Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mammoth to South Lake Tahoe

Hello from the stunningly beautiful South Lake Tahoe!

Another week has come and gone on the PCT and I find myself in South Lake Tahoe. My hiking bros were nowhere to be seen this week. Answer Man has been a day or two behind, Indie, a day or two ahead, I in the middle. Several days, I didn't see another hiker on the trail until after lunch. As a result, it was a very quiet and introspective week. Almost trance like. But not uneventful.

The first three days of hiking north of Yosemite can be described in a way John Muir never was able to: MOSQUITO HELL! Words cannot describe how utterly horrible it was. There simply was no escape from the little bastards. Swarms of mosquitoes were present from the lowest valleys to the highest passes and everything in between. It was frustrating, exhausting, maddening to be under attack every moment of the day and night. Mosquitoes would find areas in my head net that were closest to my skin and bite. They would land by the dozens on my shoulders and chest while hiking and bite through my shirt. They would dive bomb my face, fly into my eyes, nose, and ears into my beard and nestle their way for a bite into my cheek or chin. At night, they would chew on my face like a piece of beef jerky, despite my head net, just as I was falling asleep. They would crawl under my baseball cap to take a bite out of my temple. They would stealthily find a spot under the rim of my glasses to sting the side of my eye. There simply was nowhere to take a break. The only solution was to keep on walking. One man I met on the trail said they were the worst he'd ever experienced in 47 years of camping in the Sierra back country. Just as I was reaching the breaking point, something amazing happened. Unfortunately, that story will have to wait because I'm out of time.

Just a few quick highlights: I spent an amazing couple of hours in Yosemite eating lunch by the Merced and watching Yosemite Falls spill into the canyon. Also got to hike through the valley floor and hiked to the base of El Capitan. I was amazed how the huge granite cliff simply stuck straight out of the ground. Also, the Sierra wildflower gardens are beginning to explode.

Michael, thanks again for posting the pictures. Thanks for reading!


  1. I think a full day of mosquito hell would drive me nuts. Just an hour or so of getting buzzed in Sawpit Canyon in Monrovia a few months back left me beating a hasty retreat down the mountain.

    Can't wait to hear about the amazing event you ran out of time to tell! In the meantime, good luck!

  2. Mark, I remember the mosquitoes in Colorado being highly motivating when we couldn't breathe in the thin air. I'm sure while sleeping, all they do is raise your urge to kill. Not fun.

  3. That level of mosquitoes=insanity. Hope the infestation is over. Great to read along. Thanks for writing, and to Mike for posting the photos!