PCT miles 683.10 to 702.23
Today I will hike back down these mountains to the South Fork of the Kern River and follow it up to Kennedy Meadows.
I got up late, found my sleeping bag dewed again, and set it out to dry in the sun while I ate breakfast and studied the map and water report. That is when I noticed that the Market in Kennedy Meadows closes at 4pm. I started wondering if I could hike 20 miles in 8 hours in order to get a hamburger and soda for lunch. (it turns out I can)
I looked back to where I had come from yesterday and saw much of the area covered in clouds. I hope that helps the people hiking up through the tree Falls today!
After just a bit more up, most of the trail is down and through another burned area.
I found this cool plant I had seen a few time earlier. It’s flowers are always pointed down and so are hard to photograph, so I carefully lifted a branch and got a good shot.
When I let go of the branch, I saw this on my fingers…
The trail dropped down into a wide valley that has the South Fork of the Kern River running through it.
Here’s a wide angle view…
I’m seeing more and more granite as I get closer to the Sierras
And I came across rattlesnake number ten
The trail met up with the Kern River at a small gorge. The snow melt has the river running fast and carrying a lot of sediment.
It looks like recently the trail was under water due to the snow melt. I found a bobcat footprint next to the trail
I hiked up the gorge into Kennedy Meadows– this is generally considered the Southern tip of the Sierra Nevada mountains. I’m so excited to be here! I was greeted by one more Horned Lizard
And this milestone
Woo hoo! 700 miles!!!
The PCT hikers camp and hang out at the Kennedy Meadows Market just a half mile off the trail. I hiked up, got my burger and ran into Peter and Dave both of whom stayed with Frodo and Scout with me in San Diego. They are heading out tomorrow to get to Onion Valley, about 8 days away.
I had set resupply packages to Kennedy Meadows, food and my microspikes I forwarded from Agua Dulce, but was surprised to have a third package from my coworkers. They sent me a bottle of wine, a flask of bourbon and a Cuban cigar!
I have decided to pace myself and have the wine with dinner – a Friday night locals potluck that PCTers are invited to. It was great of turkey sloppy-joes, chips, cheese and olives in balsamic and chicken wings.
Just before bed I joined the PCTers campfire. “Frosty” was drinking wine from a glass she fashioned from a water bottle.
At about 8pm, just as it was getting dark, “Knots” arrived. He started at Campo and has been hiking 34 mile days, from 4am to 9pm, which is amazing! And get this: his PCT hike was training for what he is about to do: set an unsupported speed record for the Appalachian Trail starting soon! Wow, and people thought I was nuts!
Thanks for reading!