The Family Division

Day 50: Kennedy Meadows

So this is the point between desert and the big, bad, scary Sierra mountains.  Kennedy Meadows isn’t really a town more than a cluster of buildings spread out over a few miles.  But this pinprick on select maps is a huge marker on the PCT radar.  This is where we reconnoiter the next phase.  It’s where weather reports loom like directions from the Wizard of Oz.  It’s where gear is collected from packages we sent ourselves months ago, and from the small outfitter for everything we didn’t anticipate.  It’s where we played pool and learned to pack 8 days of food into a bear canister while we flipped options through our minds like shuffling cards.

This place does fearmongering at its very best: the hikers who know nothing adamantly inform the rest of best strategies to counteract every difficulty the mountain could offer.  The most popular choices are to stay out of the mountains altogether (wait or flip flop) or to acquire a full mountaineering setup.  NO ONE knew what the Sierras would be like by the time we reached the big passes 6 days later.  There is no cell service in the mountains, so all news is old news.  The information comes back out not just late, but unqualified.  What skill level does the reporter have?  What time of day did they approach the pass?  How strong is she?  How unlucky is he?


Everyone has to make their own choice about when and with what and whom they will enter the High Sierra (the passes are all over 10,000 feet).  In our little (now quite big) family, there was a split.

Some decide to go forward in a day’s time; some decide to take a little vacation to a goat farm.  Yeah, you did hear that right: a goat farm.  Lamb Fat worked on an organic farm just prior to the trail and offered up a little getaway to the core family to make cheese, milk goats, wine taste, and take a scenic drive in California for 5 days to wait out some snow.  Half the group left.  Hugs and a few tears later, my new family started packing our food.


Gone were Canon, Sugar, Lamb Fat, Sniper, Garbage Disposal, and Beer Hugs.  Skywalker left for a concert and Raven took off with his girlfriend.  Who knows when they’ll rejoin the trail.

Forging on were House, Salmon, Skipper, Special K, and Sunshine.  Anvil, Dunks, Holmes and Watson also met up with us once we were in the mountains.  Once those who were staying united, we had a blast in our last day just organizing food into the canisters, laughing at the now huge packs, and generally congealing our nervous energy into a new family bond.

We were about to have an amazing time!


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