Leaving Kennedy Meadows in the afternoon during a gentle rain shower.


I left Kennedy Meadows today as planned, but slightly later than I expected because it started raining.  Yes, raining.  And I also ate too much ice cream.  🙂

It was a nice casual morning.  I slept in as late as I could tolerate, which was 7 am.  I gathered some of my paperwork and went up to the deck to use some of the tables.  Achilles was sleeping up there.  It was then that I noticed that the water report doesn’t even report on the Sierra section.  I guess the water is so good here, they don’t bother to collect the data.  That’s good to know, I guess.  I went ahead and perused the portion that they do report (up to Cottonwood pass) then cruised some of the register entries in the Guthooks app.  For the most part, it looks like I can rely on the Guthooks reporting of next reliable water and not bother with the water report until I get out of the Sierras.  I went ahead and scribbled notes for the next 80 miles since there are a few 10 to 15 mile carries in there.

The store down the road that has wifi and serves breakfast was closed on Mondays, so no shuttle to breakfast, and no hope for wifi.  So who knows, it could be two weeks before you read this if you are a regular follower of the blog and you probably already think I burned to death.  Well, no such luck.  I’m alive and well, just out of touch with modern society.  There was a pay phone at the general store, so at least I was able to call Karen and let her know all is well and not to freak if it takes up to two weeks for me to get a signal again.  I’m really glad I have the solar charger now.

Since there was no breakfast on Mondays, one of the local couples actually opened up the grill and had either egg or pancake breakfasts available.  It was pretty decent.  Most of the morning I just vegged out and chatted with other hikers.  Several more came in during the day and many also left.  There were probably 20 at any given time.  One of the locals said that a week ago, there were 120 there.  That’s a lot of ice cream and beer.

One of the hikers I chatted with was the person that I had noticed in the photo albums from The Grind in Wrightwood several weeks back.  He was the guy with the red vest and dreadlocks.  He was easy to spot because he was wearing a red vest and had dreadlocks.  I mentioned to him that I recognized him and noticed one year he was hiking with a girl and one year he was not.  Apparently they split up.  It seemed as if he had been there for quite a while and he looked to be in no hurry to leave, so I’m not so sure he was hiking this year.  I suspect he is one of the semi-permanent semi-hikers that take up seasonal residence on the trail.  A true vagabond.

I had one of their Italian sausages for lunch and it was actually quite good.  Much better than their hamburgers.  Since I wanted to leave at five, I cooked the rest of my hot dogs and spaghetti at about three, then went back to take a quick nap and finish packing up.  I also tried on the microspikes to make sure they fit and they fit perfectly.  I was able to get the bear canister in the pack no problem, but I noticed one of the seams that had been weakening has now split.  Rut roh.  I bought a sewing kit at the store but it’s intended for clothes not gear, so I found a roll of gorilla tape that I will use as grosgrain reinforcing and sew the seam with dental floss.  If I am able to do a good job, it should last quite a while, but if not, it might mean having to get a new pack.  That will suck.

I packed up and drug everything up to the deck to have one last Gatorade and ice cream.  I’m carrying seven days of food in the bear canister and one day outside the bear canister, so I wanted to be sure I had enough to eat before leaving so I did not have to eat from the extra day tonight.  I want to see if I can make 200 miles in eight days so I don’t have to get off at one of the crazy resupply points.

Well, it turns out you should not eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and a quart of Gatorade two hours after eating five hot dogs and a pot of spaghetti.  I had to sit a bit and let it settle.  And as I was chilling, it started to rain.  Not the ten drops like in Mount Laguna, but real actual rain.  It was not heavy.  No one bothered to try to get out of it, as it actually felt good.  It cooled the place off quite well, too.

Well, after 5:30, it was finally time to go.  I said my goodbyes then headed back to the trail in the rain.  It probably rained a total of an hour and wet the soil about 1/8th of an inch.  That’s not much, but I bet the plants loved it.  I loved it, too.  I didn’t bother with rain gear or anything, I just walked.  And five minutes after it stopped, I was dry.

The beginning of the National Park/Forest hike.

The trail out was sandy, but nicer than I expected.  We were back in the trees within two miles.  The next twenty miles or so will be a steady climb to higher elevations.  Kennedy was at about 6000 and I’m already at about 7000 and only six miles from town.  Tomorrow should be a fun day.