Duck Lake to Red’s Meadow to Mammoth
We wake early, with pizza on the brain. The climb out of Duck Lake is pleasant, but we are changing out of our jackets before we reach the pass. From there we travel along the Sierra Crest for the first time on the High Route. Views to our right are of the eastern Sierra, to the left the western. The ridge is relatively open, with mostly brush and loose slate to navigate.
We hump it up a small pass and drop down on Deer Lakes. We were warned that this is our last water until Red’s Meadow, so we camel up, and carry a liter each.
From the lake we follow a steep pack trail back up to the crest. Cruising along the top of our pumice filled world, we can see down into Mono County. Eventually we can see Mammoth Lakes. I quickly check for cell coverage, and have it for the first time on the trip. I call Terri, and she reports that Eric did call with news about the SPOT and our actual well being. Nice going Eric!
Huge cliffs to the north require that we traverse left to a steep sand slide, down a wide chute. Each step involves placing your foot forward a few feet, then sliding a few feet more. It gives that sensation you get when walking on an airport moving sidewalk, each step propelling you further and faster than it should. We have no idea how someone could walk back up it.
We eventually rejoin an actual trail at Mammoth Pass. We practically fly down, gliding through the massive tree blow down I referenced in my PCT blog. Kevin had never seen it, and it really is quite startling. The shortcut to Red’s Meadow was anything but, but we get there just the same. I am shocked to see the Eastern Sierra bus. It turns out that today is the last day it is running. We quickly grab our mailed package, and purchase our $7 round trip ticket. We will not get to use the return portion, and are warned the one-way cab fare back will be $75. Ugh. Oh well, Mammoth here we come.
We catch the local bus and trolley to the same Motel 6 Dish Cloth and I stayed in during my PCT thru-hike. We order a pizza delivery, because while washing our clothes, we have nothing to wear.
I call around to all the sporting goods stores, but no one has a replacement SPOT. Without one, I am not sure how Terri will know when to pick us up in Twin Lakes. We also need a replacement Sawyer Squeeze bag, but strike out there as well. We finally hike to a Ben & Jerry’s for shakes, only to discover they are closed on Wednesdays.
We fall asleep knowing that tomorrow will be a relaxing zero.