|I pass by this enticing sign for Reds Meadow|
and go to Agnew Meadow instead.
Looking at maps and studying the situation for myself, I liked the idea. My pack was positively empty of food, and it was early in the morning. I could hike the extra miles to Agnew Meadow with the near-empty pack and still get into Mammoth Lakes before noon.
So I skipped the turnoff on the trail to Red's Meadow and kept hiking. My food supplies were now down to a single Cliff Bar (which Tom had given me a couple of days earlier) and a small bag of gorp, but that was enough. I could make it.
|Devils Postpile. It's a pile. Of rocks.|
So I took the alternate route. I've never been to Devil's Postpile before, but I remember seeing photos of it since I was a mere child, and I wanted to finally see it close up and personal. I passed a few day hikers and a couple of fishermen working a nearby creek, but it wasn't especially crowded. Not at 7:00 in the morning, at least. The lighting on the postpile was terrible, causing the whole thing to be in its own giant shadow. I had to steady my camera on trees and rocks to get photos of it that weren't blurry.
It's kind of cool to see, but there's not really much to it either. You can see the entire postpile in about 30 seconds of walking. If you're in the area, by all means, check it out. But I wouldn't drive very far out of your way to visit this place--it's just not worth it.
|Is this supposed to be funny?|
Following the maps provided by Eric the Black's book, the trail was supposed to go onto what appeared to be a paved road where there was supposed to be a bus stop to take hikers into town. So I just followed trail markers blindly, walking through a campground, passed a few folks doing trail maintenance, and started switchbacking up a steep hillside, waiting until the trail crossed a paved road....
And I started thinking, "I don't remember any steep switchbacks before Agnew Meadow." So I pulled out my maps, and there were steep switchbacks, after passing Agnew Meadow. Damn trail never even touched a paved road, but I was absolutely certain I had hiked too far. I cussed the inaccuracies of the guidebook and turned around.
|Bus Stop #1|
I pulled out the small bag of gorp I carried--the last of my food by now--and ate the last morsels of food I had left. I was now completely and totally out of food. Not a drop left. Oh, I still had some powdered milk, but nothing that was actually edible. Before eating it, I took a photo of it. It seemed important enough to document with photos.
The mosquitoes were terrible while I waited. I batted at them. I cussed them. I told them about all of the horrible things I wanted to do to them, but to no avail. DEET seemed to provide a marginal amount of protection, but the little devils were everywhere.
Buses were scheduled to run every half hour, and I must have just missed the last bus because it was nearly a half hour later when a bus rolled to a stop and picked me up. The cost was $7, round-trip. I carried $6.61. I also carried a ten-dollar bill. I hoped the bus driver could provide change for a ten, or was willing to go 39 cents short of the full fair. I really didn't want to pay $10 for a $7 ticket.
Alas, he did not make change. When I realized how little I was short of an even $7, however, he started digging in his pockets to add two quarters of his own to the contribution, but one of the passengers on the bus (the only passenger on the bus, I should say) beat him to it by handing me a one dollar bill, given me an even $7 to pay the ticket price.
|My last bit of food.|
While waiting, I watched a few snowboarders showing off on the ski slopes. It seemed astounding to me, here, at the end of June, and the ski slopes were still open? Blasphemy.
This time, I only had to wait about five minutes before I saw it--a giant bus towing an equally giant bike rack behind it with what seemed like hundreds of bikes. The bus was packed, but a few folks got off. Most stayed on, and I got on and took a seat.
The bus made another stop a few miles down the hill at which point everybody--and I mean everybody except myself got off the bus. I felt seriously out of place amongst all of these bikers. I got on where absolutely nobody else got on at, and I stayed on when absolutely everybody else was getting off. I guess they get free rides (with their bikes in tow) high up the mountain where they can bike down back into town--downhill the whole way.
|Only in Mammoth Lakes, and the tourists were everywhere!|
She was a friendly, chatty girl, telling me about the city and pointing out sights along the way. She gave me a copy of a free local paper and told me about where I could find a happy hour. Very friendly town folks!
I checked into the motel, showered, then went off to see the town. I needed to do a major case of resupplying! At the outfitters, I bought new pants, gloves, socks, sunscreen, and sunglasses. I checked out the price of a new trekking pole and winced with pain. I just want a cheap little pole that Wal-Mart would sell for $10 or less. I'd rather carry a stick than pay the prices they were asking. I also needed new shoes but again winced at the prices. Maybe I could find a cheaper place for shoes elsewhere in town. So I held off on those items.... for now.
|The bike bus.|
So I walked over to the movie theater and went to see Toy Story 3--which I absolutely loved! It hardly seems possible, but I think that may be my favorite Toy Story yet. That is a story that just gets better and better with every sequel. Can't recommend it enough.
And then I headed back to my room for the night. Time for sleep.