The weekend 6-7 August we arrived in Mammoth Lakes (914.5 mile), which also happened to be the weekend of Bluesapalooza, a beer and blues festival. This meant that, literally, all hotels were fully booked. Outside a full motel, I asked some exiting festivarians how much it would cost to get into the festival. Before we knew it, we were headed to the festival with their entrance wristbands.
Into the festival we went and yes we were still carrying all our hiking gear; two homeless hikers in town, who hadn’t seen a shower for 14 days and with one more night without one ahead of them (yip that’s us). So we were wearing our sweaty unwashed clothes, carrying backpacks, bear canisters and as icing on the cake our ice axes. This look became our festival ‘currency’, as we received all kinds of ‘hiker-deals’ on festival food: two mounded plates of garlic fries for free; beer, nachos, and salmon & rice all with an attractive hiker-reduction. We temporarily set our food ethics a little aside, Maslow pyramid you know: first fulfilling our basic needs…. We sat down at a round table in the back and soon engaged into an interesting conversation with Keith & Mary. Their friends, Kevin & Nancy, joined our conversation and soon offered us to spend the night at their place, a spacious condo in Mammoth. Wow. Unbelievably, 1.5 hour later we were relaxing in a giant hot tub, taking a shower, doing laundry, and sharing stories with Keith and Kevin about their PhD experiences and finally sleeping in beds. Especially after our longest contiguous stretch in the depth of the high Sierra’s wilderness, this was such an unimaginable magical get together of place, people and circumstances (and music and beer!).