July 5th, 2006

classified outreach (pic by me)

Home for the holidays

So ... it's been a heck of an exciting week. I left Kennedy Meadows, hiked up into the high Sierra (where I promptly got hailed on -- what a welcome change!), gained about 4-6,000 feet of elevation and stayed above 9K for good, and have been hiking through cool temperatures, water everywhere, and hordes of mosquitoes.

On July 1, I took a side trip to climb the highest mountain in the contiguous 48 states -- Mount Whitney, at 14,495 feet. The next day, I hit the highest point of the Pacific Crest Trail -- snowy Forrester Pass, at 13,000+ feet. Both were incredible views, incredible landmarks, and utterly glorious hiking. The trip could not be more different from the desert that thrashed me for two months. I will write these up fully in the next day or two, hopefully complete with some of the 300-plus pictures I took; the high Sierra is a place where you can't throw a rock without hitting a sublimely awe-inspiring vista.

After burning through 7 days' worth of food in 5 days (and still having to ration it carefully), I approached the side trail over Kearsarge Pass, and hiked out 9 miles to a day-hiker-packed trailhead to catch a ride into tiny Independence, Calif., for a resupply stop.

This is where a story should go about how I spent the Fourth of July in a town called Independence. This is where a story should go about a memorable night of thru-hiker camaraderie and a laid-back zero day full of rodeos, barbeque, parades, and fireworks.

But that's not the story I have to tell. Instead, let me tell you about the surprise that kadyg will remember for the rest of her life.

Collapse )

It's now about 24 hours later. Kady is still adjusting to having me back; I'm still adjusting to returning to a home I haven't seen for over two months. The shock of my appearance has worn off, and we both still think I've made the right decision to lay over at home.

And where to go next, and when? Well, there are definitely going to be a few home zero days. I haven't had much of a chance to coalesce plans beyond that. I don't feel done with my hike, but I'm not sure I'm returning to Independence right away. (More on that in a subsequent post.)

For now, it's just good to be back. And hopefully it will give me more of a chance to get caught up in documenting this whirlwind of a trip, and building up the PCT section of Tomorrowlands to be more than just a link to this journal.

Thank you, roaminrob, for your heroism in pushing your car beyond its limits of endurance; and thank you, jackal pack, for making sure that I could pull the surprise off despite the last-minute hitches.