Hello all. I’m excited to say I’ve now hiked 702.2 miles on the PCT and arrived at Kennedy Meadows. I got here on May 29th and I’m currently on my second Zero here. Kennedy Meadows is a milestone on this trail for many reasons:
1. A lot of attempted thru-hikers don’t make it this far.
Due mostly to injuries, running out of money, and/or poor planning: a ton of hikers won’t get to see this spot. I can count on both my hands and a few toes the hikers who I met out here a month ago that are no longer hiking. It’s sad usually because they hurt something bad enough to cause them to have to leave the trail. Others have had family emergencies that cause them to have to make the choice to get off trail. Even some of those hikers who have made it here are having to work at general stores, restaurants and dive bars doing odd jobs. Hikers are helping cook, help locals with trade jobs and taking out trash to save/make money just for their room and board.
2. Goodbye desert, hello sierras.
It’s been crazy good weather out here so far but it hasn’t all been great. It’s hot out here in the desert. I never knew that the desert also involved rolling hills, lush pine forest and rock mountains… but those were few and far between. The desert really has been a lot of dry heat stretches with little to no shade and heavy water hauls. Often times there’s been a minimum average water haul of 12-15 miles, so mostly dry camping is involved. The sierras mean more real water holes with rivers, big streams, and cold mountain water. I’ll be carrying an average of 2 liters of water instead of 5 liters. Huge difference in pack weight. However, the new average of packing for days of food will change. In the desert I could hit up towns about every 7-8 days. Now I’m going to be packing food for 9-12 days at a time. Plus, now I’ll also be toting my bear canister, ice axe and micro-spikes for the harsher, snowy weather conditions. A lot of hikers who got to Kennedy Meadows before I did are having to get off trail for side trips, zeroing for weeks at a time, and stalling because the snow has too deep and hard to get through. I want to be able to enjoy my time in the sierras not have to suffer through it.
3. It means I’m 1/4 of the way done with the trail.
It seems like I just got started on this hike! But that’s crazy considering I celebrated my 2 month trailaversary a few days ago. It’s going by too fast. As much as I love bitching because I’m hot and sweaty during the day, by the time I get my tent up, eat dinner and relax a little I’m excited about hiking again the next morning. Hell, this double Zero is even a bit hard to handle. I’m ready to be hiking again and exploring the sierras!
Until next time,