Archive for July 5th, 2006

Destination: Boulder Creek
Starting Location: Sonora PassToday’s Miles: 14.00
Trip Miles: 1033.40
Sonora Pass (1018.3, 9620) to Boulder Creek (10323, 8600) ascent (2697) descent (3619)

My parents are the best. We (the stinky 10 now) realized we could not make it to Tahoe on our desired schedule unless we got an earlier resupply at Sonora. So I sent a message down the hill with the dinner hitch hikers to call my dad & see if they could come early. I knew that would mean an early morning for them but I did not anticipate that they would have birthday guests until 11:00 pm and their alarm would go off at 3:00 a.m. to meet our request. Because of their support we got a needed 14 miles in. We are now set up for a Saturday arrival in Tahoe. Thank you.
Mom’s diagnosis is bad. She likely has a rare form (less than 1% of the cases) of breast cancer. Treatment will entail a minimum of 6 months of chemotherapy before surgery, then a mastectomy and then more chemo. It is going to be a difficult year. I want to thank my friend who took time out of her busy oncology schedule to see my mom & provide an independent assessment. Fortunately but frustrating I know mom will get better treatment now that her primary doctor knows she has access to good information.
“You are full of blood, but now you are dead. Was it worth it?” – Sunny talking to a mosquito he had just killed while we waited for the team.
I enjoyed learning about dynamic (rope) & static (webbing) systems of mountain climbing today along with fall factor calculations as we traveled a valley lined with vertical granite walls. Sunny is a climber and a very humble & thoughtful guy. So when he casually said he was a good climber I knew immediately that he was really good. Tadpole, Sunny’s girlfriend, later confirmed that he is really, really good. Thus the great balance. He practices stringing a static line between two trees in the off season & walks across it – backwards/forward/sideways.
Saw some impressive navigation skills today from Rolling Thunder. A mountaineer from the south island of New Zealand, he looks at the map, finds the location based on the topography & only then looks at the trail. The lesson is to not “make” the topo fit the trail but let the trail fit the topo. I follow the trail on the map & note we crossed this creek or that ridge so we must be here. Thunder looks around then looks at the map & says we are “here”. And he does it in seconds. It is so neat to witness skill at that level as you recognize where you are at on the curve ^ you see the potential.
Back in Tuolumne mom pointed out that the skin over my Achilles did not look so good. I had not really noticed, but on inspection I realized that the snow had nearly completely abraded the skin. Signs of an infection were evident and I could not believe I had not noticed. It demonstrates how the mind can just turn some things (like pain or discomfort (off when it wants to. Bag balm to the rescue. A treatment every night since & the potential for infection is gone, scars have formed, & healing is taking place.
No more 13 or 12, or 11, or even 10,000 ft mountains to climb as we head north. The tall stuff is now behind us & it is all down hill towards Canada with a few ups & downs along the way.
Back at VVR I found a tube of seam seal in the hiker box. A hiker box is a box or crate or barrel located at long distance hiker hangouts that contain other hiker’s discarded items. Sometimes it is junk but often times it holds treasurers. Like seam seal. I had kicked a hole in the toe of my Montrail Hardrock shoes. Days of the snow, kicking steps to create a perch to stand on, had wore a hole completely through the toe. No complaints, these are awesome shoes & they held up well to the abuse they were not designed for. I repeatedly filled the hole, let dry & filled it again. Kicked about another 50 miles of snow steps since then & they are going strong & will get me through the end of it. Good product Montrail.
I got a bit frustrated today when I found out that no pictures were being posted to my journal. I have taken hundreds. Then I realized my gratitude needed an adjustment. While I am hiking the PCT, Lucky Liz, is managing our home, running the PCTA, transcribing my journal, downloading my photos to our home computer, ordering me gear. . . and to download photos to Trail Journals is a slow process & she has not had time. We are going to figure out a solution in Tahoe and I hope to get some photos up. Sugar Daddy showed one to my dad today of me trying to cross Mono Creek. I think the quote was something like “he really is crazy”. Anyway, people have asked to see the photos & we will figure out a way. What I would like to do is have one photo per journal entry that hopefully captures the mood or major events of the day. Stand by.
I am feeling good. Spirits are up & the body is doing well. Eating mom’s pumpkin bread with dinner tonight made me appreciate what I have. I have a lot. I do not seem to get bored hiking 12 hours a day, but I am glad when the day is over. I actually do not like breaks very much because they simply prolong the day. I dread some mornings when I wake up & realize I have only a few short minutes to lay on the hard ground but I am pretty content once moving.


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