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Archive for June 18th, 2006

Destination: Woods Creek
Starting Location: Second Lake
Today’s Miles: 10.60
Trip Miles: 803.10
Second lake up from Onion Valley (9200) to Woods Creek (800.8, 8492) ascent (3232) descent (5003) 10.6 PCT miles, 6 off trail miles, 16.6 total miles
Ryan Brizendine, my nephew, saved me today. We had to climb both Kearsarge & Glen Pass today & it took us 12.5 hours to go 16.6 miles. In a different environment 10 days ago we could have done 25 miles with much less effort. Anyway I teased myself with a promise of one of Ryan’s homemade chocolate chip cookies for half of the afternoon. The thought of those cookies got me to Woods Creek. I ate two, & I have to tell you those were the best two cookies I have ever eaten. Thank you very much for sending those Ryan, they were awesome.
Now for my other nephew, Christopher, I got a photo from your mother of you eating my cookies before they were sent. Boy are you in trouble . . . never get between a long distance hiker and his food. I was thinking today about all of that Kentucky Fried Chicken you and the guys eat at your work, and you know what? That junk really sounded good. I miss you guys & am really glad you are a part of my life. You still owe me my cookies however Christopher.
Today was a total butt kicker. The reports of snow clear to Arrowhead Lake were exaggerated but Glen Pass was no less of a challenge. The ascent was tough with a steep traverse across snow that ran out into a mostly frozen lake. Swiss Miss fell for a second & I heard several gasps from the team. But she fell up slope & bounced right back to her feet & kept walking & laughing.   I also managed to find myself cooling off by lying in the snow unintentionally about 10 times today.
Just before the summit we had a bit of a nasty scramble to get up some rocks. The pack added to the fun as we were on all fours, using our legs and arms to pull us up the mountain. The south side was 100% snow for the first 1500 feet of descent. And that pass is a bit steep. After I summated I only spent about a minute on top because I was over thinking the descent. So I grabbed my ice axe in one hand, a hiking pole in the other & took a very direct route down the snow. When I got to the rocks I saw that Pang was leading a more reasonable descent that included a few switch backs. I was not scared coming down but I was really focused & when I got down I felt both relief & a sense of accomplishment.
We took lunch at Raw Lakes & I asked Swiss Miss & Pang if they wanted fish for lunch. They said sure laughing. Now my fishing buddies, mostly my dad and good friend Nick, know I can be a bit of a show off sometimes when it comes to fishing. This was no exception. I tied a 15 foot piece of #3 fly line to my hiking pole, attached a leader & piece of tippet, and a #14 parachute adams. It did not cast well but I got a nice drift over some Brook trout & I caught one on the first cast. Hit it over the head, cleaned it & served it up for lunch. I got a few amazed looks by that trick. But truthfully I taught my buddy Shower Shoe Lee how to fly fish in that exact spot in 2003 & if I remember right he did pretty well after a few minutes of simple instruction. Now if anyone cares a Brook trout is not a trout but rather a char. Taste good regardless.
One thing I have noticed with each group I have hiked with is that no one is the leader. Rather, everyone leads at different times based on their strengths. It is a really neat thing. Everyone has the same goal, & everyone helps everyone else achieve that goal. No hidden agendas, no misalignment of goals, no selfishness, just pure team work.
Had a serious creek crossing this afternoon. Falling was not likely life threatening, but you would have gotten beat up pretty good & maybe worse. It was up to just below my groin, white water & cold. Everyone worked together, we all crossed safely, and we moved on heading north.
Sugar Daddy has had a bit of bad luck with gear. This morning he realized he did not repack his spoon in Independence so he ate his cereal with a candy bar. Thinking he could improve on this design he asked the Swiss if they had a multi-tool. But of course & naturally theirs was a one pound McGiver model. So Sugar Daddy widdled a very attractive & highly functional wooden spoon. “Necessity is the mother of all invention”.
Speaking of gear, I used my crampons on the ascent of Kearsarge as it was early & icy. I could have taken a more even traverse but wanting to try the crampons I headed straight up. Once again Brian Frankle from ULA Gear has created an awesome product specifically designed with a long distance hike in mind. The crampons are light weight & highly functional. These things rock. I probably will not need them as Glen Pass should have been the steepest, but I am happy to have them with me.
A few more words on bear cans. Seems like more than half of the thru-hikers are carrying them this year. They are required unless you hike from box to box. The box to box approach does work but logistically & long miles between them do make it complicated. The others are choosing not to comply and without exception every one of them I have spoken to has tried to sell me on the biological reasoning of their decision. They say things like: I stealth camp, meaning they camp away from popular spots. I do not cook where I sleep. And the best anecdotal one – a bear has never gotten my food & besides we are going so early bears are not out yet. Okay, without judging too much, while these practices are good ideas they are only marginally effective at best and are not effective at all to a people food habituated bear that is out now. Not one hiker has said I do not carry a can because I do not want to carry the weight or it does not fit in my ultra-light ultra small packs. But observations suggest these are more likely the reasons. Anf for the weight of a liter of water you can protect your food, but much more important you can protect one of the last great omnivores of the Sierra Nevada. I hate my bear can . . . it is a pain to deal with, but I think it is a good program & the real biological data is very clear – cans are the only truly effective method especially for problem areas with habituated bears. Enough.
Finally, Happy Fathers Day. I can not remember the last time I was not with my dad on this day. It was the one day of the year that he had control of what he wanted to do & that meant we typically went fly fishing or maybe motorcycle riding. Sometimes we even stayed home for a family BBQ. I am bummed my dad is not out here as originally planned, but it was not meant to be. And instead we get the most awesome trail angel who has been providing great support all along the way. Thank you Dad. I appreciate your continued support & love you very much.
Destination: Woods Creek
Starting Location: Second Lake
Today’s Miles: 10.60
Trip Miles: 803.10
Second lake up from Onion Valley (9200) to Woods Creek (800.8, 8492) ascent (3232) descent (5003) 10.6 PCT miles, 6 off trail miles, 16.6 total miles
Ryan Brizendine, my nephew, saved me today. We had to climb both Kearsarge & Glen Pass today & it took us 12.5 hours to go 16.6 miles. In a different environment 10 days ago we could have done 25 miles with much less effort. Anyway I teased myself with a promise of one of Ryan’s homemade chocolate chip cookies for half of the afternoon. The thought of those cookies got me to Woods Creek. I ate two, & I have to tell you those were the best two cookies I have ever eaten. Thank you very much for sending those Ryan, they were awesome.
Now for my other nephew, Christopher, I got a photo from your mother of you eating my cookies before they were sent. Boy are you in trouble . . . never get between a long distance hiker and his food. I was thinking today about all of that Kentucky Fried Chicken you and the guys eat at your work, and you know what? That junk really sounded good. I miss you guys & am really glad you are a part of my life. You still owe me my cookies however Christopher.
Today was a total butt kicker. The reports of snow clear to Arrowhead Lake were exaggerated but Glen Pass was no less of a challenge. The ascent was tough with a steep traverse across snow that ran out into a mostly frozen lake. Swiss Miss fell for a second & I heard several gasps from the team. But she fell up slope & bounced right back to her feet & kept walking & laughing.   I also managed to find myself cooling off by lying in the snow unintentionally about 10 times today.
Just before the summit we had a bit of a nasty scramble to get up some rocks. The pack added to the fun as we were on all fours, using our legs and arms to pull us up the mountain. The south side was 100% snow for the first 1500 feet of descent. And that pass is a bit steep. After I summated I only spent about a minute on top because I was over thinking the descent. So I grabbed my ice axe in one hand, a hiking pole in the other & took a very direct route down the snow. When I got to the rocks I saw that Pang was leading a more reasonable descent that included a few switch backs. I was not scared coming down but I was really focused & when I got down I felt both relief & a sense of accomplishment.
We took lunch at Raw Lakes & I asked Swiss Miss & Pang if they wanted fish for lunch. They said sure laughing. Now my fishing buddies, mostly my dad and good friend Nick, know I can be a bit of a show off sometimes when it comes to fishing. This was no exception. I tied a 15 foot piece of #3 fly line to my hiking pole, attached a leader & piece of tippet, and a #14 parachute adams. It did not cast well but I got a nice drift over some Brook trout & I caught one on the first cast. Hit it over the head, cleaned it & served it up for lunch. I got a few amazed looks by that trick. But truthfully I taught my buddy Shower Shoe Lee how to fly fish in that exact spot in 2003 & if I remember right he did pretty well after a few minutes of simple instruction. Now if anyone cares a Brook trout is not a trout but rather a char. Taste good regardless.
One thing I have noticed with each group I have hiked with is that no one is the leader. Rather, everyone leads at different times based on their strengths. It is a really neat thing. Everyone has the same goal, & everyone helps everyone else achieve that goal. No hidden agendas, no misalignment of goals, no selfishness, just pure team work.
Had a serious creek crossing this afternoon. Falling was not likely life threatening, but you would have gotten beat up pretty good & maybe worse. It was up to just below my groin, white water & cold. Everyone worked together, we all crossed safely, and we moved on heading north.
Sugar Daddy has had a bit of bad luck with gear. This morning he realized he did not repack his spoon in Independence so he ate his cereal with a candy bar. Thinking he could improve on this design he asked the Swiss if they had a multi-tool. But of course & naturally theirs was a one pound McGiver model. So Sugar Daddy widdled a very attractive & highly functional wooden spoon. “Necessity is the mother of all invention”.
Speaking of gear, I used my crampons on the ascent of Kearsarge as it was early & icy. I could have taken a more even traverse but wanting to try the crampons I headed straight up. Once again Brian Frankle from ULA Gear has created an awesome product specifically designed with a long distance hike in mind. The crampons are light weight & highly functional. These things rock. I probably will not need them as Glen Pass should have been the steepest, but I am happy to have them with me.
A few more words on bear cans. Seems like more than half of the thru-hikers are carrying them this year. They are required unless you hike from box to box. The box to box approach does work but logistically & long miles between them do make it complicated. The others are choosing not to comply and without exception every one of them I have spoken to has tried to sell me on the biological reasoning of their decision. They say things like: I stealth camp, meaning they camp away from popular spots. I do not cook where I sleep. And the best anecdotal one – a bear has never gotten my food & besides we are going so early bears are not out yet. Okay, without judging too much, while these practices are good ideas they are only marginally effective at best and are not effective at all to a people food habituated bear that is out now. Not one hiker has said I do not carry a can because I do not want to carry the weight or it does not fit in my ultra-light ultra small packs. But observations suggest these are more likely the reasons. Anf for the weight of a liter of water you can protect your food, but much more important you can protect one of the last great omnivores of the Sierra Nevada. I hate my bear can . . . it is a pain to deal with, but I think it is a good program & the real biological data is very clear – cans are the only truly effective method especially for problem areas with habituated bears. Enough.
Finally, Happy Fathers Day. I can not remember the last time I was not with my dad on this day. It was the one day of the year that he had control of what he wanted to do & that meant we typically went fly fishing or maybe motorcycle riding. Sometimes we even stayed home for a family BBQ. I am bummed my dad is not out here as originally planned, but it was not meant to be. And instead we get the most awesome trail angel who has been providing great support all along the way. Thank you Dad. I appreciate your continued support & love you very much.
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