We all got up at the normal work day time the next day, but the work day for us was going to be all about packing up our personal gear, hiking out, and driving to Camp Mather.
I woke up hangover free!
Dewey woke up in a pile of beer cans. He rubbed his eyes, looked around, and asked “Did I drink all that?!”
Normally camp would have been broken down the day before and everything loaded on the mules today. Since NPS was staying to finish the project, the packers were only going to be taking out our backpacks loaded with our personal gear. The hike out was going to be a good one. Seven miles downhill, and we only had to carry our day packs.
We said goodbye to the NPS workers who had taught us so much over the summer—Erin, Marty, Patti, Matt, Joe, and Kim—and headed down the trail.
As we passed the High Sierra Camp, Glen hung back and said, “You guys go on ahead. I just want to sit and look around for a while. I want to be able to say I was the last one out.”
We left Glen behind. The crew got scattered all up and down the trail like we always did. We all dragged this hike out as long as we could. Nobody insisted that we hike NPS speed as we hiked for the last time past Choo Choo Ridge and down the Rafferty Causeway. We made the left turn when we got to the bottom of the switchbacks at the Lyell Canyon trail and headed for Tuolumne Meadows. The packers got down there before we did, and our backpacks were piled near the corral. We grabbed our packs as we showed up in ones and twos and headed for our van. Eventually Glen came in and said, “Okay. Let’s roll.”
“Wait a minute. Where’s Dewey?”
“He’s not here yet.”
“Did you pass him on the trail, Glen?”
“No. I never saw him.”
Great. Dewey got lost on the hike out on a pretty straightforward trail. We decided to give him another thirty minutes before we went back to look for him.
After about twenty minutes, Dewey came hiking up to the van.
“I got to the bottom of the switchbacks and turned right instead of left. I don’t know how far I went before I realized I was heading back up Lyell Canyon.” In fairness to Dewey, most of the rest of us had been back down to Tuolumne Meadows at least once and were already familiar with the trail.
“Hey, Glen! I guess you weren’t the last one out after all!”
“Oh, shut up.”
“Congratulations, Dewey! You were the last Yo2 Corpie out of the Backcountry!”
We all piled into the van and set off for Camp Mather and debriefing.