After a pleasant night nestled in the mountains, and with no nocturnal visitors, we woke to the sun streaming into our tent. Lazy, after the last two days, we were in no hurry to hop out of our tents. Leaving camp at the late hour of 9 o’clock, we wandered off the mountain. With a gentle descent through trees and rocky scrub, it made for an ideal morning walk, especially as our packs only had one and half days of food left. Hiking into a valley, we came across a road that led to a campsite. Unfortunately the water was turned off at this particular one, and the only remains of trail magic were a bunch of empty soda cans. With the sun beginning to heat up, we shoved ourselves up the start of the last big climb. Two miles up we came to our next water source, while fortunately near the trial, had a rather particular taste due to the mineral content it was sourced from. But in the desert water is water, and we happily drank it down. Lying in this shady spot for lunch, we continued our relaxing day, intending to hike only around 18 miles. After our break, we finished the climb, hiking out of the pleasant trees and into more burnt out hills. This put a damper on our moods, as we had hoped for less of this after the hundreds of miles we had already been through. Still, this is what we knew we had to cross, so we put our heads down, music in, and the pace on. With eleven miles to the next water source, we flew up and then down the hills, crossing a lot of small, annoying scree sections. Somewhat deflated as we came down into a large valley, this was further exaggerated when our water source was dry. Resolved to hike the next four miles to water, we had dinner in the first clump of trees we came to. Calories flooding in, we started the last flat section, which was surprisingly hot. Possibly because of this we quickly came up to a gopher snake on the trail, followed ten meters later by another rattle snake. Having spotted one only ten minutes from camp this morning, that made two rattlesnakes on the same day. Combined with the bear cub yesterday, Rattles and Sole Catcher were of the opinion that the two should be mutually exclusive. I helpfully pointed out we had seen them on different days; they were not impressed. Continuing on, with myself now the snake bait in front, we crossed in and out of trees before descending down to the south fork of the Kern River. This actually had enough water to bathe in, and with only four miles to Kennedy Meadows, we decided to make the most of being clean. Pitching our tents next to the river, we washed of the accumulated grime of a week in the desert. I feel sorry for the fish.
Miles hiked – 22