Happiness is Hiking, A day on the PCT
Originally posted March, 2018
It had been far too long since I’d been on the trail. Having moved to the desert and started a new job, a combination of being busy, fires in the mountains and blazing heat kept me trapped in the valley. This past weekend I finally broke out. It has been almost a year since I left the Appalachian Trail and almost six months since I did any hiking. I decided to head up to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), specifically to Kennedy Meadows. Most people know Kennedy Meadows from the movie Wild, Cheryl’s arrival at the General Store there is a fairly memorable scene.
It was a great drive up the mountains slipping out of the high desert at 3000 feet to climb up the Sierras to over 6000 feet. I made a stop at the General Store and picked up a map of the area. Heading over to the Kennedy Meadows Campground I parked and headed out on to the PCT.
It felt so good to be wearing my Merrill’s to have a little bit of weight on my back and my walking sticks in my hands. It’s not the best time of year to hike this part of the Sierras, there’s no water in the streams, the landscape is pretty brown. On the way up I drove through one of the recently burned out areas, it’s sad to see so many trees standing black. But there were some plants flowering in the meadows and it was warm but not hot.
I did a short hike, it was only a four mile out and back and I hiked out at a really leisurely to the bridge crossing the dry southern fork of the Kern River. A few things hit me right away on the trail. First, it felt so good to be back on a trail, it felt like I was free again, that I didn’t have a job and responsibilities and all of the inanities that come with our work lives. Recently I’d been thinking a lot how much faster time goes by when you are working, the get up, go to work, go home, go to bed, rinse and repeat of it all flies by far too fast. But my two hours on the trail felt like two full days at work, it was wonderful.
I stopped by the bridge and had a snack, did battle with a hornet who really wanted some of my peanut butter and just enjoyed being in the mountains and in the quiet. Just flat-out being happy in the moment. The walk back I decided to pick up my pace and make some time heading back. Stretching myself a little felt good, there were moments it almost felt like I was back in hiking form. Of course the nap I needed once I got home showed me I wasn’t, but I laid down on the couch with a smile on face and dozed off for a time. So my friends, get outside, do a couple of miles and have a happy day. ~ Rev Kane