Day 29: At the gates of the Sierra… (NERO)

Day: Monday, June 27th 2016

Miles: 702.2 – 709.5

Kennedy Meadows – Remote Camp 709.5

I first explored the indulgences of the PCT hiker back in Idyllwild, where I took a NERO day (or NEar zeRO). The premise is that you cover a symbolic number of miles in a virtual rest-day, in order to overcome the guilt of taking a full day off. Today I took a NERO at Kennedy Meadows. I needed a break as the trip from Tehachapi had been exhausting, but also because it is still seriously hot in the valley and daytime hiking is not a pleasant experience. Hanging around the general store during day was another great opportunity to meet people and hear of stories and strategies from behind and ahead. I also vigorously went through the hiker boxes to salvage anything of use (in my case some well worn flip-flops will come in useful for river crossings).

At one point myself and Superstar hopped in a pickup truck to check if we could get wifi. Sadly no wifi but any excuse to hang in the back of some random pickup truck is good with me.

Eventually I had to see to the business of my Sierra resupply strategy. After discussing many methods and plans I had really liked the idea of hiking straight through to VVR (Vermillion Valley Resort). I would need to carry 10 days food as well as a bear canister however it seemed very doable. Importantly this strategy would save almost 26 miles of off-PCT hiking if I opt not to visit Independence, CA via the commonly used Kearsarge Pass route. Carry more but save miles resonated with me! I laid out the resupply and bought some extras to fill the gap. I even managed to find some individually packed Spam which I was quite excited about!

With a jam-packed pack (around 35lb) I eventually decamped and left Kennedy Meadows at 6pm. Almost immediately the largest rain storm I have experienced yet on the trail broke out, and so the first mile was blessed with the first rains of the PCT summer for me! I’ll take it as a good omen, as did Erin who left at the same time as me.

The short few miles I covered this evening allowed me to get out of the heat of the valley. I was now placed high up on the trail in elevation, so that tomorrow’s large elevation gain had a little dent. I night hiked for a few miles which was fun in the cooler air. Unfortunately with reduced visibility comes bad camp decisions as I camped in a buggy area of beetles, scorpions and mosquitos, but sadly only realized this once my tent was half way up (as I was descended on by a swarm of mosquitos). It was an interesting night of hearing buzzing close to my face outside the big screen, as I settled in for night one of ten on the road to Vermillion Valley!

3 thoughts on “Day 29: At the gates of the Sierra… (NERO)

  1. Fires and snakes and scorpions, oh my! Glad you have Wheetabix to sustain you and the bear canister for the next section. Great to see you back on the trail and looking strong and happy. We’re with you here in Pittsburgh. Love, Carey


  2. Hi Petey!
    You seem to be moving north at an incredible rate! I hope the scorpions, snakes and other scary beasts stay away and your trek through the Sierras goes well. Your photos are spectacular, keep ’em coming! Jenny and I hiked 13 miles in Shenandoah over the weekend and are still recovering. I don’t know how you do it! Good luck. PS – Do you have your planned box collection points listed anywhere?


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