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Day 4: Hotel to Devils Postpile to JMT to Devils Postpile to somewhere close to our plan

2010 July 31
by Elizabeth

In an effort to set a record for ‘most circuitous path around Mammoth Valley’, we pushed HARD to finish a long day yesterday in time for what is heralded as best burger in the area. We missed the last shuttle that would get us there in time by two minutes. I (John) literally watched it roll off as I hobbled as fast as I could into the clearing. I waved my hiking sticks. I yelled and pretended to jump. No dice.

Crestfallen, we quickly jumped to plan b: screw this town lets grab a bus to Mammoth! There they will have a bed waiting, and some restaurants to pick from (that stay open later than 7), and we can resupply on gear. So off we went.

That meant a short hike today, but a good dinner (HUGE burgers at a great place across from Quality Inn-see below) and free eggs and sausage for breakfast. Perfect plan eh? Riiiight.

Now, I will make a list of ways we have been lucky on this trip at the end so you don’t get the wrong idea. However, our plan kinda fell apart. Due to trolley and shuttle schedules, we didn’t get back into ‘hike area’ until around 1pm – 2 hours late. Then we scurried off to devils postpile to snap some pictures.

Coming back, we took the long route back to the JMT – my fault for not looking closer at the shuttle routes. So we needlessly walked a mile or two we could have skipped. Big deal.

Then the wheels really came off. On the way down the trail but still in the devils postpile monument park, we followed a sign that said ‘Muir Trail’ that, as we found out 2 miles later, had fallen down and been set up just pointing any old way. So we did some unexpected sight-seeing at Rainbow Falls and headed back. Now it’s 4pm.

On our way back to find the real JMT, we decided ‘hey we’re still in the area, let’s go to that diner and get a burger before we head off’. We walk in, sit down, talk to our waitress, and then she goes into the kitchen to find out they just shut off the grill – 2 hours early!

Luckily this ends well enough. She convinced them to make us both a burger to go before they called it a day (I heard some yelling in the kitchen), and we met another couple that are thru-hiking also and had THE SAME DAY we had. We had some good commiseration before Liz and I set out to do at least a few forward miles for the day!

So we got three miles in before it got dark, and will make up the other miles over the next few days. Shew! All’s well that ends well!

As promised, here are some lucky occurrences on the trip so far:

1. We got the last two permits on the day we arrived for the hike we wanted.
2. We found out there was a shuttle from there to the starting point (20 miles!)
3. We got the last shuttle to Mammoth
4. Since it was the last run, the driver took us right to our hotel instead of the drop off
5. We got the last room at the Quality Inn
6. There was a restaurant open across the street (most of the town shuts down at 9 and we got there at 10)
7. Our waitress convinced the kitchen to open for one last meal at the trail diner.

That’s it for tonight.

Happy trails!

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