We left Tehachapi and hiked the first few days through what seemed like a never ending wind farm and the last part of the desert.
It was super hot and pretty difficult at times having to ration my water. Throughout the southern California section constantly had to play the water rationing game of how much water do I want to carry and then how much water can I drink now and still have enough to make it to the next source. For us it was no more than 20 miles which was tough but not as hard as those with out caches who had to go 42 miles. I felt bad for them and shared what extra we had but also very impressed with thoes who did it.
The water caches we made plus some trail magic from Chief (a 2013 thru-hiker) and his wife were a godsend and really turn a difficult section into something special.
As we climbed higher and slowly out of the desert the views and scenery became more enjoyable with pine trees replacing windmills and soft green grass replacing sage brush and the best part….rivers. Not a little stream or creek or tiny little spring but rivers with flowing water. It was so nice to see and so hard to leave.
We also passed the 600 and 700 mile markers.
The 700 being the most memorable. At mile marker 702 is the Kennedy Meadows general store and since the late 60’s it has been a tradition for everyone there to clap and cheer each hikers arrival. It totally took me by surprise to here everyone clapping and shouting my name. This happens every 10-15 minutes as hikers come in throughout the day and then the celibration continues into the evening as everyone celibrates accomplishing 700 miles and getting the heck out of the desert.
The two best parts was when the Ravens (a family of 4 with a 13 year old boy and a 9 year old girl) showed up. Everyone was anticipating thier arrival and when the did the place when off the hook. With everyone cheering and clapping for what seamed like forever. Little Bear made thier arrival extra special by walking ice cold sodas out to them as the came up the drive way.
The other great part was being there on a Friday and finding out that they do a happy hour special of half off all drinks and a chilly dog dinner.
We spent two more days on the trail after leaving Kennedy Meadows arriving to a campground near Lone Pine and getting a hitch into town from a guy who looked like he could have stared in Lonesome Dove. He had just dropped of a horse trailer full of stock mules at the pass and was heading back to his ranch.
Even though we had been hiking up hill for the past week I hadn’t realists how high we were untill we stated down to Lone Pine in the Valley.
Lone Pine lies down in a valley 6000 feet lower and about 30 degrees hotter than we were hiking at. Elevation makes such a difference, it’s nice down here with all the amenities of a town but I can’t wait to get back in the mountains. We are spending a few days here to resupply and and rest up before we hitch back to the trail and attempt to summit Mt. Whitney. WOOP WOOP!