News: WE'VE REACHED 700 MILES!
Weather: 70s-ish. ( later found out it was in the 90s... Shows how skewed my temp gauge is)
Discomforts: Boombox's layered blisters on the ball of his left foot... Ouch!
Other news: we played in a river today!!! It was glorious after this last long, dry, hot stretch
Pushed into Kennedy Meadows today and passed 700 miles!! We decided to do the Walker Pass to Kennedy Meadows in two days instead of three and it worked perfectly.
This is the last stretch of desert for quite a while and I am soooo happy to finally be headed towards the mountains.
Our morning break with Butterfly, Happy Nomad, Handstand, Hand me down, and Apache was wonderful by the creek. Boombox and I made our signature pour over coffee for them before we put in 20 more miles. (Coffee with olive oil/coconut oil blend, and powdered coconut milk)
We ended the day with playing in the river and walking into Kennedy Meadows with Handstand. She is a super awesome hiker from Tenessee, we have a lot in common so it's been fun hiking with her and chatting!
Kennedy Meadows, the infamous PCT stop!! We've been looking forward to this stop as it's a place where almost everyone takes a zero and prepares for the mountains with food and fun times.
Kennedy meadows zero....What a frustrating place. The community kind of sucked. There has been so much hype about this stop...it's the iconic point of the trail where we leave the desert behind and enter the glorious mountains of the Sierras. The store owners were grumpy and severely over charging for most things. A local told us that they are over charging for most things to make their books look better for selling the place. Because the community has complained about Tom (well known trail angel) running an un-licensed hostel on his property, the general store is the only option these days. Tom used to host hikers and have movie nights and be a great haven for hikers, now nothin is going on there. The resteraunt, Grumpy Bears, down the street is the only other business in the area and they were horribly understaffed and under prepared for the amount of hikers that are pouring through there every day. Both Grumpy Bears and Tom's used to provide internet up until they both ran out of their allotment of bandwidth for the month, so no service or internet in town, bummer!
There is a rumor floating around that the general store employees go through the hiker boxes every night and take out the sellable stuff to sell back to the hikers. I'm not sure if that's true, but the hiker boxes there were the slimmest I have seen in a while and that is a HUGE stop for hikers. If I were to do this again, I would try to avoid this stop all together, if I could, just to avoid supporting the bunch of grumps that run that store. There wasn't much care for the hikers in this community when we were there ,though we hear it has been a great place in the past.
Aside from all my bitching, we did have some good times amongst all the frustrating parts. The store has a huge deck where an overwhelming amount of hikers hang out and drink beer, play chess, listen/play music, chat, organize gear, and eat. We did our fair share of most of the above and lounged in the sun after all our chores were taken care of. We were planning on taking care of a lot of things that involved calling people and the internet, but none of that was available...sorry everyone that I told I was going to call! There was only a pay phone with very little ability to actually make calls so we had to just make do with what we had already lined up before we got there.
The store made good burgers and we drank delicious whiskey drinks with our EastSide Burnside Bourbon that came in our box, which they charge $5 per box to pick it up at the store! Our food and new clothes got organized into bear cans that we bought/rented and we did laundry that came out only slightly cleaner than when it went in.
I played disc golf on Tom's course that he built on his property with Gadget, Whistle, Chaos, and TJ. Every hole was easily birdie-able, but I still managed to go over on a few haha. After Disc I met Glitter Bug at Grumpy Bears to see some fellow hikers play some live music. I got a ride with a local and it was one of the scariest 4 mile drives I have been on. He was apparently really drunk and could barley drive straight....Never doing that again. The resteraunt is pretty cool even though they need to stock up better and get some more help. They had 2 dollar beers, food, and payed Spirit Fingers and Jambo to play all night. The sound was awful in there and everyone was yelling over the music, but it was still a good time.
Camp was out in the junkyard behind the store and at times we felt like we were at a festival with all the loud partying that went on all night. We didn't understand how some of these hikers stay up and party so late, by 9:30 we can barely keep our eyes open. Gadget is now hiking with a girl named Katie.....he will be missed. We saw Vibes and he seems to be feeling a little better! He is hoping to be back on the trail soon. Glad to be leaving Kennedy meadows and starting the new chapter of the trail!
Food: pancake breakfast at Kennedy meadows store, amazing ramen noodle dinner with raisins, brown sugar, bullion and garlic.
Discomforts: Boombox rolled his ankle.... Again. :(
Weather: sunny and warm
News: officially in the Sierras!
Breakfast is always a trap for us. We almost left with out eating breakfast at the store but then we got sucked in. We don't even like eating huge meals before hiking a few miles.. So why did we do it, again?!?
I was feeling groggy for the first couple hours once we got on the trail. (Which wasn't until about 1030!!) But I was so happy to be back out here. The whole experience at KM was exhausting. I feel like I need a zero to relax after the zero I just took.
We were close to the Kern river most of the day. It's so nice to only have to carry 2 liters at a time. Especially since we are carrying bear canisters now.
The mountains are huge, the meadows are beautiful and the flowers are in bloom! So, so happy!
Hiked up cow creek, which was a small drizzle that barely had enough water in It to fill up from, but was still a wonderful luxury after the desert. The day was moving slowly so we took an early breakfast, which gave us a zip in our step after we ate. Ran into Bison and Pendulum who have been saying we won't be seeing them again since we first met because they claim we are so much faster then them. We love running into those guys and I'm sure we will see them again.
After a long climb in the morning we made it to death canyon springs for lunch where we filled up with brown, deadly looking water....still feeling fine. It is so great to finally be in the Sierras! Its so beautiful up here with the cool fresh mountain air, the smell of pine, views for days, and granite peaks all around. I feel as though the trail just started and the last 700 miles have only been a warm up for this immaculate beauty. My breath is taken away every moment by the beauty, I'm at church and the preacher is on FIRE!!
We got tricked by guthooks app that told us there would be water at some coral. We found a Great camp spot regardless and had a wonderful early night. It was a surprisingly warm night though we could hear the wind screaming over the trees just a few hundred feet away were the trail was. Our camp was jut below the ridge and safe from the wind and the cold. I am so incredibly stoked for Whitney, if you know what I mean?!?!? Can't wait!!!
News: we've entered King Canyon!!
Wildlife: marmots! Chipmunks!
Soundtrack: metric, and shuffle
Weather: perfect! Not a cloud in the sky!
Food: rice fajita dinner, so yum. we are running a little low on lunch options...
Woahhhh we did a 28 mile day today! 28 miles our third day in the Sierras?! Felt sooo good.
This morning we realized that we could push today and do Whitney tomorrow or have two short days and do Whitney on Thursday. We had only gone 5 miles when we stopped for breakfast and didn't get going again until 11. I thought our chances were shot for a long day but we pulled it off and it was a super fun and beautiful day.
Hiking in these mountains gives me a whole new type of energy. The trees are unbelievable, the mountains are beautiful and the lakes and streams are to die for. It's heavenly out here.
We had lunch at Chicken Spring Lake, dinner at Rock Creek and camped right under Whitney Creek... Seriously couldn't have wished for a more perfect day.
Soundtrack: just the mountain sounds
Soundtrack: just the mountain sounds
Beautiful morning hiking up to guitar lake. Ran into Gadget and Katie on the way, thought they would've been up and down already. Ate breakfast at the lake and charged up for Whitney. Marmots are everywhere around here, they are so cute! We heard the marmots will sometimes chew through tents and packs looking for foo so we were a little nervous leaving most of our stuff by the lake, but we seperatded food and gear pretty well.
I felt very nervous for my planned proposal on the summit and kept going over the song I wrote and what I was going to say the whole way up the mountain. I felt the elevation very strongly on the way up and got kind of nauseous and dizzy a few times. The reason I am in love with the wilderness and why I hike up mountains was profoundly confirmed again and again on the way up Whitney when I entered a very clear meditative state. The moments I cherish most in this world are the ones where the beauty of the moment and the feeling of gratitude are so overwhelming that I enter a state that is undefinable and indescribable; I found myself in that state almost all day! The view grew increasingly beautiful and breath taking as we climbed. There were a lot of day hikers and thru-hikers on the mountain today, but it didn't take away from the magic of it all. The spirit of the mountain is too strong to be washed out by crowds.
We ate and relaxed for a few minutes before I stepped aside with Glitter Bug. I was too weak and woozy to get into my planned proposal at first. Gadget was up on the summit already and I handed the gopro of to him very sneakily. Glitter Bug a I went to a secluded area on the peak and I sang her a song that I wrote for her while in the Sierras. Gadget came over with the camera and filmed the last of the song and the actual proposal. Glitter Bug was very suprised and exclaimed a yes with wiggley legs and tears of joy. Once she said yes the crowd of people on the peak erupted with cheers of celebration, they had apparently been watching the whole time.
It was such an epic day filled with so many highs. All out hiker trash friends congratulated us and we took our time enjoying the view and the intoxication of love and high mountains. We are so blessed and grateful to be livin the life we live full of adventure and love. We discussed wedding plans the whole way down to camp at crab tree meadow where our friends had set up a big congrats sign made out of rocks in the meadow...what sweet people. We also discussed how a healthy spirit is the most important health. Healthy spirit = healthy body. If you spirit is happy and healthy then a healthy life-style just naturally falls in line. Our spirits are soaring above the earth with health and vitality!
Once at camp, we took a great bath with river water in a sunny meadow. We enjoyed a great dinner of home-made marinara over cous-cous around an illegal fire. Loving life and my new fiancé !!!! Woot woot!!!! Thank you friends and family for all the support, encouragement, and well wishes on our engagement. Cheers!
News: WE'RE ENGAGED!
People we hiked with today: Cheebi, Slaughter House, Love Line, Doc J, TJ, Owl, Slims, Angles... And more!
Weather: dark clouds moved in...
WOWEEEE!!! The last two days have been the most amazing days on the trail. After yesterday's excitement with Mt Whitney and the proposal, I didn't expect such a big, challenging, exciting day today.
The cool, crisp mountain air was intoxicating this morning. After crossing multiple creeks ( we call them raging rivers because they seem huge after not seeing water for so long) and going through the most beautiful alpine meadows, we made it to the base of Forester Pass.
Forester Pass has been talked about by hikers since day one. It's known as one of the most challenging passes to cross and usually is covered in snow. Boombox and I, along with 99% of other thru-hikers, have opted out of carrying ice axes and cramp ons. We got to the base which has some huge snow patches covering the boulders and we proceeded with serious caution. At times I could hear rushing water under the snow I was walking on. Boombox kept reminding me to take light steps and follow his tracks. We made it across the snow and up the boulder fields to the top where the trail re-appeared! Thank goodness for him and his experience!!!
After a few sighs of relief once we reached the top, all of the sudden we were faced with an even bigger challenge! Getting down.....
The trail was not visible at all. There was a huge snow field down a chute that ended with an iced over lake. Boombox, being the best leader ever, scoped out a route for our group to attempt. Luckily it wasn't icy so we knew wouldn't go too far if we fell so we glaciated a little bit! It was the scariest but most fun experience so far. I sat down on the snow wearing shorts and my pack on my back as I followed Slaughter House's tracks down the snow laughing and screaming so loud.
The trail reappeared at the bottom, so we had just a couple more boulder fields to cross to get there. The trail led us down a beautiful canyon. We set up camp near the river, made dinner, watched deer roam the area and quickly fell asleep after talking about our crazy day.
My feet were cold and wet. My shorts were soaked and my butt was numb. My bear canister came loose and fell down to a boulder field below. My stomach ached from hunger. My legs had multiple scratches on them from rocks and snow. My backpack was wet and covered in snow. And I had the BIGGEST smile on my face. What a wonderful day on the trail!