170605 – Reaching Kennedy Meadows

Day:  043
Date:  Monday, 05 June 2017

Start:  Camped by the trail at Mile 687.2, 8015 ft

Finish:  Sherman Pass Road crossing at Mile 702.2, 6007 ft

Daily Miles:  15.0 PCT, 0.7 to Kennedy Meadows Store 

Total PCT Miles:  702.2

Weather:  Warm and sunny

Accommodation:  Tent behind Kennedy Meadows General Store


     Breakfast:  Muesli

     Lunch:  Hamburger

     Dinner:  Salad, pizza and tiny brownie

Aches:  None

Highlight:  Reaching the PCT-renowned Kennedy Meadows Store which marks the end of the desert and the start of the High Sierras.  The store serves a small isolated community, and for two months of the year, is inundated by PCT hikers and their mailed parcels.  I was given the traditional cheer by the hikers assembled on the deck of the store and was one of about 40 hikers to arrive today.  They let hikers camp behind the store and provide portaloos and a primitive shower.  They also have a grill going from 11-4 where hamburgers can be purchased.  The whole place is powered by a generator and is only open from 9-5, in theory, because they seem to be willing to stay open as late as needed.  I put my name down, along with about 20 others to get pizza delivered for dinner (don’t know where it came from).  Late in the afternoon, Drumsolo and his group arrived and later, Waldo, so it was a gatherkng of old trail friends.  Drumsolo is a mad Pittsburgh Penguins ice hockey fan and tonight is the fourth game of the finals, so the store owner left the power and TV on outside and many hikers gathered to watch, drink, and smoke dope.  I kept one eye on the hockey and did my blog 🙂

Lowlight:  None really

Pictures:  Click here

Position:  Click here

Map:  Click here for Google Map


The ground was hard and rocky where I was camped and I woke up frequently during the night as I rolled over.  My sleeping mat is only about two-thirds of my body length.  But otherwise I was OK and looking forward to a shorter day and reaching Kennedy Meadows.  The first six miles was gradually downhill following the sides of a ravine with scrub-covered slopes.  It was mild and I should have felt fresh, but still worked hard.  Maybe the altitude.

The ravine ended at the flat valley of the South Fork Kern River and then followed that swiftly flowing, somewhat brownish river upstream to the north.  It was very warm in the sun, but it was easy walking and I was feeling a little more energetic.  The path at time passed through impressive boulder fields and at others through pine forests or bordering the river.

I reached the road to Kennedy Meadows General Store in the early afternoon and the store itself at 1:30pm (see above).  I got a few drinks, a popsicle, and later a hamburger and generally took it easy for the rest of the afternoon, though I did have a primitive shower and collected all of my boxes – food, bounce box, snow gear, etc. – and erected my tent in a spot up behind the store.  Later I ate the pizza ordered earlier in the day, and watched the ice hockey on TV.

I think I will stay here tomorrow, while I sort out my gear, and aim to leave on Wednesday morning.  The difficulties of traversing thr High Sierras is a frequent topic of conversation with a number of hikers deciding not to take on the risks.

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