It was a cool and clear night, and the milky way swirled in the sky every time I looked up. It was mesmerizing and its beauty coupled with the cold and my excitement to get into Kennedy Meadows made it hard to sleep. We were all packed and ready to go before 6:30 and began our short trek into “town”.
The terrain changed to rolling hills through a sagebrush meadow with mountains in the background on all side. Swiss Bitch hikes much faster than us, but Pioneer set a quick pace that got us to the turnoff to the general store in no time. We found Swiss Bitch on the side of the road waiting for us for directions and all set off toward the store together. We reached the iconic sign, had the obligatory photo shoot, and continued to the store where we were welcomed with a round of applause from the other hikers there.
We got breakfast and then took a shuttle to Grumpy Bear’s Retreat where we found Techno Gazelle. He had been hiking with Downsize, but got shin splints so stayed behind to wait for us before heading into the Sierras. We shared stories then got our resupply boxes and tore into them. I received a few unexpected things that totally made my day, including photos from home, an mp3 played loaded with music and lots of yummy snacks.
We went back to the general store to wait for Bandaid and Jailbreak and proceeded to play telephone tag for hours with unreliable wifi and cell signal. Being without signal in the mountains is easy enough but it is incredibly frustrating in civilization. While I waited for them at Grumpy’s, I went next door to an outfitter, Triple Crown, that had basically anything a hiker could need. I got microspikes (a traction device) to avoid a repeat of my fall on Mt Baden-Powell and a lightweight base layer to add another layer of warmth. Tomorrow we’ll need to go through everything and make sure we are prepared for the dangerous and breathtaking section ahead.
Eventually we all ended up in the same place at the same time and caught up about our day and a half apart. The guys got some of their resupply boxes which included a lot of new gear for Jailbreak so he hopefully won’t freeze in the mountains. We set up our tents in a big flat area near Grumpy’s and relaxed, catching up and getting to know each other. The six of us had fun answering random silly questions (“If you could have a super power that only worked on trail, what would it be? Teleportation is off-limits.”) and devouring chips and salsa in the light of our headlamps.
There are still some rowdy hikers howling at Grumpy’s, but I am perfectly content to be laying in my tent surrounded by my trail family, dreaming of the adventure ahead.
Hiked with: Pioneer, Bubblewrap, Swiss Bitch
Camped with: Bandaid, Jailbreak, Techno Gazelle, Pioneer, Bubblewrap, others at Grumpy Bear’s