The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Saturday 23 June 2012

Day 16 - mile 702.25 to mile 719.5

Day 16 - mile 702.25 to mile 719.5
Saturday 16 June (0720-
Distance: 17.25 trail miles; 18 miles total
Weather: fluffy clouds forming as the day went on - perhaps this is
the pattern for the Sierra? Still constant sunshine, though.

The Sierra was the prime reason for this trip and even though we've
barely got our foot through the door, I'm already bowled over by the
overload of beauty we've seen today.

The view two days ago suggested that the transition from desert to
mountains was sudden, yet somehow we had expected another couple of
days of desertesqueness. The first few miles were lived up to
expectations, and even when we went into a forest there was often
deep, soft sand underfoot. Then we popped over a pass, and before us
was a green meadow with hills beyond.

Green has been the colour of the day. It's not anywhere near the lush
green that our garden will be just now (except in the region of a
spring or creek), but it's remarkably green compared to everything
we've seen to date. And the meadows are just incredible; I find it
hard to believe they're so high up (8000' today - the coming days will
be higher).

Lunch was nearly had at a spring 12 miles through the day, but there
was nowhere nice to sit. So, having topped up our water we continued
on another hour to the south fork of the Kern River. A good decision!
What a fantastic place for a long lunch - an opinion shared by the
dozen people already there.

It was a bit of a strange day today, people wise, in that today
everyone set out from either Kennedy Meadows, or a few miles beyond.
That meant that we spent the morning leap-frogging and we're seeing
far more people than we have on any other day. The effect is
highlighted by our having set out at a more 'normal' time of day.

We didn't walk far after lunch. Just three more miles saw us to where
we intended to stop, having sworn that we're not going to walk more
miles a day than necessary on this section. We did give serious
consideration to another 2 or 3 miles, but the realisation that the
trail rises another 1400' in those 3 miles made final the decision to
stay put. In fact we didn't just stay put, but we backtracked about
100 yards - much to the amusement of the group we'd passed there
twenty minutes before.

They moved on after a while, but we were soon joined by more people. A
campfire has been lit and I reckon another handful of people will be
here by the time we wake up in the morning.

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