170913 – Devil’s Postpile 

Day:  143
Date:  Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Start:  Camped by the trail at Mile 896.4, 10098 ft
Finish:  Trailhead in Devil’s Postpile National Monument near Mile 908.5, 7569 ft
Daily Miles:  12.1 PCT, plus 1.0 to hitchhiking point 
Total PCT Miles:  2229.2
Weather:  Cool and sunny in the morning, overcast with thunderstorms and rain in the afternoon.
Accommodation:  Motel 6 in Mammoth Lakes
Nutrition:
     Breakfast:  Scrambled eggs, hash browns & sausages, toast & jam
     Lunch:  Tuna sub & choc chip cookies 
     Dinner:  Burrito Colorado
Aches:  None really
Highlight:  The early morning hiking, slightly downhill on soft dirt trails, on a high “dress circle” overlooking a deep valley, and then down the crown of a broad ridge through perfectly still forest, was magic. 
Lowlight:  None really.
Pictures:  Click here

Position:  Click here.
Map:  Click here for Google Map
Journal:
This morning’s 12 miles of hiking down to the Devil’s Postpile National Monument (see above), was probably the easiest hiking of the trip, helped by a light pack (no food and water) and the prospect of a day off, no doubt.

There was no further rain overnight, and when I got up at 5:15am I was able to pack away a dry tent and my gear by headlamp and hit the trail an hour later when it was light enough to see.  It was a beautiful clear dawn and I enjoyed the walking and watching the sun’s rays hit the high peaks that last night were reflecting lightning.

I made good time and reached the first signs of civilisation at Red’s Meadow Resort around 10:30am.  I planned to hike another couple of miles to the Devil’s Postpile National Monument, before hitching into Mammoth Lakes, but figured I might as well have breakfast at the cafe at Red’s Meadow, because I wouldn’t be able to check into my Mammoth Lakes motel before noon anyway.  It was the smallest, possibly most expensive, and not particularly good, breakfast of the trip, but the staff were friendly.  An hour later, I walked another couple of miles to the Monument, which comprised gradually collapsing hexagonal rock columns, and then onto where I thought would be the best hitching place.  A couple of minutes later, I got a lift the 14 miles down into the town and right to my motel.  After getting early check-in, I had lunch, showered (urgently needed) and laundered (also urgently needed), and did a few chores.  Later, I treated myself to a Tex-Mex meal and a movie, recalling that last night at the same time I was sheltering from the rain beneath some pine trees at 10000 ft cooking and eating dinner by the light of my headlamp.

I found the hike through this southern part of the High Sierras very tough, but that certainly did not detract from the spectacular scenery, the best of the PCT so far, I think.  I would certainly recommend it as a shorter hike (say, doing the John Muir Trail) to see some of the best wilderness in the world.

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