Friday, May 23, 2014

Day 44. Back to Kennedy Meadows

720.5 back to 702.3

All my wet gear was frozen solid by morning. By the time I'd wrangled my feet into frozen shoes, bundled up my ice-encrusted tarp, and decided to wear my sleeping clothes while hiking, it started to snow again. We climbed into deeper and deeper snow for about half and hour. Despite the exertion, my toes slowly went numb from the cold.

I stopped to eat, hoping more calories would help, and MeToo stopped with me. Suddenly MeToo bent over, saying he felt like he might pass out. Apparently, this happens to him sometimes, and could have been related to his blood pressure medication, combined with the strain and altitude. I watched him collapse onto the ground. Yikes! I was so worried he would hit his head as he fell. He came to, but was very pale. I called out to SlowBro and Blue Yonder for help. SlowBro is a doctor and assessed MeToo. Fortunately, MeToo felt better after resting and drinking some hot water.
SlowBro and Blue Yonder care for MeToo.
We debated what to do. We were heading deeper into the Sierra, it was snowing, we were all very cold, and going to even higher altitudes with what happened to MeToo didn't seem like a good idea. We were already planning to head into town at Cottonwood Pass the next day- there was more snow up there then we'd bargained for and more was coming down. I needed to pick up my gortex socks in Lone Pine, and MeToo needed a new sleeping bag. SlowBro, MeToo and I decided to turn around and head back to Kennedy Meadows. Blue Yonder decided to hike on. It was great hiking with Blue Yonder, and I wish her safe and joyful travels and hope to see her again someday.
MeToo takes a hot drink.
 It felt weird hiking back especially when we got to lower elevation where there was no snow. When we looked up at the mountains, we could see they were covered in clouds so it looked like it snowed all day up there. On our hike out, we just had some rain.
Back to Swallow Bridge.
I think it was a good decision to bail. While I was warm during the night in my hammock, I was pretty cold while hiking. My hiking clothes are not the ones I wore in my snow skills class since I was thinking there would be warmer weather during the day here. And it felt like the right thing to do hiking back with MeToo. I was really glad for an excuse to turn back. And it made me feel better that SlowBro hiked back too-- otherwise I'd feel like I was a wimp. Especially with other hikers continuing on. I know I could have done it, but it was going to be very hard and it was no fun being that cold.
SlowBro follws MeToo back to Kennedy Meadows.
Tomorrow we are going to the outfitter and post office in Lone Pine.  Hopefully this delay will give the snow up there a chance to melt while we get better prepared.


  1. Had to check a map to see where y'all were at, couldn't believe y'all are almost even with San Francisco! Wow!

    I'm sorry things are rough enough to turn back, hopefully the snow will go away in a day or two and you can press on. I can definitely see how other hikers who weren't prepared might have issues if they've continued further...stay safe! Looking forward to your hike through the Sierra's!

    1. They won't be even with San Fran' till they get to Donner Pass, North of Lake Tahoe.