Then all of a sudden, on Hwy 167, I was crawling up on a jogger. A jogger? Out here, on the loneliest span of pavement this side of Mono Lake, around 11 on a warm Monday? From a distance, I thought he must be a biker with a flat tire. Or a mirage. (I've never seen a biker out here, either).
He turned around just before I caught him, just before the dip down to Wilson Creek (it was the type of turn-around-before-a-hill move I know pretty well). No doubt he was as curious to see me, a sneak in ruby-red shorts, as I him.
"Alta ... altitude's a killer, buddy," he stammered, as we traded enthusiastic runnerly nods behind our shades, nods of recognition and oddball communion. And I said, "Yeah, man--I thought I was the only one who ever came out here!"
He was doing a kind of shuffle, wore headphones and black hat. Where he came from and where he was going, I don't know. But I salute you, stranger. Never thought I'd have to share that road with anything but SUVs, caravans of humvees, and roaring tractor-trailers.
10 mi, 70 min; Hwy 167-Cemetery Road loop