Tehachapi-Walker Pass-Kennedy Meadows, Mile 702

We’re moving into a different chapter, having walked the first 700 or so miles of the trail, and upon reflection,  it feels good.  We’ve completed the Southern California section of the trail, and are moving into John Muir’s  spectacular, and this year, ominous, “Range of Light”.

Hikers merge in this valley, in preparation for what’s up ahead. Kennedy Meadows is a small community with about 200 people who winter over, and is a welcoming place for thru-hikers. Tom has turned his land into a hiker home, with trailers for sleeping, a kitchen where he cooks breakfast and dinner, and a “cafe” with internet and wifi. Just a hop away is the General Store, with outdoor showers, laundry, food and supplies. Some come for a day or two to rest, others get caught in this vortex, either of their own volition, or otherwise, and stay here, waiting for snow to melt, waiting for packages that haven’t arrived, or figure this is a good end point, and try to get a ride out and head home.

Fears and nerves float around, and it’s hard to sift through the many times conflicting and convoluted information. How is the snow pack? How is the consistency? How is the weather going to be? Do we have the right gear, do we have enough warm clothes? What have people said who have already gone through? How do you tell the difference between what I call “fear mongering”, and what is useful information? It is hard to tease through. We’ve decided that we’re going to go in with other people, plan as best we can, be aware of the weather and conditions, and keep a clear head. If it’s bad, we turn back.

The weather forecast for this weekend shows a storm front coming in, but the weather is fickle, and hasn’t proved to be very stable thus far, if we wait a few days, there may be more bad weather in a few days. Decisions, decisions.

These decisions are the toughest to make-when to forge ahead, and when to sit back and wait?

This part isn’t the fun part. Trail decisions are more basic and primal, more simple-walk, eat, sleep, rest, excrete, repeat. These decisions, when other clouds of thoughts and fears crash into your own, are more complex. I like the simple ones better.

I’ve had the song “Tunnels”, once again, running through my mind,

“I’ll dig a tunnel, from my window to yours, yeah a tunnel, from my window to yours. You climb out the chimney and meet me in the middle, the middle of the town. And since there’s no one else around, we let our hair grow long and forget all we used to know, then our skin gets thicker from living out in the snow.”

Guess that’s a thought to hold on to; our skin will certainly get thicker from living out in the Sierra snow.

Next stop is Independence.

Love and Peace,



8 thoughts on “Tehachapi-Walker Pass-Kennedy Meadows, Mile 702

  1. Loved this post! You guys are a great team and will do well. It is hard not to get caught up in talk that may be accurate or not. Way stressful and in my opinion should not be part of the trail experience but often is in high snow years. We are behind you all the way.
    Rockin’ and Dan

  2. Sounds like you have a great plan – I’m sure you’ll do great! This is what memories are made of – and how much worse can it get than hiking out of Sawmill in a blizzard?

  3. I’m sure you’ll have tough days, but the scenery will be spectacularly beautiful. Enjoy it and good luck!

    I’ve been reading your posts since you started and am really enjoying them. We actually have a lot in common. My partner and I are planning to hike the PCT in 2012, we’re from SF, and have meat-free diets. Looking forward to reading more about your travels!

    • Hi Anna,
      Hope your plans for next year work out, definitely sounds like you are on a similar path. Hope all goes well for you in the planning process:) Cheers!

  4. Hi !

    We are in Bishop and will hitch this afternoon (saturday 11th) to go back to Independence and then to the trailhead. We plan to have an early start on sunday and go through Glen Pass on Monday. Maybe we will see you in Independence.
    Buffalo quits.
    Hope to see you soon.


    • Hey guys! Sounds like you are doing the same thing we are….but Buffalo quit? We are at the Courthouse Motel, so we’ll probably see you again tonight:) Hope you got all the chores done in Bishop! -Cheers

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