This is the fifth and final of a series of Blogs on how the Peripatetic Bone was found in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I will respond to comments when I return from Burning Man.
I was up early the next morning and eager to hit the trail. My body was starting to adjust and feel good. More importantly, the resort at Echo Lake was calling. A quick breakfast and we were off.
I took the lead with Tom following and Terry trailing. Soon we had climbed out of Lake Aloha, passed Margery Lake and worked our way across Haypress Meadows where cattlemen once harvested grass for winter feed.
As we began our descent into Echo Lake, I left my companions and the Desolation Wilderness behind. The vision of cold beer and a hamburger drove me on. Short shorts may have been a factor as well. Lynn and April were supposed to rejoin us at the Echo Lake Resort.
There was a decision to make when I reached Echo Lake. I could continue to follow the Tahoe-Yosemite Trail around the upper and lower lakes or I could call the Lodge from a phone located at the end of Upper Lake. It would send a boat taxi to pick me up for five bucks. The trail was hot, dusty and filled with day hikers and I was ready to take a break from backpacking; I made the phone call.
A half hour later, the throbbing of the motorboat’s engine caught my attention as the boat worked its way up the lake. Soon it arrived, coughing slightly. The boat slowed and bumped into the pier. My ‘taxi driver’ was a 16-year old plus teenager who had managed to snag a great summer job.
“Hop on,” he told me. An elderly couple was along for the ride. I nodded at them. I was halfway between the boat and the pier when I heard a commotion.
“Over here, Curt,” a familiar voice shouted. I looked up. A few yards away alders hid another pier. Two very attractive and very naked women were jumping up and down to get my attention.
It was April and Lynn. They had come over on an earlier boat and were working in a little sunbathing while waiting for us. The young boatman and the old man were all eyes. The elderly woman looked thoroughly irritated and glared at all of us, especially her husband.
“Uh, I think I’ll stay here,” I told my driver.
“Can I stay too?” he asked and grinned at me. The elderly man wisely stayed silent.
I joined the girls as the boat coughed its way back toward the resort. Tom showed up soon afterwards. We were waiting for Terry when the ranger showed up.
“There has been a complaint about naked women jumping up and down over here,” he told us.
“Boy, I wish I would have seen them,” Tom responded. I am not sure the ranger bought our story but he wandered off in search of other criminals.
The same boatman picked us up and told me that the first thing the elderly woman did when she got back was to complain loud and long about the perverted people across the lake. She even cornered a ranger. My new young friend speculated that the ranger came looking for us as an excuse to escape. “Or maybe he wanted to see the naked ladies,” I noted.
We made it to the resort ourselves and celebrated our brief return to civilization with a cold beer (or three). My system complained about the third as we hiked on across Highway 50 and up to Benwood Meadow where we stopped for the night, some 34 miles from Meeks Bay.
Our fourth day started out as a typical backpack day; we climbed. It was gentle at first and then became more serious. Once again snow-covered large segments of the trail. We spread out and searched for tree blazes. I scrambled over a particularly steep section and found myself in a high meadow.
Something half buried in a field of young corn lilies caught my eye. A few days earlier it would have been covered with snow. Curiosity led me to detour through the still soggy ground. Mud sucked at my boots. My treasure turned out to be a disappointing, short, squat bone. Gnaw marks suggested it had been part of someone’s feast. I was about to toss it when a devious thought popped into my mind.
“Trash,” I hollered at Tom and held up the bone. We had a game where if one person found a piece of trash, the other person had to carry it. But first you had to catch the other person.
Tom sprinted down the trail with me in pursuit. Unfortunately, we had made it over the mountain and our route ranged from flat to downhill. Tom was very fast. We had traveled two miles and were almost to Showers Lake before he stopped, concerned about leaving our companions behind. Very reluctantly, he took the bone and stuffed it in his pack.
“How can you classify a bone as trash,” he whined. I figured Tom would toss his new travelling companion as soon as I was out of sight.
Next: Dog stew, a rattlesnake bite and hypothermia.