At some point Namaste and I loose Duckets. Then I loose Namaste.
It’s nice to be walking alone again. It’s been a long time and I enjoy the lack of constraints. I meet three women section hiking the JMT. One of them reads this blog! We sit on a downed tree and chat for an hour. I then hike the rest of the way to Duck Pass outlet and set up camp.
I get up at 5:30am – town!
Its only 11 miles to Red’s Meadow where I can take a bus into Mammoth. I notice that I have phone reception – the miles through this large burn area fly by as I talk and hike.
All of a sudden, I see pick-up trucks, then horse pens, then people sitting in deck chairs. I walk a little further and arrive at Red’s Meadow – there are cabins to rent, a general store, and a grill. It seems like there are tons of people here (in reality, there are probably about 40) and I begin to feel shy and self-conscious. Everyone is clean with fresh gear and no noticeable bug bites. I feel like a mountain woman done come down to the big city. I go to the restaurant, sit at the counter and order a tuna sandwich, an orange juice, a slice of blackberry pie, and a coffee. I feel my body absorb it all.
Every fifteen minutes, a bus leaves from Red’s and goes to Mammoth. I pay my tab and hop on board. The bus is filled with day hikers and foreign tourists. I enjoy the ride. After going 2 miles/hour, everything seems to be moving quite fast. I arrive in Mammoth and bump into Shiny and Half Double. 10 minutes later, I find my way to the Davison Street Guest House, a hostel managed by FedEx, a hiker with whom I shared some desert miles. Stealth, Duckets, V, WaterBug and two of the three Canadians are there. It feels like home.