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Archive for July 7th, 2006

Destination: Headwaters of Truckee River
Starting Location: Pennsylvania Creek
Today’s Miles: 23.10
Trip Miles: 1081.10
Pennsylvania Creek (1056.9, 8140) to Headwaters of Truckee River (1080, 8560) ascent (4754) descent (4321)

Two big days in a row. But well worth it as tomorrow we NERO. Today was likely the last day on snow that poses any real risk for this section or the hike. So naturally I almost ate it crossing a 30’ shoot. Just 10 simple steps. The run-out (where you go if you fall) was very steep & nasty & at the bottom (300 vertical feet & 1000 feet total) rocks. We were early & the snow was ice hard. Pang & Swiss Miss crossed by using mountaineering boots while kicking very narrow perches. I knew I could not kick any steps with trail running shoes but I figured they made just enough edge for me to perch on each step by turning my angle. Halfway across – step 5 – the perch for my right foot broke off. I jammed my left pole into the snow basket, dropped my right pole, and grabbed the next perch with my right hand. I know have my face on the snow, left foot on a perch, left arm up high holding a pole, right leg dangling, and right hand holding a perch. When I caught my breath & got my heart out of my throat I heard Swiss Miss say “oh no”. I was in a fix. By pulling on my left pole I was able to stand up, but that meant letting my right hand go. Now I am standing on a perch with one leg, left arm still attached to pole, right hand free, & right leg hanging with no where to put it. I was really focused. Pang dropped his pack and kicked hard enough to break his foot until he got to me. He then kicked a huge platform for my right foot. I took 5 more steps. I said thank you Pang, & he gave that wry Swiss smile & said you’re welcome go-BIG.
After pushing very hard over Elephant Back Ridge (I wanted to call Liz & heard the kiosk at Carson Pass had a phone) I met Joel (class of 2004) who was up for a weekend hike carrying a bunch of fresh fruit for any thru-hikers he met. “You must be a thru-hiker, would you like some fruit”? Best banana I ever had. Connected with Lucky Liz & set up a rendezvous for tomorrow – yippee. People from the parking lot brought over more fruit. Headed up trail & go-Daddy (bob) had left a note with soda & apples. People are so nice. The trail shows you that & I love losing some of my cynicism regarding the human race.

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