Day 52

Mile 687-702

Woke up with the wind blasing my tent out of it’s stakes. I hurried out and packed it up. After I was done I turned around and was shocked by what I saw in the far distance.

There they finally were. The Sierras.

I didn’t know at what mile I was but I was headed the right way, that’s for sure. I got ready fast and started hiking down the mountain. The view only got better and I let out some tears of relief. This was what I had been working towards. For over a year I had been focussed on this. Less of getting to Canada but more on getting to Kennedy Meadows, which marked the start of these majestic mountains. I met a hiker not long after my start and he kindly gave me some extra maps and helped me figure out at what mile we were. He laughed when I told him my name, remembering what I wrote in the trail register. I hiked off the mountain and made my way to the first waypoint I had written down. A small creek with campsites. I had done about six miles and I needed four more to make it to the South Fork Kern River. Five more miles from there and I’d finally be in Kennedy Meadows. I wanted to make it there before the store closed which was at 5 PM, I needed a good cold beer to wash away these past few days. The hike to the river was hot and exposed but the terrain was not too hard. I did get attacked by these creepy yellow fly-looking mutants who were obsessed with getting my blood. After 2 hours of batting away those little bastards, the river appeared. 

It’s hard to explain my emotions, relief was mostly it. For almost two months a sight like this was only a dream. I threw off my pack and sat down in the river for at least an hour. 

It was incredible. I didn’t see a single hiker while I was in there which made the experience even better. After a while I made myself get up. I still had five miles to go and the store would close in two hours and a half. I hiked out, unfortunately missed the 700 mile marker but suddenly saw the bridge that marked Kennedy Meadows. I was so close and started racing towards it. Just before hitting the road that brings you to the general store I found a trail register. While I was writing down my name I noticed a message that was marked for Seabiscuit. 

It was Moonshine (And it apparently doesn’t say ‘PS: My baby is a Vanderbilt’ but ‘PS: My body is a Wonderland’) An extra dose of energy went through me and I practically started jogging up the road. 

I caught another beautiful sight before I reached the store, the australian. He told me ‘Snappy’ was waiting for me (probably Snapdragon but with the accent it really doesn’t matter what he says). Not long after, the store appeared and the traditional cheering started. For every single hiker that arrives at Kennedy Meadows, other hikers stand up and start clapping and cheering. It’s awesome. I saw Hadley and Cheryl and they stormed down to hug me. Hadley took off my pack, Snapdragons led me inside the store which was about to close, I heard Lipstick screaming a bunch of stuff. I was exhausted but so so happy to be here. My trail families change a lot but I’m glad I have this strange bunch right now. I got myself a six pack and an apple (because I’m super healthy) and sat down on the terrace with my family. 

They continued to coddle me and I enjoyed every bit of it. The showers were off because they were out of water (what?) so Lipstick kept giving me face wipes. What’s one more day. By nightfall we all went into this tipi which had a firepit in the middle and enjoyed a couple of people singing and playing Nineteen’s guitar. It was incredible. Especially Nineteen’s self invented song. Tucked between Snapdragon and Lipstick I was content. I got to my tent and felt relieved of not having to do anything tomorrow.

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