Day 91 Chimney Creek to Kennedy Meadows


a wave see you later
Janis is headed to Kennedy Meadows

Today BG and I started back north.  Yesterday we were in the Owens Peak Wilderness, crossing the road where we were camped we entered the Chimney Peak Wilderness.  We climbed to 8000 feet over a ridge where we entered the Domeland Wilderness, and then we dropped down the other side to the south fork of the Kern River.  I thought as we were climbing to the top of the ridge that we would be getting a panorama of the Sierras but it wasn’t to be.  From the top of the ridge what we saw were more burnt trees and more dry ridges.  The trail itself was good, mostly sandy tread, it did get soft and deep in spots, but the grades were steady but gentle and the pure rock ledges rare.

Morning trail
hanging on by a root
Still a few flowers left

The smoke is all but gone, Owens Peak in the distance

Every thru hiker knows Kennedy Meadows.  Meadows would be a loose term, high desert flat is more accurate, except for a narrow strip along the Kern River which is thick with willows and grass.  Kennedy Meadows is also a remote hamlet reached by 25 miles of narrow, STEEP, twisty road.  Kennedy Meadows offers the last on trail resupply for the next couple hundred miles.  There is a small general store and an internet café, both of which offer meals, camping, showers and laundry to the hikers.  In the spring the businesses are awash with hikers waiting for the snow to melt in the Sierras.  Kennedy Meadows marks the unofficial end to Southern California and the beginning of Central California as well as the Sierras.  Leaving Kennedy Meadows one climbs past the 7000 foot mark, a number that won’t be seen again for over 400 miles, in fact the trail only dips to the 8000 foot mark half a dozen times in the same distance.  Tonight we are camped along the river which is a high mountain stream at this point.  The horses are enjoying the running water and even got baths while the sun was still hot.

No Sierras in sight yet
A swizzle tree, from which swizzle sticks are made.
I was told to expect rocks along the trail
Our first crossing of the South Fork of the Kern River

Domeland Wilderness

It is always such a surprise when you have been riding along for many miles, nothing man made in view and then all of a sudden in the middle of paradise…
Kennedy Meadows or not.
The creek behind camp, S Fork Kern River
The girls are not a bit embarrassed to have their pictures taken in their pjs

Trail data: mileposts; 0681-0704, miles ridden; 23.9, trail time; 6.22, average speed; 3.7, minimum elevation; 5643, maximum elevation; 7991, total ascent; 3904, total descent; 3562

Total miles: PCT; 2178, Ridden; 2277

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