Miles: 16.73
Camping: PCT mile 907.34 (inside Devil’s Postpile National Monument…shhh)

At some point in the night I woke up to the sensation of a wet sleeping bag. I jolted up afraid the rain had returned. Looking out the mesh of my tent though, all I could see were millions of stars twinkling back at me. I realized I was dealing with some major condensation, and there was nothing I could do to prevent it, so I rolled over and went back to sleep. I woke up many times slightly concerned, but tired enough to keep sleeping for patches of time.

When the sun finally started lightening the sky, I knew sleeping further would be futile. I wanted to get to Red’s Meadow for lunch, and would have to stop long enough to dry out my wet tent and sleeping bag. I reluctantly began to unzip my bag when I realized that the moisture had frozen. My sleeping bag and tent had turned to ice in the night! On the plus side, I can attest to the temperature rating of my bag, as I was kept warm all night.

I went over to my bear canister, which itself was frozen shut. With nothing standing between myself and breakfast, I managed to get it open with little fuss. I made my morning coffee and had a Clif Bar before packing up camp. The other 3 girls at camp didn’t start rising until I was about ready to leave, but we all had the same goal today and I knew I’d see them at Red’s Meadow.

I hiked until I came upon an exposed rock ledge just a tad off trail. I laid out my sleeping bag and tent to dry while I enjoyed second breakfast. They both dried out pretty fast, and in was back on trail in no time. The hiking was mostly wooded, so I let my mind wander as I made my way to yet another hot meal. I did pass mile marker 900 today! I can’t believe I am on my way to 1,000 miles soon, something unside of me is a little surprised I’ve made it this far…though I have no doubt I will finish this from sheer determination alone. 900 miles!

The last section before the “resort” was an old burn area. There was a lot of new growth everywhere, contrasting with the giant dead trees in the landscape. It was actually quite pretty, seeing a new forest being born. Arriving at Red’s Meadow was an entirely different story. There were people everywhere! Being a Saturday, the place was swarming with tourists. Many of them were doing short day hikes to Rainbow Falls or the Devil’s Postpile, then taking the bus back to Mammoth. I had been outside of civilization for about 8 days and was feeling a bit overwhelmed. I was the first of my group to arrive, so I grabbed an orange creamsicle from the store and enjoyed having a cell phone signal for the first time in a week by texting friends and uploading blogs/photos.

A few tourists took an interest in me so I spent some time answering their questions. I didn’t really want to answer the same questions over and over, but people are nice and genuinely interested. It’s all new to them, but I get asked the same things everywhere I go. We joke about making a shirt with all of the answers on it so we can just point.

A couple of hours later, I still hadn’t seen any sign of my friends. Food motivation is pretty powerful stuff, so I couldn’t imagine what could be keeping them. I decided to grab a beer from the store and ended up running into old pal Goldmine. I hadn’t seen him since Ziggy and The Bear’s house about 700 miles ago. We caught up a bit, and then Pockets arrived, complaining of more pain in her Achilles. She didn’t think she could hike much farther, but we still didn’t want to spend the time/money going into town.

We went into the cafe to go over our options. I had a turkey club and a root beer float, and we were invited to share a hotel room with Christine and Elaine in the town of Mammoth Lakes. We thought about it, as Pockets didn’t feel as if she could hike the 5 miles we had previously planned to do. In the end we decided to forego a trip to town and hike just 1 mile to camp. I liked this option best, as my goal is to get to Tuolumne by Monday.

We are now camped above the San Joaquin river, just a little over a mile from the Devil’s Postpile. I plan to do 19 miles tomorrow in order to shorten my hike into Tuolumne. We shall see what tomorrow holds.