Day 43: We left Kennedy Meadows campground after stuffing ourselves and our packs with food. It’s always tough getting back on the trail after a break. It feels like the time off makes us weak, but it’s probably just that our packs get much heavier when we resupply. With all our new gear and 7 days worth of food crammed into bear canisters, we were each carrying 30 to 35 pounds. Not bad, considering some people ahead of us were in the 50 to 60 pound range.
Day 44: Sometime after second breakfast, we reached snow! We hit patches just as we got to 10,000-ft. Not nearly as much as some reports had indicated. It will be interesting to see what the next few days bring.
As we left Kennedy Meadows yesterday, Rob stuck a pint can of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale into his pack. I told him he should wait to drink it until we find snow to cool it down. I didn’t think he’d actually carry it so far, but this evening we are camped near one little snow patch at 9,700-ft. We enjoyed a cold, refreshing beer with our dinner.
Day 45: Today we hiked from somewhere past Death Canyon Creek to the saddle above Poison Meadow. I don’t know who named the places around here… but if it was early settlers, they must have had a rough time.
We used snowshoes for the last two miles this afternoon. Still not sure if they were worth bringing, but time will tell. They are good for getting a few miles in after the snow turns soft and we start postholing in the afternoon.
Day 46: The day started off sunny but cold – in the low 30’s after the sun was already up.
We hiked over a lot more snow. Navigating took time; there are very few footprints to follow, and some of them are completely off the PCT. We made it past Cottonwood Pass (11,145′) and entered Sequoia National Park. Clouds built up all day as we hiked. When we reached our camp at Rock Creek (low point of the day at 9600′), it started raining and hailing. All day today we’ve heard military jets flying overhead. Now that the weather is wet, I’m finding it hard to tell the difference between thunder and jets. Pretty sure both are happening though. I find it a little unnerving to not know the weather forecast, but there’s no cell service, we haven’t seen any other hikers today, and it’s too early in the season for the backcountry ranger stations to be open.