July 6th . . . Bush-whacking down the River Trail . . .

Saturday morning at Reds Meadows campground site #38A––the cost, nine dollars of which I am trying to avoid paying. 

Yesterday Skot and I began our hike with the intention of making it here. We ended up taking a wrong turn, which actually put us on a short-cut except that we (just me) were on the wrong side of the River Trail. 

Skot, ever the gung-ho maniac, proceeded to hop his way across the river, leaving me and two lost day-hikers on the rough side. 

. . . and so as he yelled across the river and we bush-whacked on a rough trail, we followed him until we lost him. 

We eventually came to the bridge that came down from Shadow Lake and headed towards Agnew Meadow.

I was dead beat tired and totally frenzied over the mosquitos by the time I found the half-mile sign to Agnew Meadows. 

I just kept thinking about running twice around the track, but apparently, forest miles are a lot farther. 

The couple that I hiked down with gave me a ride here to RM and we looked around for Skot, but no sign of him. 

I woke up early and took a free shower––a very hot free shower. Then I went down to the cafe and had a major breakfast. Now I am just feeling uneasy about staying here . . . maybe I’ll just hike out somewhere today and get back on the trail. 

1:10 p.m. Just had a visitor. I was busy writing a letter and looked up at the tent and there he was, inside, butt out the door, standing on my backpack and going through my stuff sacks. He was just one away from the food bag and he could have grabbed it and ran!

I can hear dogs going crazy at the other end of the camp. Where’s Skot? 

. . . but the moonlight is marvelous and the stars are seemingly to be

plucked from the sky.

So there I was at about 3:15 p.m., thinking about getting out on the trail or scamming another night here and who shows up, but Skot. 

I was so excited, so happy and so lucky. I could have left and lost him, but here we are. It feels great to be with him. 

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I should thank him now, this “Skot” this pot-smoking asshole, because had it not been for him, I might have had a perfect trip and I might have finished and never felt the need to do the JMT, ever again. 

But he kind of ruined it for me and I think that all these years since, I’ve been looking for someone else to kind of mess up my experience and force me to have to come back again, always looking for that perfect experience . . . but that’ll never happily happen. 

I think I’ll also just refer to him as Scott––plain old boring spelling, or maybe just, him. 

All names have been changed to protect the guilty and innocent. 

You’ll know who I am talking about. 

So yeah, we got lost. I’m not even sure “we” got lost––I was just following him and I don’t remember if he suggested the River Trail, or what, but we ended up glissading down a steep ravine, where there is supposedly a seldom used trail, off Garnet Lake. 

When we got to the bottom, there they were, this young couple who it seemed had almost been beamed there and were just as shocked to see us, as we, them. 

I don’t remember their explanation for being on the wrong side. I think they meant to go to Thousand Islands and make the junction there, but anyway––here we were. 

Scott wasted no time in just bouncing across the very rushing river. The three of us just looked at it and said, no, no way. 

Scott was on the other side, arms flailing, profanities flying, all in an attempt to get us to cross, but no way. 

We just started moving, having figured out that if we kept going we’d eventually find the bridge. It was kind of rough with no real trail and lots of brush and logs to get through and over. 

The three of us all got lots of nice bloody scrapes and made it over a few spooky spots, but finally,with no sign of him, we got to the bridge and very happily crossed it. 

Then we had a whole new problem. Hot, sweaty, stinging from the cuts and now we had swarms of mosquitos everywhere and I had no head net. 

I just hustled as fast as I could, mosquitos in my face, nose, mouth. Not fun.

We made it to the parking lot at Agnew Meadow and I was sure that he would be there, but  no sign of him. Amazingly, I missed him. 

So they drove me to Reds and dropped me off. Funny enough, on the short drive, I learned that not only did this couple live in San Francisco, but they lived right across the street from me. 

I was a little pissed with the camp steward there at Reds. Trying to charge me nine dollars to camp . . . I just felt like I was being scammed. I think I eventually paid something, but I don’t remember. And did I actually stay two nights––I am finding some of my journal entries a bit confusing with times. 

It’s also amazing how I latched onto him so quickly and how I know that even days later, when I was fed up with him, or he me, I still could not bring myself to get the hell out of there and hike my own hike . . . but again, I gotta thank him. 

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