The High Sierra’s – Kennedy Meadows to Tuolumne 

I have arrived to the land of milk and honey. When the Isrealites left captivity and were guuded to the promise land, this is what i have been experiencing these past weeks. My breath has been taken away, not from the lack of oxygen at 12000′ (yet it could have a small part in it) but from the beauty at every turn!

My friend Atsuko has joined me and is sharing this amazing trail with me for the next 150 miles. I have so enjoyed her company and having someone who is just as overjoyed to see Gods handiwork as me. Leaving Kennedy Meadows we encountered our first water source, the mighty Kern River. It is so powerful yet there are tubs that you can soak in and wash away your cares. I found a natural jacuzzi with bubbles and a perfect seat to rest in while my body was massaged from head to toe

 Everyday has been a journey of getting deeper in my relationship with Jesus. He has given me this enormous strength to get over tall mountains and cover long distances. As I headed north, it became apparent that the altitude was not the only obstacle but the weather was quite unpredictable! Daily we had snow flurries, mostly in the afternoon, which is a blessing compared to rain. Our first task was getting over Forester Pass 13118′ which is the highest point on the PCT. We went to sleep with snow on the ground, and woke to frost on our tents and very cold temperatures  This amounted to a perfect ascent day as we stayed cool and never overheated! The climb was gradual until the last false summit. Then we truly had to dig deep to get to the top. I am deathly afraid of heights so when we came around the last bend and the trail was blocked with a snowy cornice, I was ready to head back to the desert! Atsuko, my trail partner and super hero, plowed her way over a boulder field and guided me safely to the top. 

  Needless to say, God was with us every step of the way. Once over the tallest and most technical pass, we had snow fields that obliviated the trail. Fortunately there were many foot prints that guided our route and with the help of micro spikes, we made it slowly off the mountain. It snowed again that afternoon as we arrived in camp, cold and wet.

   Most thru-hikers resupply by exiting the Sierra’s by way of Kearsarge Pass. It takes you down to Onion Valley, off trail seven miles with a 4000′ descent. Atsuko’s husband Curt and friend Steve volunteered to resupply us. They made the ascent up Kearsarge Pass and met us at Kearsarge Lakes with all the food we needed for the next 100 miles. Needless to say, we were the envy of all the thru-hikers! I asked if they would be willing to be our Sherpas all the way to Canada? I’m still waiting for a reply but it’s not looking hopeful.

 Loaded with ten pounds or more of food but very grateful for our provisions,  we slowly trudged towards Glen Pass 11946′. We had been warned that this pass was, let’s just say, a bit sketchy. With the recent snowfall, the north facing slope was covered in snow. The approach was arduous but just place one foot in front of the other and you do make progress. As we stopped for one of our many breaks, we heard what sounded like thunder. Never a welcome sound as you reach a summit! As I looked to the east, I could see dust building as this gigantic rock fall had been activated. We watched in awe as boulders the size of cars were tumbling down the steepest slope towards a huge boulder field below us. Once again, we were protected as we were safely on the opposing slope observing this force of nature. After a good minute or two. the dust settled, the earth stopped shaking, and we carried on to the top of the pass.

 Prayer is a mighty and powerful thing! I am rest assured that I do not have to do this alone, but as I was flubbing my way down this mountain of snow and ice, I know Jesus was with me every step of the way. Not a scratch or a twisted ankle came my way and before I knew it, Atsuko and I were back on solid ground looking over the Rae Lakes basin.  If you have never been here, know that there is not another area so beautiful as this with the magestic mountains in every direction, the beautiful meadows that adorn this place, the crystal clear waters that house trout swimming in all directions, and the curious critters, marmots, chipmunks and picas looking for their next tasty morsel of grass, pine nut or occasional scrap left behind by a hiker. It is definitely heaven on earth. 
During the next week, we summited a peak a day. Pinchot Pass 12142′,  Mather Pass 12000′, Muir Pass 11789′ with snow on both north and south faces for a total of three miles, Seldon Pass 11898′ and finally Silver Pass 10910′. Each one had its own set of obstacles and rewards but as we continued north, I knew the awesome mountain scales were just a memory. I am definitely without a doubt a true sucker for tall mountains! There is something to behold when you are atop a wondrous force of nature, that allows you to lose your breath by the sheer magic of its’ beauty! Mountains make my heart beat like nothing else! One of God’s best creations, in my eyes, are the mountains that surround this trail. 

  As I bidded farewell to my friend Atsuko, I was back in my element of listening and meditating more with the Lord. When I left Reds Meadow, I had the option to take the direct PCT route or the revered JMT route that has much more elevation but has amazing access to lakes, rivers & waterfalls. So of course, JMT won out! As I left Reds Meadow in the morning, I met a nice hiker named Noah who just wanted to talk. Being the trail ambassador, I obliged and we shared many hiker stories. I moved on and met a young gal on the trail who was overwhelmed with all the trail was dishing out. I stopped and offered her a hug and shared some of my insight of the trail and we both laughed and carried on. God was everywhere from the people I met to the amazing beauty. As I was headed up to Garnet Lake, there were these color prisms that were reflecting off the clouds. I had never seen anything so spectacular that I shared it with others on the trail. They had not even looked up to see this Godly phenomenon. 

  My final day as I hiked into Tuolumne was sheer delight. It was day 18 without a zero day! I was totally exhausted but with the helping hand of Jesus, somehow, someway I made it up and over Donahue Pass and safely arrived at Tuolumne Meadows Lodge for beer and potato chips! Then my dear friends, Judi and Dee arrived with peaches, oranges and more beer! They know me, oh so well.

  So what did I learn from these past weeks? So much! But what God kept putting on my heart was community. He has introduced me to an amazing group of believers on the trail. Hikers I can pray with, share my heart with and love like family. I realized that wherever you are, in your neighborhood, outside your front door, at work or church, in your yoga studio or on the trail, there is always a place for us to share love and receive love. My community on the trail is young and old, likeminded and not, but what we all have in common is we love nature. We know that something great happens when we experience a place that is so remote, somewhat  inhabitable yet we still venture out and take a chance, knowing that we are never truly alone. God protects us and brings us together. He knew we would need each other and He also knew, we would be there at this moment! I just love that about our Lord. He has ordained every day of our lives and has placed people into our path. It’s our responsibility to make the most of each encounter and to be Godlike. I am thoroughly embracing my new position as a trail ambassador. Smile at everyone you meet, take every opportunity to help others and shine Gods love! Easy Peasy…can’t wait for what’s next. 

  The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in the sun-scorched lands and will strengthen your frame. He will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58:11

One thought on “The High Sierra’s – Kennedy Meadows to Tuolumne 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s