The trail is changing and becoming spectacular and more beautiful than before. It was also the first of roughly 8-9 days that we will be in the back country of the High Sierra.
Most folks had already done mock-packing sessions over the past couple days but I sort of avoided it because I knew that it was going to suck. This morning I woke up and finally packed everything that I have. With the extra 12 pounds of food, the bear can, ice axe, and crampons, my pack is extremely heavy. I was sort of shocked that I was even able to get everything inside or on it.
The climb out of Kennedy Meadows is beautiful, but painful with the new weight. We are definitely moving slower than before and the altitude will start to affect us as well. Several miles into the hike Scotty rolled his ankle. My feet are feeling all kinds of new pains, and the same goes for other parts of my legs. The good news is, each day the pain shifts…so I think its just my body making its own adjustments and not some recurring chronic injury. I have to keep a lookout for any serious issues.
The valleys we walked through were impeccable. Imagine two mountains on either side of you forming a perfect V. It gives way to a massive field, a meadow. It’s a real emotional boost to finally walk into these meadows and great expanses. No more damn desert. It runs miles long and is pristine and untouched. The Kern River snakes and meanders through the valley floor. It's breezy and cool, but sunny. Snowy peaks in the distance tower over everything, giving you a preview of what's to come. It is a spectacle to see first hand. With all that is happening in the world, it feels selfish to be here. I am awed by it and I can't wait to see what is next.
That evening, Earwig and I finally pulled into our first camp for the night. 20 hikers were already there, too many for my taste. I decided to cowboy camp because this may be the last night that it's warm enough to do so. It's very cold and the temp dropped fast tonight. I can hear the Cow Creek flowing hard in the darkness. Good night world.