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Archive for June, 2006

Destination: Tuolumne Meadows
Starting Location: Tuolumne Meadows
Today’s Miles: 0.00
Trip Miles: 944.00
Tuolumne Meadows – Zero
Today was an emotional mix that is difficult to understand. I am so happy & yet I feel like I just want to cry with joy & sadness together; both real emotions in the same time & place.
My family came up today & brought chicken & macaroni salad for the entire thru-hiker contingent at Tuolumne. We ate & ate & ate some more. Then they broke out the apple pies that Sugar Daddy had ordered for the party along with the brownies. It was so generous & Pang told me what a wonderful family I have. That really hit me as true and all I could say was thank you. And that was enough.
Talked to my mom and with her consent I share here that she has an invasive form of breast cancer. She meets with the surgeon in two weeks and will likely be facing an aggressive treatment regimen. She confirmed that her wish was for me to keep hiking. I am basically refusing to get down about my mom being ill. Yes, I understand the process of denial to anger to acceptance & I am sure I will deal with that, but my mom is tough and she needs positive energy and not a bunch of oh poor you crap. She helped teach me the life lesson of: okay now what are you going to do about it. The “it” this time just happens to be some compromised cells. Let’s kick their ass.
While my dad, whose (per an email from Weed) trail name is go-Bob, took a group of hikers to Yosemite Valley to retrieve their stranded resupply boxes and supplement their food at the grocery, Sugar Daddy & I got organized. Pang, Sheri, Cathy & my mom played cards & it was so neat to see our trail friendships transcend into new relationships.
Liz sent me a print out of the guest register from this journal. Thank you all for the support. She also said she liked the idea of taking Sugar Daddy up on his offer for an adventure tour of Peru. Sounds like the Inca Trail may be coming next. Actually there is a new set of ruins that apparently surpass Machu-Picchu that are just being uncovered. No tours, no guides, just go, explore, and wonder about cultures who have gone before us. Learning Spanish (okay, maybe only a bit as I do not know English yet) has been on my life to do list for a while and Peru has schools near Sugar Daddy that per American standards are very inexpensive. So maybe.
Regarding a life to do list. This is something Liz & I started doing a few years ago & I would highly recommend the process. Each year we sit down together, make individual lists, compare the lists & look for overlap, and then decide what we are going to do. Typically something big has to make the list for multiple years before it gets acted on. But the process of seeing something on paper helps us recognize that it is important to us & keeps us moving towards execution. Other things on my list include sailing across an ocean & our joint list includes making a significant contribution to securing the PCT corridor for the future.
Hiking frees your mind of day to day stuff & opens up new possibilities for the future as well as reflections of the past. One reflection I have been having is about a relationship I was in many years ago and how it helped shape my life. I was 25 years very young and immature, drank to excess, & was generally a jerk. Despite that I was engaged to a really wonderful woman who got smart & dumped me cold. Left town & everything – never to be heard from again. The resentment, the anger, the self loathing ultimately became too much & I had finally had enough. First I quit drinking & then I started to grow up. Still at the growing up part but I am getting it. Seventeen years later, hiking the PCT I get a message that that really wonderful woman called & needs to talk to me. She too apparently has cancer. I called her today & left a message. Gone was the resentment & anger – replaced with concern & compassion. And yes with some apprehensive curiosity – I wonder why she needs to talk to me.
Had a bit of a hiking compatibility problem with a fellow hiker. Nothing serious at all but the group dynamics were not working. Instead of being perfectly direct, which would have been preferred but I could unfortunately not do it, I talked to the person’s hiking partner who sensed the dynamics problem & understood. We are leaving in the morning on good terms but we will go our separate ways. I am really torn as I really like the other guy & would really like to get to know him better. Maybe down the trail.
I am just feeling like I can’t do this. Not that I want to quit, just that I can’t do it   I think the emotions are catching up to me. My mom is sick, an ex-fiancé needs to talk to me, I have so far to go. I need to sleep – tomorrow is a big day with a reported tough crossing.
Destination: Tuolumne Meadows
Starting Location: Tuolumne Meadows
Today’s Miles: 0.00
Trip Miles: 944.00
Tuolumne Meadows – Zero
Today was an emotional mix that is difficult to understand. I am so happy & yet I feel like I just want to cry with joy & sadness together; both real emotions in the same time & place.
My family came up today & brought chicken & macaroni salad for the entire thru-hiker contingent at Tuolumne. We ate & ate & ate some more. Then they broke out the apple pies that Sugar Daddy had ordered for the party along with the brownies. It was so generous & Pang told me what a wonderful family I have. That really hit me as true and all I could say was thank you. And that was enough.
Talked to my mom and with her consent I share here that she has an invasive form of breast cancer. She meets with the surgeon in two weeks and will likely be facing an aggressive treatment regimen. She confirmed that her wish was for me to keep hiking. I am basically refusing to get down about my mom being ill. Yes, I understand the process of denial to anger to acceptance & I am sure I will deal with that, but my mom is tough and she needs positive energy and not a bunch of oh poor you crap. She helped teach me the life lesson of: okay now what are you going to do about it. The “it” this time just happens to be some compromised cells. Let’s kick their ass.
While my dad, whose (per an email from Weed) trail name is go-Bob, took a group of hikers to Yosemite Valley to retrieve their stranded resupply boxes and supplement their food at the grocery, Sugar Daddy & I got organized. Pang, Sheri, Cathy & my mom played cards & it was so neat to see our trail friendships transcend into new relationships.
Liz sent me a print out of the guest register from this journal. Thank you all for the support. She also said she liked the idea of taking Sugar Daddy up on his offer for an adventure tour of Peru. Sounds like the Inca Trail may be coming next. Actually there is a new set of ruins that apparently surpass Machu-Picchu that are just being uncovered. No tours, no guides, just go, explore, and wonder about cultures who have gone before us. Learning Spanish (okay, maybe only a bit as I do not know English yet) has been on my life to do list for a while and Peru has schools near Sugar Daddy that per American standards are very inexpensive. So maybe.
Regarding a life to do list. This is something Liz & I started doing a few years ago & I would highly recommend the process. Each year we sit down together, make individual lists, compare the lists & look for overlap, and then decide what we are going to do. Typically something big has to make the list for multiple years before it gets acted on. But the process of seeing something on paper helps us recognize that it is important to us & keeps us moving towards execution. Other things on my list include sailing across an ocean & our joint list includes making a significant contribution to securing the PCT corridor for the future.
Hiking frees your mind of day to day stuff & opens up new possibilities for the future as well as reflections of the past. One reflection I have been having is about a relationship I was in many years ago and how it helped shape my life. I was 25 years very young and immature, drank to excess, & was generally a jerk. Despite that I was engaged to a really wonderful woman who got smart & dumped me cold. Left town & everything – never to be heard from again. The resentment, the anger, the self loathing ultimately became too much & I had finally had enough. First I quit drinking & then I started to grow up. Still at the growing up part but I am getting it. Seventeen years later, hiking the PCT I get a message that that really wonderful woman called & needs to talk to me. She too apparently has cancer. I called her today & left a message. Gone was the resentment & anger – replaced with concern & compassion. And yes with some apprehensive curiosity – I wonder why she needs to talk to me.
Had a bit of a hiking compatibility problem with a fellow hiker. Nothing serious at all but the group dynamics were not working. Instead of being perfectly direct, which would have been preferred but I could unfortunately not do it, I talked to the person’s hiking partner who sensed the dynamics problem & understood. We are leaving in the morning on good terms but we will go our separate ways. I am really torn as I really like the other guy & would really like to get to know him better. Maybe down the trail.
I am just feeling like I can’t do this. Not that I want to quit, just that I can’t do it   I think the emotions are catching up to me. My mom is sick, an ex-fiancé needs to talk to me, I have so far to go. I need to sleep – tomorrow is a big day with a reported tough crossing.

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Destination: Tuolumne Meadows
Starting Location: Marie Lakes Trail
Today’s Miles: 16.30
Trip Miles: 944.00
Marie Lakes Trail (926.4, 9200) to Tuolumne Meadows (942.7, 8595) ascent (1466) descent (2545)
Eleven thru hikers made it to Tuolumne Meadows today. In attendance: go-BIG, Sugar Daddy, Swiss Miss, Pang, M&M (formerly Rita), Mike Unger, Herman, Tadpole, Sunny, Rolling Thunder & Three Gallon.
We summitted the last PCT pass over 11,000 feet at 7:40 a.m. Donahue Pass was covered in snow (big surprise) & the basin was tricky as the mountain presented several potential pass options. We followed tracks for a ways & then they headed up one of the options. Pang & I compared notes & we checked the GPS to confirm our suspicion – you boys & girls went over the wrong pass. Looking at the route down I made a big mistake and proposed a route that looked less steep than the snow traverse that was close to the trail route. The team forgave me but I felt like a dope because while not overly dangerous the route was difficult & included a push through a willow scrub thicket that tore clothing & skin. Memo to self: the actual trail route is nearly always better – regardless of what it looks like from a distance.
When we hit Highway 102 we were surprised to see hiker/trail angel Alice (No Way Ray’s wife) sitting by the road with a sign reading “PCT hiker snacks”. Alice had hiked with Pang, Swiss Miss & Rita and she had come up to see them. As things on the trail do – it worked out perfectly.
I met a fly fisherman yesterday named Herb. Turns out his son is hiking & when I introduced myself he knew me from my journal. It was neat & odd. Here was a great guy who knew a lot about me & my trip & yet I knew nothing about him. That is a strange dynamic for a two way conversation.
Destination: Tuolumne Meadows
Starting Location: Marie Lakes Trail
Today’s Miles: 16.30
Trip Miles: 944.00
Marie Lakes Trail (926.4, 9200) to Tuolumne Meadows (942.7, 8595) ascent (1466) descent (2545)
Eleven thru hikers made it to Tuolumne Meadows today. In attendance: go-BIG, Sugar Daddy, Swiss Miss, Pang, M&M (formerly Rita), Mike Unger, Herman, Tadpole, Sunny, Rolling Thunder & Three Gallon.
We summitted the last PCT pass over 11,000 feet at 7:40 a.m. Donahue Pass was covered in snow (big surprise) & the basin was tricky as the mountain presented several potential pass options. We followed tracks for a ways & then they headed up one of the options. Pang & I compared notes & we checked the GPS to confirm our suspicion – you boys & girls went over the wrong pass. Looking at the route down I made a big mistake and proposed a route that looked less steep than the snow traverse that was close to the trail route. The team forgave me but I felt like a dope because while not overly dangerous the route was difficult & included a push through a willow scrub thicket that tore clothing & skin. Memo to self: the actual trail route is nearly always better – regardless of what it looks like from a distance.
When we hit Highway 102 we were surprised to see hiker/trail angel Alice (No Way Ray’s wife) sitting by the road with a sign reading “PCT hiker snacks”. Alice had hiked with Pang, Swiss Miss & Rita and she had come up to see them. As things on the trail do – it worked out perfectly.
I met a fly fisherman yesterday named Herb. Turns out his son is hiking & when I introduced myself he knew me from my journal. It was neat & odd. Here was a great guy who knew a lot about me & my trip & yet I knew nothing about him. That is a strange dynamic for a two way conversation.

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Destination: Marie Lakes Trail
Starting Location: Agnew Meadows
Today’s Miles: 11.90
Trip Miles: 927.70
Agnew Meadows (914.5, 9200) to Marie Lakes Trail (926.4, 10,000) ascent (3688) descent (1850)
Today was like backpacking & boy is that easy. Our yesterday afternoon thundershower morphed into steady rain mid morning, and we made fast miles on snow free trail. During breakfast Herman from Belgium & Mike Unger from Seattle caught us. We hiked until the sun came out & then enjoyed basking on the warming rocks with the marmots. The afternoon threatened more rain but as we donned gear it would quit.
Very surprising was that we had some navigation problems in an area that should have been easy. In our defense the Rush River Trail is not depicted accurately on either set of our maps & when we came to a log bridge we assumed incorrectly it was the PCT. We realized our error quickly but resolving it was a two hour problem. So much for our idea of getting to camp by 3 pm and relaxing. By the time we found the PCT route we noticed fresh prints and a yodel quickly got a response from Sunny & Tadpole.
Nine of us are now together & everyone in the group is being helped by dad in some way & we all have a rendezvous with him on Friday morning. Our tents are side by side in a very small snow free zone (see photo) & we just enjoyed an evening of tales of the PCT. Naturally most discussions centered on the hairy stuff.
Pang has a new stream crossing strategy that entails bridge building. I was laughing so hard I was crying as I looked up and saw him carrying a 12” x 9’ log down the opposite bank trail. A couple of well placed 100 lb rocks and the log made a swell platform for the rest of us. I suggested to Pang that he simply carry a saw and fell trees as needed to provide crossings. He is seriously considering it.
Like snow cups mosquitoes are evil. I asked Sugar Daddy why in the world God would make mosquitoes. He says that after the fall from grace (eating the fruit) women were to suffer in childbirth & God basically added thorns and pests to the garden. Hey before I forget, did you know the bible does not say Eve ate an apple bur rather keeps it generic and says fruit? Me either. Think about the possibilities. Hell it could have been a kumquat or a tomato. Anyway intrigued by this question I asked a follow-up: “Given that man likely figured out that mosquitoes were evil, than why the hell did Moses, I mean Noah, let them on the ark?” Apparently the bible is silent on this issue. So Sugar Daddy & others have told me that it takes more faith to believe in evolutionary biology than it does to believe in a literal bible. I must be the slowest heathen on earth because I am having a time of it believing that this babe ate a tomato and how we have mosquitoes.
Regardless anything that sucks my blood is not a friend of mine. I actually tried the head net thing this morning to keep the bastards (actually it is only the females that bite) at bay. It worked great except I could not see well enough to prevent me from walking into things and besides it started raining and solved the problem. Deet does work very well on warding off mosquitoes and as well as dissolving polymers. How come I am skeptical about “no human health risk” claims? Not that it matters – I would use it anyway.
It is hard to hike in full rain gear because of thermal regulation. I simply overheat once my exertion level (climb a hill) increases. My solution sounds crazy but works. I have, but do not wear rain pants. Instead I wear shorts & let my leg get really cold & dissipate enormous amounts of heat from my thighs. This allows me to keep a rain jacket on without overheating. I do not mind dripping wet legs but water running down the back is cold & uncomfortable. I am also really impressed with this fabric called skin. It is totally waterproof, breathable, flexible, & self repairing to small damaged areas.
Destination: Marie Lakes Trail
Starting Location: Agnew Meadows
Today’s Miles: 11.90
Trip Miles: 927.70
Agnew Meadows (914.5, 9200) to Marie Lakes Trail (926.4, 10,000) ascent (3688) descent (1850)
Today was like backpacking & boy is that easy. Our yesterday afternoon thundershower morphed into steady rain mid morning, and we made fast miles on snow free trail. During breakfast Herman from Belgium & Mike Unger from Seattle caught us. We hiked until the sun came out & then enjoyed basking on the warming rocks with the marmots. The afternoon threatened more rain but as we donned gear it would quit.
Very surprising was that we had some navigation problems in an area that should have been easy. In our defense the Rush River Trail is not depicted accurately on either set of our maps & when we came to a log bridge we assumed incorrectly it was the PCT. We realized our error quickly but resolving it was a two hour problem. So much for our idea of getting to camp by 3 pm and relaxing. By the time we found the PCT route we noticed fresh prints and a yodel quickly got a response from Sunny & Tadpole.
Nine of us are now together & everyone in the group is being helped by dad in some way & we all have a rendezvous with him on Friday morning. Our tents are side by side in a very small snow free zone (see photo) & we just enjoyed an evening of tales of the PCT. Naturally most discussions centered on the hairy stuff.
Pang has a new stream crossing strategy that entails bridge building. I was laughing so hard I was crying as I looked up and saw him carrying a 12” x 9’ log down the opposite bank trail. A couple of well placed 100 lb rocks and the log made a swell platform for the rest of us. I suggested to Pang that he simply carry a saw and fell trees as needed to provide crossings. He is seriously considering it.
Like snow cups mosquitoes are evil. I asked Sugar Daddy why in the world God would make mosquitoes. He says that after the fall from grace (eating the fruit) women were to suffer in childbirth & God basically added thorns and pests to the garden. Hey before I forget, did you know the bible does not say Eve ate an apple bur rather keeps it generic and says fruit? Me either. Think about the possibilities. Hell it could have been a kumquat or a tomato. Anyway intrigued by this question I asked a follow-up: “Given that man likely figured out that mosquitoes were evil, than why the hell did Moses, I mean Noah, let them on the ark?” Apparently the bible is silent on this issue. So Sugar Daddy & others have told me that it takes more faith to believe in evolutionary biology than it does to believe in a literal bible. I must be the slowest heathen on earth because I am having a time of it believing that this babe ate a tomato and how we have mosquitoes.
Regardless anything that sucks my blood is not a friend of mine. I actually tried the head net thing this morning to keep the bastards (actually it is only the females that bite) at bay. It worked great except I could not see well enough to prevent me from walking into things and besides it started raining and solved the problem. Deet does work very well on warding off mosquitoes and as well as dissolving polymers. How come I am skeptical about “no human health risk” claims? Not that it matters – I would use it anyway.
It is hard to hike in full rain gear because of thermal regulation. I simply overheat once my exertion level (climb a hill) increases. My solution sounds crazy but works. I have, but do not wear rain pants. Instead I wear shorts & let my leg get really cold & dissipate enormous amounts of heat from my thighs. This allows me to keep a rain jacket on without overheating. I do not mind dripping wet legs but water running down the back is cold & uncomfortable. I am also really impressed with this fabric called skin. It is totally waterproof, breathable, flexible, & self repairing to small damaged areas.

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Destination: Agnew Meadows
Starting Location: South of Deer Creek
Today’s Miles: 14.00
Trip Miles: 915.80
South of Deer Creek (900.5, 9200) to Agnew Meadows (914.5, 8360) ascent (1342) descent (1810)
5:50 PM – Inside my tent as rain falls & thunder booms. If I remember right after the lightning you count one one thousandth, two one thousandth, & when you hear the boom you know approximately how far away the lightning is because sound travels at approximately one mile per second. If my buddy Rich Beyak is reading this please put your engineering cap on & let our readers know if I got this right. As you know from working with me Rich I am pretty good at the numbers but I am way too casual in my approach as well as my precision. Regardless, our biggest flash resulted in three one thousandth and thus it was approximately a couple of miles away. And it boomed as to say stay in your tent grasshopper. If you have not been in a mountain thunder storm you have not lived . . . truly awesome.
Just made a quick dash for water between clouds. Saw barbed wire fence and thus clear evidence of livestock management. So I am back to drinking chemicals in my water. Drinking freely from mountain streams over the last several weeks has been a simple pleasure and a powerful commentary on the value of clean drinking water. Speaking of treating water, at VVR I read in the hiker log book a valuable lesson as paraphrased & cleaned up for our younger sensitive readers: when ever you are securing water near a crossing always filter or treat your water because you never know if the last hiker across pooped themselves out of fear during the crossing.
Things worked out so perfectly today. For breakfast I had a great scone and a three musketeer’s bar with the crazy hope that the café or store at Reds Meadow would be open. I knew it was wishful thinking but I have always been a dreamer. The first thing I saw was the stars & stripes flying proudly (always a good sign) & then I saw it on the board outside the empty café: “opening day – welcome to Reds”. Why yes I would like coffee, and pancakes, & eggs over easy with bacon. In fact you better bring an extra side of bacon and a large orange juice. More coffee? Please in fact just leave the pot.
First day for bus service into Reds as well & while enjoying breakfast we see Pang, Swiss Miss & Rita get off the bus. Outside we run, produce our best American yodel, followed by hugs all around. How did you cross the falls at Mono Creek they asked? We answer & ask the same. Different strategies, same results, we are all together again. Off to the camp ground for a soak in the hot spring and more relaxing time as we have 3 days to go 35 miles.
After being persistent in tracking down Lucky Liz at work, I prevailed and reached the best wife in the world. We confirmed a rendezvous in Tahoe in about 10 days – yee ha. Sounds like the house decided to fall apart this week & Liz has been dealing with it. Fortunately my dad & brother-in-law were around to help out with things like water dripping from the ceiling when it was 105 degrees and clearly not raining. I recommended she sell the place & plan on moving to the mountains. She knew I was not kidding, & I think I heard in her voice an “I just might do that”.
Sugar Daddy was able to pick up e-mails via a pay phone & his pocket mail device. We heard Weed has indeed completed the PCT (Congratulations) & is back home helping his clients make money. We also heard from Cheers who is a few days behind us. He said they were having a bit of an easier time then I described & wished us continued success. I am not surprised they are having different experiences because the trail seems to do that & the snow is changing daily if not hourly. For example Sugar Daddy & I placed first tracks on parts of the PCT this morning indicating that those areas were covered as of yesterday. Pang & Swiss Miss described a rather large & a bit scary Deer Springs crossing late in the afternoon. We crossed it this morning & I did not even put my camera & maps into their rain gear.
Oh yea we hiked a few more miles after breakfast – on trail & oh so easy.
Talked to a trail crew from the Inyo National Forest going to work in the wilderness area. This designation, pursuant to the Wilderness Act, means no mechanical means can be used. I love Wilderness. I love the Wilderness designation. I love no mechanical means. But darn it really limits how much work a crew can do. The area in question burned several years ago during one of California’s famous wildfires called the Rainbow fire. This fire burned all of the conifers & those left standing were later sheared off mid trunk during heavy winters (like 2005 & 2006 for example( and so the trail is a series of tree crossings & the crew from the Inyo is clearing them with hand tools consistent with the Wilderness Act requirements. Ever use a two person misery whip saw or an ax for that matter? This city wimp has and one large tree can take a full day or more to clear where a chain saw with a 24” bar and some silence shattering gasoline could do the deed in minutes. Only one viable solution. Keep the Wilderness designation & restrictions fully in tact because any modifications or lessening of requirements by creative law making jeopardizes the entire act and provides precedence for other (say off road vehicle use) modifications. And more volunteers have to learn to swing an ax and pull a misery whip. You will feel good about the blisters you earn & you don’t even need ear plugs.
Heard some trail gossip today about some fledgling romances. Now for journals it is recommended that you not mention on trail romances. I mostly agree with this as gossip in general is, while fun, not particularly polite. What really got me however is that a dominant reason given, as to why not write about them, is that if the person has someone else back home they will not hear about it. What? Now I do not consider myself particularly old fashioned but what kind of crazy BS is this? “Don’t mention my relationship with hiker X, because my boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife . . . may find out about it. Hey, do what you want & if you are not in a committed relationship really do what you want. Just don’t ask me to help facilitate the façade that you actually care about someone back home if you don’t. Now back when I did not have a clue what he meant, & long before I actually tried it, a friend told me that people basically do not care about what you say, rather they care about what you do. So if you want to be trusted start being trustworthy, if you want a committed relationship, start being committed. Otherwise it is all talk and no walk – no pun intended.
Speaking of no walk, it is becoming impossible to know who is north & who is south of us because, like 2005, people are developing strategies that work for them. And this includes skipping this snow section for now. Some will do this section later & I think for many that is a very good idea as you can likely beat the North Cascades snow & still make it back in time to walk the Sierra in September minus the big water, big snow & little mosquitoes.
Destination: Agnew Meadows
Starting Location: South of Deer Creek
Today’s Miles: 14.00
Trip Miles: 915.80
South of Deer Creek (900.5, 9200) to Agnew Meadows (914.5, 8360) ascent (1342) descent (1810)
5:50 PM – Inside my tent as rain falls & thunder booms. If I remember right after the lightning you count one one thousandth, two one thousandth, & when you hear the boom you know approximately how far away the lightning is because sound travels at approximately one mile per second. If my buddy Rich Beyak is reading this please put your engineering cap on & let our readers know if I got this right. As you know from working with me Rich I am pretty good at the numbers but I am way too casual in my approach as well as my precision. Regardless, our biggest flash resulted in three one thousandth and thus it was approximately a couple of miles away. And it boomed as to say stay in your tent grasshopper. If you have not been in a mountain thunder storm you have not lived . . . truly awesome.
Just made a quick dash for water between clouds. Saw barbed wire fence and thus clear evidence of livestock management. So I am back to drinking chemicals in my water. Drinking freely from mountain streams over the last several weeks has been a simple pleasure and a powerful commentary on the value of clean drinking water. Speaking of treating water, at VVR I read in the hiker log book a valuable lesson as paraphrased & cleaned up for our younger sensitive readers: when ever you are securing water near a crossing always filter or treat your water because you never know if the last hiker across pooped themselves out of fear during the crossing.
Things worked out so perfectly today. For breakfast I had a great scone and a three musketeer’s bar with the crazy hope that the café or store at Reds Meadow would be open. I knew it was wishful thinking but I have always been a dreamer. The first thing I saw was the stars & stripes flying proudly (always a good sign) & then I saw it on the board outside the empty café: “opening day – welcome to Reds”. Why yes I would like coffee, and pancakes, & eggs over easy with bacon. In fact you better bring an extra side of bacon and a large orange juice. More coffee? Please in fact just leave the pot.
First day for bus service into Reds as well & while enjoying breakfast we see Pang, Swiss Miss & Rita get off the bus. Outside we run, produce our best American yodel, followed by hugs all around. How did you cross the falls at Mono Creek they asked? We answer & ask the same. Different strategies, same results, we are all together again. Off to the camp ground for a soak in the hot spring and more relaxing time as we have 3 days to go 35 miles.
After being persistent in tracking down Lucky Liz at work, I prevailed and reached the best wife in the world. We confirmed a rendezvous in Tahoe in about 10 days – yee ha. Sounds like the house decided to fall apart this week & Liz has been dealing with it. Fortunately my dad & brother-in-law were around to help out with things like water dripping from the ceiling when it was 105 degrees and clearly not raining. I recommended she sell the place & plan on moving to the mountains. She knew I was not kidding, & I think I heard in her voice an “I just might do that”.
Sugar Daddy was able to pick up e-mails via a pay phone & his pocket mail device. We heard Weed has indeed completed the PCT (Congratulations) & is back home helping his clients make money. We also heard from Cheers who is a few days behind us. He said they were having a bit of an easier time then I described & wished us continued success. I am not surprised they are having different experiences because the trail seems to do that & the snow is changing daily if not hourly. For example Sugar Daddy & I placed first tracks on parts of the PCT this morning indicating that those areas were covered as of yesterday. Pang & Swiss Miss described a rather large & a bit scary Deer Springs crossing late in the afternoon. We crossed it this morning & I did not even put my camera & maps into their rain gear.
Oh yea we hiked a few more miles after breakfast – on trail & oh so easy.
Talked to a trail crew from the Inyo National Forest going to work in the wilderness area. This designation, pursuant to the Wilderness Act, means no mechanical means can be used. I love Wilderness. I love the Wilderness designation. I love no mechanical means. But darn it really limits how much work a crew can do. The area in question burned several years ago during one of California’s famous wildfires called the Rainbow fire. This fire burned all of the conifers & those left standing were later sheared off mid trunk during heavy winters (like 2005 & 2006 for example( and so the trail is a series of tree crossings & the crew from the Inyo is clearing them with hand tools consistent with the Wilderness Act requirements. Ever use a two person misery whip saw or an ax for that matter? This city wimp has and one large tree can take a full day or more to clear where a chain saw with a 24” bar and some silence shattering gasoline could do the deed in minutes. Only one viable solution. Keep the Wilderness designation & restrictions fully in tact because any modifications or lessening of requirements by creative law making jeopardizes the entire act and provides precedence for other (say off road vehicle use) modifications. And more volunteers have to learn to swing an ax and pull a misery whip. You will feel good about the blisters you earn & you don’t even need ear plugs.
Heard some trail gossip today about some fledgling romances. Now for journals it is recommended that you not mention on trail romances. I mostly agree with this as gossip in general is, while fun, not particularly polite. What really got me however is that a dominant reason given, as to why not write about them, is that if the person has someone else back home they will not hear about it. What? Now I do not consider myself particularly old fashioned but what kind of crazy BS is this? “Don’t mention my relationship with hiker X, because my boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife . . . may find out about it. Hey, do what you want & if you are not in a committed relationship really do what you want. Just don’t ask me to help facilitate the façade that you actually care about someone back home if you don’t. Now back when I did not have a clue what he meant, & long before I actually tried it, a friend told me that people basically do not care about what you say, rather they care about what you do. So if you want to be trusted start being trustworthy, if you want a committed relationship, start being committed. Otherwise it is all talk and no walk – no pun intended.
Speaking of no walk, it is becoming impossible to know who is north & who is south of us because, like 2005, people are developing strategies that work for them. And this includes skipping this snow section for now. Some will do this section later & I think for many that is a very good idea as you can likely beat the North Cascades snow & still make it back in time to walk the Sierra in September minus the big water, big snow & little mosquitoes.
Destination: Agnew Meadows
Starting Location: South of Deer Creek
Today’s Miles: 14.00
Trip Miles: 915.80
South of Deer Creek (900.5, 9200) to Agnew Meadows (914.5, 8360) ascent (1342) descent (1810)
5:50 PM – Inside my tent as rain falls & thunder booms. If I remember right after the lightning you count one one thousandth, two one thousandth, & when you hear the boom you know approximately how far away the lightning is because sound travels at approximately one mile per second. If my buddy Rich Beyak is reading this please put your engineering cap on & let our readers know if I got this right. As you know from working with me Rich I am pretty good at the numbers but I am way too casual in my approach as well as my precision. Regardless, our biggest flash resulted in three one thousandth and thus it was approximately a couple of miles away. And it boomed as to say stay in your tent grasshopper. If you have not been in a mountain thunder storm you have not lived . . . truly awesome.
Just made a quick dash for water between clouds. Saw barbed wire fence and thus clear evidence of livestock management. So I am back to drinking chemicals in my water. Drinking freely from mountain streams over the last several weeks has been a simple pleasure and a powerful commentary on the value of clean drinking water. Speaking of treating water, at VVR I read in the hiker log book a valuable lesson as paraphrased & cleaned up for our younger sensitive readers: when ever you are securing water near a crossing always filter or treat your water because you never know if the last hiker across pooped themselves out of fear during the crossing.
Things worked out so perfectly today. For breakfast I had a great scone and a three musketeer’s bar with the crazy hope that the café or store at Reds Meadow would be open. I knew it was wishful thinking but I have always been a dreamer. The first thing I saw was the stars & stripes flying proudly (always a good sign) & then I saw it on the board outside the empty café: “opening day – welcome to Reds”. Why yes I would like coffee, and pancakes, & eggs over easy with bacon. In fact you better bring an extra side of bacon and a large orange juice. More coffee? Please in fact just leave the pot.
First day for bus service into Reds as well & while enjoying breakfast we see Pang, Swiss Miss & Rita get off the bus. Outside we run, produce our best American yodel, followed by hugs all around. How did you cross the falls at Mono Creek they asked? We answer & ask the same. Different strategies, same results, we are all together again. Off to the camp ground for a soak in the hot spring and more relaxing time as we have 3 days to go 35 miles.
After being persistent in tracking down Lucky Liz at work, I prevailed and reached the best wife in the world. We confirmed a rendezvous in Tahoe in about 10 days – yee ha. Sounds like the house decided to fall apart this week & Liz has been dealing with it. Fortunately my dad & brother-in-law were around to help out with things like water dripping from the ceiling when it was 105 degrees and clearly not raining. I recommended she sell the place & plan on moving to the mountains. She knew I was not kidding, & I think I heard in her voice an “I just might do that”.
Sugar Daddy was able to pick up e-mails via a pay phone & his pocket mail device. We heard Weed has indeed completed the PCT (Congratulations) & is back home helping his clients make money. We also heard from Cheers who is a few days behind us. He said they were having a bit of an easier time then I described & wished us continued success. I am not surprised they are having different experiences because the trail seems to do that & the snow is changing daily if not hourly. For example Sugar Daddy & I placed first tracks on parts of the PCT this morning indicating that those areas were covered as of yesterday. Pang & Swiss Miss described a rather large & a bit scary Deer Springs crossing late in the afternoon. We crossed it this morning & I did not even put my camera & maps into their rain gear.
Oh yea we hiked a few more miles after breakfast – on trail & oh so easy.
Talked to a trail crew from the Inyo National Forest going to work in the wilderness area. This designation, pursuant to the Wilderness Act, means no mechanical means can be used. I love Wilderness. I love the Wilderness designation. I love no mechanical means. But darn it really limits how much work a crew can do. The area in question burned several years ago during one of California’s famous wildfires called the Rainbow fire. This fire burned all of the conifers & those left standing were later sheared off mid trunk during heavy winters (like 2005 & 2006 for example( and so the trail is a series of tree crossings & the crew from the Inyo is clearing them with hand tools consistent with the Wilderness Act requirements. Ever use a two person misery whip saw or an ax for that matter? This city wimp has and one large tree can take a full day or more to clear where a chain saw with a 24” bar and some silence shattering gasoline could do the deed in minutes. Only one viable solution. Keep the Wilderness designation & restrictions fully in tact because any modifications or lessening of requirements by creative law making jeopardizes the entire act and provides precedence for other (say off road vehicle use) modifications. And more volunteers have to learn to swing an ax and pull a misery whip. You will feel good about the blisters you earn & you don’t even need ear plugs.
Heard some trail gossip today about some fledgling romances. Now for journals it is recommended that you not mention on trail romances. I mostly agree with this as gossip in general is, while fun, not particularly polite. What really got me however is that a dominant reason given, as to why not write about them, is that if the person has someone else back home they will not hear about it. What? Now I do not consider myself particularly old fashioned but what kind of crazy BS is this? “Don’t mention my relationship with hiker X, because my boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife . . . may find out about it. Hey, do what you want & if you are not in a committed relationship really do what you want. Just don’t ask me to help facilitate the façade that you actually care about someone back home if you don’t. Now back when I did not have a clue what he meant, & long before I actually tried it, a friend told me that people basically do not care about what you say, rather they care about what you do. So if you want to be trusted start being trustworthy, if you want a committed relationship, start being committed. Otherwise it is all talk and no walk – no pun intended.
Speaking of no walk, it is becoming impossible to know who is north & who is south of us because, like 2005, people are developing strategies that work for them. And this includes skipping this snow section for now. Some will do this section later & I think for many that is a very good idea as you can likely beat the North Cascades snow & still make it back in time to walk the Sierra in September minus the big water, big snow & little mosquitoes.

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Destination: South of Deer Creek
Starting Location: 2nd Crossing of the North Fork of Mono Creek
Today’s Miles: 19.50
Trip Miles: 901.80
2nd Crossing of Mono Creek (881, 9325) to South of Deer Creek (900.5, 9200) ascent (4052) descent (4416)
I am totally beat. Nearly 13 hours of hiking, lots of snow, challenging navigation, +8,000 vertical change.
We have a lightning strike fire burning a few miles from us. It is producing a lot of smoke below us and the responsible agencies have been monitoring from a reconnaissance plane. The current thinking on these types of fires is to let them burn unless they have a high likelihood of getting out of control. This policy has numerous biological benefits as well as keeping the fuel load down at a level that will prevent catastrophic fires.
Naturally since Sugar Daddy is without his poncho (Sugartex) it rained on us today. We put Sugar in a trash bag but he soon melted. Fortunately the rain was not heavy.
Our crossing this morning was uneventful as much of the water was bound in snow when we got there. We went over Silver Pass at 8:00 a.m. and the glissading conditions were awesome & we had a previously slid (makes it faster) run of about 300 feet on a 40 degree slope. I was really booking until I got scared and braked with my feet.
I am going to be sore tomorrow as a result of a crazy maneuver I pulled off this morning. I slid down some snow, lost my footing & ended up on some big rocks. Momentum kept me going & I gyrated amongst the rocks until I came to rest on both feet & both trekking poles. I looked like a giraffe getting a drink. I am really glad I did not crash into those rocks, but the contortions I did to avoid it were not natural & body parts went places they had no business going.
Saw our first John Muir Trail (JMT) hikers. The conditions had slowed them down to a point that they had abandoned their plans to complete the JMT. Rather they were going to use their vacation days & get as far as they got.
My sleeping system goes like this: I have a piece of spinnaker cloth for a cowboy camping ground cloth. I also use it under (sometimes) my Rainbow Tarptent. The Rainbow is an awesome tent with a full side opening that provides full views with bug protection. The tent also has a bathtub floor for great rain protection & can be set up free standing (with hiking poles) or with stakes. Henry Shires was right; this is his best tent yet. For a pad I am using what used to be called a Mt Washington pad. Gossamer Gear now sells them & they are great because they do not break down over time & they do not absorb water. Next comes a 15 degree Marmot EQ Helium bag. Awesome down bag with a highly water resistant shell & a full zipper than can be zipped from top or bottom thus allowing chest or feet venting. I wear Patagonia silk weight tops & bottoms each night for added warmth but more importantly added comfort & bag cleanliness. Clammy skin against nylon is not comfortable. The silks fix that. And finally I have a pair of possum wool sleeping socks. Apparently warmer than polartec 200, these socks are toasty & I usually wear them for at least part of the night. I put my wet feet right into them & they heat right up. A few nights I have also worn my down jacket & quite frequently I wear my wind shirt over my silk weights. Tonight I have on a down jacket but it is coming off in a minute. So there it is . . . I am very happy with the system; thus good night
Destination: South of Deer Creek
Starting Location: 2nd Crossing of the North Fork of Mono Creek
Today’s Miles: 19.50
Trip Miles: 901.80
2nd Crossing of Mono Creek (881, 9325) to South of Deer Creek (900.5, 9200) ascent (4052) descent (4416)
I am totally beat. Nearly 13 hours of hiking, lots of snow, challenging navigation, +8,000 vertical change.
We have a lightning strike fire burning a few miles from us. It is producing a lot of smoke below us and the responsible agencies have been monitoring from a reconnaissance plane. The current thinking on these types of fires is to let them burn unless they have a high likelihood of getting out of control. This policy has numerous biological benefits as well as keeping the fuel load down at a level that will prevent catastrophic fires.
Naturally since Sugar Daddy is without his poncho (Sugartex) it rained on us today. We put Sugar in a trash bag but he soon melted. Fortunately the rain was not heavy.
Our crossing this morning was uneventful as much of the water was bound in snow when we got there. We went over Silver Pass at 8:00 a.m. and the glissading conditions were awesome & we had a previously slid (makes it faster) run of about 300 feet on a 40 degree slope. I was really booking until I got scared and braked with my feet.
I am going to be sore tomorrow as a result of a crazy maneuver I pulled off this morning. I slid down some snow, lost my footing & ended up on some big rocks. Momentum kept me going & I gyrated amongst the rocks until I came to rest on both feet & both trekking poles. I looked like a giraffe getting a drink. I am really glad I did not crash into those rocks, but the contortions I did to avoid it were not natural & body parts went places they had no business going.
Saw our first John Muir Trail (JMT) hikers. The conditions had slowed them down to a point that they had abandoned their plans to complete the JMT. Rather they were going to use their vacation days & get as far as they got.
My sleeping system goes like this: I have a piece of spinnaker cloth for a cowboy camping ground cloth. I also use it under (sometimes) my Rainbow Tarptent. The Rainbow is an awesome tent with a full side opening that provides full views with bug protection. The tent also has a bathtub floor for great rain protection & can be set up free standing (with hiking poles) or with stakes. Henry Shires was right; this is his best tent yet. For a pad I am using what used to be called a Mt Washington pad. Gossamer Gear now sells them & they are great because they do not break down over time & they do not absorb water. Next comes a 15 degree Marmot EQ Helium bag. Awesome down bag with a highly water resistant shell & a full zipper than can be zipped from top or bottom thus allowing chest or feet venting. I wear Patagonia silk weight tops & bottoms each night for added warmth but more importantly added comfort & bag cleanliness. Clammy skin against nylon is not comfortable. The silks fix that. And finally I have a pair of possum wool sleeping socks. Apparently warmer than polartec 200, these socks are toasty & I usually wear them for at least part of the night. I put my wet feet right into them & they heat right up. A few nights I have also worn my down jacket & quite frequently I wear my wind shirt over my silk weights. Tonight I have on a down jacket but it is coming off in a minute. So there it is . . . I am very happy with the system; thus good night

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Destination: 2nd Crossing of the North Fork of Mono Creek
Starting Location: Vermilion Valley Resort
Today’s Miles: 3.80
Trip Miles: 882.30
Vermilion Valley Resort (877.2, 7850) to 2nd Crossing of the North Fork of Mono Creek (881, 9325) via the Mono Creek Trail around Edison Lake. 3.8 miles ascent (2842) descent (968)

We actually hiked about 11 miles today because we walked back to the trail instead of taking the ferry. But in order to keep our log consistent with the data book we are only logging miles along the PCT. To be clear, our route into & out of both Muir Trail Ranch & VVR were off the PCT. Both were actually farther hiking miles but that is not the point. As stated when I started, I am hiking a contiguous hike to Canada along the PCT but I may take alternate routes if it is more scenic or offers other advantages. These cases fit the latter. MTR allowed us to stay with our Swiss friends & VVR (via Bear Ridge Trail in & Mono Creek Trail out) allowed us to set our own schedule & save costs by not taking the ferry. When we left VVR my dad offered us the ¼ mile ride to the trail head. I think he was testing us because that ride would have broken our thus far perfect contiguous path. Like I said, when I draw the line at the end I do not want to see any gaps no matter how insignificant they may seem to others. To me it is important. We walked to the trail head.
When we got to the second crossing of Mono Creek I said something to the effect of “you have got to be kidding me”. Okay there may have been a little profanity mixed in as well. During really high flows, & right now they are peaking and they are huge, the trail crosses a ledge between two waterfalls. I got ½ way across while getting absolutely soaked by the spray only to find myself in a jam. I think I had two options to cross. Option one was a quick step and then a leap. Problem was that if I did not make it, go-BIG would have been gone. Surviving the fall down the falls was highly improbable. Option two meant trying to climb up into the upper fall and cross on some rocks while having thousands of gallons of water hitting me from above.
Another problem was that my job on the team is to access crossings not based on my ability but based, in this case, on Sugar Daddy’s ability. I simply have more crossing experience & am a better wader and swimmer. Oh yea, while I was out in the middle freezing, the building thunder storm decided to get it together & produce some thunder, lightning & rain. I turned back. I was pissed. Going up river was not an option as the waterfall was coming down a vertical cliff. We went down the way we camp up and ultimately found a crossing. Now Sugar Daddy’s job was to find us a way to climb (he is a climber) up the other side. He found a route that included some belly work (fun with a pack on) along with some bramble thrashing and a lot of profanity from me. I am sure Sugar was praying while I was swearing. Break: there is a deer just outside my tent. Back! One hour later we were back where I could not cross but we were on the right side this time. Thunder, lightning, rain (not heavy) continued and we figured that the wet shoes, hiking poles, & a carbon fiber/aluminum cylinder (bear box) was not a good combination. We have to cross this bastard one more time first thing in the a.m. Hopefully, with some reduction in flow resulting from freezing above.
The rest at VVR was wonderful & I feel really good today. Breakfast of 3 eggs, 4 bacon, country potatoes, 2 hot cakes & 6 cups of coffee did the body good. I spent $301.00 in VVR & it was worth it to me. I got a room for two nights, I did laundry, & I bought 2 dinners & 2 breakfasts for my dad & I. A lot of money? Yes. But I don’t drink & I don’t smoke & damn it I deserved it.
I just reread Lucky Liz’s letter to me. What a wonderful thing – reading a letter from your wife multiple times. I’m not sure if she would enjoy this level of hiking. Me on the other hand, I love this stuff. And it does not need to get any more difficult. I repeat, it does not need to get any more difficult.
The bonds that are formed on the trail are really strong & Sugar Daddy & I are close trail partners & good friends. As such I would never do or say anything to hurt him, but this getting is unbelievable & I just have to speak up. I told him I could not wait any longer & he conceded that he “mentioned” it in his journal (http://360.yahoo.com/vichansonperu) as well. Sugar Daddy has a gear vortex that we call the Sugartex & at the current rate of gear loss his pack will be empty by Canada & it is possible that he and the pack may disappear as well. The accounting of gear that has thus far been sucked into the Sugartex is as follows: baskets for his hiking poles, nail clippers (returned miraculously by Greener who somehow penetrated the Sugartex) Swiss army knife, gaiters, crampons & finally tonight his poncho which is also his ground cloth/pack cover/rain gear. Oh yea, I have also grabbed a few things just as they were being sucked in. This has always happened as I follow Sugar Daddy, or look around after a break. Fortunately it does not seem to impact those around him but I am short a tent stake . . . hmm.
Today is my 2 month on trail anniversary . . . Happy Anniversary go-BIG.

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Destination: Vermilion Valley Resort
Starting Location: Vermilion Valley Resort
Today’s Miles: 0.00
Trip Miles: 878.50
VVR – Zero
My sister-in-law Loris Ann sent the best homemade scones with my dad. I ate two & locked the others in the bear vault for on trail pleasure & motivation. Lucky Liz sent some almond butter energy bars & the nicest letter. I love & miss that woman.
About 20 hikers in VVR & most walked here. Also looks like about another 24 are farther down the trail. Talking to others & comparing notes is odd because it is as if we are on different trails. Things that were difficult for us, were easy for others & vice versa. A lot has to do with timing (what time on snow, what time did you cross) & level of expertise. One team did manage to go up the wrong pass only to find themselves on a cliff face, while Odie made it from Kennedy Meadows straight through in 7 days. We got in trouble at Bear Creek & others had no difficulty there. So like life, the trail is different for everybody, every day.
My dad did bring some unfortunate news from home. My mom is dealing with some medical problems. And in her never ending supportive way she sent word that if I come off the trail because of it she would strangle me. So I won’t. Instead I will hike stronger in unison with her working hard to bounce right back. My thoughts will be with her every day in every step.
Had a good BBQ dinner with tri-tip, chicken & ribs. I like VVR & think given their location they are providing a very valuable service. That said, if I were to do this again I would likely go: Kennedy Meadows to Muir Ranch to Tuolumne. Now that I think about it more, I simply think I am familiar with VVR & thus it does not provide me much in the way of new experiences. And I would prefer to stay in the mountains to maintain more continuity. That is easy to say after I am rested. My feet are sore & I need to hike to reduce the swelling . . . off we go to infamous Mono Creek Crossing.
Destination: Vermilion Valley Resort
Starting Location: Vermilion Valley Resort
Today’s Miles: 0.00
Trip Miles: 878.50
VVR – Zero
My sister-in-law Loris Ann sent the best homemade scones with my dad. I ate two & locked the others in the bear vault for on trail pleasure & motivation. Lucky Liz sent some almond butter energy bars & the nicest letter. I love & miss that woman.
About 20 hikers in VVR & most walked here. Also looks like about another 24 are farther down the trail. Talking to others & comparing notes is odd because it is as if we are on different trails. Things that were difficult for us, were easy for others & vice versa. A lot has to do with timing (what time on snow, what time did you cross) & level of expertise. One team did manage to go up the wrong pass only to find themselves on a cliff face, while Odie made it from Kennedy Meadows straight through in 7 days. We got in trouble at Bear Creek & others had no difficulty there. So like life, the trail is different for everybody, every day.
My dad did bring some unfortunate news from home. My mom is dealing with some medical problems. And in her never ending supportive way she sent word that if I come off the trail because of it she would strangle me. So I won’t. Instead I will hike stronger in unison with her working hard to bounce right back. My thoughts will be with her every day in every step.
Had a good BBQ dinner with tri-tip, chicken & ribs. I like VVR & think given their location they are providing a very valuable service. That said, if I were to do this again I would likely go: Kennedy Meadows to Muir Ranch to Tuolumne. Now that I think about it more, I simply think I am familiar with VVR & thus it does not provide me much in the way of new experiences. And I would prefer to stay in the mountains to maintain more continuity. That is easy to say after I am rested. My feet are sore & I need to hike to reduce the swelling . . . off we go to infamous Mono Creek Crossing.
Destination: Vermilion Valley Resort
Starting Location: Vermilion Valley Resort
Today’s Miles: 0.00
Trip Miles: 878.50
VVR – Zero
My sister-in-law Loris Ann sent the best homemade scones with my dad. I ate two & locked the others in the bear vault for on trail pleasure & motivation. Lucky Liz sent some almond butter energy bars & the nicest letter. I love & miss that woman.
About 20 hikers in VVR & most walked here. Also looks like about another 24 are farther down the trail. Talking to others & comparing notes is odd because it is as if we are on different trails. Things that were difficult for us, were easy for others & vice versa. A lot has to do with timing (what time on snow, what time did you cross) & level of expertise. One team did manage to go up the wrong pass only to find themselves on a cliff face, while Odie made it from Kennedy Meadows straight through in 7 days. We got in trouble at Bear Creek & others had no difficulty there. So like life, the trail is different for everybody, every day.
My dad did bring some unfortunate news from home. My mom is dealing with some medical problems. And in her never ending supportive way she sent word that if I come off the trail because of it she would strangle me. So I won’t. Instead I will hike stronger in unison with her working hard to bounce right back. My thoughts will be with her every day in every step.
Had a good BBQ dinner with tri-tip, chicken & ribs. I like VVR & think given their location they are providing a very valuable service. That said, if I were to do this again I would likely go: Kennedy Meadows to Muir Ranch to Tuolumne. Now that I think about it more, I simply think I am familiar with VVR & thus it does not provide me much in the way of new experiences. And I would prefer to stay in the mountains to maintain more continuity. That is easy to say after I am rested. My feet are sore & I need to hike to reduce the swelling . . . off we go to infamous Mono Creek Crossing.

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Destination: Vermilion Valley Resort
Starting Location: Senger Creek
Today’s Miles: 17.10
Trip Miles: 878.50
Senger Creek (860.1, 9740) to Vermilion Valley Resort (877.2, 7850) ascent (2618) descent (4649)
Today I was scared for the first time during the trip. But the weird part was I was scared after the real danger had passed. When we got to Bear Creek we saw a helpful note from Odie that recommended crossing down stream abut an eighth mile. We followed the advice & I went first. It was touch as I went in a bit high on the crossing but by leaning into the river, using my poles, and crossing side step I did pretty well. Pang who is very strong but with limited wading experience, muscled his way across next. We then debated if Swiss Miss should go with or without pack. The pack adds needed weight but impacts balance significantly. She decided no pack but with boots (she normally wades bare foot). Pang went above her with her pack & I positioned myself below her. This time I was facing up river with my poles behind/beside me for balance & leverage.
Swiss Miss was doing great & making progress when she was lifted off her feet. She did everything right but the current simply overcame her body weight. She drifted the 2 feet right into me & I have no idea how but I was able to get my right arm under her left & thus I was holding a 110 lbs of person, whose legs were dangling, while standing waist deep in fast water. Neither of us panicked as we were now in total adrenaline mode (Sugar daddy says it was an angel that helped either me, Swiss Miss or both of us). I got stabilized with my left pole & was able to move slightly across river while Pang was able to drop down a foot, grab Swiss Miss’s right arm & take some of the water pressure off me. I moved a few more feet & Sugar Daddy was able to come to our aid & help us the final distance. Unlike our typical celebratory hoots & hollers after a success we all were pretty quiet & simply thanked each other & whoever else as appropriate to the individual.
Two hours later we came to a relatively easy crossing & I was overwhelmed with total fear of going into the water. I had to shake my head & arms to clear the sense of dread. Once I entered the water I was fine, but the earlier experience had, unbeknownst to me, shook me deeply.
During our entire Sierra traverse I have been avoiding crossing water on suspended logs. Rather I always take the wet, but feet on firm area under the water, ground. I have been practicing walking on logs for weeks that lye along the trail. So today after seeing Pang skip across a 12’ long log, suspended 6’ off a small but somewhat raging tributary I got on & crossed the log. It was a big confidence booster & Pang gave me some additional coaching on technique. (Take a quick look at feet placement but do not look at the water but rather at the destination. Keep momentum & maintain confidence. The water movement tricks you into thinking the log is moving). I still dislike log crossing but I know I can do it now.
We said temporary good byes to Pang & Swiss Miss as they headed to Mammoth to pick-up Rita & we headed to Vermilion Valley Resort (VVR). We knew we could not make the ferry schedule, did not want to be tied to the return schedule, & thought that $20 was a bit pricey, so we opted to go down the Bear Ridge trail. This will mean about 5 extra miles of hiking but it got us here last night & that meant a shower, good meal & a real bed. I decided that I needed the rest & went ahead and got a room for two nights versus staying in one of the tents. I am so happy to have my own toilet, shower & semi-privacy. We had a nice surprise as my dad arrived early & we had dinner together. Jim, VVR owner, gave us a room with 3 beds so it worked out perfectly. I am clean, I am clean, I am clean? I think I will take another shower.
Destination: Vermilion Valley Resort
Starting Location: Senger Creek
Today’s Miles: 17.10
Trip Miles: 878.50
Senger Creek (860.1, 9740) to Vermilion Valley Resort (877.2, 7850) ascent (2618) descent (4649)
Today I was scared for the first time during the trip. But the weird part was I was scared after the real danger had passed. When we got to Bear Creek we saw a helpful note from Odie that recommended crossing down stream abut an eighth mile. We followed the advice & I went first. It was touch as I went in a bit high on the crossing but by leaning into the river, using my poles, and crossing side step I did pretty well. Pang who is very strong but with limited wading experience, muscled his way across next. We then debated if Swiss Miss should go with or without pack. The pack adds needed weight but impacts balance significantly. She decided no pack but with boots (she normally wades bare foot). Pang went above her with her pack & I positioned myself below her. This time I was facing up river with my poles behind/beside me for balance & leverage.
Swiss Miss was doing great & making progress when she was lifted off her feet. She did everything right but the current simply overcame her body weight. She drifted the 2 feet right into me & I have no idea how but I was able to get my right arm under her left & thus I was holding a 110 lbs of person, whose legs were dangling, while standing waist deep in fast water. Neither of us panicked as we were now in total adrenaline mode (Sugar daddy says it was an angel that helped either me, Swiss Miss or both of us). I got stabilized with my left pole & was able to move slightly across river while Pang was able to drop down a foot, grab Swiss Miss’s right arm & take some of the water pressure off me. I moved a few more feet & Sugar Daddy was able to come to our aid & help us the final distance. Unlike our typical celebratory hoots & hollers after a success we all were pretty quiet & simply thanked each other & whoever else as appropriate to the individual.
Two hours later we came to a relatively easy crossing & I was overwhelmed with total fear of going into the water. I had to shake my head & arms to clear the sense of dread. Once I entered the water I was fine, but the earlier experience had, unbeknownst to me, shook me deeply.
During our entire Sierra traverse I have been avoiding crossing water on suspended logs. Rather I always take the wet, but feet on firm area under the water, ground. I have been practicing walking on logs for weeks that lye along the trail. So today after seeing Pang skip across a 12’ long log, suspended 6’ off a small but somewhat raging tributary I got on & crossed the log. It was a big confidence booster & Pang gave me some additional coaching on technique. (Take a quick look at feet placement but do not look at the water but rather at the destination. Keep momentum & maintain confidence. The water movement tricks you into thinking the log is moving). I still dislike log crossing but I know I can do it now.
We said temporary good byes to Pang & Swiss Miss as they headed to Mammoth to pick-up Rita & we headed to Vermilion Valley Resort (VVR). We knew we could not make the ferry schedule, did not want to be tied to the return schedule, & thought that $20 was a bit pricey, so we opted to go down the Bear Ridge trail. This will mean about 5 extra miles of hiking but it got us here last night & that meant a shower, good meal & a real bed. I decided that I needed the rest & went ahead and got a room for two nights versus staying in one of the tents. I am so happy to have my own toilet, shower & semi-privacy. We had a nice surprise as my dad arrived early & we had dinner together. Jim, VVR owner, gave us a room with 3 beds so it worked out perfectly. I am clean, I am clean, I am clean? I think I will take another shower.

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Destination: Senger Creek
Starting Location: Somewhere in a snow field south of Evolution Lake
Today’s Miles: 16.60
Trip Miles: 861.40
South of Evolution Lake (843.5, 10,820) to Senger Creek (860.1, 9740) ascent (3593) descent (4721)
Who said anything about swimming the PCT? While descending rapidly we watched as dozens of major tributaries & hundreds of smaller ones fed into Evolution Creek – the same creek we had to cross. At the crossing this was no creek but rather a class V kayakers dream. As recommended we walked up stream to just below the meadow & found a wide oxbow in the river. The gradient was very shallow & thus the velocity was manageable. It was about 30 yards across with a really nice gravel bottom. Only problem – last 6 yards 8 feet deep. Regardless this was a safe crossing because all you had to do was head up high, at the deep part, & let the current help throw you into the corner. Since it was “my” strategy I got “told” I was going first. I checked to ensure everything in my pack was water protected & I figured my pack would be pretty buoyant as a result of dry bags & a bear can. I unbuckled the waste belt (that was a really good idea) & headed across. In the deep area my pack did indeed float well but it was awkward still attached to my shoulders. Having shoes on & hiking poles in hand also added to the highly modified breast/freestyle/dog paddle. That water was snow melt cold but I was out in a minute & I was beaming. Yesterday I had thought to myself that I will swim across if I have to & funny I did have to & did. The others used a trash bag to float their pack across. Worked well – but a pack damn near went down river as a swimmer, appropriately, tried to get themselves to safety first. We are all good swimmers & everyone did great. On the other side we were shaking like crazy & celebrating our success when we realized we were now in a bog & the mosquitoes had found our newly naked bodies as we got dressed.
We later saw Sunny & tadpole & they had crossed below us. They didn’t swim but Tadpole said she almost took a very serious ride down the river. Fo us, our strategy was the safest & worked for all team members.
Stopped in at Muir Trail Ranch to pick up the Swiss food drop. Met Pat who is a most gracious woman who works at the ranch. We got the package & a hiker box full of military-meals ready to eat (MRE). Now I remember those being awful but we mowed through these things like it was the best food we had ever eaten. I will no longer be low on calories going into VVR. Muir Trail Ranch is an excellent resupply option & Pat is totally committed to getting the packages to hikers. They do no have other services but if you just need your stuff they will have it. I did not use this option because with the heavy snow it was uncertain if they would be open. Pat had been at work 4 days.
I am actually full & my stomach is confused by the feeling.
While my hygiene is still excellent & I am very careful with important matters such as using soap & water & Purell after going to the restroom, my cleanliness is dropping fast. We are so tired & cold by the time we go to bed that the last thing on my mind is to go to the creek & get cleaned u. Some nights I use a baby wipe & Purell but I have to admit sometimes I just get into my bag & pass out. I stink. I stink a lot. And this crap that hikers don’t smell themselves is just that. Do they care is the question. At Muir Trail Ranch I talked to some really clean people, and it was weird. I mean it, they were so clean & you could smell the soap, the shampoo, conditioner, & the deodorant. My sense of smell has changed (improved) dramatically in these two months. I can now distinguish different forest types by their smell, I catch scents of water before I hear it, & I swear it is true you can often smell day hikers or weekenders before you hear or see them. Using your senses – sharpen your senses.
Destination: Senger Creek
Starting Location: Somewhere in a snow field south of Evolution Lake
Today’s Miles: 16.60
Trip Miles: 861.40
South of Evolution Lake (843.5, 10,820) to Senger Creek (860.1, 9740) ascent (3593) descent (4721)
Who said anything about swimming the PCT? While descending rapidly we watched as dozens of major tributaries & hundreds of smaller ones fed into Evolution Creek – the same creek we had to cross. At the crossing this was no creek but rather a class V kayakers dream. As recommended we walked up stream to just below the meadow & found a wide oxbow in the river. The gradient was very shallow & thus the velocity was manageable. It was about 30 yards across with a really nice gravel bottom. Only problem – last 6 yards 8 feet deep. Regardless this was a safe crossing because all you had to do was head up high, at the deep part, & let the current help throw you into the corner. Since it was “my” strategy I got “told” I was going first. I checked to ensure everything in my pack was water protected & I figured my pack would be pretty buoyant as a result of dry bags & a bear can. I unbuckled the waste belt (that was a really good idea) & headed across. In the deep area my pack did indeed float well but it was awkward still attached to my shoulders. Having shoes on & hiking poles in hand also added to the highly modified breast/freestyle/dog paddle. That water was snow melt cold but I was out in a minute & I was beaming. Yesterday I had thought to myself that I will swim across if I have to & funny I did have to & did. The others used a trash bag to float their pack across. Worked well – but a pack damn near went down river as a swimmer, appropriately, tried to get themselves to safety first. We are all good swimmers & everyone did great. On the other side we were shaking like crazy & celebrating our success when we realized we were now in a bog & the mosquitoes had found our newly naked bodies as we got dressed.
We later saw Sunny & tadpole & they had crossed below us. They didn’t swim but Tadpole said she almost took a very serious ride down the river. Fo us, our strategy was the safest & worked for all team members.
Stopped in at Muir Trail Ranch to pick up the Swiss food drop. Met Pat who is a most gracious woman who works at the ranch. We got the package & a hiker box full of military-meals ready to eat (MRE). Now I remember those being awful but we mowed through these things like it was the best food we had ever eaten. I will no longer be low on calories going into VVR. Muir Trail Ranch is an excellent resupply option & Pat is totally committed to getting the packages to hikers. They do no have other services but if you just need your stuff they will have it. I did not use this option because with the heavy snow it was uncertain if they would be open. Pat had been at work 4 days.
I am actually full & my stomach is confused by the feeling.
While my hygiene is still excellent & I am very careful with important matters such as using soap & water & Purell after going to the restroom, my cleanliness is dropping fast. We are so tired & cold by the time we go to bed that the last thing on my mind is to go to the creek & get cleaned u. Some nights I use a baby wipe & Purell but I have to admit sometimes I just get into my bag & pass out. I stink. I stink a lot. And this crap that hikers don’t smell themselves is just that. Do they care is the question. At Muir Trail Ranch I talked to some really clean people, and it was weird. I mean it, they were so clean & you could smell the soap, the shampoo, conditioner, & the deodorant. My sense of smell has changed (improved) dramatically in these two months. I can now distinguish different forest types by their smell, I catch scents of water before I hear it, & I swear it is true you can often smell day hikers or weekenders before you hear or see them. Using your senses – sharpen your senses.

Read Full Post »

Destination: Somewhere in a snow field south of Evolution Lake
Starting Location: Just south of Bishop Pass Trail
Today’s Miles: 13.00
Trip Miles: 844.80
South Bishop Pass Trail (830.5, 8590) to Somewhere in a snow field south of Evolution Lake (843.5, 10,820) ascent (4114) descent (1844)
I would like an extra large 190 degree decaf, nonfat latte in a double cup please. Oh yea, add a dash of nutmeg & cinnamon also.
I certainly hope John Muir & his daughters like snow and ice because the pass named in his honor are covered in snow & the lakes are still 100% ice covered. The difficulty hiking nearly 12 hours on snow was real and as we got more tired the snow got softer & made the work more tiring. The cycle was torturous & yet a wonderful experience. Just when I thought we could not get more physically or mentally tired we found ourselves on the tip of a peninsula surrounded by frozen water that we were no way going to walk on. What happened was classic as not only does the mind see what it wants to it also does not see what it is not looking for. After reviewing the map we agreed that the trail was close to the end of the lake and so logically if we followed the shore line we would arrive at our next way point. Unless there is a peninsula with a impassible high wall on one side. So we had to backtrack about a ½ mile through our post holed tracks we had made 20 minutes before.
That was our second navigation challenge of the day. The first was when Pang pulled a go-BIG and convinced himself where Muir Pass was, without verifying with maps, altimeters, & compass. When Sugar Daddy pointed out that the elevation for Helen Lake was wrong, & I pointed out that the compass was showing north in a direction all of us had difficulty believing (the sun was 90 degrees overhead and offered no help) we saw the correct pass. Now if you are wondering why we are making so many mistakes I would offer this: we have gotten it right hundreds if not thousands of times. We get complacent & don’t verify enough, & we are very fatigued.
Navigation across the snow has transitioned from intimidating, to challenging, to fun. And when you hit the trail after hours or recently days it is a huge rush & sense of accomplishment.
Snow cups are basically evil. A cup develops when something lands on the snow & absorbs more heat than the surrounding snow & thus melts a cup. Now cups can get pretty big (2 ft x 2ft deep), but soon they connect to other cups and create fins (don’t know how). These fins look just like an airplane wing with the narrow side facing up. Now the challenge is to walk amongst the cups or the fins depending on what is present. When they are frozen it is a balancing act to not fall in (fins get waist deep). When soft it is all about not sinking too deep & sliding (falling) too much. And don’t forget about hidden rooms under the snow that generate heat & create cavities waiting to suck you in. Now if you are lucky someone is in front of you (like the point person looking for booby traps) and they find the holes, compress the snow for you, and/or make a more stable platform to stand on. Oh yea they need to weight more than you or they may only set you up for a huge break through – thank you Swiss Miss. And falling can be no joke. My current record is to my belly button with both legs broken through. Typically one leg goes & when you bottom out because your groin hits the snow with your other leg still at snow level, you are really having some fun. More sport is when you are traveling well across the snow while sinking the same amount each step. Then you post hole one leg & your forward momentum exaggerated by a pack allows you to do a perfect face plant into the snow while hinging off a 100% buried leg. What is really amazing is that nothing has broken during one of these maneuvers. After each move it is quiet for a moment & then when we realize we are each okay we rate the quality of the move while laughing hysterically.
Weird thing but there are lots of bugs on the snow including spiders. Birds too, who are presumably eating the bugs. But the weirdest thing is this red stuff. It is an organism of some type and it turns the snow blood red. It is particularly prevalent at the bottom between two fins. And when hikers walk in these fins it looks exactly like bloody footprints. I have now seen it hundreds of times & every time I think the same thing.
When I thought I had it rough today & started thinking I was pretty tough I reflected for probably an hour (try that at home) on Shakleton & his crew who were trapped in the ice, lost their vessel, & had to over winter. It helped me realize again the infinite ability to keep going. I have touched that ability & it is incredible. After taking a break & sincerely saying I am not sure I can go any farther today, I have gone for hours more & was less tired afterwards. The mind is the key to this game; the body is just the vehicle.
So here we are in the middle of white camped on a few rocks & not even sure where exactly the trail is and in walks our friends Sunny & Tadpole. Swapping stories, comparing strategies, full of wonder and a positive sense of accomplishment. Shared experience, bonded to the PCT & to each other.
Destination: Somewhere in a snow field south of Evolution Lake
Starting Location: Just south of Bishop Pass Trail
Today’s Miles: 13.00
Trip Miles: 844.80
South Bishop Pass Trail (830.5, 8590) to Somewhere in a snow field south of Evolution Lake (843.5, 10,820) ascent (4114) descent (1844)
I would like an extra large 190 degree decaf, nonfat latte in a double cup please. Oh yea, add a dash of nutmeg & cinnamon also.
I certainly hope John Muir & his daughters like snow and ice because the pass named in his honor are covered in snow & the lakes are still 100% ice covered. The difficulty hiking nearly 12 hours on snow was real and as we got more tired the snow got softer & made the work more tiring. The cycle was torturous & yet a wonderful experience. Just when I thought we could not get more physically or mentally tired we found ourselves on the tip of a peninsula surrounded by frozen water that we were no way going to walk on. What happened was classic as not only does the mind see what it wants to it also does not see what it is not looking for. After reviewing the map we agreed that the trail was close to the end of the lake and so logically if we followed the shore line we would arrive at our next way point. Unless there is a peninsula with a impassible high wall on one side. So we had to backtrack about a ½ mile through our post holed tracks we had made 20 minutes before.
That was our second navigation challenge of the day. The first was when Pang pulled a go-BIG and convinced himself where Muir Pass was, without verifying with maps, altimeters, & compass. When Sugar Daddy pointed out that the elevation for Helen Lake was wrong, & I pointed out that the compass was showing north in a direction all of us had difficulty believing (the sun was 90 degrees overhead and offered no help) we saw the correct pass. Now if you are wondering why we are making so many mistakes I would offer this: we have gotten it right hundreds if not thousands of times. We get complacent & don’t verify enough, & we are very fatigued.
Navigation across the snow has transitioned from intimidating, to challenging, to fun. And when you hit the trail after hours or recently days it is a huge rush & sense of accomplishment.
Snow cups are basically evil. A cup develops when something lands on the snow & absorbs more heat than the surrounding snow & thus melts a cup. Now cups can get pretty big (2 ft x 2ft deep), but soon they connect to other cups and create fins (don’t know how). These fins look just like an airplane wing with the narrow side facing up. Now the challenge is to walk amongst the cups or the fins depending on what is present. When they are frozen it is a balancing act to not fall in (fins get waist deep). When soft it is all about not sinking too deep & sliding (falling) too much. And don’t forget about hidden rooms under the snow that generate heat & create cavities waiting to suck you in. Now if you are lucky someone is in front of you (like the point person looking for booby traps) and they find the holes, compress the snow for you, and/or make a more stable platform to stand on. Oh yea they need to weight more than you or they may only set you up for a huge break through – thank you Swiss Miss. And falling can be no joke. My current record is to my belly button with both legs broken through. Typically one leg goes & when you bottom out because your groin hits the snow with your other leg still at snow level, you are really having some fun. More sport is when you are traveling well across the snow while sinking the same amount each step. Then you post hole one leg & your forward momentum exaggerated by a pack allows you to do a perfect face plant into the snow while hinging off a 100% buried leg. What is really amazing is that nothing has broken during one of these maneuvers. After each move it is quiet for a moment & then when we realize we are each okay we rate the quality of the move while laughing hysterically.
Weird thing but there are lots of bugs on the snow including spiders. Birds too, who are presumably eating the bugs. But the weirdest thing is this red stuff. It is an organism of some type and it turns the snow blood red. It is particularly prevalent at the bottom between two fins. And when hikers walk in these fins it looks exactly like bloody footprints. I have now seen it hundreds of times & every time I think the same thing.
When I thought I had it rough today & started thinking I was pretty tough I reflected for probably an hour (try that at home) on Shakleton & his crew who were trapped in the ice, lost their vessel, & had to over winter. It helped me realize again the infinite ability to keep going. I have touched that ability & it is incredible. After taking a break & sincerely saying I am not sure I can go any farther today, I have gone for hours more & was less tired afterwards. The mind is the key to this game; the body is just the vehicle.
So here we are in the middle of white camped on a few rocks & not even sure where exactly the trail is and in walks our friends Sunny & Tadpole. Swapping stories, comparing strategies, full of wonder and a positive sense of accomplishment. Shared experience, bonded to the PCT & to each other.
Destination: Somewhere in a snow field south of Evolution Lake
Starting Location: Just south of Bishop Pass Trail
Today’s Miles: 13.00
Trip Miles: 844.80
South Bishop Pass Trail (830.5, 8590) to Somewhere in a snow field south of Evolution Lake (843.5, 10,820) ascent (4114) descent (1844)
I would like an extra large 190 degree decaf, nonfat latte in a double cup please. Oh yea, add a dash of nutmeg & cinnamon also.
I certainly hope John Muir & his daughters like snow and ice because the pass named in his honor are covered in snow & the lakes are still 100% ice covered. The difficulty hiking nearly 12 hours on snow was real and as we got more tired the snow got softer & made the work more tiring. The cycle was torturous & yet a wonderful experience. Just when I thought we could not get more physically or mentally tired we found ourselves on the tip of a peninsula surrounded by frozen water that we were no way going to walk on. What happened was classic as not only does the mind see what it wants to it also does not see what it is not looking for. After reviewing the map we agreed that the trail was close to the end of the lake and so logically if we followed the shore line we would arrive at our next way point. Unless there is a peninsula with a impassible high wall on one side. So we had to backtrack about a ½ mile through our post holed tracks we had made 20 minutes before.
That was our second navigation challenge of the day. The first was when Pang pulled a go-BIG and convinced himself where Muir Pass was, without verifying with maps, altimeters, & compass. When Sugar Daddy pointed out that the elevation for Helen Lake was wrong, & I pointed out that the compass was showing north in a direction all of us had difficulty believing (the sun was 90 degrees overhead and offered no help) we saw the correct pass. Now if you are wondering why we are making so many mistakes I would offer this: we have gotten it right hundreds if not thousands of times. We get complacent & don’t verify enough, & we are very fatigued.
Navigation across the snow has transitioned from intimidating, to challenging, to fun. And when you hit the trail after hours or recently days it is a huge rush & sense of accomplishment.
Snow cups are basically evil. A cup develops when something lands on the snow & absorbs more heat than the surrounding snow & thus melts a cup. Now cups can get pretty big (2 ft x 2ft deep), but soon they connect to other cups and create fins (don’t know how). These fins look just like an airplane wing with the narrow side facing up. Now the challenge is to walk amongst the cups or the fins depending on what is present. When they are frozen it is a balancing act to not fall in (fins get waist deep). When soft it is all about not sinking too deep & sliding (falling) too much. And don’t forget about hidden rooms under the snow that generate heat & create cavities waiting to suck you in. Now if you are lucky someone is in front of you (like the point person looking for booby traps) and they find the holes, compress the snow for you, and/or make a more stable platform to stand on. Oh yea they need to weight more than you or they may only set you up for a huge break through – thank you Swiss Miss. And falling can be no joke. My current record is to my belly button with both legs broken through. Typically one leg goes & when you bottom out because your groin hits the snow with your other leg still at snow level, you are really having some fun. More sport is when you are traveling well across the snow while sinking the same amount each step. Then you post hole one leg & your forward momentum exaggerated by a pack allows you to do a perfect face plant into the snow while hinging off a 100% buried leg. What is really amazing is that nothing has broken during one of these maneuvers. After each move it is quiet for a moment & then when we realize we are each okay we rate the quality of the move while laughing hysterically.
Weird thing but there are lots of bugs on the snow including spiders. Birds too, who are presumably eating the bugs. But the weirdest thing is this red stuff. It is an organism of some type and it turns the snow blood red. It is particularly prevalent at the bottom between two fins. And when hikers walk in these fins it looks exactly like bloody footprints. I have now seen it hundreds of times & every time I think the same thing.
When I thought I had it rough today & started thinking I was pretty tough I reflected for probably an hour (try that at home) on Shakleton & his crew who were trapped in the ice, lost their vessel, & had to over winter. It helped me realize again the infinite ability to keep going. I have touched that ability & it is incredible. After taking a break & sincerely saying I am not sure I can go any farther today, I have gone for hours more & was less tired afterwards. The mind is the key to this game; the body is just the vehicle.
So here we are in the middle of white camped on a few rocks & not even sure where exactly the trail is and in walks our friends Sunny & Tadpole. Swapping stories, comparing strategies, full of wonder and a positive sense of accomplishment. Shared experience, bonded to the PCT & to each other.

Read Full Post »

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