Day 46 - The Push to Kennedy Meadows

I had 25 miles to go before reaching the symbolic finish line for the 700 mile stretch of Southern California desert. I wanted to arrive by 5 pm so I could pick up the care package my mom sent and possibly buy a few things at the store. 

I pushed hard, trying to maintain a 3 mph pace, stopping every hour or two to air my feet out and eat a snack. 

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The mountains seemed to grow before me, and a storm rolled into the valley.

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I saw "thunderbolt and lightning," but not "very, very frightening," because I was hiking through the valley and the storm passed along the ridge line above and beyond me.

There were many vacancies at the nearby pine cone hotel, too.

There were many vacancies at the nearby pine cone hotel, too.

I considered what may be one of my last cactus encounters for a while

I considered what may be one of my last cactus encounters for a while

And still took time to smell the roses. 

And still took time to smell the roses. 

I hiked through the chapparel and thought of all the time we've shared and then the strangest thing happened. I felt really dizzy so I laid down beneath a pine tree and drifted off into what felt like a dream, but it seemed too real.

I hiked through the chapparel and thought of all the time we've shared and then the strangest thing happened.

I felt really dizzy so I laid down beneath a pine tree and drifted off into what felt like a dream, but it seemed too real.

I woke up a bit dazed and continued on my merry way.

And then I reached the big 700 mile mark, which added some pep to my step. 

And then I reached the big 700 mile mark, which added some pep to my step. 

I reached the road to Kennedy Meadows just in time to see my dear friend MoonBurned, who informed me that she left something for me with the lady behind the counter.

I gave her some matches I'd found 150 miles before and had carried for her knowing she preferred that method for starting her camp stove.

We bid a fond farewell and I sped off to the fabled hiker vortex, where I was greeted by a roar of applause and shouts of "Jungle Jym, Jungle Jym!"

There were 50 or more fellow hikers there, graciously soaking up the graces of the oasis, cheering for each hiker as they arrived.

I'd made it to Kennedy Meadows, with half an hour to spare. 

I'd made it to Kennedy Meadows, with half an hour to spare. 

Here is the cake MoonBurned had saved for me from her sister's high school graduation, which I shared with a friend who offered me their Ben and Jerry's to compliment the meal.

Here is the cake MoonBurned had saved for me from her sister's high school graduation, which I shared with a friend who offered me their Ben and Jerry's to compliment the meal.

It felt like a blessed family reunion, with many hugs and stories shared.

<3 Will