June 24, 2015
Red’s Meadow – Mammoth Lakes (906.7) to Tentsite past Davis Lakes Junction (925.7)
2.4 Alternate miles (Devil’s Postpile National Monument), 14.1 Alternate miles (JMT to Thousand Island Lakes), 2.9 PCT miles
970.2 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: Unknown
This morning we were a bit…discombobulated. We ended up at the trail without our trekking poles (we had left them in Mama Bear’s car), I was wearing new shoes without my gaiters (I had forgotten to apply the Velcro) without my insoles (forgot those too), and without the map set for the hike beyond Tuolumne Meadows. We didn’t get in our first steps until after 9am, and then we had to stop every few minutes to de-layer, get out sunglasses, put on sunscreen etc. So by the time we had hiked a little over a mile to the Devil’s Postpile National Monument, we were just beginning to feel ready to start our day.
Today we had the choice to either stay on the PCT or take the JMT as an equal-distance alternate. Everyone told us the JMT was much more stunning and when we looked at the maps, there was no doubt in our mind what decision we would make. The PCT seemed to climb up on a ridge and then stay there for about 14 miles whereas the JMT crawled up and over a few small mountains while weaving its way around at least 10 different lakes. We chose the lakes and we were not disappointed.
The day flew by in a sort of haze, punctuated by beautiful lake scenery. There was more climbing than we expected, including what felt like a couple small passes, and I was breaking in my new shoes so my feet were pretty achy and I required a few more packs-off breaks than usual. The goal was to hike 21 miles today (and every day until South Lake Tahoe), but the last two miles were going to be uphill and I was ready to crawl into my sleeping bag for hours before we finally stopped. Once we got about 19 miles in, we crossed a river and found ourselves a campsite on the other side. Unfortunately, we underestimated how numerous and obnoxious the mosquitos had become.
I actually wanted to title tonight’s blog “Bloodsucker Hell” because of this evening’s mosquito debacle, but then I decided that wouldn’t be fair to the rest of the day since the mosquitos didn’t get really horrible until our hike was nearly over. We set up our tent while swatting at every part of ourselves (we must have looked like lunatics) and then one at a time we attempted to first throw in our gear and then dive head-first through the door in order to try and keep the little pests out of our home. We failed miserably. We must have each had at least 20 on our person when we entered, and another 10 or so followed close behind. That’s when the massacre began. Pickles and I started killing each and every mosquito until every last one was nothing but a dead black dot on the floor of our tent. By the time we had finished we were laughing hysterically and our tent was smeared with blood (presumably our own) from mosquitos that we only managed to kill after they had succeeded in feeding on us. We wish we’d gotten it on film. Anyway, we successfully got rid of every last bloodsucker, now our only problem is that we cannot leave this tent. When we do, we’re afraid we’ll have to do it all over again. I should probably mention that all this is after covering our bodies in 100% deet. We know it’s horrible for us, and a lot of people choose not to use it, but for us, the relief that it brings is worth the trade-off. Just imagine what tonight would have looked like if we were not using deet! We’re seriously hoping that this is the worst of it because I think if it gets any worse we might go mad. At least we’re sheltered and safe for now…tomorrow night we’ll definitely go back to dry camping.