October 2nd, 2018
Mm 728 to mm 702 and then road walk to Kennedy Meadows general store
Distance: 26 miles plus 1 mile to the store
0620 – 1500
The 3 month stretch of no rain was finally broken. It rained pretty hard around 4 am. I had to put my tent flaps down. At least the rain stopped before we had to pack up. Later, it was like it hadn’t even rained. It had been so dry that all the plants and ground soaked up every drop. There was no mud, puddles, or running water anywhere.
With the clouds and rain came a very fresh scent. I daresay I enjoyed it all, staying warm and dry in my tent. The outside temperature was also dramatically warmer. A nice break from the below-freezing Sierra mornings.
I had to go over a bump of 10,500′ just one more time in the early morning. It was very foggy and a bit chilly at that elevation. Then the trail dropped the rest of the day, all the way down to 6000′. That’s it for really high elevations. The trail climbs to 9000′ a couple of times but stays pretty low the rest of the way.
Looking back at the socked in mountains, I could see no trace of the high peaks of the Sierra. It was as if they had put out a sign “Closed for the season!” I worried for all the poor SOBOs still behind us. Hopefully this weather system would pass quickly and not dump too much snow.
As I was walking through a meadow, it began to rain again. I put up the umbrella and even donned my rain skirt. It was nice to have to use my rain gear for once. Stellar got a kick out of my ensemble and wanted to take pictures. Yes, I look ridiculous but it works!
The rain stopped after only 10 minutes and it was partly cloudy the rest of the day. The trail wasn’t as dusty after the rain, a welcomed break. The sagebrush was also flowering and smelled very strongly. The desert was coming alive and it was great to experience it.
Stellar and I hiked together the rest of the way to the Kennedy Meadows general store, only stopping a few times to negotiate some piñon pine nuts. All were bad and we just got a lot of pine sap on our hands for our troubles. So much for foraging for food. The store was a much better option for finding food. We got in at 3 pm and had just 2 hours before they closed.
We were very efficient with this time. We took showers, did some laundry, got burgers, bought some resupply items, and shipped our bear canisters. I was SO glad to get rid of that 2 lb beast. It made my backpack uncomfortable and was useless weight, IMHO. Neither my tent, quilt, or pack weigh even close to that much and they are all essential items. But it was required throughout the Sierra and I am thankful that Jean-Claude of the Happy Hoofers Florida Trail chapter let me borrow his. Thanks again!
Bella and Cuba also made it to the store and we sat around drinking beers on the porch well after they closed. Later, as we were setting up our tents behind the store, I heard a rooster crowing. I couldn’t resist finding said rooster and when I did, he made it easy to catch him by going on the offensive. He tried to spur me and when I grabbed ahold of him, he gave me a good peck on the hand. But it was to no avail…I’m a pro after all.
In the picture, I look like I’m choking him, but I assure you, he is ok. He was just a little shocked and calmed down shortly. He was a cute little cochin, just like the rooster I had growing up. This was my first chicken-catching on this trail but in New Zealand, I was already up to 5 or 6, plus some ducks and peacocks. A good end to a productive day!