Day 63: afternoon push

Day 63
Miles: 26
To Red’s Meadow
Over silver pass

The big passes, as I like to think of them, are all over, but the little ones remain. (Only 10,000 feet? Not impressed.) So up and over Silver pass. It may not be a big pass, but I’m feeling tired nonetheless. Always tired.

Silver Lake, Lake Virginia, Purple Lake – all are a brilliant blue. Now we’re leaving the land of the lakes, into the trees, a quiet, dry forest walk.

If we do 26 miles tonight, we’ll make it to Red’s Meadow. Our maps say: free hot springs showers. I hike faster and think: free hot springs showers. Ice cream. A burger. Hike faster. The day is a blur of trees and hiking faster.

The landmarks on our map begin to have very volcanic sounding names: crater creek, red mountain. It all becomes clear when a giant cinder cone appears in view. It’s shocking to see rock that isn’t granite, isn’t white. Do rocks come in other colors?? I wonder what burblings of magma, what gyrations of stone, conspired to conjure up this black cone.

Coming down off a huge ridge, we look across a valley and see miles of downed trees. “Do these trees all look like they were blown over to you?” I ask J.
  “Blown over? They look like they were ripped straight out of the ground!”

Giant trees, roots ripped straight out. All the trees have fallen in the same direction. Are there tornadoes here?
A day of natural mysteries. I don’t care. I just want a shower. J and I stumble into Red’s Meadow dirty and exhausted.

The cafe is closed. The showers are not free, and they are closed. The store’s sign says it is closed too, but the proprietor is still there, and he sells us canned soup, ice cream bars, and soda. So there’s that.

The campground is another half-mile, so we limp to it. We had heard there was free camping, but we can’t find it, only pay sites. Another hiker finds us standing there, sad and confused, and takes us back to his site. It’s a group of JMT hikers. They’re only supposed to have six people per site, and we make it seven. “You guys are pretty unified, right?”
  “Totally unified.”

They are unpacking their food drops, and we inherit larabars and drink mix and snacks.

We were planning on going into Mammoth to resupply, but we packed too much food out of Bishop. Between what we still have, what we’ve just inherited, and what we can buy at the store, we’ll easily make it to Tuolomne Meadows. It would be fun to celebrate the Fourth of July in town, but we’re trying to meet J’s friends who will be in tuolomne for the weekend. So we’ll hike instead.

I sure wish I’d gotten to take a shower today…


Silver Lake





Lake Virginia


Purple Lake


(Phone is out of battery 🙁   )