By: George Toby, Bill Gray
We took the Kennedy Meadows road from highway 395 to past the Blackrock Ranger Station and on to the end of the road at Black Rock Gap. Saturday 11 hikers, including several new faces, left the Gap at 7:35 AM. Our route took us past the very green and beautiful Casa Vieja Meadows, then on to Beer Keg Meadows, and then on to base camp at Red Rock Meadows which is at the junction of two small streams and an old log cabin. It looked like rain so we set up tents, ate lunch, and struck out for/the peak. The 15 minute Kern Peak (11,510') top shows a trail leading North from camp then switch backs Northwest up the slopes. But the lower part of the trail is not there. It goes about 1/8 mile form Red Crock to a small meadow and then stops. We headed up the sandy wooded slope at 340" and the trail appeared again in about 1/4 mile. We took the trail to the saddle at 9,600' then North on the ridge all the way to the summit. Eight made the peak. Two hikers pooped out about 1.5 miles from the summit. We left them on the ridge with instructions to stay put. Fortunately they did. It started to rain shortly after we left the peak. Visibility reduced to 100 feet. Careful compass and altimeter work plus a lot of yelling by the gals found the two right on target. The rain stopped just before we reached camp. We enjoyed dinner and a great campfire.
It rained during the night but dawned with clearing skies. Two of our new hikers, Elizabeth Smith and Janis McKenna, insisted on making pancakes for breakfast. Their frying pan was too small and too light. One side of the first pancake was black and the other side raw. Also, they forgot a spatula. Would you believe - scrambled pancakes - that were gleefully devoured. We were back to the cars by noon. Most of us met at the Grumpy Bear in Kennedy Meadows for a great lunch (highly recommended), and an easy ride home. My thanks to Bill Gray for a fine assist and to our new hikers who all made the peak.
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