Day 34: Kennedy Meadows to Death Canyon (28.6 miles - 730.8)
Updated: Aug 25, 2019
June 10, 2016 - I figured one full zero was plenty for me, my body felt like it had healed well enough. I had enough of just sitting around and with the Sierras right there I was itching to get moving. However I was still nervous about what the snow conditions would be like in the high areas. I’m thinking at some point I have to get with a group but figured I had a few days to figure that out.
Got up at 5:30am but didn’t end up leaving Kennedy Meadows until 6:45am, I had to spend some extra time packing up my new gear of ice axe, bear canister, micro spikes which I wasn’t use to doing.
My body was still a little tight so I hiked the half mile slowly down the road back to the trail. Once I got there I spend some quality stretching time which really helped, back felt great but my knee not so much. The more hiking I did the better my knee felt, so that was a good sign. By the end of the day I didn’t feel anything. I think the new shoes, stretching several times a day and knee sleeve have helped.
The plan was to go 28 miles to Death Canyon. With my back and knee I wasn’t sure if I could do it plus the first 21 miles was all uphill starting at 6,000 feet and climbing up to 10,500ft.
The trail started off in this sandy meadow which slowly turned into a pine forest just as I officially crossed into the Sierras. It stayed in the forest for 10 miles then opened up into this huge meadow where I got a nice view of the snow top peaks. I didn’t stay in the meadow long as I went back into the forest.
Then I had a slight downhill that took me to the Kern River where I crossed over a wooden bridge. Then started climbing again and back in the woods. After 17 miles I decided to take my long lunch break. However with the cooler weather I didn’t have to wait around until late afternoon to start hiking again.
After lunch I had 4 steep miles to the peak which wasn’t too bad but I could feel the high altitude while trying to breath. Once over the peak the last 6 miles of the day were all downhill. I made good time as I got close to camp the trail started to really flatten and the forest opened up.
There were several people already camping when I arrived at Death Canyon so I found a good spot, filtered water, ate dinner, then set up my tent. The only bad thing about the camping spot was there weren’t any good views. I walked a ways from camp in hopes of finding one but no luck so went back to my tent and went to bed.
I was very happy with the hike today and already loving being out of the desert and into real mountains. Soon I’ll be hitting the really cold weather and snow.