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[pct-l] To be early or not at Kennedy Meadows?

As of May 14 the conditions are as follows:
Southern section the snow pack is 20-25% [typical is 65-70%]. This is
roughly the same snow level as last year. The Kings, and San Joaquin Rivers
are predicted to crest on 5/18 or about 7-8 days before normal. It is my
opinion that the June 15th date can be moved forward by about one week.

However, waiting till June 15 will save you much wear and tear on your body
and yeild feet that are less wet and more blister free. The central section
[North of Donahue] has had late snow and will be near normal so leaving
early will likely cause a battle against snow all the way to I-80. Usually a
couple of weeks makes a big difference. Doing Forrester at the earliest
possible date is a huge battle and doing Muir a few days later is a 4 mile
post hole. A week or two later they are simple trail walks with a bit of

I don't believe that many thruhikers have actually taken this advice
although most would agree with it. In talking with thruhikers, they find it
virtually impossible to wait an extra week at Kennedy Meadows. I would take
a break at Ca 178 [Walker Pass] and spend some time at Inyokern or
Ridgecrest, then rejoin the trail in time to reach Kennedy Meadows on June
13-15, heading north from Kennedy Meadows on June 15.


-----Original Message-----
From: Chris Bagby [mailto:spurhiker@pocketmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 14, 2002 10:45 PM
To: pct-l@backcountry.net
Subject: [pct-l] To be early or not at Kennedy Meadows?

Hi folks,
Ready and I are taking a couple days in Big Bear City after
leaving Campo 4/25. (Probably 40 other thruhikers here 
also either at Fire Station or Motel 6, many coming and going).

At our present rate, we expect to reach Kennedy Meadows
store ~June 5 or so. Many sources say not to enter the High
Sierras until June 15.

Would we be wiser to slow down with shorter hiking days
and/or more town days so that we don't get stuck at Kennedy
Meadows for a week or more prior to 6/15?

Or will thruhikers likely be storming through the Sierras ~June 5?

Please cc: me at spurhiker@pocketmail.com as I've turned off
list delivery for now.

Many TIA,

PS Thanks to all the trail angels who facilitated ADZ and who
have cached water at critical locations. (No one that I know of
has gotten too thirsty yet, despite the dry conditions.)
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