October 3rd, 2018
Road walk from Kennedy Meadows general store, then mm 702 to mm 673
Distance: 29 miles plus 1 mile from the store
0720 – 1830
My rooster alarm went off at 5:40 am but I was already awake and eating breakfast. What a cheeky little guy. He wanted to get his revenge on me but didn’t realize just how early I get up. Nice try!
Poor Stellar was still waiting on his resupply box to arrive, so I had to bid him farewell. I will probably see him later since I planned to take some time off in Ridgecrest. I left with Bella and Cuba. It was nice to walk with them and I was surprised to learn that those are their real names, not trail names. Well, they are nicknames, short for Isabella and Jacob. Everybody assumes they are trail names and so haven’t made the effort to come up with actual trail names. They both just graduated from Colorado College and received a grant to hike the PCT.
We shortly passed the 700 mile mark (left to go), so I have walked just about 2000 miles of the PCT at this point. Add in the Colorado Trail, Te Araroa, and section hikes of the AT, and I will have walked over 5000 miles in the past year and a half. That’s a lot of walking.
We had to go up a long valley, during which the clouds rolled and it hailed briefly. I hadn’t been able to connect to the wifi at the store and therefore hadn’t seen a recent weather forecast. I didn’t care much anymore, since I was out of the high mountains. But we still did a lot of climbing…over 5,000′ for the day. We were not in the flat parts of the desert yet.
We got water at a spring that was about 18 miles from where we started. According to our data, it might be another 40 miles to the next source. I filled up with about 3 liters. The spring was running well but a little murky, probably from all the rain. It could be a lot worse. I planned to hike another 10 miles for the day and then 21 miles to where the highway was the next day. I had to go up another climb, but since my pack was 2 lbs lighter (sans bear can) and I didn’t have much food, it was pretty easy. I didn’t touch any of my water as it was cool and cloudy.
At the top of the ridge, I could look down at Ridgecrest, my destination for the next day. I was also able to get cell reception and spent some time looking at stuff. I walked a little further to a saddle and found a flat spot to set-up. It was pretty exposed on top the ridge and I worried about a late-night thunderstorm. When it got dark, I could see storms flashing all around. But you can see for hundreds of miles up there and nothing seemed too close. It had rained and hailed about 3 times that day and a chill wind was blowing. This was certainly not what I was expecting in the desert! I pitched my tent to minimize wind, battened down the hatches, and played on the internet for a while inside my cozy abode.