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6/25 More fun in Kernville

Rooster: It’s week 3 in Kernville, and we’re still soaking up a ton of fun. Our friend Hoops joined us again, before heading off to Tahoe. We’ve also gotten some more mountain biking in. There’s a biking trail here called Just Outstanding, and it is precisely that: lots of technical riding with great views thrown in. This past weekend we took a hike to a waterfall, and it was beautiful.

The work here has been fun. I’m still working on the rental bikes, and doing a little bit of guiding. Maverick is working in the office and also helping with the climbing wall. We really lucked out with this place: we’re getting PAID to do cool stuff!

As much fun as we’re having, we are itching to get back on the trail. After carefully watching the snow and meltoff situation, we decided that July 10 is the day that we’ll get moving again. Unfortunately, that puts us almost six weeks behind schedule, and really jeopardizes our chances of finishing this thing in one season. But as we’ve said all along, the primary goal is to have a big adventure this summer. And we are winning that one!

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6/10 Adventures in Kernville – Week 1

Maverick: It would be easy to be upset about hitting the pause button on our hike if we weren’t having so much fun at MRA and in Kernville!

This week has been busy with work, meeting new river rafting guide friends (a different tribe of outdoor enthusiasts with their own language), and getting out in the area to play! Rooster has been busy tuning up all the bikes at the campground, and was an assistant guide on a mountain bike excursion a few days ago, so he is TOTALLY in his element. I’ve been doing a variety of jobs for MRA, including landscaping, retail, and office work, and loving it.

One of the perks of working here is the access to their toys and the experts who know how to use them. Last Friday, one of the guides came up to Rooster and said, “I’m taking a raft out…do you and Maverick want to go?” Within a half hour, we had scooped up a hiker friend of ours who was in town, Hoops, and were getting our safety talk to go out on the biggest rapids any of us had been on (Class 3/3+). And it was a blast!! We got to go down a 3 mile run twice, and I almost took an unexpected swim on the second run! We were laughing the whole time, and our guide, Dakota, was awesome! We celebrated with a few beers and then brought Hoops back to our campsite for a fire with a bunch of the guides.

Yesterday, Rooster and I got to take out some mountain bikes to check out a local trail, and then drove up to see the Trail of 100 Giants. Those sequoias are so incredible! Tomorrow morning, I get to go up their outdoor climbing wall when the guides are doing a training exercise, and I’m pretty stoked about that. 😀

Who knows what else this week will bring?!

Tree Hugger

The snowy Sierras in the distance
The Needles

Dome Rock
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6/5, mile 652. Pausing for “Snowpocalypse 2019”

“So, what are you doing for the Sierras?”

Rooster: It’s the #1 topic of conversation among us hikers right now. For those that don’t know, the Sierra Nevada range received a record amount of snow this year. This presents a ton of challenges.

The gateway to the Sierras is Kennedy Meadows at mile 702, and extends roughly to Sierra City at mile 1195. On a “normal” year, you can start north from KM in the first week of June, assured that the trail will be mostly snow free, and that river/creek crossings will be reasonably safe to cross. This year, that timeframe has been pushed back by 4-6 weeks. There’s really only three things you can do:

Push: Hike in anyway. There will be long stretches where you’ll be post holing (trudging through wet snow up to your hips). You’ll want crampons for traction and an ice axe to self arrest on the icy slopes. You’ll need twice as much food, because you’ll be hiking at half speed through this mess. And the river crossings will be raging. Sounds appealing, doesn’t it?

Flip-flop: Skip the Sierras for now, do a snow free section (typically NorCal), come back and do the Sierras after they’ve melted out, then jump back up to Oregon and finish out. Logistical pain in the butt, as it involves at least 3 bus rides. Oh, and this year, even NorCal still has a bunch of snow. So does Oregon. And Washington.

Wait: Just sit and wait it out at KM or elsewhere. The drawback here is that the more time you wait, the less time you have to finish before the snow starts flying in Washington State (typically October). Plus you’re burning through money while you twiddle your thumbs.

We’ve decided to wait, with a twist. We got jobs at a whitewater rafting place in the mountain town of Kernville. We’ll be doing some maintenance, office work, landscaping, bike maintenance, and maybe even a little guiding. Although this puts our goal of finishing the whole thing in jeopardy, this assures us that we’ll experience the Sierras with less fear of sliding off a mountain or drowning, lol. Plus it will be a cool experience to work here.