Monday, June 24, 2013

Days 65-69, June 20-24 - Mammoth Happiness!

Mile 889 to Reds Meadow, into Mammoth!

Even though there were still 17 miles into Reds Meadow (turn off for Mammoth), the morning flew by and before I knew it I was rounding a corner and seeing the 900 mile marker on the ground! What fun. We all took some pictures and then hurried on our way, and made it to Red's Meadow by 1:30 in afternoon. We were lucky to get a ride out of Red's Meadow to the ski resort from a family from Louisiana vacationing in Mammoth. From there, we got on the free biker shuttle to downtown and then hopped on the trolley to the Post Office and then for a slice of pizza with Tortuga. Brett and I decided to go grocery shopping and then get a cab to the house we'd rented with our friends - when we arrived, I could hardly believe where we were staying! The home was giant and luxurious - a pool table, sound system, chef's kitchen, beautiful bedrooms, and a hot tub on the back deck. What more could a couple of dirty thru-hikers ask for? Answer - hot water! The hot water heater had been set to vacation mode, so even after arriving in this multi-million dollar home, we couldn't take showers for the first few hours! How ironic. Instead, we decided to order a pizza and start relaxing.

Slowly throughout the evening, people started arriving - beginning with Brock, Jess and Fran's former rooommate, who was only staying with us the first night. Next, Joanna and Jason, who I haven't seen in ten years, showed up and it was so great to start reconnecting with them! Lastly, Mandi, Mad and Matt arrived and the weekend officially started! I think it's the longest Madison and I have gone without seeing each other since we moved away from Portland in 2008 - me to SF and her to LA - since she moved to the city we see each other far more frequently than once every two months! I was so excited for the long weekend to come, and we also had Mandi's graduation from Santa Clara to celebrate. We stayed up until 4am and then spent the entire next day relaxing at the house. I woke up Friday morning to the sounds of Lai and Fran who had come from the bridal house with Jackie, Steve, and another friend to say hi and catch up. A little later, Peter, Ryan, Julia, and Ryan's gf arrived from LA. The weather was awesome and it was a perfect day. Jess and BQ hosted a party at their bridal house after the rehearsal dinner on Friday night and we all headed over after bbqing, and I got to see so many other friendly faces before the wedding, including Devon, Caitlin and Brett who had gotten to town that day!

Saturday was more of the same - relaxing at the house - exactly what I'd hoped to do the entire time in Mammoth. The wedding was beautiful and the reception was a ton of fun - it was a great wedding! We all had a blast dancing the night away, and then the party continued once we were back to the house - it was so much fun to hang out with Peter too - I haven't seen him in years and we got to catch up, but it made for another late night. A 3am bedtime again...these are not hours I've become accustomed to on the trail!

Sunday was my birthday, and I awoke to the surprise of finding out my Dad flew from Michigan to surprise me and spend the day with me! We went to say goodbye to everyone at the bridal house and then spent the day running the town errands Brett and I never got around to the whole time we were in Mammoth. We also picked up Brett's Dad Jon who arrived in Mammoth earlier than expected, and the four of us went to a late lunch together. My Dad insisted on buying me a new sleeping pad for my bday after learning of my troubles sleeping - how could I say no? After my Dad left to head back home, we went for drinks at Grumpy's across the street from the hotel and caught up with Lai and Johnny who also stayed an extra day. Our trail friend Lunchbox also joined and after he learned it was my birthday was so sweet and ordered a bunch of birthday shots for the table. The night was fun, and it was a crazy day to see my Dad, Brett's Dad, trail friends, and home friends all in one place.

I had hoped to stay in Mammoth one more day, but Jon was ready to hit the trail after traveling to meet us, so we checked out of the hotel the next morning and crossed our fingers that the forecast storm wouldn't dump too much on us before we left. One more thing to do before we left though - Mad had arranged for us to get massages at the local salon for my birthday! I can't imagine a better was the best hour maybe EVER in my entire life. I REALLY didn't want to hike after that amazing massage! Lai and I also had the chance to get lunch together, which I was so thankful for because I felt like I'd hardly had any time to really talk with her. We had a nice lunch and ordered about 1 of everything on the menu.

I very reluctantly made my way back to the trail. Seeing friends was such a blessing, but it made returning to the trail pretty difficult. I was so tempted to hop in someone's car back to the Bay Area! I'm finally loving it out here on the trail, but I still miss my life at home, and the weekend in Mammoth was a great reminder of just how awesome the people in my life at home are. I'm going to finish this trail, but I'm already excited to get back home.

We only camped at the Red's Meadow campground, which made the transition easier. I also had some cell service and was able to catch up with Jen, who had sent me the most amazing birthday care package ever! We spent the evening at the campground and took a quick hike over to the resort, and on our way saw our first bears of the trail! They were probably about 20 yards away just munching on some plants in a meadow, and couldn't have cared less about us - pretty cool!

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