UB offered to give me the tent we were sharing for the last section into Mammoth lakes when he left VVR, but I declined the offer after one of the staff said the weather would be fine until Tuesday. Of course I had a dream that night that it stormed and naturally grey clouds started to gather in the sky in the late morning.
I woke with the sun but didn’t leave VVR until 8am as I had agreed to hike out with Messenger and he moves slow in the mornings. I opted to hike the 4.5 miles out instead of paying another $9 for the ferry, but as the weather started to turn I wished I’d saved the time and leg power. I lost Messenger about 15 minutes up the trail and despite stopping a couple of times to stretch and eat he didn’t appear, so I carried on solo up Silver Pass.
It was 6 miles to the top and about half way up after stopping for lunch and yet another stretch, I bumped into a hiker called Scrub. He started on May 9 so he knew all of the hikers behind me and it was fun getting updates on some of the people. I hiked with Scrub until late afternoon and spent a lot of time speculating about whether it would rain or not. When I said I should probably hike as close to Red’s Meadow Resort as possible (the gateway into Mammoth Lakes), incase the heavens opened he agreed, which made me realise just how long my day was going to be as it was close to 35 miles from VVR.
After Silver Pass I thought the majority of climbing was over, but little did I know we still had 2,000 feet to go up. I thought I was making good time, but when I expected to have gone at least 5 miles, I checked Halfmile’s app and realised I’d only gone 3. This deflated me a little and my speed dropped. I also started to get really hungry and decided I should cook dinner before it got too dark. Somehow I must have picked the coldest, windiest section of the trail because as I was cooking a few specs on snow fell on me. I immediately freaked out and dressed in all my rain gear and put the waterproof cover over my pack. I had taken my socks off to air my feet (which looked like I’d been walking through burning hot coals) but had to put my warmest socks on so they wouldn’t freeze.
Scrub caught up and said he was going to camp right next to the stream where I was cooking. When the wind picked up we both realised it was time for me to hike again, fast. I was dressed in all bar one of my layers and was still cold for the first half hour. Slowly I warmed up and to my surprise the weather started to clear, with the last of the sun coming out soon after making the video below.
I was making good ground as I neared the 900 mile mark (a third of the way there!), when Messenger turned up out of nowhere. He was surprised to see me decked out in all my rain gear, as by that time the sky was completely clear. He was planning to camp about 1.5 miles up the tail, 5 miles from Red’s Meadows. There were two campfires burning when we got there so I figured at least there was warmth and there were other hikers cowboy camping. I set my alarm for 5am, with intentions of getting the first shuttle bus from Red’s Meadow Resort into Mammoth Lakes.