After Muir Pass, we only had to get over two more major passes to get to Mammoth Lakes, our next resupply location. Selden Pass (10,910′) and Silver Pass (10,750′) are both about a thousand feet lower than Muir, Mather and Pinchot Passes.
Both passes were a little easier to get over, but there was still plenty of snow.
Every afternoon, the clouds built up, but we got lucky and it never really rained or snowed on us until after we set up camp.
The most difficult trail section in these last few days was actually between the PCT and Mammoth Lakes. With Red’s Meadow (the more popular exit point) still closed for the winter, we planned to take a side trail from Crater Meadow to Horseshoe Lake. We ran out of food around midday when we reached Crater Meadow. This seemed like perfect food rationing – we only had about four miles to go before reaching town. But those last few miles took over four hours! The first spur trail we took to Horseshoe Lake is apparently no longer maintained. We spent a good hour climbing over downed trees and post-holing through deep drifts of snow. Eventually we reached a more maintained section of trail, but by that point we were hungry and exhausted.
As we finally approached Horseshoe Lake, we met a local day hiker who welcomed us to Mammoth and gave us info on the best restaurants, hotels and local transit. Yay civilization!
We walked about a mile down the road to Pokonobe Marina where a free trolley took us straight to Mammoth Brewing Company. We ate a lot of delicious food and recovered with a couple beers.