X-rays of the knees again. Nothing broken or major ligament damage which is good news. The pain is exceptionally strong and the not-so-good news is a torn meniscus now in my right knee. It’s in a different area than the one we rehabbed on my left knee and it didn’t feel like the same type of pain, so I was a bit worried to get the diagnosis. Once again, more therapy recommended before I get back on trail. Movement, yes. Weight bearing stretches, yes. But no extended miles, elevation change and definitely no pack weight on my back. It’s hard to swallow, taking my wife back off the trail that she loves so much, again. Realistically, though, three weeks should be enough time to get my knee back in decent shape. I’ve learned to be very disciplined with the therapy simply because I know it works, now. Three weeks will also lessen the snow load above 10,000 feet and hopefully lessen the severity and danger of the creek crossings for both of us as well. We really want to pick right up where we left off and continue traveling north on the thru hike. So many people are skipping around and hopping around this year north-south-north again, but the experience of a straight thru hike is what we are here for. To begin at the southern border and make our way up through California 770 miles so far has been incredibly rewarding. Hopefully, we can continue this after a few weeks off. In the meantime… We rented a little Jeep and are going to explore all the areas around Mammoth and further north to Lake Tahoe. Maybe further north than that and even up to Oregon. Can we resist the urge to head west to the beach?
The Eastern Sierras are a magical sight and the experience of being in the high valleys, lakes, mountains and breathing this air is something we both love so much and just want to soak it all in. Just like on the trail, it is a great feeling to be unburdened by time or day of the week or some sort of preset itinerary where we can go with the wind and do exactly what makes us both happy. Travel. Experience nature. Experience the camaraderie of people we meet. Receive a little help when we need. Give a lots of help, when we can. Throw in a margarita or two along the way, maybe a rum punch, and life continues to be good, even in the face of injury and adversity.
It’s been a week since we got off trail and in typical fashion for us, we are having way too much fun. We weren’t really sure how to inexpensively spend 3 weeks, but finally decided on renting a car and making everyday a new adventure as we explore the Eastern Sierras. Taking the bus from Independence where we had picked up our bounce box to Mammoth Lakes turned out to be a fantastic idea. We are both blown away by how pretty it is here. Just about every outdoor activity is available here – hiking, snowboarding (we watched people coming down the Mountain at the Main Lodge), mountain biking, fishing, kayaking, canoeing etc. We have been exploring the many Alpine Lakes in this area. Just when we think we have seen the most beautiful picturesque setting of water and mountains, the next lake is even more stunning. The melting snow is creating magnificent waterfalls coming down the mountains that are more lush and green now than any other time of year. There is an abundance of gypsy (free) camping in this area.
We have camped by the Hot Springs and in the woods. All the time enjoying finding a new place each night. Last night as we discussed how much we are loving this little adventure a deer walked through our camping area. This was the third deer sighting we had yesterday. The largest were a dozen young bucks playing on the side of the road. Between a cast iron skillet and grill top purchase we are easily making dinner each night. We have tried to repay the hitchhiking love and spent a couple hours with a lady we picked up earlier this week. We took her to swim in Convict Lake with us and she invited us to the hippie Rainbow Gathering in Oregon. We declined, but it was fun getting to chat with her. We have the car for two weeks and are going to wind our way up 395 while exploring all the little mountain towns and natures beauty along the way to Lake Tahoe. It’s likely we come back through Yosemite before getting back on trail where we left off. We still find that all we need is everything we used on trail – tent, sleeping bag, stove etc – and our never ending desire to discover the next gorgeous scene. 💞🌈💜