I woke up to a surprise this morning. Doolittle told us he was leaving us, staying behind at Kennedy Meadows to get off trail. Whilst I can’t argue with his decision; not made on a bad day (in fact after a good couple of days’ hiking) I’m still sad and will miss him. So now Chug and I face the Sierra alone with strength in numbers diminished. We will have to search for other trail companions as the mountains throw their difficulties at us.
Before we had even hiked 3 miles we were presented with breakfast at Kennedy meadows campground by Trail Mix and Veggie. They had a huge cooler with bacon and eggs and FRESH MANGO! Amazing trail magic from hikers getting back on trail tomorrow.
We filled our water bottles at a small creek which we could see coming for a while from the lush green plants surrounding it. I think it is clear there will be far more water in this section, with more greenery and more mud. We caught sight of our first meadow across the creek from the burn area that we were walking through, and I’m excited to get into the High Sierra where they are bound to get more frequent and more beautiful. I was happy to see that the flowers of the desert haven’t quite gone away yet either. The weird red snow plant in particular is one of my favourites.
After climbing a moderate mountain, I entered a shady forest and I met Bad Camper and Double Step (also from the UK) and Shenanigans as they paused by the trail. I wondered if we’d stop there longer, but we perversely decided to get lunch at a water source; a grimy trough in the middle of a wide open meadow, just as a thunderstorm was blowing in. Whoops. We are hastily, all having made rookie errors with our bear canisters (mine was leaving the tortillas inside) wanting to outrun the storm by getting up and over the hill before it blew in to our section of the valley.
As we came down through forest, it became clear that the storm was going to win. The terrain opened out into a meadow, and we decided to hang out with a bunch of other hikers under a bridge by the Kern River like trolls. It was good to see Megra again, as I haven’t seen her since around Julian, and we met Kyle and CinderFly who were napping.
We headed out as the storm subsided, and followed Cow Creek for a while. We filtered water from the creek whilst it looked good, and we’re pretty happy about our decision to get water early as it turned into proper cow water further up the hill. Cow water is my term for water that sits in cow footprints. Not tasty. The confidence was short lived as we realised at camp at 9,000ft that we hadn’t taken enough. We hiked back 0.7 miles for more water from the cow water section after pitching the tent, and were thoroughly bummed by it.
Camping: Mile 721