I know how confusing this must be so I’ll elaborate. There are two Kennedy Meadows, I’m not going in circles. This one is about 10 miles east of Sonora Pass on highway 4 and has a store and a restaurant. I hitched down here after delivering the trail a thorough beating with my feet for the last week or so. While I was here I stuffed my face with a big cheeseburger covered with chili and then over did it on ice cream cones. Going overboard on ice cream is a mandatory town activity for me. More importantly the real reason we stopped in here was to get a few days worth of food to get to Tahoe.
As we get deeper into the hike the crowd really begins to thin out. It’s difficult to keep a big group together when people travel different speeds, want to see different towns, or just have different agendas. For awhile we had a group of about 10-12 of us traveling together but lately I’ve been hiking with Boone(yellow beard, purple short shorts and usually seen either walking fast or ripping a heater), S+M, and Schemes. S+M(Smiles and Miles), an artist by trade, is super talented, is our team seamstress and made all her own gear. She’s a hardcore hiker, walks all day long with a smile on her face and as a side project makes sure that she sufficiently busts my chops whenever possible. Schemes might be the ultimate badass. She’s the fastest person I’ve hiked with and does it while wearing a sundress, gardeners hat, and carrying around a little kids backpack. Schemes stays in bed for about an hour longer than everyone else and usually catches me before lunch. She likes to sneak up on me while I have my headphones in and scare the bejesuses out of me. It’s not even remotely funny. Don’t get me wrong, I can still dust her on the uphills but she’s got it all over me the rest of the time.
This last section of trail is the reason I decided to thru hike the PCT in the first place. During a road trip around the country last year I found myself hiking along the Washington Coast in Olympic NP where I met my friend Carol. Carol aka ‘Lucky Winner’ hiked half the trail in ’13 and was continuing last summer. I invited myself to stay at her house in Seattle and She invited me to join her hiking, so I did and hiked 112 miles from Red’s Meadow to Sonora Pass. I decided then that I would make it a priority to thru hike the trail. This section is incredible and I was glad to do it again. It travels through Yosemite and up and over Sonora Pass which is what I imagine the planet Mars to look like. Every day I saw deer and tons of yellow-bellied marmot. Two of the mornings I saw a big grey coyote that I was really hoping were wolves. We did however just finish reading Jack London’s Call of the Wild so there’s a chance it was a ghost dog. There was lots of water and I swam every chance I could get. Not only was the icy water exhilarating and invigorating, it was good for my hygiene. I thought I was pretty familiar with this section but I did make my first significant blunder, hiking two miles down a side trail before realizing it and hiking back. It was a little stupid.
Supposedly we’re out of the Sierras now and moving on to Northern California. For future reference I’ll be referring to this area as NorCal. I don’t know much about NorCal but I’m excited and have a pretty good feeling about it.
A wooly mammoth, me, Boone, Schemes, S+M