Crappy Hike At Mammoth Lakes

Have you ever been faced with a choice that was difficult and complicated no matter WHICH way you proceeded?

Right now I am standing at a mental crossroads!

No one has the right answer for me and no one can solve my problems as it is.  I have to do it myself.
This “problem” will affect my future and I began stewing on it after dinner last night.  I did not sleep well at all remembering the same scenario playing out in my past but I couldn’t recollect which path I took and how it turned out.  From family to work, if it involves humans then something is going to go wrong!  
I tossed and turned and woke up fully at 5:00am to Randy’s deep-sleep breathing.  It’s a joke between us – he assures me I snore with no proof on the other hand I have so much footage of him we could make a movie!
Randy had a big hike planned for us.  We are attempting to find and complete as many trails as possible here and this one was an 8 mile “lollipop” course that would take us from Horseshoe Lake up to Red Cones.
I dragged my feet getting ready because my mind was not “into” being happy.  I would go up and down emotionally from pissed off to feeling like giving up.
We ate breakfast then got a text from our boss to get something done at a site and then we planned to be off into the wilderness with Kona, our backpacks and just EARTH.
Rain yesterday made everything smell nice.  I focused my mind on solving my problem while hiking UP.  Seems like everything starts with going UP around here.  I guess that’s better than going down and then having to go UP to finish.
My left baby toe is in desperate need of a Tammy (from The Nails Spa) TLC treatment.  I knew leaving Simi meant I’d never get the best pedicure ever again PLUS I’d never get THE BEST MASSAGE ON EARTH from Cheryl Smith again.  It almost kept us there, no joke.   
It started pulsating (my baby toe) and took my mind off of my problems for about half a mile.  That is when I remembered I had my phone and began looking out at things in my “photographer’s point of view”.  
I saw this tree and it stopped me in my tracks.  It reminded me of how I felt!  Twisted and turned and trying to survive but stuck in a rut mentally.  

I carried on UP then it flattened out.  I re-confirmed with Randy his recollection of this trail when he did it with Rob Winterburn and was happy to hear we would be going flat for a long time.  It was a relief on my toe pain mostly.   I remembered I wore the wrong socks too and a hot spot started up near my big toe.  I cursed myself and carried on not talking much.
This is when Randy turned and asked if I wanted to go back.  
“No way.”
“I’m sorry this hasn’t been very fun.”
“What do you mean?”
“You are barely talking and you have had a frown on your face since we started.”
Ugh, it was more apparent than I’d hoped for.  I changed the channel in my head to try to be more positive.
“I’m good.  I’m just thinking a lot about everything.  Plus we are going up and I can barely breath PLUS my toe is bugging me.”
We continued and the trail began to descend.  This is worse on my toe I come to find out.  Every step on my left food presses that dang little toe into my boot and I force myself to look out and in front of us.  Kona is bobbing all over the place and happier than ever. 
The Cross Country kids from Arcadia began descending on us.  Most of them were polite.  A man on a horse leading a donkey was in front of us and some of the kids did not stop and let him pass (which is the proper etiquette).  That irritated me so I commented out loud to one of the kids…who had headphones on and didn’t hear a word I said.
SIDE NOTE:  If you are out in nature please don’t wear headphones.  Here you could sneak up on a bear and that would be the end.  In other places you cannot hear bikes or horses or danger.  More importantly for your safety.
We got to the Lake McCloed and started out across the glassy water.  It was calm and quiet.  The man on the horse had taken a right I guess.  He’d mentioned he was out doing trail maintenance.  We were all alone!
Then I heard the barking of dogs.  We were approaching a guy yelling, “All of my dogs are friendly!!”   That was a green light for Kona to rush to sniff and enjoy the new company we’d come across.

This man with the herd of dogs was a DOG SITTER (technically) who owns 400 acres of land.  He arrived in Mammoth in the early 60’s and has been there ever since.  He has become the “go to” guy for big dogs that need a day of adventure and energy burning being a dog and doing dog things.   His name is Buck.  THE Buck of Buck’s Dog Sitting.  Currently he has 81 5-Star Reviews on YELP and we’d heard of him a year ago doing research for our trip abroad and wanting the best possible care for Kona.  Check him out here…
Buck gave us a few SECRET (I recorded the instructions) places and called us Locals.  That felt neat to hear from such a cool man. He is all about letting dogs be dogs.  He will only take large dogs that know how to be off leash and will come when called.  
MOVING ON…my mind completely off of my problems now…we hit the trail with Randy reminding me of our limited time frame to get back to Zoey and Piper for some outside fun time too.
It was slow and Randy commented that my spirits were dictating our speed.  I tried to suck it up again as I quietly moved upward.
We finally got about a tenth of a mile from the JMT and decided to turn back.  We’d spent too much time jaw jacking with people we met along the way and had to hurry-ish.
I felt BETTER.  I had my mind made up on what to do and it had everything to do with getting outside and getting my heart pumping and lungs too.  I guess even my baby toe screaming at me helped.
My hike was awesome in the end, as it will ALWAYS be.
Just getting out there was real tough today.  I guess I could have stayed home and stewed in my problem getting nowhere.
I can’t wait to make my decision known to the place that needs to know and I’m perfectly ready to get whatever reply or response or experience comes from it now.
Thanks to my amazing husband, again.
Oh, and Planet Earth!!

Published by Sarita Shoemaker

I love my kids, husband, pets, the Earth and family. My Top 5 feelings: gratitude, honor, honesty, respect, encouragement. Pretty certain this is how most of us would answer the prompt "About Me". Enough about About You?

7 thoughts on “Crappy Hike At Mammoth Lakes

  1. I love how you keep it real . We ALL struggle at times ( human condition).
    When people are vulnerable and share their humanity it helps others
    more than you would ever know. Thank you for sharing and being vulnerable and inspiring even through the struggle. Love your coping skills with being immersed in nature!!! I’m going to sit down and write you a letter before the crazy year starts!
    Take Care ❤️


    1. Teresa!! I love this place. We are so happy with how many trails there are to explore. I’m still a “slow it down and check out the scenery” type of gal. Randy goes off and does his “run it quick” thing while I stay home with the pets and try to write!


  2. I stumbled upon this article when googling Buck’s dog sitting. I have no idea what the negative vibes were in this story…perhaps there are other portions of this story that I have not read. The hike to McCleod is likely the easiest hike in the Sierra Nevada, a beginners hike, and my sister who has health issues and has Downe’s Syndrome made the hike (very slowly), but, perhaps, health issues of this writer made this hike harder than would be apparent to others. It was just a very confusing article that lacks context or backstory.


    1. Hey Julie – sorry it wasn’t fun for you to read my blog post. It’s humor…the title is. This was back in 2017 so it is hard for me to perfectly recollect what I was feeling when I was writing. I just looked over it quickly and all I can say is that I had one of the best experiences in my life working in the Mammoth Lake Mountains, I went places I’d never go on my own, I met people that were amazing…and never was there a crappy hike. It was humor to catch the eye of my 2 readers which happened to be my friends and they know my type of humor. If you have a blog, please leave your site! I’d love to read your adventures and recollections and reflections too. 🙂


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