After breakfast, we struck camp and got ready to hike down. Mules came up, lead by a couple of wranglers on horses. You can see in this photo, our junk being assembled in the back while the beasts wait patiently. There were a dozen or so mules, which seems like a lot but at least a third of them were for the kitchen stuff. A week's worth of food were carried in in metal bear-proof boxes. (and we ain't talkin' 'bout no freeze-dried astronaut food, either) And though we ate all that, the boxes still needed to be packed out.
One last view at our meadow. Look at those beautiful clouds. Thundershowers were predicted later in the day, so we hurried out.
Paul stopped on the way to do a last bit of painting. That's one advantage of an Open Box M set up. It's very compact so you can carry all of it with you, allowing you to stop and set up along the trail. My set up was much bulkier and heavier, (Soltek + French Companion fitted w/ glass) so I let the mules bring it back. All I had in my back pack were ten paintings on 1/8 panels, stashed in two Raymar plastic panel carriers. And lunch, and a bottle of water. We had plenty of time to do a painting on the way down, but I wasn't going to lug all that gear (35 lbs) for three and a half miles.
Not stopping on the way down means extra time at the bottom of the hill for.... pie and beer! I had a slice of cheddar pear and it was amazing! Perhaps it was the altitude, or maybe after a week of camping and miles of hiking, any pie tastes good, but seriously, the pies they make here are some of the best I've ever tasted. It might just be the best kept not-so-secret secret this side of the Sierra. If you're ever travelling on Hwy 395, take a short little detour to enjoy a slice of pie here. You won't regret it. But get there early! They often sell out before noon.
And the ice cold beer after a hike? Better than a hot shower.
And thus concludes my painting adventure in the Sierras this year. Breathtaking views, (there's a pun in there somewhere) great food, and wine, and lots and lots of painting with people who speak my language. What could be better!?