Today, I was off to a rough start as I woke up to serious pains in the right side of my hip whenever I moved. I had had this in a much, much lesser degree in the beginning of days since Tehachapi. One would think it would be from the hip joint based on the location, but it is actually a bursa (slime sack) that has gotten inflamed on the outside of the femur. Every time I had to bend over it was a pain including every single tent stake I had to pull out of the ground. For a while I was convinced that this would be what took me off trail, but my gait was nearly unaffected and after about an hour it was completely gone. Took some ibuprofen to quench the inflammation and crossed my fingers that it would not come back. Ibuprofen is colloquially know as vitamin I in the long distance hiking community. I will leave it to the reader to guess why it has reached vitamin status, so to say.
After the pain had subsided, it was easy going hiking in the early morning hours through noon and slightly beyond that. The ascents and descents were gradual and it never got overly hot. Through the descent we approached one of the namesake meadow as in Kennedy Meadows, or Kennedy Meadows South, to avoid any confusion.
A bit before noon, nature called as it does from time to time. When that happens and you have to take a dump you dig a “cat hole”, which simply is an euphemism for a hole to poop, in somewhere off trail. I thus walked off quite a bit and started digging a hole, but the. Two other hikers came by rather close to where I was, and it turned out that the trail made a sharp turn right after I had gone off so that I had been walking along it rather than perpendicular to it. Do’h! I guess I was lucky that I had only gotten to the digging a hole part, as it could otherwise have been a lot more embarrassing :-).
Throughout the day I was looking forward to getting there to have a burger and a cold beer at Kennedy Meadows which I finally got when I made it to the general store there. They even had ice cream which was equally delicious. You had to give your name when I ordered and the guy taking orderes heard mine as “mess”. Guess I somewhat look like one 🙂
Kennedy Meadows is a very, very small town with hikers contributing considerably to the current population. I was thus, like every other hiker who got to the general store, applauded fo having gotten this far. Kennedy Meadows is the last outpost before going into the even more remote Sierras and signifies that we have now made it all the way through the desert. Hence, this is considered a turning point as previously alluded to. As many hikers take one or more days off here and there aren’t many other places to go, I really got to see a lot of hiking that I hadn’t seen for a while. We had some beers and a nice evening.