Day 79: Cheeseburger Bird
Thursday, June 7, 2018 11:12 pm
Location: Mammoth Pass / Mammoth Lakes / Davison Street Guest House (903.3 miles)

A short day of hiking brought Quoi, Tenderfoot, and I into the town of Mammoth Lakes for our next resupply.

I woke up cold, realizing far too late to do anything about it that I hadn’t been sleeping on my sleeping pad — I had half rolled off. It was easily below freezing; there was ice on the inside of my tent, and on my bear can and cook pot outside my tent.

Quoi, Tenderfoot, and I started hiking around 7, the last people in our campsite to leave. In a hurry to get to town (and taking advantage of easy terrain and relatively light packs nearly empty of food), we flew down the trail at nearly 3 miles per hour. We passed 900 miles, and were disappointed to not see a 900 mile marker.

At some point, the topic of alarms came up, and I noted that Tenderfoot was up long before I was today. She woke up with the birds, around 5:30, and said, “Who needs an alarm clock when you have those f—ing birds?”

Those birds being the “cheeseburger birds”, as we call them: their call sounds a bit like they’re saying “cheeseburger”. We hadn’t noticed this until Flowers introduced it to us after Bishop, having heard it from Lucky Duck. It’s one of those things that once you hear, you can’t unhear.

Sugar and Canon passed us, carrying the flotation devices we saw alongside the trail yesterday. They must have been in a big hurry to get to town, because even with that extra weight, they were moving faster than we were.

We made it to our exit point, the trail to Mammoth Pass, and took the higher of two trails from the PCT to the pass, and into town. Despite being called a “pass”, it was really not clear why; there was no large climb or obvious narrow pass in the mountain. There definitely weren’t any views.

While there was no snow of any significance on the PCT today, there was some on the Mammoth Pass trail, especially in the last section leading to the trailhead. Because of the snow, we got significantly off the trail, and wound up making our own path through the woods roughly in the direction of the trail to the parking lot at Horseshoe Lake. As we got closer and were able to see the parking lot, we saw the bus we wanted that would take us into town. Assuming its departure was imminent, the three of us started running down the hill towards the bus, Quoi calling out for the bus to not leave. After just under 11 miles of hiking today, we got to the bus to town shortly before 11:30. We didn’t need to run, though. The bus was parked at least another five minutes after we got on before heading into town.

McLeod Lake
McLeod LakeOn the outskirts of Mammoth Lakes.

Once we managed to get cell service, Quoi and I reserved bunks at the Davison Street Guest House for tonight and tomorrow night. I was quite happy to get a bottom bunk for once.

The bus from Horseshoe Lake dropped us off at The Village, the center of Mammoth Lake’s ski area. Tenderfoot took off to get a hotel room to herself. Quoi and I waited about half an hour for a different bus to show up to take us to get something to eat.

We wound up at Delicious Kitchen, where there happened it be several people from the hostel, including Fed-X (one of the managers), and Hopper, who was looking to get back on the trail after being off for quite a while due to shin splints.

The food was great (I had a BBQ pulled pork sandwich; Quoi had a cheeseburger), though we both thought the portions were small. (Possibly due to being very hungry as a result of being away from civilization for ten days.)

After lunch, we went across the street to the food store to pick up snacks to eat at the hostel today, and then caught a bus back to the hostel.

I got a shower, which was absolutely wonderful (and also at a constant temperature, unlike the shower at THC in Bishop).

Quoi and I had made tentative plans to order pizza, but we waited a bit too long to order. We were ravenously hungry when we went to the pizza place’s website, and were overwhelmed by the sheer number of options they had for customizing pizza.

We never got to order pizza. Frogger and Lake had made dinner (chicken, and an assortment of vegetables), and they invited us to join them. Also at the table were Speedy Gonzalez, Scooby, Hopper, and Fed-X.

After dinner, people started to trickle off to bed; Quoi, Hopper, and I were the last ones up, sipping at the leftover wine from dinner.

Tomorrow: town chores.