Day 62, July 4, Kennedy Meadows to South Fork Kern River, 15.1 miles (24.3km)
I left Kennedy Meadows on Independence Day around 7.30 this morning. Winter, Ghost and myself (Just-Tom, simple, just like me, right?) agreed yesterday on hiking out together this morning. This would help all of us to get the hell out of the Kennedy Meadows vortex. Probably especially me.I was waiting at the store and soon Winter joined me. Ghost never showed up. His tarp was still set up and absolutely nothing was happening in there. Probably some kind of hangover.
Winter (or Caroline), from Switzerland) and myself were walking on the road and soon were back at the trailhead. We walked together for the first seven and a half miles and then had to let her go. She told me she never really backpacked before but she is used to doing ultra races. Probably the most famoust one she did is the UTMB. That is The Tour du Mont Blanc which I walked a few years ago. I did it in 12 days, these racers do the the whole trail in about one or two days time. That being said, she is a very fit young lady with a nice personality on top. She told me that she signed up for a race that takes place only one week after she finishes this trail in the end of September. Crazy! Good luck!
These first miles were spent walking through meadows until the trail started to climb through burnt areas. Now and then there was a view over the snowy Sierra peaks further north. On top of the climb I found myself in another green meadow.
The trail is definetely changing from dusty, brownish hills to green meadows surrounded by rocky, more rugged peaks. And all of a sudden there’s water practically every five miles. Carrying two liters is more than enough around here. Which is good since I am now carrying a bear canister plus about seven days worth of food in there. My backpack had never been this hard to lift up so far. On a positive note, everytime I eat something out of the canister, the lighter it gets.
Fifteen miles in I was at the bridge over the Kern River. Winter and a few Germans were threre.
This place here is truly a beatiful one. Swallows have made the bridge their home and make this spot even more special. It is a very hostile natural environment around here. There is gras, water, birds and in the evening I even saw some deer walking along the other side of the river.
A few meters above the river there are a few campsites surrounded by rocky walls. I made one of these my home for the night and enjoyed the sun going under and turning this stunning place in a spectacle of colours.