Mile 652 - 702: End of the Desert! Fast Facts.
After getting into Ridgecrest the question was when will the trail reopen from the fire. It was known the fire didn't touch the trail so it would only be a matter of time. I ended up taking my first official zero in Ridgecrest while waiting for the trail to reopen. It opened the night of 6/4, so I planned to head out early the next day.
Thanks to a trail angel Husler, I got a quick hitch early in the morning and was able to get started on the trail by 7:30. The trail immediately climbed for 2/3 miles so it was a shock to the system after relaxing in a hotel bed for a day. I soon got into the groove again though and made quick work of the mountain. My legs were feeling great and I was absolutely flying. Everything was clicking, the trail was still covered by the shade of the mountain and I was really happy. That day I met turquoise and six paws. They're really cool people. Six paws carries a ukulele which makes for amazing moments watching the views.
The next day wasn't so great. My legs felt exhausted and at one point going down a ridge my knee locked up so I had to rest for a bit and work it back into motion. However, the views were getting better and better. This was the first day it was possible to see the snow capped Sierras. SO CLOSE!
I was able to take a dip in the Kern River before heading into Kennedy Meadows which was like icing on the cake for such a hot day. When hikers arrive into Kennedy Meadows everyone on the porch claps and cheers because everyone who makes it that far has done something really remarkable.
Let's get onto a quick recap of the Southern California Desert section.
Fast facts: Days it took to reach Kennedy Meadows: 29 Miles from Campo to Kennedy Meadows: 702 Fire closures: 4 Resupply boxes: 3 Longest day: 36mi Shortest day with progress: 10 Zero Days: 1 Rattlesnakes: 4 Scorpions: 14 Bears: 0 Nights cowboy camped: 1 Average hours hiked per day: 9 Average time to hitch: 12mins. Favorite trail town: Big Bear Lake
Want to know anything else? Leave me a comment!