PCT Mile 702.2
Wow, so much has happened since my last blog. I’ll start with my stay at Kennedy Meadows.
Kennedy Meadows South is considered the gateway to the Sierra Nevada . This is where all thru-hikers complete the desert portion of the PCT and begin their trek to into the mountains. There is a general store and a run down restaurant/bar just up the road. As you can imagine, the volume of hikers passing through puts a tremendous strain on their business and basic services. There’s only a two month window to make 90% of their yearly income.
We can camp behind the general store for free, but we pay for everything else. There are outdoor trickle showers for $3. The two showers are made of scrap plywood and the 1/2 doors are warped and the locks are broken. The water source is a large plastic reservoir that sits on a trailer on the hill above. There are 8 outdoor toilets each completely filled to the top with “you know what”! Surprise…they do not provide toilet paper. The owner cranks up the generator at 8 AM and turns it off at 7 PM. It’s an extremely unsanitary environment, but we are a captive market. The nearest crystal meth town is over an hour away.
The restaurant, 3 miles up the road, is called Grumpy Bear. Since the only business is from hikers, a guy loads 20 of us at a time in his pickup truck and shuttles us back-and-forth. They have limited food options and only one breakfast…2 eggs, potatoes, bacon, and a frisbee sized pancake. They often run out of food and have to close. It seems that the previous owner was a hoarder so there’s crap everywhere!
Now the general store is also serving burgers and dogs but he doesn’t have a license. As you can probably guess, neither owners really like each other due to the intense competition of attracting the short span of business offered by the thru-hikers.
Do you remember that scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation where Chevy Chase couldn’t get his Christmas lights to work on his house? In pure frustration he starts kicking the Santa in his sleigh and all of the reindeer. That was me trying to use the ridiculous contraption called a pay phone. Let’s just say that I was never able to call my wife after a week on the trail. It turns out that it would be another week until I could talk to her!
That said, there was an electric atmosphere as hikers would arrive after a grueling 6 days in the desert. Many of them I have grown fond of and we look forward to sharing stories of our journey.
This is Alexa and Cooper…such a great couple.
Alexa has such a gentle soul and I love chatting with her. We sat on the deck of the general store, and I lamented over not being able speak to my wife for over a week. I then showed her the letter that my daughter sent to me in my last resupply. She pulled out a picture of her best friend’s newborn baby. She hasn’t seen her in person and missed her dearly. I started talking about my granddaughter but I didn’t get very far. Huge tears streamed down her face and I joined right in. It was a moment that I will cherish forever. Thanks Alexa. You are awesome!!!!
My Trail Kids and I are anxious to get back on the trail. We have decided to go as far as Kearsarge pass. That’s about 86 miles from here. There is no snow for the first 40 miles into the Sierra Nevada. There are so many rumors floating around. We really want to see the snow conditions in order to make our own decision as to whether we push on or come up with an alternate strategy.