5/25/17 26.1 miles +0.77miles PCT Mile 702.2
The alarm sounded at 5:30 and I pressed snooze. I would be snoozing I informed Matt, I then informed Matt hat he would not as he takes longer in the morning than I do. This tactic worked quite well.
We were on the trail at 6:26am a record for us. We climbed out of our great campsite back to the trail with hamburgers and milkshakes on our minds. It would be our longest day as the restaurant we were gunning for was 27 miles away. We were up for the challenge.
The first 4 miles were downhill which is usually great, except when your feet are swollen and sore. Matt was feeling good and started talking about what pace we needed to have in order to get to Kennedy Meadows for dinner before the restaurant close. He had what I call “burger fever” and was cruising down the trail. We came across a stream at 8am and found three Miller High Life beers from Saunter. Saunter is another hiker we hadn’t seen in over 500 miles. Apparently, he is off trail due to a bone spur. Obviously, Matt had to drink one.
We then began a 5 mile climb through forests. It was nice to be in the shade. Matt even made a comment that, “burn areas are behind us.” Moments later the forest was gone and we were in another burn area. The last 10-15 miles were through a burn area, much of the trail has been burned making it far less beautiful than it could be. Thanks to the burn area we were afforded glimpses of the snowy Sierra mountain ranges ahead. Matt thought it was beautiful, I thought it looked scary and daunting.
Matt, spurred by this new found beauty was literally dancing down the trail listening to music. He yelled, “this is 92.7 Donkey FM, playing all your favorite hits.” He played DJ for a long time as we descended down to the meadow. He would find a song and in his best dj voice would say, “here is a blast from the past, run, and catch up to me.” I wasn’t feeling nearly as good as he was. He was on the smile train with all these smile miles. I just kept shaking my head at Matt and asking, “what has happened to you.” Matt is clearly high on hiking.
My feet were still swollen so every step hurt and it felt like my feet were being stretched to the limits. I had to soak my feet at every creek crossing to reduce the swelling.
The last 9 miles were through a meadow intermittently next to the south fork of the Kern river, which was running very high. Last year at this time the river was dry as a bone.
We also passed the 700 mile mark next to an abandoned shack. The miles are really starting to fly by now!
At last we reached the road that would lead us to Kennedy Meadows where you can camp behind the store.
We walked .77 road miles to the store where we were welcomed by applause from the other 15-30 hikers that were sitting on the large porch out front.
Everyone was asking who is it? It was nice to see people we hadn’t seen in weeks. Zippy was there and quickly came over to ask us what had happened to us. We were ahead of her, until I got sick and we had since been trailing her. There are several PCT registers along the trail so you can see who is ahead of you. We sat down at a large picnic table where Young Gun was about to give a tattoo to another hiker. He had ink and was using a needle loosely attached to a twig. He said, “yo we should probably steralize your skin.” Ya think! Matt being overly concerned said, “yes get some rubbing alcohol.” Unconcerned Young Gun finds some baby wipes and feels that it is sufficient enough. I joked with Birdie a woman in her 60’s what she was gonna get. She said, “ohhh noo, I don’t think so.”
A woman than arrived dropping off a pizza and Matt asked if she could give us a ride to Grumpy Bears restaurant down the road, she said yes and we were off. Kennedy Meadows is a very small town with a population of 200 with only 50 full time residents. The woman driving us looked oddly familiar as if I had seen her picture somewhere like in a book. When we got to the restaurant I told Matt I think that is Yogi. Yogi wrote a PCT handbook that everyone carries and is basically the Bible for a PCT hiker. Turns out it was her! She lives in Kennedy Meadows now and runs an online shop where you can buy gear and she will deliver it to Grumpy Bears.
We sat down at the bar and looked over the menu. All day I had my heart set on a milkshake, then I saw they had banana splits. I think I’ve only had 1 or 2 in my life so I ordered a banana split appetizer. I ate the entire thing and most of my pulled pork sandwich before getting full. During dinner a self proclaimed thru hiker for the last 10 years was talking to us about all the horrible things we will encounter. He seemed to know a lot about the trail but he doesnt look like someone who has ever hiked before. He said something like, “trail towns don’t like hikers.” I don’t know how this can be true as hikers bring alont of business especially to small towns like Kennedy Meadows. He also said, “hikers are being good now because of the snow.” Anyways he was drunk so it was hard to converse with him but he seemed a bit sketchy.
After we ate the owner of the restaurant/cook gave us a ride back to the store. He runs a shuttle 3 times a day picking up hikers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. He then revealed to us that he is fueding with the owners of the Kennedy Meadows store and he can’t drive into their parking lot. He would have to drop us off a bit down the road. I’m not sure what the fued was about but Grumpy Bears was the first to offer wifi and the store wasn’t suppose to and they just got wifi. The wifi isn’t much of a draw though as it barely worked at either place.
With full tummies we walked behind the store and found our tent where we left it next to 3 old gas pumps, a first generation satellite dish, and a bunch of freezers with bullet holes.