Saturday 30 June (0645-1115ish)
Distance: not sure as we walked off the map. Probably 7.5 miles of which 2.2 were on the PCT
Number of calories consumed today: feels like about 20,000
Just after we entered our motel room in Mammoth, I squealed. Not being prone to girly squealing, Mick wondered what horror I had found in the bathroom. It wasn't a monster or even a cockroach (which is one thing that will make me squeal in horror). No, this was a squeal of glee. We had been given a room with a bath!
I cannot tell you how happy it made me to have the opportunity to soak the dust and dirt away, for even though I only had a shower 2 days ago (none for weeks them two come along at once!) I was again filthy.
I also cannot describe quite how filthy the bath is now that we have both bathed. But we are now temporarily free of the dust and dirt that has been enveloping us and, even better, after a trip to the laundry, our clothes are clean(er) too!
What preceded this happy cleanliness? Well I won't go through the contents of the ten missing blog posts. They are all safely written on my phone but, alas, my phone contract expired 8 hours before I found the first phone signal in a week, so they will have to stay there until I get home next week.
As for today, we only walked 2.2 miles of the PCT (featuring yet more blow-down clambering and diversions), before heading off onto the Duck Lake trail to Lake Mary, from where we had been told that we could catch a shuttle service into Mammoth. Mammoth wasn't on our itinerary, but when we found how easily we could get here, it suddenly became attractive.
It's not a route I would recommend to anyone thru-hiking the trail. The surroundings are lovely with lakes aplenty and the effort of walking over Duck Pass is comparatively easy, but to re-enter the trail at that point, the re-ascent over the pass would be a bit of a haul. For thru-hikers it makes much more sense to walk the extra few miles to Mammoth and to spend a couple of hours on busses from there. But as we're just having a PCT based walking holiday, we can make up our own rules, so we have no intention of rejoining the trail where we left it. Instead we will skip ahead 8 miles.
As it turned out, not all of the information we had been given was accurate and it wasn't as quick or easy as expected to get into town via the route we took. In particular, the news that there is no summer shuttle from Lake Mary was a blow* as if I'd known there would be an extra 3.5 mile road walk, it wasn't the route option we would have taken. There was only one thing for it - trying to hitch, even though it's a pastime I hate.
We not only got a lift really quickly, but the chaps who stopped took pity on us and went well beyond their own destination to drop us at the door of our motel :-)
Within half an hour we had reserved a room (it was too early to check in) and were sitting in a bar eating pizza with a couple we haven't seen for a couple of weeks.
Not much else has been achieved today. Much eating and a few chores, but not the important decisions as to what to do with ourselves for the next week, and when to finish the last 35 miles of the walk. We'll have to put our minds to that question in the morning.
(*subsequent googling has revealed that there is a summer shuttle bus. It starts running from tomorrow. No loss though - the bus wouldn't have delivered us to our door!)