extracted.
So starting tomorrow all 5 of us will be hiking in the same direction, but not on the same schedule. We may meet again on the trail, or at a resupply town, but who knows. So it goes on the trail. You drift in and out of each others lives.