Day 46 – Tuolumne Meadows to Sonora Pass

Wingman from the Roadside:

It’s moving day for me. Mammoth Lakes is a great town with lots to do. It’s been my base camp for over a week now. It’s funny how we develop these comfort zones for ourselves. I have a strange relationship with Starbucks. I usually don’t like big business but I must admit I like it when I find a Starbucks. I buy a latte’ and make use of the free WiFi and usually clean restrooms, even when we were in Versailles. Kind of like a comfort station. Moving on…

Another thank you out to Steve, Clax, and Austin and the folks at SPOT for getting us back on line with the tracker; its a huge relief.

It wasn’t a bad road leading up to the next port, Leavitt Meadow Campground. It was a small camp with only 17 sites and I had to struggle a bit backing the trailer into the site. It was actually a nice place with the river running right behind me. After getting set up I drove further up the road to Sonora Pass and the spot where the PCT crosses the road. After a short hike to scout out how the trail came by a small parking area I came across a PCT hiker. “Sombrero” was from Holland and had just arrived from Tuolumne Meadows and was waiting for his hiking buddy. Moments later “Tank” who was from Israel, dropped down off the trail and joined us. To my relief they reported that, aside from the elevation gain of the mountain passes, the trail was relatively snow free and river crossings were easily managed. They had already abandoned their ice axes and spikes in Mammoth and hadn’t needed them for this section.

I gave the two of them a ride further down the road towards the west to “Kennedy Meadows NORTH” resort, not to be confused with Kennedy Meadows to the south at the beginning of the Sierras. As I drove we discussed various cultural differences and how the PCT trail had a culture of its own where people were friendly from the start, kind, supportive, and not judgemental of others. They mentioned how cold and standoffish people could be but that wasn’t the case here. It was Sombrero’s first visit to the US and Tank had been here twice before when he was with the Israeli military (thus his trail name “Tank”). Good guys and I hope our paths cross again.

After wishing them both well I enjoyed the early evening drive through the mountains back to my campground. I visited with my new neighbors, Ray and Rosie and their extended family from Riverside, CA for a bit. They have come to this same campground each year together as family, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, for over two decades. After a light dinner I soon fell into a light restless sleep with the river going by outside the window.

This was the departure sign at Mammoth Lakes, CA

West Walker River, Leavitt Meadow, Toiyabe National Forest.
“Sombrero” (left) and “Tank” in front of the Kennedy Meadows Resort.
Rock formation above Hwy 108 near Sonora Pass, CA
West Walker River fast flowing just below my campsite, Leavitt Meadows Campground.

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