I dreaded packing up this morning, worrying that I wouldn’t be able to fit my bear can and all of my food into my pack. The bear can actually fit horizontally inside the top of my pack where my food bag normally goes though, which is awesome, as most people’s packs only fit them vertically and they have to change their whole pack system. I did still have food in my food bag in addition to the can so I tied that on top of the pack.

In a regular snow year, the average thru hiker wouldn’t consider leaving Kennedy Meadows before June 15th at the earliest because it would be very difficult to get through the Sierra then, but with this year’s very low snow levels, I’m leaving a week earlier than that and shouldn’t come across too much snow. I know there is some out there, but hikers have been getting through just fine since the beginning of the month.

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With the weight of the bear can, a week of food, and some extra, warmer gear, I realized today that my pack’s hipbelt is now too big. I can’t tighten it any more so the back of it is sliding down and I’m feeling the weight on my shoulders. At lunch, I had the idea to put my 1/8″ foam sleeping pad folded between my back and the pack, and that helped a lot. It fills just enough space that the belt is tight again.

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There is plenty of water now. It’s almost too plentiful because I want to stop and take long breaks at every crossing, a habit leftover from hitting only one source a day. I cooked dinner at the South Fork of the Kern River. It wasn’t deep enough to go swimming, unfortunately, but the water felt pretty warm when I filled up my bottle.

I am camped near a dry crossing of Cow Creek but there will be water just up the trail in the morning. 16.8 miles for the day. It was still very hot in the sun today but I am going up in elevation and hoping it will get cooler soon.

Written by Siren

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