7/21/18 – Kennedy Meadows North

Day 31

Miles: 1,022.01 to 1,016.93

The smoke is back, thick, impenetrable. It conceals the valley like it never existed. Higher up we can see the saddle we soon will be aiming for. There’s lots of smoke there too but the conditions seem rad bit better.

The trail is still graded well. Some sections are wet and muddy, while others have elaborate staircases built and a part looks like a cobblestone street in an old European town. Who put it here? We wonder.

At the high point the scenery has a Scottish feel. Green valley, folded grassy hillsides, and like castles rock formations stick from a ground. It’s beautiful. I wish the smoke would go away but we’re no so lucky today.

Long switchbacks take us down to Hwy 108. Sonora Pass is where people hitchhike to North Kennedy Meadows North, one of the important landmarks along the way. The hitching goes easy. Fourth car stops for us. It’s a very nice looking Lincoln, vehicle you’d not think would pick up dirty bunch of hikers. The driver is on his was from a fishing trip at Twin Lakes. He tells us he thru hiked JMT in 1968 with a buddy. Their packs were at times up to 80 lb.

At Kennedy Meadows we have a brief reunion with Swayed and Roller. They are planning to leave later in the afternoon. The rest of the southbound hoard is here as well. Sharkbite’s parents came in an RV and they are camping half mile down the road. We stop by for a brief visit.

At six we have dinner with Gray Ghost and Daybreak. We knew we would be meeting them somewhere in the next few days. They surprise us when they stroll in the resort in the afternoon. We even get to share a bunk room. Gray Ghost and Daybreak were two of the people whose company we enjoyed most on the trail last year and it’s nice to have time to catch up.