a journey of 2,652 miles
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL 2018
starts with a single step.
Miles 680.8 to 702.2. Bushcamp to Kennedy Meadows.
Today is the day we were waiting for a long time! It is the last day of the desert section and the day we finally will arrive in Kennedy Meadows!
We know that the local restaurant and the store closes early at 4 pm, so we set our alarm clock again to 4am. It is going to be a tough beginning with a rather big climb but after that it is supposedly easy terrain as the trail slowly goes down the mountain and then continues to stay flat all the way to Kennedy Meadows. But it is still a 22 mile hike.
So we start to climb. It is still dark and the air fresh. It is easier than we thought and in the light of our headlamps we arrive at the first water source after about one hour. We quickly filter water for the next 16 miles and continue our climb. The sun is now slowly making its way up and we turn our headlamps off. We are now in some kind of pine forest and it already does not feel like the desert anymore.
After a short breakfast break we want to make the remaining 3 miles to the top as fast as possible. In our mindset the job is mostly done after reaching the top.
Abd indeed after 1.5 more hours we make it! Finally we are at the summit and it was not as hard as we thought it was going to be.
We are so happy now! Almost there we think! Only 15 miles remaining. And it is all downhill or flat. So it is 7 miles of descending and then only 8 miles more to Kennedy Meadows. We immediately start our way down and in 2 hours we are at the bottom. It is now 11 am and 8 miles left! But now down in the valley it is starting to get soo hot! We decide to have a quick lunch under the shady bushes and continue afterwards.
The hiking now becomes a real torture because of all the heat. It is actually pretty flat, which helps, but after 15 minutes I look like I directly jumped in to a lake - I am that sweaty.
We are now in a strange section, somehow between desert and pine forest, but without any civilisation in sight. Only 5 miles now but we start to have doubts that there should be a village here in the middle of nowhere?!
Nevertheless we push further until we reach a river. Well it is the biggest one we have encountered so far, but more like a creek for Swiss standards. We both immediately agree to have a refreshing bath in the river and pull off our packs and leave them next to the trail.
There is a small path between the bushes that leads from the trail to the river. As we reach the end and are finally standing at the river, we realise we found the perfect bathing spot and jump in as fast as we can, in my case still wearing my dirty hiking shirt in the refreshing river. Oooh my god, what a feeling! The water has just the perfect temperature for relaxing in there.
Soon we hear cracking branches behind us and meet Simon, the English model, again. He thanks us like 1000 times for putting our backpacks next to the trail as he was wondering how to access the river before.
So we chat for a while and crawl our way back to the trail.
5 more miles now! But again after 15 more minutes I am all sweaty again. I begin to count every remaining mile.
After another hiking hour which felt like 3 hours we reach the 700 mile marker. At that point we don’t really care anymore about another marker but still quickly take a picture and continue.
Now we are down to 2 miles. But now the hiking feels endless, all the heat, not much water left and again a smaller climb to do.
I now begin to feel a little dizzy as it is now the hottest hour of the day and of course there is no shade at all…
But we push through and finally make it to the road leading to the General Store where everyone stays.
But it is still another mile of road walking! I am starting to get grumpy as I am so tired, so thirsty and almost starving! The roadwalk, which is not part of the PCT, feels so unnecessary! But after another 20 minutes that feel like another 2 hours, we reach the store!!
And as we slowly walk towards the store people start to yell and give us an applause!
Wow, we made it!! We really hiked 702 miles which is equal to 1’130 km all through the desert. It was definitely hard work but also so great! All this beautiful and different landscapes, all the nice and less nice moments, the pain, the sweat and most importantly all the amazing people we have met so far! It was a hell of an adventure so far and there is a lot more to come!
Thank you desert for all these moments, but now we are ready for a change.
So Sierras be prepared, we’re coming!!