Prof had a report regarding incoming snow storms in high elevation areas. Knowing we had a big climb in the middle of the day we headed out to avoid being caught in something nasty. Descending 5 miles to the slopes base was easy and was made better by unexpected trail magic from Jim. We stocked up and had a hearty breakfast with him before starting the walk up which would take us above 8,000 ft. The weather was beautiful, blue skies and sun but not too much heat making the walk relatively easy. The mix of pine and desert also kept it varied for the eyes, there were plenty of birds too such as the beautiful western tanger. Ascending for 7 or so miles, the trail finally peaked among a burn area with views of the Sierras. They looked large and packed with snow, an exciting and daunting future before us all. We now descended, winding through barren ridge lines and valleys to the flat plains below.
Not wanting to rest long by a stream I pressed onwards in search of phone signal to contact Grumpy Bear Bar, our stop for the night, to ask for a lift from the trail head. Alone I walked the 7 mile stretch through pine woods, boulder field and meandering rivers, passing the 700 mile mark. I suddenly became aware that I may have missed the trail turn off, but not wanting to back track kept moving on until I reached a road. After some time, and having not found signal, I was relieved to see Prof who confirmed that we had both missed the turning and now had to hike through Kennedy Meadows in order to get to the others at Grumpy’s. Luckily we grabbed a ride from the general store and arrived just as Molly and the others did. We all had done marathons today and had securely finished the Southern California section. Drinks and food joined the celebrations. It was now time for some time off before tackling the up coming snows and peaks.