Yosemite Park area
Pacific Crest Trail Quest '08 - Page 15
I hit the trail early this morning hoping to get resupplied in Mammoth Lakes and still have
time to put in some miles this afternoon. I came to the general store and café at Red's
Meadows at 9 a.m.. The whole area is a tourist trap with horseback rides on various
trails. There is a bus that runs from Red's to the ski lodge 10 miles down the road,
dropping people off at waterfalls, cliffs, etc. along the way so that they won't wear
themselves out by walking somewhere.
I was the only one on the bus for the ride to the giant ski lodge. From there, it was an easy
6 mile hitch into town. Mammoth is a very upscale yuppie town and not the sort of place I
like to be, but they have free public transportation. I was able to eat a pizza, get groceries
and hitch back to the ski lodge in under 2 hours. From there, I got on a bus crammed full
of tourists and rode back up to Red's.
I'm used to seeing only fit hikers, but for a half mile in either direction of every trailhead, the
trail was full of fat slow moving tourists. Worst of all, none of the oncoming tourists would
move over to let me past. They kept waddling down the middle of the trail like I wasn't
there. I bumped into 4 of them on purpose.
I'm away from all the hustle and bustle of fat lazy hikers now. They can have their parking
lots and paved walking paths. They'll never know what a wonderful place the wilderness
is, and that's their problem, not mine. Monday morning, they'll all be working to pay for all
their things, and I'll be out here. I can't help but feel sorry for the rich people.
I entered Yosemite Park today, and for once I do have a permit, although I'm still lacking
the required bear canister for my food.
I started my day hiking over super snowy Donahue Pass. It's my last pass over 11,000
feet, and I thought it would be easy. I thought wrong. About a half mile from the summit,
my left foot broke through the snow and dropped into a crack in the rock below. My thigh
wedged in the rack about 6 inches above my knee and I toppled over.
It hurt too bad to move for a while, and when the pain died down enough to try to pull
myself up, I found I was stuck. It took a lot of swearing to pull myself free, but when I stood
up nothing seemed to be broken. Had the rock wedged at my knee, I'd have been in real
trouble. I got lucky.
I hobbled over the pass only to find more snow on the other side. I lost the trail a few
times, swore a lot, and finally made it down out of the snow. From there, it was an easy
downgrade all the way to Toulmne Meadows and my next food drop.
Toulmne Meadows is basically a big tourist trap in Yosemite. There's a store, gas station,
crappy café, and a "resort." About five miles from the "resort" I started running into
backpackers. They weren't like PCT hikers. They all had brand new packs twice the size
of anything a through hiker would carry, and they all smelled freshly washed.
It started raining about a half mile from the "resort." It was already 4:00 so I decided it
would be nice to get a room. I was overdue for a shower anyway. It turned out there
wasn't a resort at all, just a bunch of canvas tents in a field. It was raining pretty hard by
the time I got there, so I ducked into the office to check on a tent for the night. The ranger
behind the desk told me the tents cost $88 a night. Never mind. I went back out in the
I hitched a ride to the store, picked up my food package and a six pack of beer and sat
under the awning with some other through hikers to wait out the rain.
The rain stopped and I found a car camper who had rented a $20 spot and had room for a
few extra tents.
We had a good night drinking beer around the campfire, and it was surprisingly quiet for a
My leg really hurt when I woke up this morning, but it got somewhat better after I moved
around a little. I realized this morning that I lost my sunglasses in the rain last night, so I
had to wait until the store opened at 9:00 to buy a crappy $25 pair of shades.
Unfortunately, the next town is 153 trail miles away and there's lots of bright snow up high,
so I had to have them.
There's another "rent a $88 tent" campsite 6 miles down the PCT and I saw at least 100
backpackers in that 6 miles. They were everywhere. I had to wonder why they needed a
giant backpack when they were going to rent a tent anyway.
After the campsite, the trail starts climbing. I didn't see one wanna be backpacker after the
campsite. I don't like the fact that I ran into a ton of tourists, but at least they're lazy.
My leg didn't bother me much walking, but it's really stiff tonight. I can't bend it much past
90 degrees. I also have a giant bruise on my elbow. I just noticed it tonight. Luckily, my
leg's been hurting bad enough to keep my mind off my elbow.
My goal for this 150 mile stretch is 25 miles a day. If I go much slower than that, I'll run out
of food. I did 23 today. The trails are much steeper and rockier than any I've been on so
far. There's also a lot of snow to deal with.
There must be a forest fire burning nearby. The air has been filled with thick smoke all
day. I can't tell where it's coming from, but it's not far away. Hopefully, I'm not in any
I had to stop hiking an hour early today due to excessive mosquitoes. I tried bug spray. I
tried long pants and shirt sleeves. I even tried yelling. Nothing worked. They were so
thick at times, I had to put my shirt over my face to breathe. The outside of my tent is
covered in them, but I think I killed all the ones that got in. My plan for tomorrow is to start
really early and give up and go to bed if the mosquitoes get bad in the late afternoon.
My leg and elbow still hurt, but are getting better. I have plenty of bug bites to scratch now
to keep my mind off them.