Jun 28 – Day 66 “So much has happened!”

PCT Mile: 879

So much has happened over the past 2 weeks that it would take hours to describe in detail. I’m taking a zero at VVR and there is much to do. So, I’ve decided to provide you with some interesting stats, show you some incredible pictures, and tell just a couple of stories. 


At mile 702, Kennedy Meadows, many hikers dropped out due to the justified, and not so justified, hype of heavy snowfall and dangerous river crossings in the Sierras. Some of us wanted to get a feel for what was coming so we continued into the southern Sierras climbing Forrester Pass and exiting via Kearsarge Pass. While staying in Bishop, we talked to over 50 hikers and only found 2 others continuing northbound. Most were headed to points north of the Sierras or dropping out altogether. One of the workers here at VVR said that they normally receive over 5,000 hiker resupply boxes per season. This year…300. That’s down 94%!!!

Forrester and Kearsarge were not easy. In fact, after the extreme hiking conditions and me falling in the creek in 30 degree temperatures, we were extremely nervous about moving on.

We took a week off to recharge and headed up to Tahoe. We practiced fording in Taylor Creek and spent over 2 hours trying various techniques in the rapids. It was a blast and we gained a great deal of confidence. 



On June 22nd, we headed up to Kearsarge Pass and back into the wilderness. Immediately, we could see the runoff on our drive up Onion Valley. The road was washed out and the pavement was starting to cave due to high volume of water. Oh well. We were committed. 


Our packs were loaded with 10 days of food. We calculated 8 days with an additional 2 days for emergencies. Our packs weighed more than 45 lbs. 



Our first 2 days were the toughest on the PCT so far. We were nervous, our packs heavy, and the climbs almost unbearable. Our morale was low and several times I asked myself, “Why am I doing this?” I knew this day would come. Each morning, at 5am, I would wake up hating what was ahead of me. There is no trail. We had countless stream crossings and the climbs are steep with snow everywhere. I had to change my attitude or this was not going to end well. So, every morning I started my day by kissing my St. Christopher pendant around my neck. “Let’s make this a good day! Protect me and keep me safe”, I say to myself. I know. Spiritual! What’s up with that?


On that note, I want to publicly thank my guardian angel for watching out for me. I have fallen twice in the cold streams and this next one is really good. We had just summited Pinchot Pass. The back side was very steep and I was picking my way through a steep boulder field. My kids were far ahead of me so I was alone. Now these boulders were not round. They were huge sharp rocks that had fallen from the cliffs above. I miscalculated a step and fell hard smacking my head against a rock. I looked around. It was one of very few that was not jagged. I could be telling a very different story but that rock just knocked some sense into me. Thanks for protecting me! Keep going. 


At 2 summits of our 6 passes, my Trail Kids had a lemonade waiting for me in the snow. I’m choking up just typing this. You can feel that emotion. 


​​
​My confidence and strength has grown stronger with every passing day. I just keep getting better and better at dealing with extreme conditions to the point where it is almost routine. Now I said, almost routine!

Here are some stats for you…
We have summited 6 passes in 7 days. We estimated 8 days!

  • Kearsarge 
  • Glen
  • Pinchot 
  • Mather 
  • Muir
  • Selden
  • We averaged 15 miles per day! A couple of days over 20. Now that is amazing. People say to estimate 10 miles on average in these conditions. 
  • My boots have not been dry for a week. 
  • I have ascended/descended over 43,000 feet in 7 days. 
  • Lemonade at the top of two passes. Sniff! Sniff!
  • Over 30ish stream crossings 
  • I now wear medium shirts. I’m washing the only clothes that I have and the hiker box had a medium shirt. It fits perfectly. 
  • I plan to be Santa this year but need to gain some weight. 

  • Hiking the Sierras is life changing and good for the soul!
  • I love my family beyond words. 


Kevbo out!

15 thoughts on “Jun 28 – Day 66 “So much has happened!”

  1. Bernie Benson

    Kevin, thanks for the spectacular pics in the back country. Good to hear you’re travelling with St Christopher and his guardian angels. By now you’ve learned that a little spirituality (or a lot of spirituality) is good for the soul and it does not impair you or harm you in any way! Be safe.

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  2. John Alexander

    Kevin, I was getting concerned about you. So relieved to see you are OK, but then again, maybe not given the spiritual comment. Amazing accomplishments and beautiful photos. We struggled to complete a 25 mile ride on the bike path this past weekend. We are all wimps compared to you. We miss you!

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  3. Chris Moruza

    I always wear an ultralight climbing helmet on snow and iffy talus. Too late for that now, but as you get older, and want to do more, think about it. Stay safe!

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  4. Larry Hall

    Kev,
    Congratulations! I was beginning to worry about you since I hadn’t heard from you for a few days, and with good reason. Safety first, enjoyment second, speed last.
    From your writing, it appears to me that you have reached, and overcome, one of, if not the most important milestone of your entire trek to date. Your determination is admirable! All the folks here are very proud of you. Keep up the marvelous experience. Stay safe!
    Love,
    Dad

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  5. Julie sheehan

    I’ve got tears on my cheeks. The rainbow picture and the I love my family beyond words tore the ass outta me pretty good. I went slowly through each picture and just breathed and felt the energy coming off each one. I am so thankful you’re safe and vibing with your spiritual side. Your words and pictures were salve for my soul. Thank you for sharing this journey. Sending continued prayers over you, the trail kids and your family here at home. May you easily Keep up your gratitude, positive attitude and sense of openness and adventure! Much love to you Kevin! PS your wife is still a hottie and killing her workouts

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  6. Hobbes

    Very nice – 20 miles is a lot. Was this from Evo to VVR? You can count your slip/fall as one of your 9 lives. Anyone who has hiked the high passes in early season (May/June) alpine conditions knows the feeling. A very small club:

    From this day to the ending of the world,
    But we in it shall be rememberèd-
    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

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  7. Gary Aquilina

    Kevin:
    Thanks for the update and as always, amazing photos. You are really in the thick of it, from your words I get the sense you are in a state of transformation.
    You sound like you have acceptance, and commitment to finishing this journey. Thank you for sharing your humanness and experiences.
    Gary

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  8. Ralph

    Thank God you are OK? Please don’t take any unnecessary risks. The trail will always be there. July 4th is coming next Tuesday. Another milestone. You are in my prayers every day. Call me when you can. The BITB sends their best wishes.
    P.S. Looks like you could use a hat to keep the sun off your face. Great pics. And Journal.
    Ralph

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  9. stacy chapman

    I’m thankful you are safe and protected. I was starting to worry a little, but felt relieved seeing your post. My favorite post so far. You are in my thoughts and sending all good things your way. Love you.

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  10. BITB Bob

    WOW WOW WOW, my jaw is on the desktop. Your adventure is amazing, your journal is exceptional and your pictures mesmerizing. You said you were going to do this, any you are.
    The tone of your journal entries shows how hard some things are out there in the wilderness, but they also show your spiritual enthusiasm for what you are doing. an M shirt? cmon.!
    namaste my brother.

    Like

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