After a few days of rafting it was back to Walker Pass, where I left off. In order to make sure I got back on trail, my group left after dinner and didn’t get back to the trail until around 10 pm. There weren’t any campsites for a while so I ended up walking a few miles and gaining over a thousand feet of elevation in the dark. Once I finally got to a camp, I passed out without even setting up the tent. The next morning Harry and I said goodbye to our dutch friends and hiked on toward our next stop, Kennedy Meadows. It was only about fifty miles from where we got off to KM but I tried to enjoy every one of them because this was my last stretch in the desert. I had walked over 650 miles and even though there were brief moments in the snow and trees the majority was in the desert. That would soon be behind me though.
The last fifty miles flew by with my thoughts on all the amazing things I’ve seen so far and how the trail would only get better. The next section would be the high sierra’s, a complete opposite of what I had come from. I would leave the sandy deserts behind and move on to snowy mountains. As I walked my mind raced through all these thoughts. I was so deep in thought actually, that as I was walked down the trail, my eyes on the ground, I almost didn’t notice a bear right on the trail in front of me. It wasn’t until I was about 20 feet away from it that I looked up and froze in my tracks. I never expected to see a bear this far south and it took me by complete surprise. The bear didn’t seem to mind me though and after a few seconds, he slowly walked the other way.
After that incident nothing exciting happened, and the next day I reached Kennedy Meadows. From this point on the trail would be completely different. It was goodbye desert, hello snow. -Noel Nelson (pct mile 702)