Seven miles from Walker Pass, I round a corner and suddenly there are mountains ahead! Mountains upon mountains in the distance.
A few hours later I learn that we’ve been in the Southern edge of the Sierras since leaving Tehachapi Pass five days ago. But we are still in desert country. Plenty of Joshua Tree around.
After over two months of cactus, four hour siestas stuck under a small piece of shade, sand, dry stretches carrying 4, 5, or 7 liters of water, climbing up a small mountain to be in Pines just to drop to the desert valley again, more cactus….we have finally made it out.
I have hiked through Southern California.
Team No Hurries has made it to Kennedy Meadows. 702 miles. 70 days.
It’s hard to contemplate that many miles by foot.
We straggle, both tired and very happily, into Tom’s Place at Kennedy Meadows as the sun sets.
Time to relish in our accomplishment with other dirty, happy hikers.
Beer and an outdoor movie.
Life is good tonight. The stars are bright. We sleep on mattresses in a trailer. We are at the start of the High Sierras.
After a pancake breakfast at Tom’s Place, we mozied over to the KM General Store Deck and spent our entire day eating (the best thing to do on a zero day), relishing our accomplishment some more, and trying to get our next resupply to fit in our bear canisters.
Our one zero, turns to two as the next day is just as hot, and there is more porch sitting to do. I have to say, on my list of favorite decks, the Kennedy Meadows General Store Deck is in the top three.
As the sun goes down, the hiker crew that is here, picks our spots around the outdoor movie screen and we enjoy the next movie in the Matrix trilogy. (After two nights of this, might as well stay a third to see how it ends).
I wonder if perhaps we are all staying here because of the dread of the extra weight in all our packs, (Tom’s Place is also another great Vortex to hang out in, and hard to escape from). The excitement that you can get away with carrying 1 to 2 liters of water now is countered by the bear canister dilemma. We spend time watching each other try to fit all the food, and then the can, into a pack. TV for the day.
We are on the precipice of High Sierra adventures. Into Sierras with no snow (an unusual year). Into country with Lakes! And Bears! And really tall mountains!
After months of reading notes warning me that my next water source might not be for 25 miles, and might be full of dead mice, lizards or cow pies, this next section has a different kind of warning.
Warning: Northbound hikers. There may not be water for the next 3.2 miles.
We have walked so far. And we will walk so much further.