Their vibe is high, as to be expected when you finally reach a milestone, like the gateway to the Sierra and the end of the high desert section of SoCal. They are typically excited and cheering each other on, but cautious and uncertain about what lies ahead.
This is what hikers feel like every year while chowing-down on burgers on the General Store’s porch in Kennedy Meadows. There is so much anxiety over the unknown ahead with so little real, practical, functional, and reliable information to advise, direct, and reassure them.
So, that was the point of going to them directly, by creating a live, online, Google Meet via which to describe the concepts of the new life they have to consider, ahead, if they decide to go up into the “Snow Zone.” True and accurate information about the realities of Sierra “Secret Season” snow-hiking would help them decide for themselves whether they want to go forward and see it for themselves or to avoid it.
Their whole hiking environment is about to change drastically, from one of dry-trail, cactus, heat, some peaks and pines, and more snow than they’d like, to high altitude mountain canyons and deep snow everywhere – for the next four weeks!
They needed to know that the snow and the mountains dictate what they can do, where they can safely go, and how fast. The rules of their ambition were about to change.
They needed to know that, due to the Sierra’s enormous winter snowpack, all water sources are frozen over and covered with 15 feet of snow, most resupply routes out of the high country are closed due to ice or blocked access roads to towns, and that, if they, still, wanted to proceed and enter into this new World of White, they would have to carry more food, clothing, fuel, and gear to safely go the distance while staying warm, dry, and found.
This Google Meet was to inform them about the realities of snow-hiking in the High Sierra before the Thaw and give them the tools of knowledge and awareness as companions, no matter what they do.
As the Thaw approaches over the next three weeks, Mountain Education, Inc. and its founder and wilderness safety educator, Ned Tibbits, will provide another online, Pre-Entry, Sierra Snow Reality awareness coaching to NoBo PCT thru-hikers staging for immersion on the porch of KMS.
Watch for it (but they are recorded, in case you’re hiking north)!