It was chilly when I woke. The fluff in my down quilt had pooled on the edges leaving the middle only a thin piece of nylon. Sometimes it does that, I'm not sure why the manufacturer didn't sew more baffles. I snuggled into Josh's quilt with him and we cuddled ourselves awake. Today was easier to get going knowing we were going into Kennedy Meadows and going to hit the 700 mile mark!
We broke camp and hit the trail around 6:30. Everything was beautiful, cool and crisp. The granite boulders made giant sculptures that looked like fossilized dinosaurs bones. We dipped down and paralleled the south fork of the Kern River and spotted a great boulder for us to have second breakfast on. We ate and laughed and enjoyed the morning by the River, and I felt happy!
We pressed on and meandered thru the River valley when Josh spotted a Mylar balloon stuck in the reeds. He went to retrieve it but it was wedged in the middle of the tall thicket. With the use of his trekking pole he freed the ballon, thinking it would fall out where he could reach it, but it didn't. It rose, caught in a gentle breeze higher and higher. We watched for a while thinking it would drop but it just kept flying away! We laughed and joked that we would be on top of Whitney and that balloon would drift on by.
We turned and climbed out of the River canyon into a forest vibrating with the sounds of buzzing saccades before dropping into a wide open meadow filled with chaparral and sage brush. There was an abandoned cabin in the distance and while were checking it out we almost missed the 700 mile mark! We took our pictures and headed on toward Kennedy Meadows General Store with visions of cheeseburgers dancing in our heads. As we hiked I could hear this strange clicking and I thought it was something inside my backpack. I stopped but the sound continued. It sounded like electricity running through high voltage power line and for a second I thought the barbed wire fence we were paralleling was electrified. Upon further investigation I realized it was the saccades making the noise. They were everywhere, tucked in the brush. I had heard them make the same sound in the Joshua tress south of Kelso Valley Road after descending from the tehachapi's. It was really neat to see them all and I wondered what they were saying to each other.
We crossed the meadow to climb out of the valley and we could see the store. After an excruciatingly long quarter mile road walk we arrived at the store. We turned up the drive and could see the store was packed. All of a sudden everyone around the store and on the deck started a slow clap and eventually a full applause with hoots and hollers for us! All of the resting hikers clap for the incoming ones and it feels wonderful to hike in tired and hungry to a group that is excited for you to be there. It really made my day.
We dropped our pack out front and headed in to the store. Right off the bat we each got an ice cream sandwich, Gatorade and Sprite, and we split a can of Pringles. We inquired about our resupply boxes and they took our name to retrieve them as well as taking my credit card so we could start a tab. We sat on the porch and ate ice cream while saying hello to hikers we knew and meeting some we didn't. After a while we were called to get our boxes and the staff were shocked. We had 10 boxes there. Which I realize is excessive but it was for two people and had gear we needed like microspikes and puffy jackets. Some of the boxes were really tiny and at $5 a box I was kind of bummed. We took our horde outside and found a shady place to rest for the day. We ate hamburgers and hot dogs and organized our gear. I can tell you carrying this bear can is not going to be fun for the next 300 some odd miles but what can you do. Uke arrived via car by trail angels and we were glad to see he finally made it out of Kernville.
After a relaxing day we packed up to leave and everyone was kind of shocked and proud we weren't going to zero. We preceded to hike out and camp in a more quiet place which seems to be a theme with us. I don't like to camp in the crowded places because I know it's a set up for a bad time. I know the people will be loud and I'll get butthurt so I don't even go there. Everyone is entitled to have a good time in whatever way they choose.
I had to buy a calling card to call my mom on the pay phone since there was no cell service there and tell her I was ok. It was nice to hear her voice. I miss my mom and brother a lot. After that we hugged Uke and headed down the road back to the trail. We met up with Pesky who is an interesting character. He's on a 5 year tour of the world and this is his third year. He and Josh talked as we hiked and I hiked a bit behind taking pictures and screwing around as usual. After about a mile we arrived at a campground and said farewell to Pesky. We pitched and filtered water before climbing into the tent and our new silk sleeping bag liners. Ooh la la!
Right now it's 9pm and I feel kind of nauseous. Probably from too much food. I'm going to try to close my eyes and hope it resolves by morning. Tomorrow we see what the Sierras are like and try to figure out what were going to do for our next resupply. Were not sure what the terrain will be like and if we have enough food to make it to Kearsage or if we need to bail out sooner. Time will tell.
Until tomorrow, goodnight.