We finally arrived at Kennedy Meadows Store, which is essentially the southern gateway to the High Sierra's. With 704 miles of walking behind us, this was to be a major transition point to the trail. With the high desert just about behind us, we were to soon take our first steps into the snow country.
To our surprise, there must have been about fifty or more through-hikers piled up at the resort waiting to dispell their fears that was keeping them from continuing their hike forwards. With the last rains, a couple of feet of snow was deposited at the higher elevations ahead. With the forecast calling for snow showers every day of the week and low temperatures in the twenties, the trekers appeared to be frozen in their tracks.
Hikers oddly enough spent their time chanting "we are hiking the PCT" over and over again as if they were trying to convince them selves that it was ok to take the next step. Scuttlebug had it that a hiker who was carrying a satellite Spot device..... pushed her emergency button calling the authorities that she was in trouble. Apparently, she didn't have a proper shelter as the snow began to fall. She succumbed to her fears and emails were automatically sent to all of her loved one's that she was in trouble. She turned out to be fine, but the chain of events that followed created a lot of fear and panic in those pilgrims who carried doubt within them.
People suddenly started trying to convince each other to skip ahead to the northern end of the Sierra's to avoid all of the snow they should have been hiking through. The snow was half the fun. To overcome one's fear of having cold feet returns great power that has been funneled away from our Being. We can trust that each step is a process of relaiming our inner peaceful Warrior, and where one becomes endowed with a lost power that transforms one's Self in every arena of Life. The group that eventually skipped this section became known as the Donner Party, since many of them skipped ahead to the interstate 80 corridor at Donner's Pass. The Donner Party, known from history, resorted to eating themselves. Fear certainly is an indicator that something is eating at us from within.
In this section of the trail we were required to carry bear canisters through the three major National Parks that were before us. Once again, we are being told to do something based on fear. When we rationalize fear, it grips a person hard and they begin seeing their whole lives in relationship to fear. Is it wise for a country to train their citizens to be afraid of their shadows? Ironicly, believing in the fears themselves often attracts such unwanted events to happen. This is the Law of Attraction.
For most of the trip, Stacey and I just slept under the stars. However, since we were receiving snow showers everyday and high temperatures in the low thirties, we often slept under our 12 ounce tarp for added warmth and protection from the elements. The above photo was at an elevation of over 10,000 feet overlooking the desert of Owens Valley.
In this section, our aim was to hike about 94 miles where we would side track over to Kearsarge Pass to the Onion Valley Trailhead above the eastern Sierra town of Independance. Some hikers opted to carry over 200 miles worth of food to make it to Muir Ranch or to Vermilion Resort on Lake Edison. However, one also has to consider that they will be hiking less miles due to the 11,000 to 13,000 foot passes we were to traverse.
Here Stacey is playing her own tune. People sometimes take symbols with them which tend to act as power tools. They help One to stay centered and aligned to the Moment.
Entering Sequoia National Park we eventually merged with the famous John Muir Trail. The beauty and diversity of these rugged and unique mountains brings tears to my eyes. Whenever I am here, something deep down resonates to my core. I can sense why these mountains meant so much to Muir. Its easy to feel the landscape where one comes to Life and shines bright amongst the ancient and polished granite that the mountains are famous for.
Up and up to 12,000 feet we flowed. At this elevation and at this time of the year there are many streams and creeks to cross. One's feet are perpetually wet from either walking in the snow or from crossing these water ways. Our calluses on our feet were indeed getting thick. We were now in the best possible shape of our lives.