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Monthly Archives: July 2012
It seems like so much has happened in the last two weeks that I don’t know where to begin or what’s most important to share. How about some random thoughts, those are always fun… (and I’m so good at random!)
- Just outside of Burney Falls State Park, I woke up to find ants in my tent. LOTS of ants. It seems they summited my tent, chewed their way through the nylon and marched on in. More than 30 holes, some that are going to be difficult to patch, and this leaves me a bit worried about the wet weather ahead in OR and WA…. I may have to carry my two man tent, which weighs twice what I have now.
-More wonderful people on the trail. Eric a section hiker from Seattle. ‘Sister Sue’ from Portland and her two beautiful daughters K8 and Lori, we not only enjoyed a nice day of hiking together, we all camped on a shelf with a KILLER view of Castle Crags after a bit of a rough hot climb. Two beautiful and wonderful women from Mt.Shasta and Portland, that gave ‘Frost’ and I cookies and water on the trail. The people out here are such a delight. Oh, yeah… RANGER REX ! I don’t know who you are, but I’ve met people on the trail that said you told them about me…. Thanks man !
-The gown I wore last is probably the first one that I’ve let drag through the dirt for the entire section. Most of the trains pick up so much crap I usually get tired of it and pull them up. This one worked out well, and kept me cooler by doing so. It rained for an hour the other day, seemingly trashing the train, but by the time the sun returned and the gown dried, it didn’t look so bad…. what’s up with that? I can’t get these gowns dirty enough!
-Poison Oak ! I’ve managed to avoid it for the most part. A few bumps here and there. But it’s everywhere on the trails of northern California, and boy-o-boy do I have it !!! Ankles, knees, waist, stomach, wrists, elbows, arm pits – all places I have it. Add to that 5 days of an upset stomach and it’s amazing I”m still having fun out here. There’s a clinic here in Etna, so I popped in for a pricey visit, and I’m hitting the trail with drugs, glorious drugs… The doc there thinks I have giardia, but I’d argue that point. This next section will tell… hopefully when I arrive in Ashland OREGON !!! I’ll be in better shape.
-Northern California continues to amaze me. The other day I hiked quite a long day mainly because I didn’t want to stop at a southbound section of trail. I refused to wake up and hike south on my Northbound journey… silly I suppose. The next morning I pulled out my maps and realized I had pages and pages of southbound… This was time for ‘mind over matter’ – remembering that I’m still knocking miles off of my 2660 mile journey. All of this southbound, I assume, was to get give us more amazing views, so it suddenly seemed worth it. The Trinity Alps and Russian Wilderness were stunning !!! STUNNING ! I was a little upset the trail wound away from Mt.Shasta, where Black Butte stood nearby… It’s a geological wonder and I’d hoped to see more of…. I suppose I’ll just have to return someday.
- I hiked a FOURTY ONE mile day ! It was a first and likely last, but I did it. Coming out of Castella I hiked a 15, 41, 22, and 22… the last two 22′s were rough, but with my new shoes, my feet are happy.
-Jingle cows? the day I hiked the 41 I thought i was loosing my mind or fatigue was setting in… I heard dull wind chimes a half mile prior to running into a herd of cows… all with bells. They weren’t too bright as they ran down the trial in front of me. I obviously scared the crap out of them, as they fouled up the trail, and I played hop-scotch around their messes.
That’s all for now I suppose. I leave Etna today and hope to get to Ashland by Monday – 125 miles away. (25 miles a day to get me there), where I’ll be taking a zero to spend time with friends. California has been wonderful and diverse, but it’s still 1700 miles long and I’m ready to get into another state… There’s a 4500 ft elevation gain over a hot 8 mile stretch, that’s nearly a mile to climb, ugh, we’re not looking forward to it…. But that’s 55 miles away, and i’ll try not to think about it… we’ve done it before, just not in this heat and lower, hotter, elevations.
Thanks again for the support from everyone !
It’s been an eventful few weeks with socializing on the trail and saying hello to trail angels and their friends along the way. Ever so often I am reminded that this world we live in is a small one. While two women in Belden popped in to the cafe to see the guy in the gown, I learned they live in Noxon Montana which is, in the grand scheme of a 2650 mile long trail, just a hop skip and a jump from my little town of Newport WA. I visited the most eclectic of Post Offices, also in Belden, where the Postmaster looked up the price of mailing my box on a sheet of paper, hand stamped it, then hand canceled it… NO Computers ! Ironic that she was capable of sending that box off without a computer, yet other post offices, complete with computers, were not. All with a smile.
The insoles on my shoes died on me 150 miles ago but I wasn’t able to get my hands on new ones until my stop in Chester. Actually it took a 35 minute ride to Susanville, but all the same I have new ones that I hope will make my fee happier than they’ve been. After 20 miles, the foot pain starts working it’s way up to my knees. The 25-30 mile days were nearly too much some days. The calluses on the balls of my feet are wide and thick, I decided to sand them down a bit hoping that too will help with some of the pain I feel while dropping in elevation on trail.
The same few people that have been a part of my hike are still just ahead or just behind me, so I won’t be out there after three days off trail, ‘alone’, but I’m sure there are a few new people out there, faster hikers, that I will come to meet as I steady my pace and relax knowing I’m right on track with my gowns.
Overall this hike hasn’t been what I expected. The GRAND WILD EXPERIENCE was a dream that is something more expected on the CDT (Continental Divide Trail) , this trail is too tame and populated, never very far from the footfalls of others. I suppose there’s a possibility that it’s my fault for spending too much time in towns, but the people that offer help along the trail are just as important to me. Mine is not the only story out here, and I long to hear those of others. I don’t know what comes of the future, but this trail is still an amazing one, full of beauty, life, and comfort. A comfort that comes only after a 20 mile day, dress off, body covered in dirt, sitting by my tent, making dinner, and feeling at peace while eating what always ends up to be, a DELICIOUS Macaroni and Cheese, or re-hydrated pasta dinner… warm, tasty, filling.
I’m afraid that the second half of this trail will fly by. I have many friends to see in Oregon and Washington. The scenery will begin flat and hot as I likely attempt the Hat Creek Rim at night to stay cool, the volcanoes that have already begun to appear on the skyline will keep me WOW’ed and pushing forward. The gowns ahead are big and beautiful and I hope the weight/fabric/heat don’t take too rough of a tole on my mind and well being. That much fabric wrapped around my mid-section keeps me sweating. Ahead lies more stunning scenery, and my home state of Washington. But I’m dreaming too quickly – Oregon still lies 400 miles from me.
Thank you again and again for being a part of this journey with me. It’s one I would do again in a New York Minute….
This gown was a challenge … When Bambi told me it was a size 4 and a wee bit shorter than I when she was married, I was determined to get myself in this gown. It somehow became known as the ‘halter-kini” since we didn’t expect it to cover much of me. Bambi was hoping to find a creative use for the dress and hiking26 was good enough for her. She didn’t think her two sons would want them (but then again, I’m sure my Mom didn’t expect her son to one day ask about her wedding gown in such a way), so she donated to hiking26.
Bambi admits she was a Bridezilla, which I can’t imagine, with her cute and fun spirit. Here’s a few fun facts about Bambi’s Special Day
1. I was a total bridezilla… super stressed, had to have things perfect (and nothing was), and in the end I didn’t even get to eat any of my wedding cake! BUT, come to find out….
2. I was pregnant with our second son!! Yes, that explained quite a bit. It also explains that little pot belly in the photos
3. I ended up falling asleep in the dress in the car on the way to the hotel after the reception… which means, yes, it was comfy enough to sleep through the night.
As of this post, I’ve worn the dress a little over 40 miles and it’s working out quite nice. It’s getting hot out here on the trail as the summer presses on and the trail elevation has dropped. It’s getting dirty quickly though. 75 miles more to hike in it !!!
Hey Howdy ! Leaving South Lake Tahoe was rough, we ate so much in town that it I ended up a bit lethargic. Maybe it was the milk shake at the Echo Lake Chalet. We received a ride up to the lake from a friendly mother/daughter couple who have a cabin up on the lake. It’s a beautiful get-away that I would love to visit again. The only apparent way to get to the cabins are via boat or trail. Beautiful. I didn’t get moving on the trail until 2:30 p.m. but I was able to still get in 12 miles.
June 28, Mi – 1104 to 1134. 30 mile day, rough, but it always feels good the next morning to know you pushed so far. Heading up the hill from the Tahoe Rim Trail, Udi and I met 3 nuns, and Renie from Reno. Two of the nuns, Lois, and Jill, from Dallas TX just celebrated their 50th Jubilee (50 years as a Nun). They were such a delight to talk to, and knew the Catholic grade/high school that I went to back in St.Louis. After a bit of chat (they began by telling us about a couple in front of us that had hiked all the way from the Mexican Border ! (I of course replied “we did too!”)), they let me record them singing Amazing Grace. It was wonderful.
June 29, Mi 1134 – 1155- 21 mile day stopped 6 mi early due to TRAIL MAGIC ! All day long, Udi said he hoped there would be some trail magic when we reached Donner Pass. There’s a highway near and sometimes we’re surprised by the generosity of others. The last few miles of the trail were rough, we hiked through several ski areas that day (it’s rather neat walking along the trail, snow patches here and there, and ski-lifts stopped lifeless above), and just a few miles from Donner Pass, a large swath of snow with foot prints that went up and around didn’t stop me from attempting a glisade. That’d be when you sit on your butt and slide down a snow bank. This one had a steep drop, only about 20 ft or so, but I figured it to be manageable. After my initial scoot, I was flying down the snow (ok, remember it was only 20 ft) screaming in my head “I’m GONNA BREAK SOMETHING ! I’M GONNA BREAK SOMETHING !!!!” I hit the rocks and mud below, bent my knees, and my butt drug through the slop a good 6 more feet before I stopped before a drop off. Stupid. Udi said it was a bad idea, and proceeded to follow in my foot…er… butt slide. Some pain, some blood, move on.
Udi’s wishes came true. We met Trail Angels Shadow and Country Mouse and their RV Beulah, right at Donner Pass. Former AT hikers, they sold off most of what they owned after their hike, and took off on the road. http://bjandclara.blogspot.com/ We sat, ate hot dogs and ice cream sandwiches, drank ice cold sodas, ate more, and greeted other hikers as they rolled in. We had six more miles to hike but quickly realized we’d have to abandon that plan and just relax.
June 30 – mi. 1155 to 1180 – With Trail Angels around we had a nice breakfast of danish and milk, juice, coffee… by 8 a.m. it was time to get moving, an hour later than I like to be, but it was, in fact ME, that was holding Udi and I back. We passed the Petter Grubb Hut 6 miles later. A beautiful structure owned and maintained by the Sierra Club. Hand hewn log benches, tables to play cards, Log stoves… I wished we would have continued on from the Trail Angels, because this was the perfect backwoods cabin, complete with a second story entry door for access in high winter snow. We camped up top a ridge and the view… perfect like all others on a ridge, 360* of nature.
July 1 – 1180 – 1197.5 - Woke up, hiking by 6:15, hauled ass and hit the road by 12:30 pm to hitch down to Sierra City. I think there was some scenery in the middle… But I missed it all in the name of a burger… A ONE POUND BURGER at the General Store . I absolutely love this old mining town, and want to return some day. The Red Moose Lodge, built in the 1800′s (a guestimate was made of 1862), and purchased by Margaret and Bill, two miners themselves, two years ago. Their intent was to have a place to store their mining equipment, but they shortly found themselves housing hikers after one, a seemingly homeless man walking down the street, needed their assistance, a shower, a place to rest, and food. We’re allowed to camp out back, shower, do laundry, all for free. The restaurant/bar is open for breakfast and Bills famous ribs most days during hiker season, and sometimes the locals pop in too… This is hiker perfection.
Today I’ve been sworn in as the welcoming committee, and have spent a bit of my day orienting incoming hikers to the Lodge. They need someone here for two weeks to help out as the ‘herd’ of hikers plows through, which will likely be in a couple of weeks, and I’d love to take the time off trail to help out, but maybe next year I’ll be able to do so. Because, you know, I spend my days dreaming, and although I loved my job as an industrial painter, I think of hundreds of other things to do to keep me involved in the hiking community….
Then again, next year, you may just find me out on the CDT (continental Divide Trail) in a black kilt and tux shirt… who knows.
That’s about it from the trail. I noticed my mood has improved greatly as we left the rougher Sierra’s and the trail has evened out a bit. My feet have been sore, but will have to wait until Chester, the half way townn 135 or so miles away, to get new insoles. These $40 Montail insoles didn’t quite make it as far as I’d hoped for the money. We have quite a climb out of this town, and a 4500 ft elevation drop into Belden (90 miles/4 days away). I won’t have an update from Belden, but in Chester I get a substantial computer upgrade and will hopefully be able to offer you more photos faster, instead of mailing my mem cards to Anna, my sister and having them uploaded to Flickr. The photo files are just too large for this little Acer laptop to handle.
Thanks AGAIN for EVERY bit of encouragement and support I receive from each and ever one of you….
Cheers from the trail.
Train – aka -Ron