After a night nestled in the valley next to running water, we awoke refreshed. In no hurry, we hung out in the tent, enjoying the cool air. As the sun came up, two minutes of warmth quickly changed to broiling hot. Unable to stand it any longer, we took off for Kennedy Meadows. Following the river briefly, we soon climbed into pasture, stretching out to the bottom of the mountains. With the heat picking up, we were in no mood to dawdle. Crossing the 700 mile mark we took rapid photos, and kept going. Upon hitting a road, a sharp right led us up into the small community of Kennedy Meadows. The town is situated on the edge between the proper desert to the south and the High Sierra to the north. Getting here basically means the PCT hiker is done with 700 miles of Southern Californian desert and had a propensity to lift peoples moods. Our first priority was to hit the store and acquire cold drinks and snacks. Once the edge was taken off we collected a sum total of nine packages. The store also allowed us to keep a tab, which was a dangerous move among hungry hikers. With all our gear and food, we found a nice campsite just on the other side of a small hill. The next 24 hours was spent eating and talking to hikers as they walked in. We met up again with Lotus and Hermes. We found out that Lotus also saw the bear cub and ran screaming back down the trail past Hermes. Noah showed up after successfully pulling of fifty miles in a day and a half to see a cello concert. He also collected a huge number of packages. Fun Size, Cuddles, Frosty and Ashley, all of whom we had sat with just before KOA, 300 miles ago, also arrived. I thought the burgers from the store were the best ones I have eaten on the trail. Catching up on some reading in amongst the trees we had a relaxing stay. Deciding to make the most of the cool weather, we cooked our dinner on the second night, before heading down the trail. Walking back down the road, what should we see but another rattlesnake. Sole Catcher nor I were looking down, and it required Rattles to tell us not to step on it. This brings our total rattlesnake count to ten. Back on the trail, it meandered through, not surprisingly, a meadow to the official campground. From here we followed the course of the Kern River a ways, before heading up into a valley. Seven miles in we spotted a perfect campsite situated in some trees. As we are now solidly in bear country, we are all carrying bear canisters for the next 300 miles. This requires one to screw down a heavy duty lid with all the food inside, before placing it far downwind from your tent. Should any bear stumble across it, they are supposed to have a hard time breaking in. With this extra gear we weighed our packs before we left town. Rattles had the lightest at 33 pounds, Sole Catcher next at 35, and mine came in at 37. Content to get back on the trail, we set up our tents and went to sleep.
Miles hiked – 4 + 7