Mile reached: 893.6 (+14.8 + 1.5 bonus)
High: Hitting snooze several times
Low: Tripping on a rock and taking a faceplant
The plan was to get ready in time to catch the 9:20 ferry back across the lake. It took some willpower to get everything together and my pack packed in time. Though, due to the large influx of hikers over the previous day the ferry was running continuously and there was a wait to get on. After saying some goodbyes and waiting for the boat to get refueled, I eventually got to the other side of the lake around 11 am.
The next destination would be the ski resort town of Mammoth. Usually, there would be a shuttle running from Reds Meadow only a mile off trail, but damage to the road had delayed the start of that service. So, the shortest approach to Mammoth would be over a pass for a total of 24 miles from the ferry dock. With half the day gone, I hoped to be able to eliminate most of the distance and set myself up for an early arrival the following day.
After reversing the detour to the ferry dock, I was back on trail. Very quickly the trail began an aggressive 3,000 foot climb up to Silver Pass. Fortunately, the south side was almost entirely melted out sparing me from exhausting postholing. The north side, however, held sustained snow for at least a mile and was a mild slog.
Coincidentally, I ran into “Mr. Freeze” on the top of the pass, whom I had last seen with “Johnny Stache” at Hiker Heaven. Unfortunately, his navigation app was not working, so he had been observing parties trying to determine the location of the trail under the snow. We descended together, and he actually chose a better route through the snow beating me to the first visible switchback (I got stuck in some deep slush after a small glissade). Lower down we hiked together for a few minutes chatting, but eventually I pulled away as the trail became snow-free.
Despite starting well, the day progressively beat me down. Water levels were high covering the usual tree or rock paths across the creeks. There was even a lake with an inlet that was so high I was struggling to stay out of the water while crossing it. One step from the end, a log rolled on me, and I dunked a foot. Then, the trail was littered with rocks in sections, and I caught a loose one that catapulted me into the ground.
It was even a little bit of a pain to find a good campsite. But, I lucked out and got one on the side of a lake that had fantastic views. After cooking dinner, I nursed my wounds hoping that the following day would be kinder to me.