The last day, the end of the adventure. July 19th was the conclusion to a brutally hard, fun, amazing, and challenging trip. I had a fun day that day, seven miles into Red's Meadows and then a visit to Devil's Postpile, then a bus ride into Mammoth, and groceries. We jumped right back into normal life.
We awoke that morning happy and excited for it to be over and packed up promptly. We gained some elevation for a little while and then headed downhill for the rest of the time. Through a forest of giant trees, a lot toppled over, we went. Talking and enjoying our time. Resting here and there. As we moved farther and farther into the valley it got sandier and sandier. My dad told me that the area around Mammoth is notorious for being sandy. It was annoying, but alright. The valley got steeper and we switchbacked down to a bridge. My dad filmed me with my GoPro and we crossed the beautiful bridge. I took the GoPro and filmed a little frog in a tree. We came to a bluff and could see Mammoth mountain and the ski routes and we could almost see Red's Meadows. We headed down, laughing and joking. We simply enjoyed the beauty of our last day.
We finally reached the sign where Inyo National Park changes to Devils Postpile National Monument and we took some pictures. We followed the signs to Devils Postpile, knowing we were finally done. Once we reached the beautiful place we threw down our packs and took a ton of pictures. We saw this family taking a stupid picture in front of the monument. The mother and father were leaning forward and sticking their legs up and pointing at each other. We thought it was hilarious and made so much fun of it! We then packed up and headed to Red's Meadows. Little did we know that the mile to Red's was uphill!!! The end to our trip was going to be uphill. But we stayed present, put our heads down, and did what we had to do. The trail meandered down to the river after the uphill and we crossed a wooden bridge. The sand was still there and we headed up switchbacks for what seemed like forever. We wondered if we were going the right way. Finally, after much confusion we hit a sign and could see the parking lot, marking our leaving the JMT. We were so tired and so ready to be done we headed to the lot and restrooms in silence. Relieved for it to be done. We went over to the restrooms and set down our packs. We washed off with the sink and our wipes in the bathroom and ate a date bar. I called my mom telling her it was over! Our next move was to head to the Reds Meadows Grill. We found it and bought some veggie burgers and fries. Talking with people we had seen out on the trail. We then bought some snacks at the store and caught the bus to Mammoth.
The bus ride was absolutely beautiful. It climbs out of the valley and you see sweeping views of the Sierra. Once we reached the lodge we boarded the trolley into town. We headed to our hotel, but we were to early to check in. So we headed to Mammoth village, where all of the big shops are. We looked around and bought some normal clothes, shorts and a T-Shirt. Then got a coffee and a bagel with peanut butter and jelly. It was awesome!! It was really nice to just sit and not have to worry and simply relax with my dad. Next, we headed to Vons and explored. We noted some coffee shops, the theaters, and bought what we needed for the next few days. Once back at our hotel we washed clothes and unpacked. And then finally...showered! That shower was amazing! I washed all the dirt and grime and felt sooooo much better afterwards. I even went to the hot tub downstairs after. That was relaxing, too. For dinner we made wraps with veggies and relaxed. I watched my shows on my phone and was really just enjoying myself. Once evening set in my dad and I watched Adam Corolla's film Road Hard. It was hilarious and I was present in the moment enjoying the relaxation and comedy. To finish off our last day on the trail (well half day on trail) I simply watched YouTube and other shows on my phone.
It was a simple end to a challenging time. So after recording my adventures in the Sierras here, I simply want to say thank you. Thank you to the John Muir Trail. An experience I will never forget and a time that taught me countless lessons. It has changed my life, helped me focus on who and what I want to be, and it was one of, if not, the greatest time I've ever spent with my dad. We shared an experience that I think most fathers and sons will never share. We shared pain, discomfort, joy, and beauty. I love my dad and I am so grateful to have spent these times with him and I believe he feels the same. So thank you to the mountains, thank you to my father, and... thank you to the John Muir Trail.