Day 13: 0 miles
We spend a warm night in the hostel at Mammoth Lakes. Four of us are squished into one room - we have to keep the window open to release the hiker stench. The morning is full of activities that center around food and the use of cell phones/electricity/Internet. When we are all packed and ready to go we walk to the pizza parlor. At that point the grey skies begin to pour and a steady stream of rain continues for much of the afternoon. We sit in the pizza place for hours, talking of things such as hot tubs and sleeping inside. When at last the decision is made not to go back to the trail, we proceed to the brewery and waste the day away under roofs and on couches. Tomorrow we'll get up early and leave.
I've eaten breakfast and am ready to go at 9 am, when I find everyone sitting on the couch in the hostel. I join them to discuss plans of departure. But at noon we are all still sitting, watching the rain fall out the window, the wind blowing pine needles all about. It may clear up later, but it may not. Tomorrow the sun will definitely come out. Eventually Huck makes the decision for all of us and books us another night in the hostel. His treat, he says. This is what we truly want in our hearts, he says.
I am anxious and a little sad about this decision. I feel I need to walk, to be outside. Yet I also feel I need to stay with these people, stay dry, and see where that leads. Plus, this time off in the hostel allows us to indulge in three nights of stellar home cooked foods - lentil soup, vegan mac n cheese, pasta with veggies. All decadently flavored with smoked paprika - the most abundant spice on the hostel shelves. Groucho has a talent for making hearty, flavorful vegan meals that feed six people for under $12. I'm stuffed every night.
The rain even stops in the late afternoon. But by nightfall, when we're all curled up on the couch watching murder mysteries on Netflix, it returns in full force. It pounds on the roof, wind rattling the trees, and even becomes frozen rain at one point. It's good to be sleeping inside.
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