The week we fell in love with a new town, and gave up on several things. (You can skip soliloquy below if you just want the recap)
It’s odd how time moves on a trip like this. Although, to be fair, time seems to be moving oddly in every situation, excepting the most boring. An afternoon can go on for ages, but an evening of fishing is done too soon. It simultaneously seems like it’s been a month or two since we were in Yosemite, like we were there in a dream, and that it was just the other day (it was 9 days, actually). Packing in as much as we are, it’s easy to have one campsite blur into the next, to lose a day, to forget something really beautiful until you’re late night scrolling through your photos because you have no cell reception and are bored of your book and can’t sleep. We’re trying to be actively aware of our experiences, but to some extent, you can’t really reflect as things are happening. Reflection is the second round of enjoyment (usually). Part of the “stress” of travel is fearing that you’re not getting enough out of it. Are we on our phones too much? Who do I really need to text? Should we be eschewing social media to obtain enlightenment? Who knows. And we won’t know until it’s all over, so for now, we just go day to day, plan and adjust and deal with things as they come, and try to do what makes us happy. A long introduction just to say, here’s what’s been filling up these days:
July 21: Ran up to Duck Lake (kind of the classic Mammoth hike), Justin fished, and we hung out at Black Velvet Coffee, our adopted go-to spot for the great drinks (Justin wants me to point out that the espresso was too fruity, but the beer selection was good) and enough space for gulit-free wifi mooching. Also made a killer Manhattan when we got back to camp!
July 22: Fishing day for Justin, lazy day for me. Not a bad view in the whole Mammoth area, it’s insanely gorgeous. But also really hot in the valley, too hot to enjoy the famous hot springs (at least during the day).
July 23: Taking care of business day, mostly- speed workouts (😧), permits, groceries, food packing for our backpacking trip, but we did spend a very enjoyable afternoon at a reggae festival in the Village at Mammoth, replete with a solid happy hour and great people watching. And we got to have another coffee at BVC, so a great day all in all.
July 24: Backpacking! Yay! after an early start from camp, we lacked enthusiasm on reaching the shuttle pick up, and leisurely drank our coffee and read the news. Got on trail just before 9 am, and it was immediately hot. The packs felt heavy, and we had a big trip planned (40 miles in 2.5 days). We werent feeling it. We tried, we did positive self-talk and ate good food, but the love wasn’t there. 15 miles isn’t a long way to go in a day, but we’re used to doing it fast, and our slow 2.5 mph pace (which, yes, I know is a perfectly good backpacking speed) was killing both of us. By the time we had lunch at Thousand Island Lake, we were ready to reassess our plan. We shaved off a day and 14 some miles of fluff hiking, focusing on just the best spots. Found a nice campsite near Shadow Creek, and settled in for a long afternoon of sunbathing and napping.
July 25: Went for a run up to Cecile Lake, fun alpine exploring (recapped on Facebook), backpacked back out to trailhead, caught a shuttle, went for a swim in Horseshoe Lake, then grabbed a growler fill from Mammoth Brewing and went to Burgers (so tasty after 2 long days on trail). Fueled up with a quad shot Americano, washed my hair in the forest service parking lot (got my first dirty look of the trip!), and we headed off into the sunset to Utah!
July 26: Got to Provo early, found a nice RV campground for wifi and showers and pool and shade, then went into town, found an arcade and a $5 movie theater, saw Ghostbusters, ate ice cream, groceries, bed.
July 27: The day we spent a lot of money and didn’t get any sleep (unrelated). Gave up on trying to get Justin’s phone to work so replaced that with a new iphone, and gave up on trying to keep ice in our Coleman in the Utah heat, so we bought a Yeti. Then gave up on being outside and sat at Starbucks for 3 hours planning and editing. Found what looked like great dispersed camping near the Mt. Timp trailhead, but spent the evening like this: 9 pm- pack up for bed. 10 pm-request music to be turned down. We get 10% lower. Okay. We read, try to ignore. 11 pm- teens trying to restart their motorbike, literally 800 times. 11:45 pm- plead, tearfully, with neighbors to stop shooting guns and yelling. Recite list of the last 8 songs they’ve played. They comply, thankfully. 12 am- motorbike gets started, there is yelling, some victory laps, and they’re off. 12:10- asleep. 12:20 am- girl in another campsite starts screaming to just let her go home, she will walk, she doesn’t care if she dies. These histrionics continue across the campground, out onto the road. She threatens anyone who requests her not to scream. Seems to finally run out of energy and sit nearby, sobbing and giving half hearted rants every 10 minutes or so. 1:30 am- Nyquil. Ahh…
July 28: Timp in the morning. Got a late start due to the aforementioned shenanigans. Gorgeous run but kicked my butt. Altitude, heat, and rougher trails than expected.
Took a solid swim in the frigid Provo river to bring me back to life. Justin fished, without much luck. Then I saw a guy, had lots of fishing gear, sent him to talk to Justin. Turns out he literally wrote the book on fishing the Provo, and not only did he loan Justin a fly, he took us out for a night fishing on his friend’s private access, showed us a few holes to check out later and was generous enough to share his vast knowledge about trout and the river with us. Justin caught 4 trout, and we came back to a quiet campground.
July 29: Phew. Today. I should stay on top of these recaps. We drove from our campsite back around to Alta so I could run there – kind of a pain, but so beautiful. Spent 4.5 hours exploring peaks, ridges, cattracks, and wildflowers. Much happier run than the day before.
Then beer and fries at the lodge, an afternoon river float, dinner, and now this:
Off to Aspen tomorrow for familiar faces, cooler temps, and bigger mountains! Whoo hoo!!!