Day 15 - Mile 693.5 to Mile 702.25
Friday 15 June (0620-0955)
Distance: 8.75 miles
Weather: some clouds were seen late last night! First clouds in 10
days. They'd gone by this morning.
The surroundings were irrelevant today. The sole focus was on Kennedy
Meadows, our destination. Everyone we've met has been excited about
getting to Kennedy Meadows, but in their cases it has been because it
marks the end of 700 miles of desert. In our case, it was purely the
thought of a shower and laundry that made us stride on, although I
confess that even after 250 miles, we're more than ready to leave the
desert. I'm glad that we did that section (it really has been
stunning, with more life than I could have imagined), but I'll be
happy to have water more plentiful and am rather hoping that the dust
and dirt situation will improve too.
We didn't have to walk the whole of the 0.7 miles from the trail to
the General Store, where everyone hangs out, as part way up the road a
pick up came along, turned around and offered us a ride. I can't think
of many places where I'd be happy to climb into the already-full bed
of a truck (full of petrol cans), with my pack still on, and just hold
On arrival at the store we found lots of people in dresses - and not
just the girls. At first I thought it odd that all of these
lightweight backpackers (we're definitely not as light as most) had
packed dresses. Then we learnt that there were loaner-clothes
available so that laundry could be done. The lack of male 'bottoms'
explained the men in dresses.
Having obtained a very early-1990's frock for me, Mick borrowed my
shorts so as to avoid any frock-wearing himself, but did select quite
a loud shirt.
The showers were quite interesting too. Two stalls, outside, with a
saloon style door each, and with gaps in the slats which form the
sides. A peeping-tom's dream.
Most people take at least one zero here to sort everything out for the
Sierra. We were on a mission to get ourselves sorted within the day,
so within minutes of arrival we had picked up our (huge!) resupply
parcel and bear canisters, put our names down for laundry and worked
out the system for the showers. Then came the time consuming tasks:
fitting all of the food in the bear canisters and working out how to
fit the canisters in the packs (or 'on' as it has turned out, as ours
won't happily fit in our packs). We're very much in the minority in
that we have got Bearicade canisters, whereas everyone else has got
the Bearvault. That's probably because the cost of renting ours for 2
weeks is about the same as the cost of buying the Bearvault. But,
working on the basis that we have no need to own a canister, we went
for the lightest option (which also happens to have the larger
dimensions). On the plus side, we have managed to fit all of our food
into ours, although part of that is because we're only walking a 6-day
stretch. Many people walk the whole way to VVR (12 days on our
schedule; 10 days on most) without resupply.
Having the canister on board is seen as a burden to some people, but
I'm glad to have it. Statistically cows in the UK are far more
dangerous than bears in the High Sierra, but somehow it feels much
better to have the food safely stored elsewhere.
With the chores all done, and much socialising (it seems that we now
know most of the people here), we'll be heading out tomorrow.