Day 36: mile 680.8 to 702.2 (21.4 miles, 34.4 km)
The desert is done!!!! Bye bye. I won’t miss you. I say that now but probably will when it’s freezing cold in the mountains.
Off at 5am I had one thing on my mind – reach Kennedy Meadows no matter what.
I’m sorry to say but it was a bit of a race this morning, thinking distance and not is what’s around me, for the first part of the day anyway. I’d seen it all before and the terrain is becoming repetitive.
Out of the gate there was a climb to 8000 ft. It wasn’t too bad. A few steep punches but mostly well graded.
A short breakfast break on top and I kept flying along, determined to reach the next water source by 10am to take a short break and try and reach the Kern River by lunch time.
I made the river by lunch super excited. The first major water body for weeks and an opportunity to swim and finally cool down.
The water was cold but brilliant. Once in it was easy to get used to. With the sun still shining bright there was no time to linger for fear of being burnt.
A quick lunch and the KM was only 4 miles away so it was time to push on. KM was on my mind and to be done with the desert.
I made it by there by 2pm to the welcome applause of fellow hikers. It’s tradition for everyone at KM to clap and cheer in new hikers as they arrive.
Time for a beer or two. And a burger.
It feels so good to finally make it here. A huge milestone indeed and finally feels like I’m making progress