12 miles with a loaded, and I mean loaded pack today was a great test for my knee and it’s comeback. I hope things will continue this way forward and my confidence to use it more and more athletically vs tentatively grows.
Starting the day next to the Kern River reminded us of why we both worked so hard to get back here and reminded me of how amazing and supportive Figure 8 was while I struggled at times to find the right balance of rest and rehab.
We crossed beside beautiful green grass meadows that had lots of running streams coursing through them. We also trekked through our fair share of high desert sand and pine cover. The latter miles of the day were spent in big pines and hiking along side Cow Creek. We found an amazing site to camp just feet from the stream.
We had a minor crisis this morning when we realized that somehow, even with all the care we take of these and the fact we have only used them 1 night since we got off trail, Daddie Gizmo’s sleeping pad has a leak. It kept deflating overnight and needless to say, DG did not sleep well. We decided to pack up and head out and to investigate the pad for holes this afternoon. We were out by 9, which was 90 minutes later than our intended start time, but it felt GREAT to be back on trail. Yesterday DG told me welcome back home when we started. I knew this morning would be work. Our packs are heavier than ever with the inclusion of a 3lb bear can in Rob’s bag for our food, a set of crampons each and more food than we need (I was so hungry the few days before we got off trail that I am having food paranoia right now).
The tradeoff is we shouldn’t need to carry as much water anymore since we are about out of the desert. We had to redistribute the shared weight between us and I am now carrying the tent and stove so that DG can carry our enormous bear can. We met Jakerabbit and Blossom two miles out of our site when we stopped for water. We crisscrossed with them all day and stopped to chat along the way. The scenery was really nice as we increased in elevation and started to see the snowy mountains we are heading towards.
We stopped for coffee and a snack in an absolutely gorgeous meadow and took in our new view. I brought along tortillas and peanut butter that we munched on. We are leaving more of the desert behind and trading it for greener and wetter landscape. We passed by the Kern River and went a couple miles farther to camp by Cow Creek. We had the spot all to ourselves and spent thirty minutes trying to find the darn hole in the sleeping pad, but to no avail!!! Normally this would be inconvenient if it was warmer; however, now it is critical as we are about to be sleeping in much colder temperatures in the Sierras and NEED something to insulate between the cold ground and ourselves. DG was not at all happy about not having the insulation or the comfort of his pad tonight and we will try again to find the culprit tomorrow. We made instant mashed potatoes for dinner and then curled into the tent at 5:30 to read and try to sleep early. Not long after, a string of people started going by our camp area. Then some started to set up camp in the same area. In 700+ miles we had never camped with anyone we hadn’t planned to because we were so early in the season. Now we came back into yet another bubble and got firsthand experience what the camping can be like. By nights end there were a dozen or more tents, with one or two people each, up and down the creek from us. Different experience for sure. Everyone was in their tents by dark in typical hiker fashion. We left the fly off tonight since we know it’s only going to get colder and this may actually be the last time we can for a while. It was great to see the night lit up by the moon and the stars.