PCT mile 702
The closer you get to a resupply the more and more we torture ourselves as thru-hikers. We talk and daydream about food and ice cold beverages and what we're going to eat and drink when we get to town. This trumps showering, laundry, and reconnecting with friends and family. One must always eat first.
My appetite has grown two-fold over the past week. I had an extra day of food supply but knowing I'd be in Kennedy Meadows as planned I ate every extra meal/snack/coffee/hot chocolate, etc. I had in my pack. One because I was hungry and two because there's no need to be carrying extra weight of food around. I ate my last bar 4 miles from Kennedy Meadows and finished off my water supply a half mile away from the store. I came in bone dry and not an extra bite of food on me. It's kind of a thru-hiker strategy (maybe not everyone's but it is mine) make sure you have enough food and extra in case of in emergency, but once you get closer you go over your food supply everyday to determine how much you safely need to leave yourself. Some hikers are giving away food on the trail because they realize they are carrying too much and others are on the other spectrum and are gladly accepting any food offerings.
That being said I am bulking up and adding extra calories on my way out of Kennedy Meadows. Also, I have 10 days of no resupply and a bear vault to carry, so I'll be packing ALOT of weight coming out of Kennedy Meadows. Also, I have the option to resupply again in Bishop or Independence which a lot of hikers do, instead of carrying 10 days worth of food and supplies, I prefer not to because neither are walking distance from PCT and you either have to take a bus or hitch a ride. So I'll reexamine my food situation again as I get closer to Independence and continue on if food supply is looking good or go into town if more food is needed.
So getting back to Kennedy Meadows. Kennedy Meadows is a small community that had a General Store that serves as a small store, restaurant/grill, and post office it is hiker friendly with camping, laundry and showers. I was overly eager to get there, I wanted food, and I had 5 packages waiting for me (excessive but I'll get to that in a second) a few not from myself that I couldn't wait to open. We wanted to get there by 4pm in case things closed by 5, none of us were really sure how late the store was open until. At 12:30 we still had 10+ miles to go and realized 4pm arrival time was not going to cut it. About 2pm with about 6.5 miles to go, another hiker informed us that the store does close at 5pm. At that point things got serious...no more breaks or taking your time to get there...must get to store now! I told Howl and Hans who passed me with 3 miles to go, to hold the doors for me. I got there at 4:50pm. The 5pm closing time was not so strictly enforced, I had plenty of time to get my packages, order my cheeseburger before the grill was shut down and stock up on goodies. I started a running tab at the store...this is dangerous, I'm sure it is going to be well over $100 dollars by the time I leave Wednesday morning because I'm taking a zero tomorrow and you can just walk into the store grab anything, food, supplies, drinks, and put it on your tab.
The most glorious thing happened as I was out on the porch chilling with other hikers. The owner of the store brought me (and only me) a bucket of hot water for me to soak my feet, he said he couldn't stand to see me hobbling around any more. I was so thrilled and excited, I had not asked someone else about soaking me feet 15 minutes prior and was told they didn't have anything like that. PCT magic at it's finest!!!
OK back to the excessive package story. Two packages were from myself, my original resupply package and another that I sent ahead after my weight shakedown at Hiker Heaven...I need my rainfly and down jacket now that I'm heading into the Sierras and temperatures and weather can be a bit more variable. A third package was a surprise from my brother Adam (best ever and most incredibly thoughtful and impressive). Adam sent me my mascot...Happy Feet!!! A forth was from my mother with some special requests from me and some little surprises...like Via coffee packs and freeze dried strawberries. One of my request was socks...new socks are soooo soft. I passed them around so all the other hikers could feel how soft new socks feel. I'm throwing away my other 3 that have disintegrated to nothing and are bone stiff. My fifth package was a special request I made to my San Diego Hospice friends...a pedicure kit...to make my feet look extra happy and healthy again. Others were in disbelief I was actually going to give myself and pedicure and paint my nails...a comment from Hans Pilgrim..."you are well deserving of your trail name Happy Feet."
Thanks for the gifts!!!