Final Day: 6.4 miles
Still inside our tent, not really wanting to get up, we heard a bit of scurrying outside our tent. It was obvious that the sun was up, and so was Scout, for outside of our tent I heard him say, “Sorry Dee, I just have to do this. Paul will appreciate this though.”, and he proceeds to play John Denver’s “Annie”. He and Paul enjoy this song immensely, whilst Pole Dancer and I just cringe (and moan) over it…any John Denver song for that matter. Well that does it, there’s no goin back to sleep. We pack up our gear as quickly as we can inside our tent, as the morning air is significantly cooler than we have experienced the last two nights. I make a point to stretch my thighs and calves before exiting the tent, hoping that it will provide me with more balanced footing, for when I got up to go pee during the night, my calves were so tight I lost my balance and almost fell onto Josh and April’s tent. No need to repeat that again. Breakfast, as usual, was at a leisurely pace, full of conversation and laughter. Soon it was time to “saddle-up”, and on came Americs’s ‘“Horse with No Name”. This has been the morning “rally” song. Meaning, you got 2 minutes to finish up cause we got to get a move on. We thread out of the campground with a short rock hop over a stream on our way to the river bridge that leads us out to our final ascent into Tuolumne Meadows. We meander up the trail, stopping to take photos along the way.
This is the most closely spaced we have been the whole trip. Maybe if we stick closely together, we can keep this wonderful week from ending. The sky is azure blue. Not a trace of haze or smoke is evident.
Surprisingly our feet and legs are mostly free of aches and pains. Go figure. It’s our last day, and they (our feet and legs) are finally “broken in”. The miles click by and so do ‘day-hikers’. A tasty cheeseburger at the Tuolumne Meadows store “floats” in front of us, like a carrot on a stick. Our packs feels like day packs. We stop and hydrate from time to time, as well as “snap” a plethra of photos as “souvenirs” of our time together.
Josh and I hang back a bit, perusing my Yosemite High Country Map, planning next years’ adventure in Yosemite. My Adventure “bucket list” includes hiking most, if not all, of the trails in Yosemite. Like eating an “elephant”, you gotta do so one “bite” at a time. As we come to our final climb, we meet a group of Boys Scout’s just starting out on a several day backpacking trip. Ironically they are dressed in the same color combination that Ken is. As we let them pass we make sure they tell Ken that he’s “going the wrong way”…his attire says he should be with their group…Boy Scout’s belt buckle and all.
The trail flattens out from here and eventually widens into a massive meadow, and Soda Springs where people used to come to drink “healing” fizzy water and camp. The end of trail comes into view, and April and Katie take off in a full sprint toward the gate. The pull of a cheeseburger is strong with these two. After retrieving our “smellibles” from the bear locker, we pile into our cars for the short drive to the store and non-rehydrated food.
Cheeseburgers, fries and a coke is the “soup de jour”. A chocolate vanilla ice cream swirl cone is first on the agenda for me though. Best cone I’ve ever had, especially since it was in a cup. After eating, we divide and conquer once again. Pole Dancer will ride with April, Josh, Katie and Ken, return the bear canisters and then head to the Mammoth house, where we will “recuperate” the next two days. Paul will take Scout to his car at White Wolf, while Kaleb and I have volunteered to hang at the store…and drink beer. (Actually we walked to the Visitors Center and back, and got a patch for Katie…then drank beer). In no time we were all reunited at the Mammoth house, showered and off to Roberto’s for dinner and margaritas. Seeing that Katie, Kaleb and Ken had a return flight Saturday morning, they, as well as Josh and April (who were staying in the OC a few more days) head back the next morning (Friday) so its not such a mad dash to get them to the airport. Meanwhile, back at the “ranch”, Scout has a tremendous idea. Let’s go to Bishop and explore. Our plan is to walk from one end of the Main Street (Hwy 395) to the end and back the other side. We’ve driven through this town for years. It’s high time we see what’s there, besides two bakeries (Schatts and Big Basin) and a brewery.
We literally walked into every sporting goods, food, art and “iconic” downtown Bishop locations, to include the 395 sign shop, a vintage coin/memorabilia store, the was Mountain Rambler Brewery, and Rusty’s Saloon, where I redeemed a drink chip, that was given to me by the bar’s owners (Mike and Michelle) who were eating at the Alabama Hills Cafe in Lone Pine, the same time we (girl’s ski trip 2017) were. Somehow I got to talking with them (my mom taught me well, the “art” of talking to strangers), and that led to them pulling out two drink chips and telling me to “stop by” next time we are passing through Bishop. Well, this was the perfect opportunity as it was hotter than a “stack of black cats”, and Rusty’s was air conditioned and well stocked with refreshing beer, some “regulars” and a $1 pool table.
Several beers, three rounds of pool (Paul and I won all of them, not withstanding a “trick shot” I’m sure I could never replicate…Or could I?), and a mini celebration of the day Paul “lost his mind” and proposed to me, some 33 years ago. Beverages were followed by Burgers and made to order shakes at a unique burger stand, the Bishop Burger Barn, just off the beaten path and definitely worthy of repeat patronage.
(Let’s just say this place reminds me of Belden Town in Northern California.)
Well, another memorable 2moremiles adventure in the bag. One of my favorites, thus far.
Can’t wait to get this “band” back together for another go at…adventure. Time to clean up and plan for another trip. Can you say…September? I knew you could.