Today we successfully made it to Kennedy Meadows! It was a cold morning and we were on the trail by 6:30. We hiked up two miles to a spring, grabbed a little more water, and then continued up the hill to about 7600' before descending to 5800' at a creek crossing. I had been feeling a little antsy so I decided to run the downhill section and got to the creek, 12 miles from where we camped, by 10am. I ate a little lunch and waited for the others to get to the creek in Rockhouse Basin before moving on ahead the remaining 9 miles to the Kennedy Meadows general store.
I was enjoying the scenery of the hike when, after a couple miles into the section, a racer snake startled me when it slithered it's way across the trail right in front of me. After that I decided to be more vigilant of the trail in front of me so that wouldn't happen again. Of course that vigilance didn't last and less than a mile later I was hiking along, just past a little Mexican sagebrush shrub on the right side of the trail, when I heard the distinctive "move your ass" sound of a rattle snake in that bush. That got me to jump a little bit and I really was more aware of what was going on near the trail after that.
A couple miles later the trail came to the Kern River, the first real body of water of the hike! The remaining miles of the trail generally followed the river until the road to the store in Kennedy Meadows. It is one of my favorite parts of the hike to date.
At 1:25pm I came to a trail register just before a road, signed it, and thought because it was so early I must be at mile 700 with another 2 miles to go before the road to the store. Turns out I was hiking faster than I thought and that was the road to the store, which I found out a couple more miles down the trail when I got to the campground at mile 704.something. So I got a few bonus miles! I eventually made it to the store and enjoyed a lot of food and some beer with the other hikers hanging out there.
After dinner we headed to a trail angels property (Tom) and are camping on his land for the next couple nights. More on that tomorrow!
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