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Begins: Apr 4, 2017
Date: Mon, May 22nd, 2017
End: Kennedy Meadows
Daily Distance: 22
Trip Distance: 534.0
Entry Visits: 1,531
Journal Visits: 7,273
Guestbook Views: 136
Guestbook Entrys: 3
Last PLB Location
Pacific Crest Trail Map
We did a full zero in Tehachapi before we felt ready to head out again. We were now joined by Crusher, who we had been hanging out with on and off in the last 4-500 miles and our little group was now consisting of 4 people. In front of us was a 136 mile stretch toward the beginning of the Sierra. We were planning on doing the first 86 miles and then do a quick hitch to Lake Isabella from Walker Pass, so we wouldn't have to carry food for the whole stretch. We were told that the next section was gonna be the driest on the entire Pacific Crest Trail. This meant water carries of 3-6 liters at a time.
The first day we did 18 miles from the highway, were we got off 2 days earlier, and all the way to the next water source. While we were cooking dinner that evening in the dark, I suddenly felt a big bug on my lower arm. I pushed it off thinking it was a big wingy bug, but a minute later i looked at my food bag with my light and was shocked. There was a massive spider climbing the side of it. I jumped up and moved a bit away before pushing it of by throwing gravel at it. Suddenly our cozy camp spot did not seem as welcoming as it had when we arrived.
I moved to my tent shortly after, which i luckily had pitched instead of just cowboy camping. Even though my tent should be bugproof I still had the phatom feeling of a bug crawling on me. But after a while I was too tired to think about it and fell asleep.
The next day we had 19 miles to get water and decided to do these before taking a siesta and avoid the worst afternoon heat. We made at around 1 in the afternoon and I was a bit dehydrated, but the cold spring water made me feel better instantly. But after this push we had to take a long siesta and didn't hike out until 5. Our goal for the night was Landers Meadow campground about 7 miles ahead. We were now heading into Sequoia national forest and the beautiful pine forest surrounded the trail.
This didn't last long and after a bunch of warnings, in registers and on a whiteboard near the campground, we were dumped down into the lower desert the next morning. This day was definetly the toughest stretch of desert we have gone through, since there was very little water and no shade to be found. We pushed through and got to a water cache by the end of the day, which was placed just before the end of this low desert stretch. Here we had a view to both the west and east, which ment a beatiful sunset in the evening and sunrise in the morning.
Breakfast consisted of oatmeal and a steep ascend out of the lower desert. Getting to the top of the ridge in front of us, we got around a corner and were stunned. We now had our first view of the snowcapped mountains of the high sierra and Mt. Whitney. It was absolutely incredible and we had to break there for a while, so we could enjoy it. The mountains that had been so far away for so long, were right there! It was both frightening and motivating. The scary part was the amount of snow we could already see from this distance. The snowlevels this year are almost double of what they usually are, which is gonna make it even more difficult to pass the high Sierra than it usually is.
We walked the last stretch toward Walker pass and hitched to Lake Isabella. Here we were lucky to be offered some trail magic from a very nice lady. She picked us up at the grocery store and took us to her house. Here we got to shower and while she did our laundry, we got to sit in her hot tub and drink vodka and cranberry, which she made for us aswell. In the night we slept in actual beds in a trailer in the back yard. This was absolutely amazing!
In the morning she even cooked us breakfast before she drove us back to the trail. It was the first time she had done that, but she seemed like she wanted to do it again, which is so cool.
Coming out of Walker Pass we felt rejuvenated and prepared for the last stretch of the desert. We had 50 miles to go and the Sierra suddenly seemed so close. Starting out a little later than we expected, it seemed like too much to do 25 miles and we would most likely have to do the stretch in 3 days. It was clear to us throughout the days, that the landscape was changing. The dried out and sandy trail and the bush covered and shadeless mountainsides were changing into a slightly green tree cover all over the mountainsides, indicating the increased precipitation in the area and more water access. The transition towards the Sierra had begun for real.
We slept on a ridge after 21 miles and had a great view of the sunset and sunrise over the foresty valleys.
The next day we started hiking and felt fairly good, so it became obvious to us really soon that we had to go all the way to Kennedy Meadows, even though we were facing a 30 mile day (48 km)
It was a tough day, but a bit of trail magic we stumbled across after 10 miles, where we got a beer or two, which made our longing for town, food and beer much greater and our hence motivation. Furthermore we had the snowcapped mountains in the distance, which pulled us forward. We hiked most of the day and spent very little time taking break and ended up arriving there at 7 in the evening.
We had decided that two days were necessary to get our legs and feet ready for the next stretch. And furthermore, we had now walked 700 miles, so it seemed like we deserved a little break from hiking.
We are now about ready to head into the next section of the trail. The desert is behind us and in front of us are 300 miles of mostly snowcovered trail, multiple 12000+ feet passes (3500+ meter). If this wasn't enough, we were also lucky to be facing a record snowfall of more than 200% of the average snowfall throughout the mountain range. We have heard so much and researched a ton before leaving home and it has seemed surreal. But we are finally entering these amazing mountains and have to meet all the challenges that comes with the snow and raging rivers as a consequece of the snow melt. We feel confident and prepared, but this is definetly pushing our limits. Wish us luck, because these mountains will be the real test of our abilities. See ya in 8 days, when we get back to civilisation!
Laurids Leo Muenier
Naturally it is the call of the wild!