Day 49: mile 672.8 to mile 698.3
6.3.18. 25.5 miles.
Longest day on the trail so far to basically close out the desert! Wahooo!
We woke up early again today and we’re hiking by 5:30 to beat the heat. I knew it would be hot bc I didn’t need to by snuggled in my quilt last night or wear my puffy in the morning getting ready. I was correct, it was pretty warm already by 6:30 am. The morning scenery and sunrise was absolutely gorgeous! It was annoying though bc there were sooooo many gangs flying around and hovering right by my nose & mouth and flies would buzz right by my ear. Basically all day was pretty buggy.
We reached our first water about 8 miles in at Chimney Creek and met a new friend: Talia from New Zealand! While we were filtering water, another hiker from the other direction came over and told us there was trail magic in the form of soda just ahead! Hot Mess ran over to grab us each a soda since Butters and I were still filtering.
We eventually got going as the big climb of the day was right after the creek. Luckily we only had to carry a little bit of water since we had another spring 2.5 miles away. The climb was surprisingly easier than the elevation profile looked. I kind of bonked though about 1 mile after the spring water, but felt much better after eating a protein bar, and zoomed up the rest of the climb. Towards the top, I got an amazing view of the Sierra and Mt. Whitney and it was just so exciting! Another hiker named Download came up behind me and we rejoiced together. Download is living in Santa Cruz and is a super nice guy!
Right after that I ran into Butters who told me Hot Mess had gone a bit ahead to try to find us some shade for lunch. Unfortunately, there really wasn’t any shade anywhere since we were in a burned area. We probably walked another 2 miles before finding some shade under a tree that others were already using. Good thing we knew the other hikers! It was Shannon and her brother Kevin, who I met heading into Casa de Luna! We had a nice lunch together and I got to discuss the Bachelorette with Kevin lol! At lunch we also decided we’d be getting to our original campsite way too early, and because it was so hot and we were so dirty, we really wanted to make it to the Kern River in the evening.
So we hauled ass down the mountain, got to the original campsite to filter another liter of water, and then hiked another 4.5 miles to the river, which was a slight death march just because of how hot it was, but knowing the beautiful river was ahead, I was super happy. We finally got there to find Jinx & Twinkle Toes submerged in the river, and I hopped right in, also rinsing my shirt and accidentally drenching my shorts, which I intended to keep dry since they take forever to dry and it was getting late. We had some sun for a while, but it went away pretty quickly and we were getting cold (the water was surprisingly warm though!). We hung some things to dry, dried ourselves as much as possible, and then put our shoes back on as we needed to hike more to find a campsite. I ended up hiking the last bit in my sports bra and shorts just to try to dry things out more. It was very refreshing!
We found some awesome tent sites near the river and it is so amazing to fall asleep with the river sounds! We are finally getting to the Sierra and it is so wonderful!
We’re sleeping in tomorrow and will get started hiking at 7! (gasp) since we have under 4 miles to go and nothing in Kennedy Meadows opens until 9.