It’s not Mammoth’s fault but it is such a cool little town that it didn’t take much convincing by Firefix and Colour to stay an extra night: 2 nights in town!
I was able to get on the 2nd ferry out of VVR and was hiking by 10am. With Mammoth only 28 miles away (plus the extra couple of miles along the beach and trail to get back to the PCT), my goal had been to get as close to a 20 mile day as possible to allow me a really quick jaunt into town the following day. I was on a schedule!
Now, you may be asking, Why, Scorpia, a schedule? What kind of schedule could you possibly have aside from a vague “finish the trail before the snow flies”? I shall happily reveal: Adam is coming!!! I haven’t seen my husband in two months and I’m so very, very, very excited! But it meant I was on a wee bit of a push to get to a decent pick-up location; hence, the desire to not even spend one night in Mammoth. And so when the others stopped at Virginia Lake that evening, I pushed on a couple of more miles to make it a nearly 18 mile (including the non-PCT miles) day at Purple Lake where I enjoyed a private, mountain-and-lake side view for the evening (from my tent to hide from the mosquitos!). Up and hiking before 7am, I covered the remaining 13 or 14 miles before noon and arrived at Reds Meadow just as the bus showed up to get me into Mammoth.
Apparently, that morning, I passed the 900 mile marker! I did not see it…oops! I was on a mission and quite preoccupied with a tidbit of information a southbound hiker had given me: there is a fire burning and the highway crossing Adam and I are meeting at has been closed. Now I really needed internet to figure things out!
So here’s the lowdown, as of writing this: it’s a pretty big fire by Hwy 4 and PCT Milepoint 1050, by Ebbetts Pass. 17,000 acres, 1,000 people fighting, 20% containment, and burning about 3.2 miles from the trail. The trail is not closed and hikers have been making it through with limited smoke issues but some are opting to hitch around it at Sonora Pass (the last “out” before entering the 80 mile stretch since Hwy 4 is closed). The forecast for the week is hot with dry lightening. Decisions, decisions…where and how to meet Adam? We’ve decided to play it safe and meet at Sonora Pass which means my hectic push and schedule is no longer necessary and why I stayed in town! Also, the bus ride into town turned out to take longer than expected as there were 3 buses to take. First one gets you to Mammoth Resort ($7, about 30 minutes, and so much mountain biking!!), second bus (free) gets you into The Village, then a pretty swift and free trolley system to get you around town. It’s pretty dialled in but it did take longer than expected.
But two nights is enough and I’ll be back on trail without service for a week or so!