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Monday, October 20, 2014

And then we were in the desert.

Day 108 9/28
Mileage 15
Camped at South Fork Kern River

One positive to last night's escapade is an easy day today. A soft 10 AM departure put us on trail and we soon noticed that the scenery had indeed changed. Smaller, shrubby bushes began to replace the pines. We ascended about 1000 feet, putting us at 10,500 for the last time. The granite returned, dotted with Foxtail Pines. At the top, I realize that this may be our last taste of the High Sierra on this trip. It's incredible that the Sierra are pretty much over already. However, I am eagerly anticipating the desert. We walked down the other side of the mountain and the shrubbiness returned. There was a cold wind blowing all day. All her belongings, including her shoes, or frozen solid this morning. Fall is definitely in the air. Last night was about 22°, I think. We met a couple on their way up who informed us that we'd hit the desert just in time for a massive heatwave, with temperatures well in excess of 100°. That would mean a change of 85° in about a week. Pretty nuts. We followed a creek for a while, and all of a sudden, we were standing in the desert. We were on the edge of a large valley. It was sandy, covered everywhere with dry lavender bushes. The trickle of water that used to be the South Fork of the Kern wound along the western edge. It was desolate, compared to the grand mountains behind us, but also fantastically beautiful. Something about its vast openness is enchanting. It's also such a profound shift from everything we've seen so far on this trip. We reach Kennedy Meadows tomorrow, marking the end of our longest resupply and the beginning of the final stage of our hike.

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