I know how confusing this must be so I’ll elaborate. There are 2 Kennedy Meadows, I’m not going in circles. This one is about 10 miles east of Sonora Pass on highway 4 and has a store and a restaurant. I hitched down here after delivering the trail a thorough beating with my feet for the last week or so. While I was here I stuffed my face with a big cheeseburger covered with chili and then over did it on ice cream cones. Going overboard on ice cream is a mandatory town activity for me. More importantly the real reason we stopped in here was to get a few days worth of food to get to Tahoe.
As we get deeper into the hike the crowd really begins to thin out. It’s difficult to keep a big group together when people travel different speeds, want to see different towns, or just have different agendas. For awhile we had a group of about 10-12 of us traveling together but lately I’ve been hiking with Boone(yellow beard, purple short shorts and usually seen either walking fast or ripping a heater), S+M, and Schemes. S+M(Smiles and Miles), an artist by trade, is super talented, is our team seamstress and made all her own gear. She’s a hardcore hiker, walks all day long with a smile on her face and as a side project makes sure that she sufficiently busts my chops whenever possible. Schemes might be the ultimate badass. She’s the fastest person I’ve hiked with and does it while wearing a sundress, gardeners hat, and carrying around a little kids backpack. Schemes stays in bed for about an hour longer than everyone else and usually catches me before lunch. She likes to sneak up on me while I have my headphones in and scare the bejesuses out of me. It’s not even remotely funny. Don’t get me wrong, I can still dust her on the uphills but she’s got it all over me the rest of the time.
This last section of trail is the reason I decided to thru hike the PCT in the first place. During a road trip around the country last year I found myself hiking along the Washington Coast in Olympic NP where I met my friend Carol. Carol aka ‘Lucky Winner’ hiked half the trail in ’13 and was continuing last summer. I invited myself to stay at her house in Seattle and She invited me to join her hiking, so I did and hiked 112 miles from Red’s Meadow to Sonora Pass. I decided then that I would make it a priority to thru hike the trail. This section is incredible and I was glad to do it again. It travels through Yosemite and up and over Sonora Pass which is what I imagine the planet Mars to look like. Every day I saw deer and tons of yellow-bellied marmot. Two of the mornings I saw a big grey coyote that I was really hoping were wolves. We did however just finish reading Jack London’s Call of the Wild so there’s a chance it was a ghost dog. There was lots of water and I swam every chance I could get. Not only was the icy water exhilarating and invigorating, it was good for my hygiene. I thought I was pretty familiar with this section but I did make my first significant blunder, hiking two miles down a side trail before realizing it and hiking back. It was a little stupid.
Supposedly we’re out of the Sierras now and moving on to Northern California. For future reference I’ll be referring to this area as NorCal. I don’t know much about NorCal but I’m excited and have a pretty good feeling about it.
A wooly mammoth, me, Boone, Schemes, S+M