Day 58 (Tuesday, June 14): 3.5 miles on Chimney Basin Rd + PCT mile 687.8 to Manter Creek (693.52), 9.22 miles.
This morning we drove from Bridgeport to Kennedy Meadow. We had some car trouble along the way and had to stop in Bishop to get it checked out. Thankfully they said it was okay to keep driving as long as the engine light wasn’t flashing. It was very interesting to drive through the recent burn and to see so much fresh char. We passed the closed Crane brake rd which would require us to get a ride all the way around to Walker Pass and come from the south. Though shortly after we passed Chimney Basin Road which was only closed to thru traffic as the road was supposedly washed out a mile down. A light bulb went off. Perhaps another option as my companions (dad and stepmom) wanted the easiest/shortest option.
We arrived to Kennedy Meadows – not as magical as I was thinking, but still filled to the brim with hikers. I saw a few I recognized which was surprising as I’d been off trail for so long. I also ran into Honey again (who I met at Cajon Pass McDs)! We caught up on how things have been and said or goodbyes. I would be headed south to do the section back to KM and she was headed north that afternoon.
We finally found Scott who kindly offered us a ride on Facebook. To my surprise it happened to be Devilfish who was volunteering at Ziggy and the Bear! After some deliberation and map studying we decided to checkout Chimney Basin Rd and decided to risk the unknown and try this way versus the 2 hour ride to the campground.
We crossed the road closed gate and were on our own. It was 1:42 and warm, but not unbarable. We passed a few houses and storage containers out in the middle of no where. Thankfully no one came out with shotguns accusing us of trespassing, which we probably accidently did as we missed one of the road/trail junctions. Thank goodness for my gps as my hikerbot app wasn’t completely accurate. The road was never washed out, but did disappear with over growth and brush. It was a steady and gradual incline all the way up to the trail. It was slow going with my dad and step mom with their fresh legs, but gave me an excuse to take it real lazy. Along the way we ran into a rattlesnake on trail; the fourth one I’ve seen but the first I was able to get a picture of before me or the snake ran away.
Many breaks later we met the PCT at mile 687.8 around 4:50 and continued downhill from there. It was getting cooler and made for a nice walk. We weren’t sure how far we’d make it or when a decent campsite would show up. My step mom was struggling a bit so I offered to carry her pack part of the way to get us to camp before it got too dark. I needed to make up for the miles I missed and prepare for my heavy pack to come – it helps even out the weight distribution anyway.
We finally made it to the beautiful rock basin and found a campsite near Manter Creek around 7:30. I didn’t sleep well, but it was my best nights sleep on trail yet. Tomorrow we would have a short day to KM.