CS696.9 to General Store in Kennedy Meadows (696.9 to 702.2 + .6 mile road walk)
Daily miles: 5.9
Last night it rained. Not for long, and not very hard, but it was the first night rain of the trip and my tent was wet in the morning. I hiked out late, 8:30, because I won’t be hiking very far today. The big old basin I slept in last night was already warming, and the granite mountains were there surrounding me. I’ve made it back to the Sierra.
The south fork of the Kern River was flowing and might be the most natural water I’ve seen so far (reservoir lakes don’t count). The day was cool, my pack was light, the trail was level, and the earth was full of color. So I walked slow.
The general store in Kennedy Meadows is a huge hiker hangout because they accept packages, have a burger bar, and allow camping in the hills behind the facilities. It is also the symbolic end of the desert, so it provides a good bookend to cap the first leg of the journey.
I eat a pint of caramel fudge Ben & Jerry’s, and a double cheeseburger with a bag of Cheetos. Organize my new gear (microspikes, ice axe, bear vault, down jacket, pants) and wonder how it’s all going to fit. New pair of shoes waiting for me too (thanks mom).
So here’s the desert by the numbers:
*41 full days + 2 hours this morning
*2 zeros (Idyllwild, and the travel day from Ziggy and The Bear to Big Bear Lake)
*4 neros (Warner Springs, Wrightwood, Agua Dulce, and Kennedy Meadows)
*3 times it rained on me
*3 nights in a hotel/hostel bed
*1000s of peanut M&Ms
*2 night hikes (miserable)
*Best meal: Lamb Tiki Masala at Masala Craft in Big Bear Lake
*Best breakfast: Cinnamon roll at Cinnamon’s in Wrightwood
*Best trail angel: tie between Scout&Frodo, and Coppertone
*Favorite section: Cajon Pass thru the Angeles National Forest (runner up: Walker Pass to Kennedy Meadows; honorable mention: Campo to Warner Springs)
*Least favorite: Tehachapi to Walker Pass, which also takes runner up and honorable mention
*Best trail town: Idyllwild (it has everything, and it’s nice and compact)
Worst trail town: Tehachapi (long hitch, hot, not compact)
*Gear I’d leave at home next time: rain jacket (don’t need it if you have an umbrella)
*Gear I’d start with next time but didn’t this time: camp shoes (aka flip flops)
I’m resting for the day and ready to start with the big mountains tomorrow!