Day 54 – Kennedy Meadows South to South Fork Kern River – 23km

Pinecone dialling in with my chubby fingers on the small phone key board! This feels like a huge milestone, heading out of Kennedy Meadows! I am a bit hung over from an emotional night of drinking in the camp ground but glad to be out on the trail heading to new places. We have been noticing the effects of PMS far more out here. The fatigue is one thing but also the anxiety is through the roof to the point where you start to doubt your trust in others due to a plunge in self confidence. Anyway we are all trying to understand each other through these times and give each other space to figure emotions out. Today was my day of space and walking it out through amazing scenery did the job. 

Tree stump art K Meadows South

Quiz and I leave KM general store at 9am. We have been ready for a while but Layers is having a slow morning so we head out. A quarter mile back to the trail, we continue northward up the Kern River Valley. I am trying to enjoy myself but feel really down and anxious about the High Sierra. Of course Quiz is there to hear my thoughts and totally understand these emotional mood swings. The valley is beautiful! It’s so hot though and we speed through the open space and soon find refuge in thick spruce forest. 

Kern River Valley heading north

4 miles in we cross the Kern River and head North East up a small river valley. The Kern is flowing like crazy this season. Apparently there have been many casualties with people white water rafting it this year. We are glad for the foot bridge and hope the river crossing in the Sierra are more tame. We begin the climb up Crag Creek which is hot and arduous. More burnt areas remind me of our days in the desert and I desperately hope for new scenery. On the way up I realise I’m walking really quickly. I pass lots of hikers, Quiz 100m behind me. I chat to day hikers who always make you feel really good about the distances walked and one even says I’m the fastest PCT hiker she has spoken to (lol) but I’ll take the compliment. 

Kern River Crossing

At the top of the valley the path keeps us in the suspense of dense spruce trees. Quiz and I have lunch and good uplifting chats. Eventually the path opens up onto the most stunning alpine meadow. It’s hard to put into words but the shift in landscape is so dramatic and uplifting. It feels so secret and delicate up here, tucked away in the mountains. We walk in awe through the meadowlands and up onto the next ridge which takes us down into the next meadow. More stunning views of meandering rivers and snow capped mountains! The walking is easy and so gratifying. 

Alpine meadows in all their beauty. 

We have finally reach our destination, the camp at south fork Kern River. It’s 3:30 and we have the afternoon to go swimming and wash our clothes and hang them on the suspension bridge to dry. There are swallows who nest under there and they get very angry when you walk over the bridge and try to swoop you. It’s very funny! We wait around for Princess Layers, Brucie, Justin and Perk but they don’t show. We see all the other hikers arrive who we passed earlier. Quiz and I are a little worried but then decide that it’s not worth worrying and keep positive. We swim some more with Tamika who passes by and get ready for dinner and bed. At 7:30pm the others finally show! To our great relieve they are all doing great! Slow starts and lots of river swims. 

South Fork Kern River Camp

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