Kennedy Meadows Campsite Mile 704 to Trailside Mile 727
It's official - I <3 the mountains! And I can now say without any hesitation that I absolutely love this trail! Today was a great day.
We hiked with the Wolfpack for the first 15 miles or so and had a ton of fun experiencing the change of scenery together. (I'm hoping we may have passed our last cactus of the trail today!) At the end of the day, we climbed over 5,000 feet, and almost climbed to 11,000 feet at the highest point of the day - and I feel great! How odd. Our surroundings were green, there were trees everywhere, the temperature was perfect, and all were happy in our idyllic little world. After the first big climb, we turned a corner to find ourselves entering a huge, picture perfect meadow with a mountainous backdrop surrounding the scene. Everyone started cheering and we shared a moment of awe appreciating where we were. We stopped for lunch at a meadow where the trail crossed the Kern, and there were about 10 other hikers also stopped enjoying the suddenly lush trail. All this seemed all the more special because of what we endured and persevered through to get here - we earned this beauty!
Unfortunately, after lunch, Brett and I had to leave the rest of the Wolfpack behind - they planned on taking it slow and acclimating gradually to our new elevation, and we needed to average close to 20 miles/day in order to make it to Mammoth in time (arriving a day late was absolutely not an option!) Our guidebook said to not expect to do more than 10-17 miles/day in the High Sierra, so I was a little concerned what we were about to get ourselves into - darn that trail magic that was too hard to leave behind a few days ago! On our first day in the Sierra, we managed to pump out almost 23 though, which I'm pretty excited about. It was hard to leave everyone behind, but I'm sure we'll all be together again soon. And maybe we'll catch up with Lunchbox, Viking or Gummy Bear.
I am already SO much happier not being in the desert, and feeling very much stronger/fitter/more bad@$$ than I have in years! These fun times are only going to get better to boot. Yep, just another Monday in the ole "office."