Another hot day, but the climb out of Chimney Creek Canyon rewarded us with our first sight of the High Sierras. Although it did not actually make the hike any cooler, the sight of cool blue peaks clad with snow gave a promise of relief from the heat. For those who have been hiking in blistering heat now for weeks, it was a cheering sight indeed.
I have been seeing the same hikers for the last few days and have talked with most of them – Chili, Jake, Sunday, UV, Mr Clean.
I think all of them are walking the 4 extra miles to Kennedy Meadows, where showers, cold beer and other delights of civilization await.
I’m keeping to a slower pace in order to preclude injury early on. I’ve camped on the S Fk Kern River, the first water I’ve seen that was not a trickle or seep.
Like most hikers, I prefer to camp within a few feet of the trail, valuing the convenience of proximity over aesthetics – after all, I usually do little more at a campsite than eat and sleep.
I planned to camp where the trail met the river, at the bottom of a canyon, but found the area choked with willows and so backtracked half a mile and then off trail a quarter mile to a site I had spotted that had some big pines and looked more open. An unusual amount of walking just to camp, but I had ambitions of swimming and fishing.
Although this spot was a nice camp, I found the river moving low and slow – better for swimming than for drinking. And it certainly doesn’t hold any trout, so that was a disappointment. But it felt good to jump in the water and rinse off the dust and sweat of the low Sierras.