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June 29, 2024 - Day 42

June 29, 2024 - Day 42

jbwils Jun 29th, 2024
Mozart's 2024 PCT Thru-Hike

The Sierra Nevadas. Finally… After eating a hefty breakfast, we got a ride from the shuttle that took us from Grumpy Bears to the trailhead around 10AM - roughly a 3.5 mile journey. Within the first several miles, we were already loving the change in climate and scenery. We had flowing water along side the trail and large pine trees offering us shade from the still powerful sun. We weren’t totally out of the desert as hints of our past travels popped up in the occasional cactus and other desert fauna. For now, water is the least of our concern. Our backs and legs are thankful for no longer needing to carry the 10+ pounds of water that we had to consistently haul during the previous section. Unfortunately, we’ve made up the weight as we all have to carry Bear Vaults throughout the Sierra. Basically, it’s a 1.5 foot by 10 inch canister that locks tight preventing black bears from accessing our food. The only upside aside from not losing our food to bears is the convenient stool it provides.

After a quick 4 miles in, we stopped for lunch and took a swim in the Southfork Kern River. The water was refreshingly cold. It brought us some peace and ease of mind from the last several days of desert heat. We then walked through a significant burn section with no shade. The elevation was taking its toll as we approached 10,000 feet. Short of breath and moving slow from the previous nights beer, we mustered up the energy to keep pushing. The views became spectacular as the trail opened up to a massive meadow. The transition from the desert to the High Sierra is one of appreciation. As the sun began to set, we kept on hiking and stopped to grab water at a bridge over the Southfork Kern river several miles upstream from where we swam. A group of swallows had made their nest underneath the bridge and successfully took care of the mosquitoes in the area. The views were also breathtaking as the sun was beginning to set below the ridge line beyond making the light paint the grassy hillsides surrounding us.

After we crossed the bridge, we began our most significant climb back up to 10,000 feet where we would make camp. We stopped for a quick dinner and kept pushing as the sun had fully set. Our next 4 miles were spent in the dark but the cool breeze and sounds of running water provided a wonderful setting even without the views. We made it to camp around 10:00PM. Spoons, Fly Lord, Will, Mackenzie and I were making camp when a marmot began pestering Will unlike anything I had seen before. It even tried to climb up his leg. Out of frustration, he packed up and hiked another .6 but the rest of us stayed back. We’re exhausted and looking forward to some sleep. The stars are out and the air is cool. Should be some good sleeping weather.

Happy trails…

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