Monday, July 6, 2009

Sierra's Part Two/Mammoth Lakes, CA

Hello all,

I am now in Mammoth Lakes, CA, 906.2 miles in. The last six days have consisted of ascending and descending pass after pass (a pass is the high point between two peaks). The lowest passes have been at 10,900' while the highest of this section have topped out at 11.978'. I have continued to carry both the ice axe and bear vault. Tom, Kobie and I have averaged about 20 miles a day which is hard work in the Sierra's after ascending 3,000'-4,000'/day and then descending it. I did have a bit of a string of bad luck this stretch. Friday, as we took a break at a bridge my sunglasses were sitting on top of my hat, as I took my hat off to scratch my head and swat some mosquitoes aka mozzzies, my sunglasses went "tink" hit the rail of the bridge and quickly swept away by the rapidly flowing stream below. Losing sunglasses when you're about to cross a snow field in a cloudless sky is not exactly what you want to do. Then as we descended down John Muir Pass (the snowiest pass of all) I lost my DEET bug spray which was a big mistake because the mozzies have been so bad. Seriously, if you stop hiking, they swarm you and cover your legs. They are especially bad towards the end of the day and are frantically trying to set up camp and get in your tent before they eat you alive. Saturday morning, I woke up, packed everything up as quickly as possibly because the mozzies were already bad, then had a stream ford within the first 20' of my day. With my ipod in my shirt pocket and my camera in my hip belt pocket of my pack I took my first step to cross the swift moving stream. Being as we cross around ten streams a day shoes on and all, I didn't think much of it. So I stepped on a rock with some shallow water flowing over it, what slipped my mind was the speed of which the water was flowing over it and leading into a bigger outlet creek just 15' away. As I took this step, my footing went out from under me and plop, I was fully emerged in ice cold snow melt water, camera, ipod, and all. Fortunately, I landed on my back (onto my pack) and as curse words didn't seem to get me out any quicker, I frantically found my footing and got back up before I was swept out to the bigger outlet creek. My next thoughts went straight to the condition of both my camera and ipod. I didn't want to check their status right then and there first thing in the morning, so I let them dry out. As I continued through the day when I got to camp last night and set up my tent it was time for the moment of faith. So, I turned on my camera, full of pics of this entire section. Everything was FINE. Then, turned on the ipod, a rush of relief came over me as it turned on and played perfectly. Crisis averted! I took a series of buses to get into town, including one in which the bus driver was a former DJ at Raleigh's own K97.5. We had a good chat and eventually hopped two other buses to get into town, I went straight to the Von's (the west coast equivalent to Harris Teeter) and bought one of those Rotisserie Chickens and 2 liter of Pepsi. I sat outside the store and polished off the chicken in minutes. I am now checked in at the Motel6, my home away from the trail, away from home. Stacie, one of the crew members of a Film Documentary crew is also in town and was nice enough to allow me to use her computer for an update. I hope everyone had a wonderful fourth of July and I look forward to reviving my packages n' such from the post office tomorrow from Momma, Lauren, Collin, Cassie, Murph, and Todd.

Warp on,

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