June 24th – June 28th, 2017
It was never my intention to spend so many days off trail especially since I was already feeling like I was behind on schedule. Rooster had planned over the previous month or so to meet his girlfriend and his mom up in South Lake Tahoe . . he just figured that we’d all be there by now but we were just a few miles off – 300! HAHA. I contemplated briefly about going on without them, but those were fleeting thoughts. These guys had become my family, and I thoroughly enjoyed hiking with them. I decided quickly that I would stay off trail and wait for their return.
On Day 69 I pretty much stayed in bed all day in attempt to recover. I ordered delivery again from Pizza Factory, watched movies, and showered twice. Later that night we all went back to Rusty’s Saloon to watch Pistons sing some Karaoke and it was also Rooster’s birthday so we stayed til midnight to celebrate with him. We were all pretty exhausted so as soon as 12:15am rolled around we took off back to the motel.
My good buddy Travis Moegling came down to Bishop on Day 70, he picked Pistons and I up and went to the Mountain Rambler Brewery to have lunch. Later on we drove up to Mammoth Lakes and went up to Lake George to walk around, and after an hour or so we went to Von’s Grocery to pick up some supplies to make dinner with. This was for sure one of the best meals I had on trail because back in his home country of Australia – Mark aka “Pistons” is a legitimate chef. Steak and all of the fixins. We ended up falling asleep that night to the movie “The Blues Brothers.”
On Day 71 Travis was nice enough to give Mark and I a tour of the place I once called home. We started off at Hot Creek just south of Mammoth Lakes by the airport. At one point just over twelve years ago you were able to swim here, but due to an increase in geologic activity they “temporarily” shut it off to the public in the summer of 2006. I can remember being nineteen years old swimming in this stretch of heated river with a large group of friends passing around a bottle of Whiskey thinking to myself, “This is home.”
After Hot Creek we took the long way to June Lake through the Upper Owens Valley. Travis is one hell of a tour guide, and we told him many times throughout the day that he should start a small tour business in the Mammoth area. Friendly, extremely knowledgeable, he would be a hit! We went to June Lake Brewery in . . can you guess it? JUNE LAKE! This is an amazing spot, and the brew is something to write home about. Here we met up with one of my oldest Mammoth friends, Jeff Meadway. Jeff and I used to live in the old ‘White Stag Inn,’ one of Mammoth’s oldest motels. We were the very last two people to ever live there, and sadly The White Stagg was taken down in recent years past.
Jeff and his girlfriend Katie drove up from McGee Creek Lodge, where they live and maintain the lodge. The five of us left the brewery and went to play a round of frisbee golf there in June Lake. That night back at Travis’ we ordered Domino’s and watched YouTube videos til we fell asleep.
Day 72 consisted of an extremely late wake up, followed by Starbucks and breakfast at New York Deli in the Village at Mammoth. We went back to Travis and Alisa’s (Travis’ wife, also my really good friend) condo where I would try to catch up on some writing. Later that day we went to Mammoth Brewing, and then met back up with Alisa at Mammoth Tavern.
On the morning of Day 73 Pistons and I woke up and packed our stuff, we were going to be spending the night down at McGee Creek Lodge with Jeff and Katie. Jeff picked us up from the Von’s in Mammoth, and we came down to a feast that him and his girlfriend had prepared all day. We had a huge tri-tip roast to BBQ, loaded mac n cheese, salad picked fresh from their garden, garlic bread . . and a few other items that I’m blanking on. It was a meal fit for thru-hikers, that is for sure. I take back saying that Pistons steak dinner a few nights prior was best, although it was very good . . this one takes the cake without a doubt.