Hello world…It’s been awhile! We are happily in Fresno, California spending some much needed time with family and food. A lot has happened in the last 18 days, so, let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start).

Not a bad view to wake up to.

We had a wonderful down day in Tehachapi and thoroughly enjoyed the kindness of Trail Angels Dalton and David (and their two very pettable poochies), who made sure we were well fed and in good company before sending us back to the trail. Knowing we were going into the wilderness for 18 days felt daunting, but we left Tehachapi with happy hearts and full stomachs.

The climb up from Tehachapi was hot and long. We were carrying 7 days of food and 6 liters of water each, so our packs were very heavy. We considered it “training” for our soon-to-be 11-day food carry at the start of the Sierras.

Oh, hi there!

In our last 7 days and 136 miles of the desert, we got a proper quintessentially “desert-y” send-off. We had some hot, hot days with long siestas, and the sunsets over the desert floor were awe-inspiring every night. After not having come upon any in the previous 570 miles of trail, three rattlesnakes greeted us (and we kept our respectful distance). And water sources were few and far between; they served as the natural gathering places for thirsty hikers. The most hikers we have seen in one place on the trail was gathered around the watering hole out of Tehachapi.

The office water cooler.

We savored our last days in the desert and the beauty of the transitioning landscape, knowing we were climbing to the long-awaited Sierras. On our last desert night, we camped near a river – a strange and welcome sight after so many dry miles.

We crossed mile 700 and hiked a short day to the Kennedy Meadows General Store, where our fellow hikers were lazily strewn around the large porch. All incoming hikers received applause and cheers as we haggardly arrived at the dusty entryway to the Sierras.

We picked up our 11 days of food (thanks, Mama E!) and our bear canisters, took an outdoor shower and spent most of the day talking shop with other hikers and eating junk food. Though we didn’t make it into town, it was just what we needed before the change of scene.   Now, Zack will rhapsodize – in the style of John Muir – about our first 11 days in the Sierras…

Love and miles,

Lara (“Veggie”)