Start – Mile 1006, 6:15 am
End – Sonora Pass, Mile 1016, 11:45am
Miles – 10
This section was a really great surprise. I got up and going at 6:15 expecting another hard climb up to more than 11,000 feet. Instead what I got was one of the most gradual switchback sections, with amazing views up to the ridge leading to Sonora Pass.
The initial climb I was looking back into Kennedy Canyon, and noticed another trail on the opposite ridge still covered in snow that I think is the trail to Emigrant Pass.
After getting to the top of the first ridge, the trail was pretty level across the ridgeline with amazing views down into the valley below.
There was even a small pass that wasn’t on the map and didn’t have a name, which was amid a section of rocks that looked straight out of Arizona.
This section just kept changing. From forest to snowy ridge to Martian rocky landscape with snow drifts to rolling green hills. Some of the most variety in short order of anywhere I’ve come across.
I met a couple other hikers along the way, 40 Prime and Panda and we were all commenting on how varied and great this section was.
It also had far more snow than I expected, particularly coming down the final two miles to Sonora Pass. There were a lot of sections of the trail that were still under snow patches, which required a good deal of scrambling over loose rock and dirt. I considered putting my micro spikes on at one point just for the loose dirt alone.
The end of this portion is a long loop around the valley around Sonora Pass and then it puts you out right at highway 108. Hikers then either hitch to Kennedy Meadows North, or the opposite way down to Bridgeport.
I was lucky in that I had a ride waiting for me, as I’m going to take a few days off to rest in Sonora at my moms. She got to experience being a trail angel by giving 40 Prime and Panda a ride the ten miles to Kennedy.
Now I get to eat real food and rest for a few days in a real bed.