Sunday in the Desert

Alright – so I am getting back on trail tomorrow morning. Before I do, I would like to catch up a little on this blog to where I actually got off trail and why. More adventures to come! Thanks again for following, I’ve gotten so much support from family and friends on this adventure and it means the world to me.

So let’s travel back to mid-June and where I left off….

This is it – the end of the desert. I met up with Mette in Lake Isabella; she arrived in town a few hours before I was planning to leave. I had spent three days there hiding from the heat wave in the A/C of my hotel room. I also met up with Sphagnum, Drippy, and GQ while in town. They were heading to pick up Eeyore from Kennedy Meadows then driving to San Francisco for a few days. GQ was getting off trail and going for some job interviews in SF, Eeyore was meeting up with his girlfriend there and then heading home, and Sphagnum/Drippy were taking a few days off trail and considering skipping ahead the Sierras.

Mette and I had an early dinner at Chef Sarape, then I caught the bus ride back to mile 652. It was full to the brim with hikers.

Note: I still had no battery pack for my phone on this section, so my phone was off or dead most of this stretch. That’s why there are so few photos of this section.

Got back on trail at Walker Pass

It was so hot when we arrived at the trail. Someone there said it wouldn’t go below 90°F until 8 p.m., and it was only 6. I hid in the shade for a while and hit the trail around 7.

Within two miles, it was clear I was still sick. I stopped to watch a beautiful sunset, but I started vomiting again soon after that. Perfect. I only hiked 5 miles that night and set up camp completely dejected. I felt horrible and thought that there was no way I could possibly hike the Sierras like this. I’d been planning to spend the two weeks after getting back on trail whipping myself back into shape, and instead had been sick, taking zeros, and doing low mileage days. It was a rough night, and I started wondering if maybe I should get off trail.

Camped around mile 657

I ate very little this day and so was successful at not vomiting again. On the other hand I think I drank over 10L of water. I still felt sick, so I mostly tried to turn off my brain and just walk. I felt like a zombie.

It was a quiet day, I saw very few people. I night hiked a little, trying to mount this last ridge before bedtime. I saw several headlamps in the valley below so there were some other people night hiking behind me too.

Camped around mile 673

Similar day to the previous. Little food, lots of water, no vomiting. Zombie hiking. Very hot temperatures (again), and I took my longest siesta yet from around 11:30 until 6:00 p.m. The place where I too my siesta was home to these horrible yellow biting flies, so I wrapped up in my silk sleeping bag liner to try and hide from them.

Since I still didn’t have a battery pack for my phone, it had already been dead for about a day and I didn’t realize that it was the summer solstice. That means Naked Hiking day! I saw a couple come up to the water source starlets, and that was when I realized. Due to the plethora of biting insects, I did not partake but I am sad that I missed out on that.

I night hiked to the top of another hill and set up tent there. I prefer to do climbs before bed, giving me easier mornings and a real feeling of success at the end of a day.

Camped around mile 684

Today was the day. Kennedy Meadows, here I come! Some other people we’re camped on top of the hill with me, and headed out early. I woke up around the time they left and started packing up my gear. Just as I was getting ready to leave, someone comes up the hill. I was still mapless, so I asked him what mile we were at. I thought it was 684, but after being caught 4 miles further back than expected midday yesterday, I thought it best to check. Turns out his name was Jukebox, and he was super chill. He’d headed out ahead of his crew, so we took off together and crushed the 6 miles to the first water source. It was a gentle downhill, so we really rocked it. He decided to stay and wait for his sister/her boyfriend to catch up, but I wanted to push on. Kennedy Meadows. So close. I only had another 11 miles to KM and it was early still, so I figured I could make it without taking a siesta. I was in the Sierra now! Siestas were a thing of the past, right?!

I’m sure anyone reading this can predict that it turned out to be a brutally hot day with little water, but I didn’t care. Kennedy. Motherfucking. Meadows. I got a rough sunburn on the back of one leg since I was out of sunscreen (I ended up tying my Buff around my knee to shield my lower leg from continued UV exposure), and I was very dehydrated. I didn’t even have a hat because I had one in my box at KM. But I pushed through.

I saw my first real river on trail – the Kern. I actually stopped and said “Damn. Now that’s a river!”. I’d also run out of water a few miles back and was very thirsty, so that was a beautiful sight.

I took my dirty water bottle and poured litres of cold water over my head, feigning a shower. By the end of that I was chilly, despite the hot midday sun. It felt glorious. If the current hadn’t been so fast, I would have gone for a swim. But I had somewhere to be.

Made it to Kennedy Meadows! (Mile 702)

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