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Jack and Barb
Begins: Apr 17, 2011
Date: Sun, Jun 5th, 2011
Daily Distance: 8
Trip Distance: 702.4
Entry Visits: 1,968
Journal Visits: 384,617
Guestbook Views: 167,210
Guestbook Entrys: 482
Kennedy Meadows and Tom's Place
Today would be called a "nero" or near zero day. There was a pancake breakfast in KM and we would be there if we had to jog at double Bart Speed.
We didn't know the times but we had sent our messenger ahead the night before. Liam, who we have now adopted as our "trail son" would be in KM well before us. His task was to tell Tom, the pancake guy, who is also a Trail Angel extraordinaire, to keep the griddle hot until we showed up.
We were on the trail at about 6:15. It was flat and quite enjoyable but with light rain. This is our first rain of the trip. But it was more of a nuisance rain than a soaker. Light rain, put on the rain gear, rain stops, we get hot, take off the rain gear. Rain starts, put on the rain gear. Maybe only two times though.
Much of the trail was sand so you couldn't really go Bart Speed but we did manage to achieve a new speed rating. It is roughly 80 percent of Bart Speed and it is called "Pancake Speed". According to the GPS, which TK decided to run for the duration of the eight miles, Pancake Speed is about 3.1 mph.
This is nuts, this PCT thing. Here we are cruising along at Pancake Speed and talking to each other about how many pancake we could eat. Boo Boo figured on two (dinner plate sized). TK figured on three. Ah, the things one talks about on the trail.
You can read all you want about Kennedy Meadows but you can't really get the picture until you are here. As you hike in, the topography is very flat. There is a huge river on your left. That would be the South Fork of the Kern River. Would you have to cross it? Better be a bridge you think. Soon, you come to a paved road. The road crosses the river with a big sturdy bridge. We would not be crossing it yet.
You leave the trail and go another half mile up the road where you reach Tom's place. He has five acres and uses some of his neighbors acres as well. On his property, you will see a hodge podge of trailers. There is camping, flush toilets, running water and even an outdoor theater. There is an "Internet Cafe" with four laptops, all set up with WiFi and connected with DSL.We are guessing that at this moment, there are about 30 hiker guests hanging out. Some have been here for a week or more. Others, a few days. We only know about a third of them but it is obvious that this is a vortex, a big sucking one!
We arrive about 9:30, Liam had done his job, AND THE PANCAKE EXTRAVAGANZA WAS STILL HAPPENING.
The pancakes are dinner plate sized. Boo Boo eats seven. TK knocks down about eight. So much for the prediction.
Tom is the same Tom who picked us up hitchiking at Walker Pass and drove us right to the door at the Lake Isabella Motel. He is the same Tom who went to the discount store and bought up a bunch of bars on sale to throw in the hiker box. And, now he is here flipping pancakes.
He operates on donations. Look for the mail boxes standing on end. They are the donation boxes. Eat breakfast here, put in some cash. Use the internet, put in some bucks. Tom is not a rico. He does what he does to help out the PCT hikers.
One of the trailers opens up. Tom assignes it to us. Woo, another honeymoon suite. Barb finds the broom and the simple green and cleans the place up. It may not have been cleaned in months, but it beats sleeping in a tent.
Up the road about 100 yards is the General Store. It is a pretty cool store too. All set up for hikers. Today, one could resupply here for a few days but when the herd comes through, likely, the shelves will be bare. They sell beer. We bought two coronas and picked up our resupply box. Around the corner was the hamburger shack. TK got a cheeseburger. Boo was going to make a PB&J back at the trailer. You can do your laundry here and for three bucks, get a hot shower.
It would be so easy to hang here for days or maybe even weeks. But we have learned to recognize the vortices. We vow only to stay here two nights. It will now be time for the true test, The Sierras. This is one of the strangest years on record for late storms and record snow pack. Because of road closures, we will need a new game plan. Our original plan will not work as a road to a trailhead will not be open for two more weeks. So, we have developed an alternate plan.
See our next entry for the plan.
Jack And Barb Take On The PCT
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