Today was a good day. The miles were much easier than yesterday and we made it into Bridgeport!
The start of the day was nice and flat, with very little snow. After a few miles, we started heading west up Kennedy Canyon, and slowly gained elevation until the trail was covered in snow. Toward the end/beginning of the canyon we veered away from the creek we had been following and began ascending the ridge to the north. There was a long ascending snow-covered traverse along the side-slope of the canyon which led us to the top of the ridge. Upon reaching the ridgetop we were treated to views of an entirely different landscape. The mountains transitioned from mostly granitic to more volcanic rock, and the other side of the ridge was snow free.
We walked near the crest of the ridge for the next 6 miles, crossing the ridge a couple times and taking many pictures, before crossing the final time to the east side of the ridge. We could see Hwy 108 below and still had about two trail miles to get there, but because there was so much snow we were able to glissade the majority of the way down, walking less than half a mile to get to the road. The glissades were reallllly fast and fun. I hit a couple of bumps/jumps on the way down and definitely caught some air. Definitely up there for the best glissades of the trip!
After getting to the road it took us about an hour to get a hitch from Sonora Pass down to Hwy 395, and then another 10 to get a ride from the junction to Bridgeport.
The first hitch was with Anita and Clint who were on their way back to Walker after visiting Anita's parents. The road was fairly windy and steep, and Clint took it upon himself to make it feel like a roller coaster ride as we made our way down to 395.
The second hitch was with a woman named Karen who had been to see a concert in Reno the night before, had then stayed up until 6am bowling, and may still have been drunk, judging by the aroma of beer in the car.
We made it safely to Bridgeport and had pizza and beer at the Rhino. It was delicious. They had a pizza on the menu called "The Widowmaker" that had anchovies, garlic, and jalepeños. We didn't order that pizza, but the name seemed very appropriate.
We ran into Datamuffin (formerly Colin from Portland) and Topsy Turvy, with who we ended up splitting a room. We also saw many other hikers including Bottlerocket who had hiked the section with a group of other hikers. He told us that they had ended up swimming three of the crossings with packs on, including Falls Creek. I can't imagine a good reason for choosing to do such a thing when easier and safer fords can be found quite easily, but to each their own I guess. They all made it through safely, which is really the important thing. HYOH (hike your own hike).
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