Day 9: Layover at Big Pete Meadow

Aug. 5: Instead of walking today, we get to do household chores and worry about whether our resupply is going to make it in.

There’s no need to get up early today, so I sleep in until about 7 a.m.  As we gather around the fire waiting for the water to boil, Debbie tells us that Vic’s horse and several mules walked off during the night.  Vic’s a little put out with his horse, but not too worried.  He’ll go and look for them after he visits the ranger station to find out about Bishop Pass, assuming he doesn’t find them on the way to the station.

With time for a leisurely breakfast, we have pancakes around 9 a.m.

Tony and James decide to walk to the ranger station, which is about a mile away at the junction with the Bishop Pass Trail.  Vic rides.  Dave starts his long walk back.  We try to give him ibuprofen to take along the way, but he won’t take it; nor will he take a ride as far as the junction.

After helping Debbie clean up and washing the dishes, it’s time to do laundry.  Pat, Kris, and I find a place where there are rocks sloping down into the river.  We must look like the washer women of old—wetting our clothes in the river and pounding them on the rocks.  We are a little more environmentally sensitive though.  We use biodegradable soap and rinse our clothes away from the river.  Some of us have various lengths of clothesline which we string up next to the trail. 

After I finish my laundry, I find a spot in the sun where I can sit and read.  My first real chance to read on this trip, so I’ve not gotten very far into A Walk in the Woods.  It seemed like an appropriate book to bring on this trip, and reading it makes me appreciate being on the JMT rather than on the AT.  The views on the JMT are infinitely better than those on the AT, and the trail is better.  While the section on bears is good for a few laughs, it also makes me wonder what might happen when we get into real bear country in a few days.

Someone has located a nice secluded pool in a small feeder creek, so throughout the day we take turns bathing in it.

Tony and James return to report that the ranger has no new news about the opening of Bishop Pass, but they have rearranged our hiking schedule for the next few days to even out the miles while making sure the mules have good grazing.  Vic didn’t find the missing horse and mules, so he heads back up towards Muir Pass.

Despite Dave’s valiant efforts at resupply, we’re getting a little low on food.  (It takes a lot of food to feed 12 people.)  Lunch consists of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and some odds and ends of trail food.

I finally decide that the water in my sun shower probably isn’t going to get a lot warmer, so I hang it from a tree and wash my hair.  Then, I find another spot by the trail in the sun to sit, read and dry my hair.  Hikers who spent the night at Evolution Lake start passing by.  They report hearing mules during the night up there.  Oh, oh!

Debbie makes a peach cobbler in the Dutch oven, which we eat around 2:30 p.m.

For dinner, we have spaghetti sauce with some noodles in it and a casserole made from dried potatoes, onions, and broccoli.  (Debbie is becoming very inventive with her remaining food supplies, trying to stretch them as far as possible.)

Vic hasn't returned by the time we turn in.

After several nights of not sleeping well due to clogged nasal passages, I finally succumb and take benedryl before going to bed.  Altitude, dry air, and dust are wreaking havoc on my nasal passages. 

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