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Archive for June 25th, 2006

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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