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,