Distance hiked today: 13.8 miles / 22.2 km.
Heading into Kennedy Meadows (North) today - a different one. With 6 miles to go to the road, we got an early start to make it there for the first shuttle in.
More moonscape as we continued across the ridge, before descending. We didn't put our spikes on because the snow sections were short, but the patches were deceivingly icy in the cold morning. I once again ended up mid-slope wishing I'd put them on when the steps I'd been following disappeared, melted by the sun and recent rain. But I managed to carefully cross, sliding the edge of my shoe in the slope to create just enough of a foothold. As the trail got muddy lower down, the water that had seeped into the dirt had frozen overnight and created really neat ice formations. I thought they looked like ice-mushrooms, with pieces of dirt stuck on top of ice sticks (pictured, although hard to see).
We got to the road early, but luckily there was an earlier shuttle that arrived to drop hikers off going back to trail.
This Kennedy Meadows is slightly bigger, a rustic "resort and pack station" with camping, tipis, yurts, a small store, restaurant, lots of horses for tours, and an area out back for hikers. We weren't staying overnight, just a quick stop to resupply. First order of business: steak and eggs for breakfast.
Then we picked up our food box we'd mailed here and organized everything, before going back for lunch - a triple burger. I'd left our box of food unattended for about a minute and almost had a hiker take it thinking it was hiker-box food! Gotta be careful around these hungry hikers 😂. We opted not to shower, it's only 4 more days to the next town.
We took the 2:30pm shuttle back to trail - an 8 passenger van plus an eager lab in the passenger seat who loves riding along.
We hiked another 8 miles, up an unusually steep trail and hit a lot of slushy snow on the descent. We were postholing more than ever, falling through the snow to our knees and slipping and sliding. Colin broke another trekking pole and we taped it back together for now. We found a nice tent site by a river, and I was glad this long day was over.
Total trail mileage: 1024.6 miles / 1648.6 km