Distance hiked today: 18.7 miles / 30.1 km.
We left Kennedy Meadows around 7am, packed up with the addition of bear cans, microspikes, and a fleece layer. Our bags only weigh about 35lbs each with 2L of water and 7.5 days of food which is pretty good. Much lighter than the last time we left here when we had to carry 10 days of food, a shovel and ice axes too. It's a totally different experience this time with low snow levels, and an actual trail to follow rather than route finding in the snow.
We stopped at a river for lunch where dozens of tiny birds live in mud nests they've constructed under the bridge. They flew around, chirping in constant motion, gathering more mud for their nests and insects to eat. While getting water I found one of their tiny eggs under the bridge, still intact, fallen out of a nest. Unsure what to do with it, and unable to get it back into a nest because the bridge was too tall, I debated nurturing it until it hatched… obviously impractical. I left it on the beach, accepting nature's circle of life.
I made the mistake of getting rid of most of my water capacity, excited to be done with the desert. There's supposed to be water everywhere in the Sierras… but most of the snow has already melted and streams are drying up, at least at this lower elevation for the first few days. So we ended up having to carry water in the filtering bladder which is like a slippery noodle and hard to pack. I'll need to re-evaluate in the next town.
We made good mileage, not pushing too far before Colin warms up his trail legs, and arriving at camp before 6:30pm. We found a great tent site with a large boulder to lounge on, and had a chill evening. It was pretty luxury - in the desert there were rarely good rocks to sit on, and I've been hiking big miles from sunrise to sundown. We watched the sunset from our rock lounger and quickly got ready for bed before it got dark.
Total trail mileage: 720.9 miles / 1159.9 km