It was a great 2 days spent in Kernville, but we were starting to get itchy feet! Allie dropped us off late in the afternoon and we quickly did 2 miles up the hill. I wanted to do more but it was starting to get late and we didn’t feel like pushing too hard. We also met Steve, soon to be named ‘OG’ or ‘Original Gangster’, at our camp for the night, we’d get to know him a bit over the next week or so.
The next 2 days were gonna be tough before we got to Kennedy Meadows, a heat wave was beginning to set in and we had a few 2000 foot climbs to get over. That first full day after Walker Pass we did a good 20 miles. We spent the day winding up and over ridges, most of it being exposed it wasn’t that enjoyable. On one of the ridges we passed a sign depicting 1/4 of the way! Woohoo! Oh wait, we’ve only done a quarter? 🙁 At least that’s how I (Steve) felt at the time.
We spent lunch at a mosquito and gnat infested stream, thankfully it was fairly shaded and we had some respite from the sun. Later that afternoon we headed up the hill, on the way up we were passed by our 2nd PCT equestrian rider. (We’d later hear not so great things about her, but it was cool to see horses out here though). We did a final push along a relatively flat ridge until finally finding camp. Long distance hiking always seems more difficult after a few zeros…
The next morning we were eager to get going, so we headed off down a long descent to find water at the bottom. Shortly after filling up another hiker came past and told us about some Trail Magic up ahead! We eagerly hopped in the back of a bakkie (or pickup 😉 ) and went a 1/4 mile up the road to Chimney Creek, where some old PCT hikers and their wives hold a memorial day weekend feast for all the PCT hikers. Last year they had over 30 hikers and this year they were only 10, so we ended up eating so much food. Cheese burgers, hot dogs and steak for dinner, it was glorious! We were very eager to push on just after lunch, but they enticed us with that steak and we stayed the night. It was worth it.
We cowboy camped that night so that we could have an early getaway, but we only were able to leave after having a cup of coffee. Mmmm.
It was a long hard slog up a 3000 foot hill, but eventually we made it! What a sight we saw, peeking up were the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada! It was quite and emotional moment for both of us. It had taken us over 6 weeks of hiking through the torturous southern California desert section, and finally we had arrived. The rest of the day we pushed hard to get to Kennedy Meadows, we arrived at around 5pm, just in time to get our mail and to buy an ice cold soda and some other treats.
All we had to do now was wait an extra day for the restaurant that is running a Bear Can loan program to open after the Memorial Day weekend.
During the 2 days we spent relaxing, we enjoyed a bottomless pancake/flapjack and coffee breakfast as well as an amazing burger for lunch! Other highlights include trying on our new micro-spikes (to assist in hiking on the snow up the passes) and I got some new shoes!
Soon after we got back from Grumpy Bears with our bear-can (overflowing i might add) we set off towards the Sierra Nevada. It would be a few days yet until we hit our first snow, but more about that in the next post!
P.S. Sorry about the photos in the last post, the mobile app proved, problematic…
P.P.S And sorry for the lack of posts! The Sierras don’t offer much in the way of WiFi…