summit of the sierras

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Milky Way Over Mono Lake From Bodie Hills by Jeff Sullivan

“What does he care if he hasn’t got any money: he doesn’t need any money, all he needs is his rucksack with those little plastic bags of dried food and a good pair of shoes and off he goes and enjoys the privileges of a millionaire in surroundings like this.”

                                              -Jack Kerouac

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Day 52
Mile 702.2

We woke up excited to reach Kennedy Meadows. Kennedy Meadows is a traditional stop along the PCT. It’s kind of the official end of the desert and beginning of there Sierra Nevadas. It’s also where you have to send a bear canister to store your food in (as per regulation in the national parks), an ice axe, and some kind of traction devices. We woke up early to make it there, and we passed Jackie and Mike along the way. They camped near a river and went swimming the previous day. That big flowing river was a welcomed sight after 700 miles in the desert where our water sources mainly were slowly dripping springs.

We crossed the 700 mile mark and continued on into Kennedy Meadows. The landscape changed completely once we got to the river. We walked through a green meadow of sage bushes and peered into the distance to see the snow capped peaks we will be crossing in the next few weeks. We reached the road and walked 3/4s mile to the driveway of the general store and were greeted with clapping and cheering (this is tradition to clap for those entering Kennedy Meadows), and we felt quite triumphant.

We met back up with our friend Wang we met on our second day hiking! It was so good to see her again. Soon after, Jackie and Mike arrived and we cheered for them. We went to breakfast at a place called “Grumpy Bear’s” down the road and texted our families using their shoddy wifi. Cell service and Internet is a rarity near these parts, so updating blogs and calling home is not always easy. Also I forgot to mention in a post a few days ago that we now have trail names. Nate has been carrying his camera by hanging the brain of his backpack on his chest, so he got the trail name “The Brain” and naturally, I was named “Pinky”. So we are henceforth known as Pinky and the Brain. The restaurant had a tiny dog running around named Pinky that I totally fell in love with.

We went back to Kennedy Meadows and got our giant box filled with food and tons of new gear. Nate’s mom also snuck some homemade cookies in the box which we gladly partook of and shared with friends. We weren’t sure how all the gear and food was going to fit in our packs. I got a shower and we washed our socks in a bucket. I knew this would be the last chance for a shower for a good, long while.

We have seven days of food to get us to Independence. In this stretch we will enter the Sierras, summit Mount Whitney, and go over Forester Pass which is the highest and possibly sketchiest point on the PCT. There’s not really any easing into this! We’re really excited.

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Some scenes from the past three days in the Eastern Sierras. Almost tagged the summit of Mt.Russell via the East Ridge - darn AMS! Next time 🏔