Lava rock is starting to make a regular appearance in this area.

I had a nice stay at Northern Kennedy Meadows, but it was nice to get back on the trail and be in the comfort of the woods again.  I would definitely stop there again if given the chance.  Everyone that worked there was very nice and they have the best camp restaurant so far.

The store and restaurant open at 6 so I rolled out of bed and hit the bathroom at about ten til.  I have no idea why, but I got a headache just as I went to bed and it lasted all night long and into the morning.  I have no idea what it could have been.  I wasn’t dehydrated, the elevation was not high, and I didn’t have a beer at dinner, unless root beer counts.

First stop was the store to get some aspirin and pineapple juice.  It was the only juice I could find that did not have added sugar.  Second stop was breakfast.  Two eggs, hash browns, toast, coffee, seven bucks.  The same thing at VVR was double the price.  Third stop was back to the store again for resupply.  I needed three breakfasts and two of everything else, but I forgot that while I was in the store and bought three of everything.  Oops, I guess I’ll show up in Tahoe with an extra day of food.

Fourth stop was the office to mail home the bear canister, microspikes, and a few other things I haven’t used or don’t need any more.  The rule is if you have not used it and it’s not for safety, then get rid of it.  I’m keeping the sewing kit and gorilla tape in case more repairs are needed.  My shoes are showing signs of wear and the way they are made, it looks like when they go, they will go very rapidly.  The gorilla tape might be needed if I can’t replace them in time.  For $40 a pair, I might start replacing these a little earlier to avoid catastrophe.  I’ll probably order some in Tahoe.

Speaking of failures and repairs, I went to charge everything up last night and found that the battery pack will not charge.  I thought it was just tree cover keeping it from charging for the last two days but there is apparently a problem that had developed with the charging port.  I tried all my cables but none of them would charge it.  And then I discovered what the true problem is.  Indeed the charging port is defective.  In fact it has come unsoldered from the circuit board and is flopping around inside the unit.  It still had half power, so I assumed I could use it until Tahoe, but by the end of the day the unit was totally dead.  Great.  I have two more at home I can send for, but who knows how long I will have to be without one.  I just might have to pick up a new one in Tahoe or Reno.  The phone can last about five days on a charge, by I have some stretches coming up that will be longer than five days.

I think it might be time for new pants and shirt, too.  The white shirt doesn’t come anywhere close to white after washing, but structurally it is still holding up aside from severe pilling of the fabric around the waist where the waist belt rubs it.  It is also blue there.  I’m not sure if it’s adsorbing dye from the waist belt or my underwear, but it’s definitely not even close to white.  The pants are starting to fray at the hems and it had an internal adjusting belt that has been nice to be able to pull to tighten them as I have lost weight.  But I have to pull the belt so tight now that it’s starting to bunch and cut into my hips.  Looks like I might be hitting the REI in Reno for new pants.

After breakfast, I got packed pretty quickly and was walking a mile out to the road shortly after eight.  It took nearly an hour to hitch a ride up to the trailhead but I finally got a ride and got on the trail at about 9:45.  Not too late of a start, but not early enough to knock out 25 miles.

The lava rock is tough on the feet, but the views are still outstanding.

A fresh new sign marks the entrance to another WIlderness area.

This entire mountain is nothing but a huge pile of dead rock. Am I near a coal mine?

The trail started out like it finished yesterday, as if I was on the surface of Mars.  There was tons of volcanic rock everywhere and switchbacks going to the sky.  There were alot of up and downs that were rocky, so it started to feel like the pain of a few days ago, but it was not quite as bad.  There was also lots of snow again.

I broke for lunch about noon right after finishing a rocky crappy section.  I was tired.  I had packed out a green Chile burrito from the store and ate it cold.  It wasn’t too bad, but it was not great.  I stopped again about 4 for cheese and crackers after a long climb.  I laid back on a rock and actually fell asleep for a few minutes.  I met a hiker named Catnap yesterday and it looks like he might have some competition now.

Lush vegetation has returned to the landscape again.

I stopped about 7 pm at a campsite beside a stream and there are four other hikers camping here.  It’s a very large camping area, so we are fifty yards apart or more.  I ate my mashed potatoes, tuna packet, cheese-its, and peanut M&Ms.  I’ll try to get up early and knock out some miles so I can get to Tahoe as early as I can.  Worst case I should be there in three days.  At least I have plenty of food.