Friday July 30, 2021
Start: campsite just beyond Kern River
End: 1 tent campsite alongside Cow Creek (dry)
After getting into camp at 6:30pm last night, I was asleep before 8pm. I let myself sleep until 5:30am, since I would only have 5 miles to Kennedy Meadows in the morning. I was up and out by 6:10am and arrived at Kennedy Meadows by 7:45am.
Everything is closed up and shut down when I arrive. I checked out their showers and they’re just 2 really flimsy and dirty stalls made out of plywood, so I decided to pass on even attempting a shower. The outlets around the building are turned off if the store isn’t open and I couldn’t charge my phone until then, so I was stuck waiting until they opened at 9. The store manager arrived at 9am and didn’t turn on the lights inside or the power outlets for charging until 9:40am.
I was hoping to eat at their cafe but it was closed until 11, so I just bought some snacks and soda. Another PCT hiker, Sprint, was here and she’s vibrating with anxiety about getting back on trail and making miles; she’s a flip flopper going south to Walker Pass and then heading back to Cascade Locks to hike Washington. In the end, she was able to get a hitch to skip a 15-20 mile dry section.
I left the store around 10:45am; I didn’t have a full charge but I couldn’t stand the waiting around anymore. I hiked for a few hours before the storms rolled in and the sky opened. I was soaked by rain and even got hit with some hail. The wind gusts were icy cold and I debated stopping to put on my shell a few times but kept moving forward. The thunder was intimidating, but the rain was gentle enough that the ground was dry under thicker trees.
At the top of a climb, I met 4 retired section hikers just heading out on an 11-day trip over to Kearsarge Pass. We chatted for a while and I saw them again later as I was packing up after eating dinner by the bridge (I managed to knock over my serving of ramen into unsalvageable dirt and sand, and so I ate half of another ramen). They said hi and then went to set up their tents out in the field while I pushed on for a few more miles.
I was going to push another 5 miles, but I decided to set up camp maybe 4 miles past the bridge around 7:30 since my shoulders were hurting from carrying 3 liters of water and the storm clouds were getting menacing. I ate a snack, set up the tent, and jumped inside before the rain started.