Thursday, May 19, 2016

Southern California Completed

Day 44 - May 19
Mile: 689.2 to 704.7 (Kennedy Meadows Campground)
up/down: 1350/2425 feet

New trip birds today: Golden Eagle and Killdeer

Bird List 1
Bird List 2
Bird List 3

The Pacific Crest Trail is usually divided into 5 sections: Southern California, Sierra Nevada, Northern California, Oregon, Washington. By most references, the So. Cal. section goes to the Kennedy Meadows Store at mile 702.  We finished that today, and included a few more miles to the campground to get them out of the way.  We had another ride home arranged, this time by our PCT thru-hiker friend Brian (trail name - Nuts) who is currently off-trail for a short time nursing an injury. Many thanks to Brian for the ride and company today, we hope he heals up quickly and can get back out there, perhaps with us as we enter the Sierra.


Today was cruiser miles as we continued down the ridge in the morning to Rock House Basin and on to Kennedy Meadows. The Manter Fire in 2000 was huge and devastating, and we saw the damage walking through it for part of 2 days. There were still some pockets of original forest for a while as we walked along Rock House Basin, so that was pleasant. At mile 698 we came to a feature that I have been waiting for - the South Fork of the Kern River. I am so tired of 5+ liter water hauls and this river signifies better times to come. There are still some dry sections ahead, especially in southern Oregon, but for the most part we are done with the huge weight of 24 hours, or more, of hauling water.


From there we followed the river all the way to the campground, enjoying the introduction to the Sierra, especially when our first Golden Eagle of the trip soared by. There is much snow only 50 or so miles ahead, and we have some thinking to do on when to begin tackling that obstacle.

Speaking of water hauls, I made a vow at the beginning of the trail that we would never get down to our last liter of water. The risk of running out of water was the greatest we faced since the start. I am happy to report that I made it to Kennedy Meadows Campground today with an unopened 1 liter Smartwater Bottle that I've carried since the border. In celebration I opened it and split it with Susan. 

 Unopened from the border


And one more "100" milestone this morning!



  1. Yes--and I see that picture of, well, a river, any river! Ironic that's the first one just as you leave So Cal. Yes, it is desert down here. I'll be tearing out my lawn anytime now (we've held out). Also love the stories about what you guys face. This next leg will keep us all on pins and needles, frozen ones....

  2. Yes, 5 liters of water weighs more than 11 pounds. That's a huge extra load. I would have thought that the southern end of the trail would have been easier, but I would never have thought about the water hauling problem. You guys are tough. (Camped one night yesterday with Ron and Nancy in Placer County. Next day, all I could think about was getting home and taking a shower).