Rock Hill Camp to Skinner Peak
Mile 611.1 – Mile 634.2
“I will ford that creek when I get to it” – AppleJack
As I get closer to the Sierras I have noticed a marked increase in the trail chatter about snow conditions there. “I am definitely going to order an ice axe even though I don’t know how to use it” “The creeks are running too high for short people to cross” “I heard half the people who try it bail out at Bishop” “There are 400 people bottled up at Kennedy Meadows and sanitation is a problem”
It’s not surprising that the rumor mill works fast among anxious hikers but in my new trail zen mode, I take such hearsay with a grain of salt. It appears to me that some people are winning through and that’s enough for me until I actually get there.
Today was still about crossing the last stretch of desert between me and Kennedy Meadows. My camp last night turned out to be a good call in being shielded on three sides. The wind blew most of the night but had a hard time reaching my tent. I got an early start in the predawn calm but it was not destined to last.
After descending down into the low desert hills, the wind kicked up and became a howling banshee the rest of the day. On the plus side the wind kept the air temperature cool and reduced water consumption (I was packing 6L due to uncertainty about where the next good water would be). On the down side, there were times when I wasn’t able to walk straight and I hadn’t even hit the scotch yet.
That wind tried everything to get my hat off and failing that, proceeded to attempt a full body takedown. A backpack’s additional surface area favors the wind just like large trucks or vans driving across windy bridges. You get thrown around pretty good. Fortunately it’s usually toward the uphill side of the trail. Kite hiking occurred to me as a sometimes viable but altogether stupid idea for a new sport.
Again I put my new trail zen to work as I trudged uphill through deep sand into the wind. “This reminds me of the walk to Little Beach on Maui” I mused, one of my most favorite places in all the world.
The day concluded with a hike up Skinner Peak. Back at almost 7000 feet I am right on the edge of Sequoia National Forest. Sounds promising! The wind hasn’t given up yet but I rewarded myself with a little Balvenie Doublewood courtesy of Kevin. Delicious and thank you again!