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68 — Sonora Pass, KM North

68 — Sonora Pass, KM North

Strider Jul 12th, 2022
Strider's 2021 PCT Thru-Hike

Mile 1009.9–1018.2 (8.3 miles)

Rose: when Chitchat offered to lend me his bear canister so I could return my rental Thorn: not being able to adequately call Casey or Mom on the terrible WiFi Bud: the next section is supposed to be “pretty cool” according to a text from Gibb

I was motivated for town and keeping up with the crowd. I woke up at 5:30, left camp by 6:30. It helped that dawn was early and pretty. I think I’m finally getting back into the discipline.

For the first couple hours, the trail wove up and over saddles on the ridge, revealing vistas to the east, west, and north. I’m glad I stayed a little south on the ridge last night instead of making it to Shuffles & Pebbles; I got to wave goodbye to a little more of the Sierra in the morning. By 9:45am I was down at Sonora Pass with a dozen other hikers trying to get a hitch into Kennedy Meadows North. We waited for the shuttle to get there. There were too many of us (about a dozen), and the willing cars pulled away when they saw how many of us there were.

KMN had all we needed. Behind the main lodge building, we were set up under a shelter, over a dozen hikers.

  • I ate breakfast at the restaurant.
  • Our devices were charging on the ports behind the bathroom building.
  • I did sink laundry of the most important items (underwear, bra, socks, handkerchief, and sun shirt).
  • I picked up my resupply box that I mailed from Mammoth.
  • I bought additional items from the general store to supplement that box, including a soft serve ice cream and beer that I consumed immediately.
  • I sent back my bear canister rental.

There was a minor crisis with the bear canister. I want to keep carrying my canister, despite the weight, until Truckee since the bear accounts are so bad through the Desolation Wilderness. However, when I checked the “end date” for my canister rental from Triple Crown Outfitters, my return date is in four days! Not even long enough to get to Tahoe. I’d need to send it today. Casey is going to send my Ursack to Truckee, but it’s too short of notice to send to Tahoe. I was discussing my dilemma with ChitChat when he offered to lend me his canister; he had been planning on shipping it back there. I am borrowing it to Truckee then I’m mailing it to an address he supplied. The trail provides!

KMN was a good stop. I’m glad I forced myself on the 4pm shuttle. Even though we are staying only a mile out from the trailhead, we’re not paying $40 to stay there, $$$ for dinner, and $$ for drinks. My first time since the desert getting in and out of town.

Shuffles, Pebbles, and the two others who joined their tramily are planning on a 22 mile day tomorrow. I didn’t make any pretense to try and make that mileage. I need to start laying down big mileage days—and I am going to start ramping up >15 miles again—but I will not make that big a leap in mileage, especially since there’s still plenty of elevation tomorrow in my 15–17 mile itinerary (+3400 -3800). The elevation is what has limited my mileage in the Sierra. My feet and joints tap out when either up or down approach 4k’.

I’m chancing cowboy camping tonight. To the east there’s big fluffy clouds from the dust from the wildfire smoke. To the west (where the prevailing wind comes from) there’s thin stratus clouds that are a deep red/purple/orange. I’m hoping that the latter are from the wildfire particulates and not rain.. Guess I’ll find out. 😬

The ground was just too hard to drive in my tent stakes, and my guylines aren’t long enough to tie around rocks. I didn’t think deadman anchors would hold with the wind earlier (which has since died at dusk).

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