September 12, 2019
Reds Meadow to Devils Postpile
Total distance walked: 4 miles
The last hike of summer was a doozy. After last year’s (2018) disappointing end to my JMT trek, I had to get back out there and try again. I planned a four-day, 30-mile hike beginning where I left off but couldn’t find anyone to go with me. One thing I learned from last year’s trip was I don’t want to backpack alone.
Then Michael, my middle son—bless his heart—who is not a backpacker at all (well, now he is) agreed to join me even though it was to be his wife’s 30th birthday while we were out on the trail. Of my four children, Michael is the only one who has not been backpacking with me. In fact, he’s only been on one backpacking trip as a child with his Scout troop to Death Valley. He’s in good shape, enjoys bowling and bike rides, and has hiked and camped a multitude of times. I hoped that would be enough to get him through this trip.
It was a warm mid-September afternoon. Chris dropped us off at Reds Meadow Resort then headed home. I was a little melancholy upon his departure and wondered how Michael was feeling. He seemed to be in a pensive mood.
Spending the night at Reds Meadow Campground before our hike would hopefully give us a chance to acclimate to the elevation. We stood on the asphalt, fatigued from the long drive, and hoisted our heavy packs (here we go again). It was a half-mile walk down to the campground where we placed our tents side-by-side.
Afterwards, we strolled, packless, through the woods to Devils Postpile National Monument. We sat on the cool granite benches staring at the unusual rock formations before us, then climbed to the top of the Postpile.
That evening, our feet hurt but we didn’t mention it to each other. We laid in our tents (even though it was only 7:00 PM) silently concerned about pack weight, the next day’s climb out of Reds Meadow, and our swollen feet.
To be continued…