Having lunch below the Kern River bridge.

JMT 2011, Day 2 -- 8/30/11

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Start: 708.0, Stop 723.0, Hiked 15 miles.

We got off to a good start. Most of us woke at at dawn and got out of our tents by 6:30. We were on the trail by 7:30. We hiked for about 30 minutes to a creek, and then spent 20 minutes pumping water. Then we hiked for almost 2 hours and a 2000 foot climb. Next, a rest for 30 minutes. From there, we dropped 500 feet into Monache Meadows which was huge. According to our data it is the biggest meadow in the Sierras. And because of its expanse, we could see Mt. Whitney, almost 60 miles to the North.

The Meadows are beautiful, but the trail climbed up and around a 500 foot hill to a horse bridge that spans the Kern River. We got to the bridge right at noon. The bridge had mud nests attached under it they looked like wasp nests, but we found out that they were actually nests for birds cliff swallows.

The bridge was at mile PCT 716.7, which means we hiked 8.7 miles in the morning (felt like more) for exacly 4 hours of hiking.

We took a long lunch, till 1:30, and then back on the trail. The going really starting to get rough. We started at 7820 feet in elevation and needed to climb to 10540, in about 9 miles. With our heavy packs and the heat, the climbing was really hard. We took lots of breaks and stops for extra breaths. We quit about 1.5 miles short of the top. We found a nice place to camp the temptation to stop was just too much. Even with stopping early, we climbed over 4000 for the day not too bad for our first full day. It was one of the most difficult hikes I have done for a long time.

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Morning after first night on the trail. Andew is looking good!
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Packing up.
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Almost ready to go. Sitting down for breakfast.
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Not so typical.
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On the trail, before the blisters began.
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Happy to be here.
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Typical trails about 8 miles North of Kennedy Meadows.
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A morning break.
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Andrew taking a midmorning rest.
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Dusty trail, across Monache Meadows, the biggest meadow in the Sierra.
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A view of Monache Meadows as we climb away from it.
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Our beloved PCT sign.
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Looking good, but shoulders starting to get sore.
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The bridge over the South Fork Kern River.
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We had lunch below the bridge.
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At first we thougth these might be bees nests. They are actually nests for cliff swallows (birds).
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We start our after lunch climb.
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A final look at the meadows below.
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Dal's camp.
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Wesley setting up his hammock that now is warm enought to use.
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Enjoying some popcorn that was difficult to make. It ruined the bottom of my expensive pot. But it was worth it.