Day 115 - 7/22/18 (flip SOBO from Ashland, OR to Lone Pine, CA).
July 26, 2018
Mile 959.87 to 942.50 for 17.37 miles. Total PCT miles 1518.74. Camp at Tuolumne Meadows campground at elevation of 8596. Hiking by 6:30 and into camp by 3:15. Awoke to a wet tent which we had to pack wet in order to get to the Tuolumne store and grill before 6pm. We met “Santiago” who is a risk management professor at USC. We chatted and hiked with him for a few miles. He lives in Mammoth and sold us on the idea of going into Mammoth and resupplying when we get to Reds Meadow rather than carrying all the way from Tuolumne Meadows to the Muir Trail Ranch. We helped him when he fell into Spiller Creek while rock hopping. We had our first true river ford at McCabe Creek. It was up to my mid thigh and below Jerry’s knees. Jerry crossed in his Oofos thongs and I crossed in my shoes after removing my orthotics and socks. The cold water was refreshing. Santiago did fine at this crossing. We also learned from Santiago that the dead deer we saw yesterday was a fairly fresh mountain lion kill. Apparently they eat the internal organs and leave the rest. Unsure why the stomach was left on the trail; perhaps a hiker startled the mountain lion before he could finish eating. We pushed hard as thunder began at 2pm. The trail today was intermittently timber or granite slabs. The Tuolumne river and falls was quite impressive. As we got close to Hwy 120 we had a short walk on a dirt road followed by .3 miles on Hwy 120 (no shoulder). It was a madhouse with tons of people, motor homes and vehicles. The store was ok; the grill was less formal than a hot dog stand outside of Safeco Field, but had prices similar to the hot dog stands inside Safeco Field. Our tent is quite muddy since we packed it wet and we had to get it up quick when it started raining. This was quite distressing to me. I am so tired of being filthy and a wet, muddy tent only makes things worse. This campground has no place to clean up so it will be several more days before we can wash. Jerry reported the men’s restroom had the urinals boarded up so men were peeing all over the three toilets! The women’s restroom did not have a front door. This place is worse than Kennedy Meadows South with no shower, no ability to do laundry, no WiFi, and worse food options. We ran into a hiker who started 4 days after us going NOBO. We are 600 miles ahead of him and at least 30 years older.