I can’t think of any good reason not to pack as much food as possible and strike out into the Sierras to see how far I can get. My next planned resupply is an ambitious 187 miles away at Vermillion Valley Resort and crosses the highest passes on the PCT. There is also an optional opportunity to summit Mt Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48, by taking a 17 mile side trip. It means an extra day of food and fuel but I will likely go for it.
I think I will be able to gauge early on whether my daily progress matches my food supply. If so, it promises to be an epic 11 day trip. If not, there are several points where bailing out east to towns along Highway 395 (Lone Pine, Bishop, or Independence) is possible.
I have no idea whether cell coverage will improve but I hope the high elevations will help. I have been pretty frustrated without it here in Kennedy Meadows but discovered if you roll out of bed at 5am, the wifi works. It seems only SilverFox and I were wise enough to figure that one out this morning and so enjoyed some quiet predawn productivity.
For breakfast today it was a return to Grumpy Bear’s for all you can eat pancake. No, that’s no a typo. Have a look at the picture and see if you would order more. Two of our crew this accomplished the feat (Yeti and ActuallyBoykin) but alas I could not.
I spent some time talking to Grumpy Bear who said about 80% of his year at the restaurant is made during hiker season. As such, he took a dim view of trail angel Legend who had shown up at the store with free breakfast. Interesting tension among those who serve and thrive because of the trail. Only 53 or so intrepid souls live in Kennedy Meadows year round and so Grumpy Bear drives his kids ~40 miles each way for school. Now that’s dedication to a place.
I spent most of the day off my feet getting laundry done, food situated and batteries recharged. There were more celebrated arrivals and as many excited departures. The hiker community here cuts an interesting swath across geography, background, and life situation.
SilverFox and I were guessing that for every one of us, there are 20-30 twenty somethings out here living their dream. We speculated about the number of permits issued (~3300) to the number of starts from the Mexican border (~2300) to the number that will make it to Kennedy Meadows (~700). There’s no way to know these numbers for sure but there’s probably ~100 folks staying here in Kennedy Meadows with about 40 arrivals and an equal number of departures today.
Traditionally the best day to enter the Sierras has been June 15 which is what I intend to do.