Today was a day unlike any other day so far on the trip. It started the same. Wake up at 5 and start hiking at 5:45. But today I’m not supposed to see any desert. And at no point during the day was I hot. Sweaty, yes. But hot, no.
About thirty minutes into the morning, I come across a woman and two young boys about ten years old. It is very odd to see weekenders out hiking before 9 am. I knew something was up. Apparently one of the boys was having altitude sickness and they had run out of water and were heading back to town. I barely had enough for myself since I had twelve miles to water and had just camped dry, but I gave them a liter. They were only about three miles from the Kern river, so they should be fine. The woman started crying as I gave them the water.
After talking with other hikers later in the morning, apparently they had been out of water last night, too.
The morning was mostly climbing, but it seemed like as we got higher, we just kept coming out into meadow after meadow. I don’t know how many we hit today, but it had to be at least six. I am camped right now in a place called Death Canyon Meadow. Nice name. It’s a nice site, just a bit heavy on the mosquito’s. Maybe that’s where the death reference comes into play.
About 10:00 I came upon the main water source, another branch if the Kern river that had a bridge over it and a very large Beach. When I got there, about eight hikers were already there. By the time I left 45 minutes later, there were eight new hikers there. The vortex of Kennedy Meadows has concentrated the hikers. It was a nice stop for first lunch.
More climbing was in store, but it was not steep. I had loaded up with three liters of water, so I was a little on the heavy side. We still have ten to fifteen miles between water sources for the next day or two before it becomes a stream fest. About half way up the climb, dark clouds started to roll in all around us. It looked as if we got over the pass we were headed to, we might be able to skirt the rain. But each time the trail moved away from the clouds, the clouds followed us anyway. Eventually it did start to rain, so I put my poles up and got the umbrella out. It kept me dry and only my pants legs got any wetness to speak of on them. It rained on and off for about two hours. In the forest, it made the pine needles come to life. In the meadows, it made the sage come to life. Rain always brings out new smells.
I was planning on hiking until close to seven, but as I was leaving Death Canyon Meadow, I remembered I still needed to repair the seam on my pack. So I decided to stop early (about six) and do the repair before making dinner. The mosquito’s were relentless and it was a little harder seeing with a head net on. I finished the repair in about an hour, and while its not pretty, it should hold just fine. It would have been nice to get access to a sewing machine in Kennedy Meadows, but my hand sewing will have to do. I hope the cotton thread holds under the strain.