20.7 miles (Miles 681.5 – 702.2)
PCT Mile 681.5 – Kennedy Meadows
I didn’t sleep great last night with the 100 bears, wolves and tarantulas hiding behind every tree. I finally was able to fall asleep by changing the way I was thinking about it. I told myself, “this is their (all the critters) home, and this is their favorite time to be out and about, so there’s not much I can do about that… come on out, critters! Enjoy your evening!” Next thing I knew, it was 3:30 am. I slept for another hour and was up and hiking by 5:30am.
Today felt even hotter than yesterday. It just doesn’t let up out here! Hiking between 5:30 and 7:30am was great, though. I was able to get a 6-mile hill climb out of the way early. Then it started to get hot. And then I entered a huge burn area with no shade. Yesterday I felt nauseous off and on and prayed that I wasn’t getting a second round of that stupid flu I had. I had a few similar episodes today. I just cruised on, using that as one more incentive to get to Kennedy Meadows.
I took a break at Manter Creek, which had a small, slimy pool of water that I could almost fill a liter bottle with. The water was actually moving, so it wasn’t as bad as it probably sounds – didn’t taste bad despite its yellow color, either! I ate a couple tortillas with salami and cheese, which tasted great. My appetite wasn’t feeling up to par, so I was happy for that.
After that break I got hiking in even hotter heat. I felt tired and sluggish and plodded along in more deep sand while scoping out shade spots in case that flu struck.
Then I got to Kern River.
It was big. It was flowing. It was beautiful.
I found a spot to crawl down to the water. There were pools of deeper water, and I didn’t waste any time. I was four miles from Kennedy Meadows but I didn’t care. I stripped down to my hiker’s bikini and crawled in. As I sat there in the water, I looked up and cried. It was cold, refreshing, and I was so happy I couldn’t hold it in. I could’ve stayed there all day long. It was hard to get out, but when I did I noticed something. No more nausea, I felt awake and rejuvenated, and I wanted that Gatorade in the side pocket of my pack, even though it was hot.
As soon as I did get hiking, I walked into an open sage field, completely exposed. I felt my symptoms come back. I have been dealing great with heat up until yesterday. Apparently I must have been getting a touch of heat exhaustion. I was drinking as much as I could carry, but it couldn’t have been enough. I was so happy to get to the road. I was feeling pretty good, just mostly tired.
I walked the road to Tom’s place, dropped my pack, filled a liter bottle with water and head over to the general store to look for Aloha. He wasn’t there, but Fuller and his son, Sam, was! I was so excited to see them! I said hi to them and few others I knew, and not even five minutes later the pickle jar rolled in. Yay!
I got to spend a little time with team PRT (Pacific Rest Trail) before Aloha wisked me away to town for an anniversary dinner. I had a filet mignon and some merlot. I also drank a lot of water! I’m all better now and feeling back to normal. Whew!
Tonight I love air-conditioned hotel rooms when it’s 100º outside.