Purple Lake to Horseshoe Lake – Mammoth – 10 miles + 3 + 4! – 903 miles total.
I’m full of the best laid plans. So I started hiking before 6 to get as much time on solid snow as possible. I also had the great idea of taking Duck lake trail out which was a 7 mile track straight to Lake Mary where I could catch a shuttle directly into Mammoth Lakes. This would cut off 7 miles off the PCT plus 3 miles of horseshoe lakes side trail plus 1 mile road walk. Essentially saving me 4 miles. Instead I added 4 miles.
The first 2 miles of Duck lake track were fine i.e. like the PCT, snow and trail. Then I came to a steep snow embankment with no footsteps cut in. I knew better than to do that. However, I thought I might be able to rock climb up around the snow to get to the top off the pass. No such luck. So then I thought I might be able to rock climb down to the lake, then walk across and back up a dry snow free section. Again I cliffed out. Admitting defeat. I climbed back to trail and started the 2 mile walk back to the PCT, where I then had to walk 7 more miles to the junction of horseshoe trail. Then do the 3 mile trail to the car park. Then a mile road walk to a section of road that was open to catch a lift into town. I like making my days harder than they need be.
The rest of the day was fine, just slow as I was in and out of snow all day. At the junction of horseshoe trail. I met some people who warned me of blowdowns on the lower trail, so I took the upper trail to the trail head. It was much better, but slow going in the snow.
By the time I made it to lake Mary. I had missed the last shuttle into town. Thankfully, the fishing store worker offered me a lift into town once he had locked up. So I got a ride with him and his cute little pup.
Once in town I met up with my friends. Had the longest shower in the world and filled myself full with vegetables.
Today I am thankful puppies.