PCT Day 67 – Lone Pine

PCT Day 67 – Lone Pine

2.3 + 1.9 miles, near 745.3

• We slept in a little bit, but still wanted to get going so we had enough time in town to figure out a rental car for our flip north.

• It was a quick 2 miles to the junction to get off trail. There was no snow on the trail down like we feared, just lots of melting runoff.

• We moved out of the forest and into a big open rocky area next to a river flowing into Horseshoe Meadow. We had a nice view of some distant 14ers to the northwest, and crossed a broken bridge to the parking lot. Claira showed up in the Subaru with perfect timing, we all piled in and drove down the mountain.

• There was a sweeping view of the valley and the Alabama hills below us. We stopped at McDonald’s for lunch.

• We tried checking into a nearby hotel, but the manager was out to lunch. Each time we called or drove into the parking lot, one of the cleaning ladies yelled some incoherent explanation about the manager being out, and we should take a seat and wait.

• We eventually checked in, walked to the laundromat, picked up some beer, ordered tacos from a truck, switched the laundry, ate more tacos, then went back to the room to hang out.

• We watched Free Solo, the climbing documentary of El Cap. I had seen a view scenes of it already, but not the whole movie, so that was lovely.

PCT Day 66 – Dutch Meadow

PCT Day 66 – Dutch Meadow

21.5 miles, near 743.0

• Last night was way colder than expected, I was pretty uncomfortable and did not sleep well. I plan on wearing my rain coat with the hood tonight.

• Camp was in the morning shade, but I needed to shed layers as soon as we got in the sun on trail. The moment I stopped, the mosquitoes swarmed. There was an amazing view of the valley and snowy mountains, but I couldn’t stay longer than 15 seconds because of the bloodsuckers.

• We could hear fighter jets flying low all day, a lot harder to spot them. Also saw a big 747 flying high with 2 escort jets. Not sure if it was Air Force One? Or a military training drill?

• We read about a secret cave spot ahead and wanted to stop there for lunch, but we missed it and found a different cave that wasn’t very cool.

• I misjudged the water sources ahead and didn’t get enough at lunch, so I was pretty low and needed to swipe some swigs from Bradley.

• We found a potential camp and attempted to get water at the creek. There were weeds growing on the bank, and the only water I could reach was stagnant, so I needed to balance on a log to get closer to the flow, but I slipped in the muddy water.

• We pushed another mile to a different camp spot and ate dinner with some friends. There was a massive lenticular cloud above us and behind the trees, it was a magical sunset when the cloud lit up. We made a nice campfire and turned our alarms off, tomorrow will be easy.

PCT Day 65 – Cow Creek

PCT Day 65 – Cow Creek 🐮

19.3 miles, near 721.5

• We woke up early today and got back on the trail. Carie and Claira dropped me off at the trailhead, they will find something to do for the next 3 days while the group hikes to Lone Pine, which is the very beginning of the Sierra, but we hear is still snow free. We will flip up to Oregon after Lone Pine.

• I have a package arriving in Kennedy Meadows today, so Carie is going to pick it up. It could take all day, and it takes a long time to drive anywhere, so they will probably stay in town, even though Carie described sitting around here as “the 7th layer of hell”

• I’m hearing new sounds in this range, like rushing water (alleluia!), but we’re also still hiking in sand, hopefully not for long.

• Found the perfect spot for lunch, leaned up against a tree in the shade. I would have stayed longer, but also wanted to catch up to the group.

• We crossed a fork of the Kern River with a bridge spanning the water. A massive group of swallows made nests under the bridge, swooping around and eating all the bugs. Bradley and Sean were floating down the river on their air pads, ready to ride the rapids. We chilled for a nice long while before hiking on.

• We stopped for dinner before finding a campsite. God of War just got a stove for the first time on trail, so he was very happy to eat a hot meal. Can’t imagine how he ate tuna wraps for lunch and pepperoni wraps for dinner, every single day for the last 2 months.

• We’re supposed to hang our food or use a bear can in this section, but I’m sleeping with my bag and risking it for the three days it takes to reach Lone Pine.

• We climbed 3600 ft today, from 6000 to 9600, so it’s pretty cold tonight. We made a campfire and huddled close.

PCT Day 64 – Kennedy Meadows Zero

PCT Day 64 – Kennedy Meadows Zero

• There’s no cell service here and the WiFi barely works at a very specific spot across the way, so I’m not sure what everyone is doing on their phones. Very convenient for the bar that nobody has anything to do except drink beer.

• Turns out Sean literally jogged the trail yesterday, made it to Kennedy Meadows, got multiple hitches to Ridgecrest an hour and a half away, found Carie and Claira, checked them into a hotel, took the car, surprised his girlfriend at the LAX airport returning from Hawaii, won best boyfriend award, drove back to Ridgecrest in the morning to pick up Carie and Claira, then showed up in KM around 1030am.

• Since we didn’t get our burger yesterday, we waited for breakfast to end and lunch to begin. The kitchen had some delays, but finally got it done. Worth the wait.

• We hung out and did some free laundry behind the restaurant, except the washer didn’t spin properly and everything was sopping wet.

• We spotted the infamous Scott of “Mike’s Place” at the bar. I read about an incident a few weeks back on Facebook about Scott making grotesque comments and the place getting shut down, so now he’s apparently digging ditches and living in a trailer nearby.

• We drove down the road to the general store and picked up our resupply box full of show shoes and bear cans. At this point we’ve decided not to enter the snowy Sierra section, and instead flip north to dry trail in Oregon, so we will be shipping this equipment back home for now.

• We took some group pictures in front of the general store sign and the Kennedy Meadows sign, signaling the completion of the desert section and the start of a new chapter.

• I had some jalapeño poppers for dinner, since I’d already had the burger and pizza, and there was nothing else on the menu. I ate a clif bar later in the tent.

• We walked back to the tent, which I setup in the dark last night 30 feet from an outdoor movie theater screen. They were playing some old western, for an audience of zero. It was just loud enough to be annoying, and then we could hear a couple guys watching and commenting every few minutes, probably Scott and the bartender.

PCT Day 63 – Kennedy Meadows

PCT Day 63 – Kennedy Meadows

19.5 miles, near 700.4

• Set off for the day with a plan to stop for lunch in the shade. We got to the top of a mountain and couldn’t find shade, so we kept hiking. Got most of the way down before hiking off and up trail for the first trees we could see.

• We weren’t planning on making it to Kennedy Meadows tonight, but we were making good time and decided to push to grumpy bears restaurant for dinner. We tried contacting Carie and Claira but they weren’t anywhere close to give us a ride, so we walked on the most direct trail. We got off the sand and started walking the road before we got picked up in a van from another hiker for the final mile.

• Our friends ahead of us were already at the restaurant when we arrived. They told us the kitchen closed 10 minutes ago, which was a huge bummer, but they ordered us a pizza, which was a real life saver. Guess we’ll have a burger tomorrow.

• We met a French hiker who had never eaten chicken wings before, he was using a knife and fork.

• We were pretty wiped from the day and set out to find a spot to put up our tents. We could hear the DJ on the restaurant patio start up his set, but thankfully that party only lasted 45 minutes.

• The only other noise nuisances were drunk hikers yelling, people blowing air horns, and RV generators. Good night moon 🌙

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Peace out, desert! ✌🏼#pct2019

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