Mammoth Lakes to Red’s Meadow to Minaret Lake
The Mammoth Lakes Cab is to pick us up at 7:15 am. We wake in time to pack and make another dash to Schat’s Bakery across the street. We share cinnamon rolls and a lemon poppy seed muffin. I am pretty sure it is not as good as the Schat’s in Bishop, but it is way better than the one that does not exist in the wilderness.
Our cabby races us back to that Schat’s-less wilderness, in a van clearly in need of struts. We plod up the seven miles of trail before reaching Superior Lake, our exit for more cross country fun.
As we filter water at the lake, we are confused. We can see two passes, a major saddle to the left, and a minor player to the right. It appears from distant patches of packed sand/scree that both have been climbed. Roper’s description favors the left saddle, but Skurka’s maps and GPS waypoints suggest the right. Roper’s looks harder than Andrew’s, but since Roper designed the High Route, we go with his.
The willows and brush make scrambling up the real Nancy’s Pass one of the most frustrating yet. Controlled falling through brush on your way down from a pass is one thing, but trying to throw yourself up it is quite another. The heat, the bushes, and the steepness is taking its toll. We curse Andrew for taking the easier pass, and we curse Nancy, well just because.
Kevin is starting to feel poorly. We are not sure if it is heat exhaustion from Nancy, something he ate, or something he didn’t eat (Ben & Jerry’s milkshake). After the pass, we take more breaks and travel slower. We pass over the “Inconspicuous Saddle.”
We reach our primary goal of Minaret Lake, but decide to pass on any bonus miles. Kevin rests in the shade, while I pitch my tent and filter water for both of us. Some neighbors, large men who clearly arrived via the Minaret Lake Trail and not the cross country route over Nancy Pass, have decided to go skinny dipping. To be clear, skinny is not the right term, and this dipping is not helping Kevin feel any better.
We cook Indian curries, which you might not have picked for someone feeling poorly, but the curries are our heaviest dinner, so they are the first to go.
Kevin pitches his tent and retires early, hoping to feel better in the morning. I am hoping he does so too.