Mile 681 to 702
I wake later than usual. The other Ricks seem in no hurry. I have a nice breakfast of granola, another smashed Little Debbie and coffee. I pay my respects to the pit toilet and saddle up. Just as I do, it begins to snow. Not a snow that sticks and builds, but a cold blowing flurry that melts on contact. I climb up and over a pass towards Kennedy Meadows. It snows for about two hours. I much prefer it to rain and it is quite beautiful. The rest of the day is a battle to maintain the right temperature. In clouds and wind, I stop and put on my jacket. The clouds blow past, I overheat, stop and take off the jacket. Wait, cloud blows over, now put on gloves. No, sun back, take off gloves, open jacket. It is a game I play for the entire day, only there seems to be no winning.
The dreaded 700 miles of desert now ending seems to have gotten a bad rap. Sure there are parts with flat sand walks through cactus and creosote bushes. There are also some brutal climbs up treeless and waterless mountains. But most had spectacular vistas. And many were mountain oases with trees, such as Mt Laguna, Idyllwild, San Jacinto, Big Bear and even parts of Tehachapi.
I am now approaching Kennedy Meadows, gateway to the Sierras, the land of snow and water. Unfortunately, both are falling from the sky right now. Tomorrow is predicted to be worse.
At the General Store I wait forever for the staff to retrieve my bear canister and other packages. They are understaffed and certainly no competition for Wrightwood in terms of service to hikers. But frankly, I am in no hurry and my phone and external battery are on the charger. There is no cell service and no internet. It seems so isolated.
I plan to zero tomorrow, hoping to miss the worst of the weather. I quickly pitch my tent before the rain. I thought I could do laundry here, but they only have a clothesline to dry which makes laundry in the rain pointless. Trying to keep clothes dry is more important than trying to stop the smell. Other hikers tried to push on, but were turned back by too much snow. From here the trail quickly climbs over 10,000 feet, not a great place to be in a snow storm.
I sleep reasonably well through the cycles of light rain and snow. Tomorrow is a zero to rest, resupply and figure out how to make it through the snowy and getting snowier Sierras.