Day 35: Mile 654.3 to mile 680.8 (26.5 mile, 43km)
Wasting no time I was up at 4:30am and on the trail by 5am determined to push big and get to Kennedy Meadows in two days. And I can do it.
I had some reservations about getting to KM too early as the food I sent ahead to the Muir Trail Ranch wasn’t expected to arrived until the 18th meaning I’d have to kill some time with some zeros at KM. But with some cell service today I’ve been able to make contact with my resupply and they assure me it can get there by the 15th, three days earlier than expected – perfect.
I sense a real transition today not like the pseudo one a few days back that tempted us with forest but drove us deep back into the desert.
The trail is most certainly on the desert still but many hills surround now with a good mix of pine cover.
It was straight into a rapid ascent this morning, up to 7000 ft. The cool morning air made this much easier.
The a minor climb, straight up and down the other side to a water source, the Spanish Needle Creek. Refreshing water for sure. Nice and clean. I drank a litre before refilling and pushing on up to the next climb for the day over 5 miles.
Once on top it was time for lunch but there wasn’t a lot of flat tree cover. All the nice spots were occupied by other hikers. I couldn’t find the ultimate place to have a nap so after an hours break I continued on with some further minor climbing.
There were some great shady spots up high but now I was determined to keep putting at much distance between me and this desert. We’re up high and mountains all round but I still see cactus and it’s still hot, so it’s still desert.
Only one more day to KM! I made 26.5 miles today a huge effort considering most hikers are still doing 15-20 mile days. That’s good for me. I was able to catch CousCous, Ceaser and Andrew in the afternoon.
20 mile to go to KM! The bonus for tomorrow is that in 17 miles we hit the Kern River, the first major water body in weeks. Times right this will be in the heat of the day and I’m going for a swim.