Preparing For Sierra
Day 47 (cont)
Today was a good day. My eye felt better, my energy level was high, and our evening hike was gorgeous. We stayed at Kennedy Meadows for breakfast and lunch, eventually leaving at 2:30pm. Cosmo and Utah Aaron took off quickly down the trail and Ya Ya and I got some much needed girl time.
We officially entered the South Sierra Wilderness and Sequoia National Park...it feels good to get away from the desert and good to be close to water. We walked to the sounds of the Kern River flowing fiercely, but still with a lingering smell of fire in the air. After 10 miles we dropped into a valley just in time for sunset. The trail led to a gently rippling creek which is where we laid our tarps down to cowboy camp. For dinner I ate vegan mac and cheese with kettle chips and raw chocolate macaroons (thanks to Danielle and Bill!). Before falling asleep I laid in my sleeping bag and stared up at the big starry sky, the Big Dipper, and the bright crescent moon.
Cowboy camping was mostly perfect, until I woke up under a layer of frost. Thankfully, I was warm and slept through the night, but the bandana I left out to try turned to a solid icicle and my backpack and various bags needed to be wiped clean of a wet and frosty residue.
Our hike today took us above 10,000ft up to Olancha Pass, back down to 7,000, and up again. We are definitely in the Sierra now. Snow-capped peaks surrounded every valley and meadow.
After an epic day of elevation gain we stopped off for a room with a view. Our campsite at mile 732 was on a rocky mountain ledge with a panoramic view. Snowy mountain tops lined the distance like the crest of a wave.
We hiked 11 PCT miles to get to Mulkey Pass Trail which we took for 1.7 miles to Horseshoe Meadows. From Horseshoe we put out our thumbs to hitch a ride into the town of Lone Pine.
Cosmo and I lucked out today, within a few minutes of hitching we got picked up by Crab, a fellow thru hiker. She is on the trail with her husband, Tweets, but she is taking some time off for now and avoiding the challenge of the Sierra.
My first task once arriving in Lone Pine was FOOD. We stopped at a local cafe and immediately I ordered a veggie burger, French fries, side salad, and extra side of onion rings. This time there were no left overs. Before stepping foot into this cafe, I was stopped on the street by a flustered store owner from the local outfitters. Back in Lake Isabella I ordered a special ice axe to take with me for this snowy section. Unfortunately, an unaware employee sold my axe (which was the last one available within a 200 mile radius). The owner was incredibly apologetic and desperately wanted to help me find a solution.
After feeding my body and brain, I milled over my options. Coincidentally, LA Aaron and his brother are in Lone Pine today getting ready to summit Mt. Whitney. My best option might be to go to Los Angeles with them and pick up a pair of ice axe poles I have waiting for me at home.