Total mileage: 1017
Today’s mileage: 14
I geared up mentally for another hot, hard ascent but this climb was a pleasant surprise. The grade of the path was nice, smooth and we had cloud cover most of the day. The only concern was that thunder clouds gathered while we were on the 5 mile ridge walk on top and we were the tallest things around. It thundered repeatedly and we moved quickly to get down. We were very lucky to get a hitch to Kennedy Meadows North within a minute of reaching the trailhead. (Ty Lynn!)
Kennedy Meadows North (KM North) was an interesting experience. It’s a dude ranch, where city slickers come out and pay for typically an 8 mile horse ride out into the wilderness, where they are left for a couple of days, and then the cowboys return to pick them up. They rented us bunks in a shared room for $30 each, and said we couldn’t eat dinner before showering. An external building in the back housed their in-house laundromat and showers for the cowboys and passers-bys like ourselves. While we waited for our laundry, one hiker shared his Coors Banquets with the young cowboys killing time in the room. We asked how old he was. His response: “Outside I’m 16, but here I’m 21.”
There was a nice saloon on the premises. A local fisherman kindly bought us a round. The three of us were the only youngish people there that night.