Day 41: mile 702.2 – mile 716.5

Elevation gain: 2,977 ft

Elevation loss: 1,124 ft

Our day off yesterday was great…just hanging around with all the other hikers, eating a lot, and getting our stuff together for the next leg. Matt got there around lunchtime with tons of treats for us! Beers for Link, Oreos and cherry pop tarts for me, and lots of extra baby wipes…someone has been paying attention to the blog! 😁What a treat to share the goodies with our hiker friends as well as share this experience with a great friend from home. This morning we decided it would be nice to start with a breakfast burrito from Grumpy’s but they didn’t open until “8:30-ish” so Link did a last minute PT treatment on Snapshot, and we said goodbye to him and Circus. They are great and hopefully we run into them again down the road! We also weighed our packs…Matt’s was 32, mine 34 and Link’s was 42 lbs, yikes! 😬 The other hikers around were floored our packs were so “light” with the extra food and bear cans…most of them said their packs weighed in at 50-60 lbs! The beauty of starting off with a light pack, plus being able to share some of the gear carrying duties.

A PT’s work is never done 😁
Circus & Snapshot
Matt weighing in at 32 lbs…notice all the stuff “dangling” and “strapped on” his pack? Read on…

Late breakfast put us a little later on the trail, at 9:30, but this was fine because we didn’t plan on doing a ton of miles today. It did have us walking in the hotter part of the day during the exposed first section, though. The miles passed super quickly with Matt’s stories plus his questions about the trail since his plan is to do another backpacking trip this summer. We stopped at another trail register, this one with a super cool PCT logo on top.

One of the most exciting parts of the Sierra is the plentiful water sources. How completely strange it is to not have to spend at least half our time discussing when the next source is, how reliable we think it is, and if it will actually still be there! So we stopped anytime anyone needed it, and never carried more than 1L at a time…awesome! Matt even brought us snacks of trail mix and gummy bears for each stop…he thought of everything.

Because of our late, large breakfast we decided to finish the big climb of the day before we stopped for lunch. This was after 8 miles, around 2:30. From that point on, we had the most gorgeous scenery! The Kern river cutting through a meadow, huge pine trees, and beautiful views.

We walked by some really cool PCT signs today…I love how different they all are!

We made it to a great campsite by the Kern river and a really cool bridge that had hundreds of swallows nesting under it. It was only 5:00 so we had lots of time to just sit, relax, and take in the gorgeous sights after setting up camp.

Link showed Matt how to use a couple of his new backpacking gadgets, and we came up with a couple really good trail names for Matt but he says he’s not worthy of a name after only one night. “Dangle” or “Strap-On” were the winners…check out the previous pix of his pack and you’ll see why! 😂

The sunset was absolutely spectacular and we are in heaven with our new scenery. Matt was a stud and did an amazing job, as we knew he would! I’m hoping he had as much fun as we did…I asked him to add a little of his perspective on the day as well. So below you will find his thoughts…thanks for reading! Double Down

Matt’s thoughts: Last week Amy planted the seed in my head about possibly coming out with them and joining them on the trail for a few days. It did not take long for that idea to take root and begin to grow in my head. Before I knew it I was on the REI website buying all the items I needed for the trip. Brian and Amy were great and they helped me pick out all the right stuff.

So Saturday morning arrives and I woke up super excited to get out of Hermosa and away from the lockdown. After 3 hours on the road I arrived at their camp site at the Grumpy Bear bar in Kennedy Meadows. It was an awesome day of just lying around listing to all the PCT hikers tell their stories. I was fascinated. I was a sponge trying to soak in as much info as I could before we headed out on the trail. My real backpacking experience is limited at best. My father took us back packing as kids, which was amazing, but somehow life got in the way and I never followed up.

Last night I was so excited to get out on the trail today I could barely sleep. As we hit the trail today it felt so good to be out of the city and in the wilderness. Brian and Amy were amazing today. We laughed all day. They were so supportive and answered all of my questions and they were this wealth of experience I could draw from. In the back of my head I knew my lack of training was going to catch up to me. I had no business thinking I could keep up with them but I was hoping I could get through the day. The scenery was so beautiful and the conversation was go great the 8 hours on the trail went by very smoothly. As we approached Monarch Meadows the wind picked up a little bit and the sun started to disappear behind the trees and this cold sank into my body and the reality of where we were and what we were in for really hit home. I was now in Brian and Amy’s world. They were calm and relaxed and enjoying the amazing evening and I was starting to get concerned that I had bit off more than I could chew. The days mileage was starting to sink into my body. Brian and Amy were so amazing, they sensed I was starting to struggle a bit and they were right there with support and encouragement. Before I knew it I was feeling fine again and we spent an amazing dinner and sunset laughing by a beautiful little stream. What Brian and Amy are doing is truly amazing and I feel so fortunate to be able to help them just a little bit to achieve this huge goal.