Today has been all about getting ready for the Sierra. From Kennedy Meadows the trail ascends to over 10,000 feet fairly quickly, and the landscape will be mostly covered in snow. We are carrying ice axes and microspikes for the snow travel, as well as gloves and a few extra layers of clothing. We are entering several national parks where bear canisters are required for food storage (they weigh over 2lbs each). We will have longer stretches between towns and slower overall travel, meaning we have to carry extra food. At least we won’t have to carry much water!
In addition to the extra gear, we both got new shoes. The last five miles of trail my shoes were starting to split apart, so I got my replacement pair just in time. Our sleeping pad sprung a leak two days ago, so we located and patched it today. In addition, I sewed up some holes in our gaiters and long johns. We showered and did laundry, organized our food and supplies, and have been discussing travel plans for the Sierra with other hikers.
This year is an exceptional year. After 5 years of drought the Sierra received 200% of normal snowfall. The trail this year carries added risks that we do not take lightly. Many hikers will skip this section, but we still want to at least make an attempt and see how we feel. It’s not going to be easy.