Pacific Crest Trail Journals

Tehachapi to Kennedy Meadows

June 6 – June 11, 2010

I got an early afternoon start out of Tehachapi and began my ascent into the mountains north of Tehachapi Pass. The terrain radically changed in just a short distance and I quickly hiked my way out of the wind and heat of the Mojave desert. For the first couple days the trail wound along the crest of the southern tail of the Sierra Nevadas. Frequently it traveled under the cover of oak and pine forests, water was relatively ample, life was good.

The trail then dropped off the crest and began a 35-mile waterless stretch through a hot and shadeless section of trail. In order to help hikers cross this arid expanse, two water caches are occasionally maintained in this stretch. I over relied on these and ended up rationing my water until I eventually reached Yellow Jacket Spring where I was able to gather a few liters of water from a seep. After taking a few hours to rehydrate there I headed out and kept hiking until I reached McIver Spring, where there was an old cabin and an abundance of fresh spring water flowing. I had planned on hiking another 8 miles to Walker Pass but decided that the camping at McIver was too nice to pass on.

The following day I headed down to Walker Pass where Okie Girl was running a terrific trail magic operation. After a few hours of stocking up on EtOh-based calories and tortilla chips I grabbed my pack and left Walker Pass. Freshly fueled up from the trail magic I made good time hiking into the hills and made an early camp on a tributary of Spanish Needle Creek.

From Spanish Needle Creek I had ~35 miles to Kennedy Meadows. I entertained the possibility of covering it in one day but after 25 miles decided to camp in Rockhouse Basin and finish the last few miles the following morning. I made it into Kennedy Meadows at 9:05 am the next day (5 minutes after the general store opens), picked up my resupply box full of food, ice axe, crampons, and bear canister, and bought a pint of ice cream.

I spent the rest of the day and the whole following day at Kennedy Meadows; did laundry, caught up with other hikers, consumed calories like it wad my job, and enjoyed all of the amenities offered by a local trail angel named Tom.

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