Adventureception 

This past week has been one for the books. In the words of Red Forman “nice going dumbass.” Let me explain…

Heading over to sequoia and seeing the giant sequoias was something I want knew I wanted to do from the start of my trip. So right at mile 650 I hopped off the trail and spent a day worth of hitch hiking and taking buses heading north towards sequoia. After about two days I finally arrived, and let me tell you that seeing these trees in person was absolutely incredible. To be honest I thought that the giant sequoias were redwoods and just learned the difference about the two a few weeks ago. The redwood forest is in northern Cali right on the coast and the trees over there take the cake in height, but the giant sequoias have the upper hand when it comes to size. The biggest tree in the world measured through volume and weight is General Sherman and is located in the Sequoia national park. I now know why Arkady freaked out and told me I had to visit there, but enough with the history lesson and let me explain how I done did it. While I was up there I had absolutely no service so that when it came time to take the two hour shuttle back to Visalia I was in for a rude awakening. Once I finally got service back, I learned that the next section I was suppose to hop back on at (650-700 completing the desert section) caught on fire the day before and was now closed off. I was about a days worth of travel north without the slightest clue on what to do. I figured if I made it back I’d just have to hitch the 50 miles north anyways to Kennedy meadows. Not what I wanted to do and that’s 50 miles I would be missing out on. I came out here to hike, not skip sections. I started looking at my map and noticed how the High Sierra Trail ran from Sequoia heading east meeting up on the Pct over the course of about 55 miles. Right away I knew that was the new game plan. I figured this hike would be better than hitching and losing out on 50 miles anyways. Downside was, no shuttles were headed back to sequoia until the next day. I ended up grabbing a hotel room for the night and grabbed the first shuttle back to sequoia the next morning. To say I was excited would be an understatement. I was bypassing the last 50 miles of desert (at the time it was 95-100 degrees everyday) and hiking through the sierras on an unknown trail. This was like an adventure in a even bigger adventure. Adventureception. First thing I had to due was head over to the ranger station and grab a permit only for her to hit me with bad news. She told me how the High Sierra Trail had way too much snow on one of the passes and no one has been able to go through because it was too dangerous. Way to ruin the mood lady. On top of that all my snow gear was waiting for me at Kennedy meadows so that didn’t help. We started going over a new route but it wasn’t any better. I had one river crossing that was potentially dangerous followed by two mountain passes with a lot of snow and the trail didn’t even bring me to the pct. It got me close but I still would have to hitch 20 miles. I told her I would stick with that and if things got too much for me I would turn back. That seemed to calm her nerves a bit. An hour later I was on the Hst getting the mileage in. I came across a guy who told me how about a week ago (Bobby shmurda) a lady wrote a post about how she did the Hst but it wasn’t easy. Here’s where I made the executive decision to go with the Hst and ditch the route she mapped out for me. I know how that sounds but the way I looked at it was, both weren’t a guarantee and if one was gonna spit me out onto the pct that was obviously the clear cut choice. After hiking about 15 miles I made it to Lake Hamilton. I swear this place was something out of a Disney movie. Gorgeous lake surrounded by mountains with animals and birds in every nook and cranny. And for the record marmots are the shit. I talked to a few people camped out there about the trail and got 50/50 answers and just told myself that I’d hike up the 3 miles in the morning and if the snow was too much for me I’d turn back. Setting the tone for the day, I woke up to a deer eating my shirt that was hanging from a tree. Not cool dude. Apparently they’re attracted to the sweat on the clothes and backpacks. After chasing him off I started having breakfast by the lake talking to Edgar (one of the campers I met the night before) only to have Mckayla (another camper I met) run over and tell me that she just got my shirt back from the deer. You think I would have learned my lesson. As me and Edgar started walking back, this damn deer grabbed my shorts and took off. Edgar and I spent a solid ten minutes chasing him down trying to get my shorts back until he finally dropped them. Luckily they were ok but the shirt was destroyed and for someone who hikes in the same shirt everyday that becomes a problem. Mckayla though was nice enough to give me the shirt she was wearing. Cheers to that girl because I wasn’t prepared enough for how cold that rest of the hike got. After that awesome start to the morning I hiked up the 3 miles up to 9,000 feet where the dangerous snow pass was at that was making a lot of people turn back. I told myself if it looked too sketchy that’d I’d turn back. Now was it sketchy? Oh absolutely. One wrong slip and sorry Charlie but that’s a wrap. Now was it doable? For sure. Just really had to take your time and get correct footing position with every step. After the pass I felt like I was in no mans land until about a mile later where I ran into Nikki, Andy and Shelby. The four of us hiked together through what seemed like some real back country. Snow cover the entire first half of the valley with not a trail in sight only to be crossing back and forth between the river that was flowing down below. After around 5 miles we split up so I could head north while they were heading south. One of the best groups of people I came across and its shame they weren’t hiking the pct. After we split up I hiked another 5 miles up the mountain to find a lake hidden at the top. Winner winner chicken dinner. It would’ve been a sin if I didn’t jump in after doing 650 miles of desert. I owed at least that much to my body. I ended that day by literally racing the sunset as I was trying to make it out of the woods to some sort of open ground. Some days I don’t even think twice when it comes to camping alone, but in bear country without a bear canister/locker, the last place I wanna be setting up camp is in the woods. I’ll pass. That day turned out to be one of the best days on trail yet and I couldn’t be more grateful for it. The theme of the next day was river/stream crossings. Not even a quarter of a mile after breaking camp I came across my first ice cold stream crossing at 7 am. Not a good way to start the day. I hit about a total of 8 crossings throughout the day. Most crossings are no big deal to get by but there were two that had me on the fence. The first one looked like a simple crossing until I made it halfway and could feel the raw power of the current. It caught me off guard and almost took me with it but bless these trekking poles man. The next one definitely had me worried. It was straight after a waterfall into another waterfall behind me so the power was all there. On top of that, I wasn’t able to see a clear path or how deep it went. It got about waist deep and one of the sketchiest things I’ve done on trail to date. There’s been two times when I ran out of water in the desert and a day where I was completely exhausted and as I was walking a foot slipped over the edge of the trail but luckily I was able to catch myself. Any situation like that puts things in a whole new perspective. Now here’s when things get good. I finally made it back on the pct only to find out that instead of being at mile 720-30 where I thought I’d be (was gonna hike the 20-30 back to Kennedy meadows) I was at mile 770. Clearly I only did half of my homework. Instant panic mode set in seeing how I only had a days worth of food left and 70 miles to go, not to mention I didn’t wanna hike 70 miles just to re-hike it in the upcoming days. I was off heading down the trail like a mad man with everyone looking at me like I had 3 heads because I was going in the opposite direction. Thankfully I came across a guy who told me I could hitch into town from mile 750 and then from there work on another hitch to Kennedy meadows. I calmed down and set up camp for the night leaving myself a 20 mile day for when I woke up. Note to self; don’t cowboy camp in the sierras. You’ll wake up with a frozen sleeping bag, frozen shoes and gear along with a frozen soul. On the up side though, I have never seen so many stars in my life. I went to bed around 9 and woke up in the middle of the night to one of the most amazing views that I had ever seen. I’m pretty sure every night will be like that during the Sierra section. Hallelujah. In the morning I packed everything up as quickly as I could and started hiking to warm up. Finally having some breakfast and letting all my gear dry off which where this leaves me now. I have about 13 miles left until I can get a hitch into town and then gonna try and work my way to Kennedy meadows from there. It’s crazy to know that desert section is almost all behind me and if you’ve been following along the entire time then thank you. I’m putting out two post at one time only cause I had the first one half written but never got around to putting it up. I won’t be posting for a while though because the sierras are a true no mans land and my next post will be on the entire Sierra section. Cheers until then


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