Archive for July 14th, 2006

Destination: Bridge over Milton Creek
Starting Location: Knoll
Today’s Miles: 25.20
Trip Miles: 1194.50
Knoll above White Rush Creek (1168.2, 8120) to Bridge over Milton Creek (1193.4, 4990) ascent (2910) descent (5719)

After eating a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter, honey & jelly I figured I was about 900 calories short for the afternoon. But I needed to ration so I took a 10 minute nap. When I woke up I found a king size payday candy bar & a package of fig newtons on my pack. Sugar Daddy knew I was getting low, saw me eat a small lunch on a 25 mile day & hooked me up. This evening Pang & Swiss Miss quietly fixed the lunch they will not need tomorrow & I enjoyed a dinner of couscous & polenta with tomato sauce. Without the help I would have made it on my ration program but I would have lost at least 1 pound. So how could I run low? It is odd but my metabolism is fluctuating dramatically & my eating is very inconsistent. On the last leg I came in with 2 full bags of food left. I cut back my portions by one day and now I find myself a day short. I have read in other journals that people do not share food quickly on the trail. My experience is just the opposite. In fact, the group I am hiking with would give you their raincoat if you needed it more than them. Must have more to do with the people involved. Our team rocks!
With more than half of the trail remaining, our focus is quickly shifting to beating the winter weather in the North Cascades. We knew the Sierra would take what they would take regarding time and now we have to kick up the pace. The idea of pushing harder is painful to think about but the math says if we do 25 miles per day 6 days per week, we will reach Manning Park BC on September 20th. That also builds in a cushion for weather as we could be on the trail until the end of September. Beyond that is a weather gamble and everyday that goes by our odds decrease. So let’s go.
I was having trouble mentally every time I thought about doing another 1500+ miles so I have tried to stay focused on daily goals. Beginning yesterday I tried a new strategy. When I start being overwhelmed with the journey ahead I visualize myself at the northern terminus. Each time I bring forth an image it is always the same – walking strong and crying tears of happiness because I made it. The current fears diminish & I keep heading north.
Camped with giddy-up this evening. I doubt he will have any trouble with the miles as he is routinely doing 30+ days. A guide in Alaska he understands what it takes and I have enjoyed talking with him.
Been thinking more about choices today and it seems to me that despite the bumper stickers life does not simply happen. Rather it is driven by the choices we make. Unfortunately we often do not recognize this and they fail to realize life is of our own making. Sure we were all dealt some lousy cards in the process but we choose how we play those also. So when someone tells me they can’t do something I typically think and sometimes say what they really mean is they choose not to. Because we do not like the consequences we tell ourselves we can’t. Jobs are the classic example: I can’t quit my job. Well actually we choose not to probably because you do not like the potential consequences. News flash – change the potential consequences and the can’t may turn into a choice.
It seems obvious to me but maybe I should mention that nothing I write is intended for anyone but me. These are my truths & many if not most are still being worked out for me. So if I sound preachy – I am – but I am my own audience.
The sign read “practice leave no trace camping” as we walked north from Jackson Meadow Reservoir. Both Pang & Swiss Miss ask for a translation and Sugar Daddy & I did a credible job providing one. And then we walked into one of the worst examples of modern day logging I have seen. Massive soil disturbance accompanied by significant erosion, poor road construction, huge slash piles left in place, and so much debris left as to make new tree germination impossible. Just a bit of a “trace” here. To be clear I support timber harvesting. In fact I believe that because of needed fire suppression for life & property, active timber management is the only viable & biologically sound alternative. So let’s do it right. I am pretty certain that this property is private (so thank you for the right of passage easement) and is part of the western landscape ownership checker board that was established during the railroad era. I am also pretty certain that short term profits were the driving force behind this timber operation. That is unfortunate as this land could produce a viable renewable resource for each generation into the future but it has to be managed to do so. Oh yea – for the anti timber crowds; fire suppression will continue & without that natural process our forest will die. The biology is absolutely clear on this and opposing logging is therefore opposing forest viability. No reason to ever cut old growth however. The areas are unfortunately so small that they can be managed with other methods. Some companies are doing a great job at this and their business plans recognize that reasonable rates of return pay more over time than one time high rates. The market could care less however.
Speaking of resources. Did you know that the Natural Resources Committee in the United States Congress was renamed the Resource Committee? Subtle but important. Natural Resources suggest some stewardship while Resources alone suggests a commodity to be used and likely used up. I have voted republican my entire life. That changed this last go round. The current administration is bad for conservation – period. And when did the democrats start being the party of fiscal conservatism? Crazy time. Weed told me I was a libertarian now. I will have to look into that when I get home.
Sugar Daddy pointed out that last night was the first time in weeks we were not camped next to running water. It is good to be close again as I missed the cascade of clean water.


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