Day 55, June 27, Chimney Basin Rd to Kennedy Meadows, 23 miles (37km)
Michel and I were hitching from the campground around 7 in the morning. Although it took us two hitches to get to Inyokern we were there around 8.30. We went for breakfast at a local mexican place and tried to contact some trail angels for a ride to the Chimney Basin Rd. It’s quite a long drive so no one was really in for it. Next, Michel had to go buy some food at the Dollar General and I waited outside. Soon after we were standing on the road again, thumbs in the air. We got a ride pretty fast but the man said he could only take us to the junction of the highway 4 miles down the road. While sitting in the car I explained where we were trying to get to. At first he was hesitant but Michel and I told him we were willing to pay for his gas and he decided to take us up the 9 mile canyon Rd.
We walked about 9 miles on the dirtroad. Actually, in the beginning it was a proper dirtroad but soon the road turned into a washed out, overgrown half-wide path/road. Two hours later we were back on the pct, descending on quite a slope. I got down pretty fast, crossed an almost dried up creek and walked on because I had packed enough water to get me the whole way to Kennedy Meadows. The terrain shifted between meadows and forest. Ofcourse the sun was back out on full force again so everytime I entered a forest there was some relief in walking in the shade for a few seconds.
After that I walked east of the South fork of the Kern River for more than two hours until I hit the roadcrossing which would take me to the Kennedy Meadows General Store. Less than a mile down the road I saw the famous store where pct hikers hang out. I took the turn and applause and wooohoooo-shouts came loudly from the deck. What a nice way of ending this desert section! This place is a huge milestone on the PCT cause it marks the end of the desert and the beginning of the Sierra Nevada.
I went to the deck, got a lot of fistbumps and was given a beer by a stranger. We all went more or less through the same shit the desert threw at us at certain times so there’s a lot of appreciation for each other’s accomplishment.
Behind the store there is free camping for pct-hikers. There are portable toilets, showers are 3$ and laundry can be done in the store for 3 dollars as well. The store is open between 9am and 5pm so by the time I arrived the store was closed. That was a bummer but I was tired anyway so I put up my tent and then I heard that Tom’s place does outdoor cinema every night at 9. Tom has a cool setup, only 1 minute walk from the store, with a nice outdoor movie theatre and 9 holes of discgolf (frisbee throwing, remember Casa De Luna?). I decided to join Moses and Five-Star but actually I was too tired so after only 15 minutes I walked back to my tent where I fell asleep almost immediately. Good thing!