Saturday, June 7, 2014

Clapping At Kennedy Meadows - (6/3)

Mile 694.4 to mile 703.8
9.4 miles

Last night was a beautiful night with just a slight breeze. It was cold though which made it tough to get going in the morning. We aren't sure what we are going to do when we get into the higher elevation where it will be much colder and we could have wet clothes to put on when we get up. 

We were up early with the thought of reaching Kennedy Meadows in about four hours, 8 miles. Kennedy Meadows is the start of the Sierra in our eyes and the end of the desert. We are so excited that we shoved some hanfuls of food into our mouths and got packed up. It was a good morning. 

A couple of hours later we met up with the Kern river, walking along side of it for a while. We found a huge granite boulder next to the river and stopped to have second breakfast. It was a wonderful place to stop and take in the beauty of the area with the sound of water flowing by in the background. It is so nice to be around water, in that quantity.

Twenty minutes later we were back on the trail. Soon after we came across a mylar balloon that had gotten hung up in some out of the way bushes. Both Mandie and I stopped and looked at each other. She then asked me, 'Should we get it?' I said 'Yes' and we both went over to the balloon. It was stuck high in some tall bushes so I had to use my trekking pole to fish it out. It wasn't coming out easily and I started swatting at it to hopefully get it caught on my trekking pole. Well, one of my swats dislodged it and sent it flying, and it went up up up and away. We both stood there laughing as it slowly got higher and higher. Oh well, we tried. Keep an eye out of a 'Best Of Luck Grad' balloon. 

Shortly after that we crossed another milestone, 700 miles. It was much more of a celebration than the 600 milestone. We took pictures, and I guess you could say we sent up a balloon. There to help us celebrate were thousands of Saccade (sp?) insects clicking, or clapping, as they do. We took pictures with them and before heading off. 

Two more miles. 

We finally reached the Kennedy Meadows General Store. As we walked up the dirt road to the store all of the other hikers that were there started clapping for us. It is an awesome feeling. I know I have said that before but it really and truly does make us feel so special and welcome. 

We found a bench out front and dropped our packs. We then went inside and got several drinks and an ice cream sandwich. We had several, 10, boxes to pick up of supplies shipped there that we needed to get. We gave the clerk our name and waited outside for our name to be called. Eventually, our name was called and we dragged all of our boxes of food, gear, and sundries over to the bench and started sorting it all out. While we were sorting through everything the restaurant side of the store opened up and a grande food order was placed and then soon after consumed. 

We needed more space to sort through all of our boxes so we moved our haul to the camping area where we could sprawl out. It was a much quieter area away from all the other happenings. 

Some of the new things that we have to carry for the Sierra are: a bear can that we have to store our food in. Much heavier than the nylon sack I was using. Microspikes, to help us walk on ice. Our stove, fuel can, and cup that we sent here from Tehachapi. We also have a few extra articles of clothing, including socks. My other two pair of socks were disgusting, had huge holes in them and were crusty. I am very excited for new socks. I also got a new pair of shoes that are bright orange. Not the color I ordered but whatcha gun a do. 

Around 5p we were all packed up, with heavy packs, and headed back down to the trail. I think we were one of very few people that escaped the KM vortex so soon. We heard other hikers talking about being there 3 and 4 days already. As we walked back to the trail another hiker, who had escaped, caught up to us and we chatted for a bit while hiking. His name is Pesky and he seems like a great guy. 

We got a mile or so down the trail from KM before we found a nice campground next to the Kern river. There we found a wonderful spot to set up the tent and enjoy the rest of the evening. It is so nice being here, in the Sierra. This place has good juju.

Mandie suggested that I write a hiku at the end of every post for the Sierra. I liked that idea so here is a silly but true one to start out with. 

My feet smell funky
I hope my new socks stop that
Otherwise nose plugs