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Archive for July 18th, 2006

Destination: Clear Creek
Starting Location: Feather Rier
Today’s Miles: 28.70
Trip Miles: 1281.30
Feather River (1251.5,3180) to Clear Creek (1280.2,6190) ascent (6102) descent (3028)

As I walked alone after lunch I heard a twig snap. I stopped, looked around but nothing. Again, another snap and another look. The third time I knew I was not crazy and then I saw her. A beautiful Doe deer tracking my progress on the slope above. It was obvious she wanted to e on the trail so I stopped and sure enough she came down right in front of me. She stayed about 30’ in front of me and we walked along together for a quarter mile or so. She stopped, looked at me, flapped her ears, and stepped off the trail as I passed.
6000’ of vertical climbing is a great calf workout and mine are certainly feeling it. In front I am feeling it all over. Vitamin I may be in order in the morning depending on my recovery rate. The human body’s ability to self repair is an amazing thing and to do it while we are still inflicting more damage is even more incredible.
I have been avoiding this subject for a while now and during a long hot climb this afternoon I decided it is something I need to speak to. I want to talk about the thieves we have on the trail this year. Let me be perfectly clear, some hikers have stolen from hiker friendly establishments. And while I have heard from others that it is not a big deal I see it very differently. In fact, if they were minorities and committed such a crime in a metropolitan area they would be arrested, tried, and convicted. But instead they are mostly white, mostly college educated, and mostly middle class. They will likely go on to run companies like Enron. Now I know something about stealing as I cheated an employer by false inflating hours on my time sheet. At the time I also said no big deal but I have come to understand very differently. Fortunately, like so many things in my life, I was able to rectify this mistake and my employer, unbelievably forgave me. That experience, while humiliating and humbling taught me that stealing and in particularly stealing from someone who trust you is a very serious matter and I will speak out against it. With regard to our 2006 thieves their actions were particularly disturbing as they represent past and more importantly future hikers. In the first known example, a stiffed Warner Springs resort by skipping out on his ill. Now Warner Springs is on a private resort and the members have voted to allow hikers to stay there and at an incredible discount. I wonder if they will be so generous next time. The second example involves VVR. Now VVR, as a courtesy, lets hikers run a tab. If you get a meal they give you a ticket and you are supposed to give it to the cashier when you leave. At the end of your stay they add up you tickets and you pay your balance. Well, some hikers decided not to turn in their tickets but rather tore them up. In both of these examples these hikers stole from people who were offering them a service and trusted them in the process. And to add insult, hikers receive a lot of free food and lodging from many generous sources and yet it is apparently not enough as they steal from others. I also find it disturbing how as a community we can all align and confront a mountain biker for inappropriately using the trail, but we sit by as our peers are stealing and in the process tarnishing the reputation of all other hikers. I have never seen or heard this topic ever mentioned in any of the long distance hiking forums. Are we afraid the enemy within? We had better get over it.
Camped with Two Shoes this evening. This guy has been lost so many times this summer it is hard to imagine he is still on the trail. He was relating a story about how he nearly ended up in Victorville after heading down Hwy 18. His comment was: “see all the fun you guys are missing by carrying maps and guide books”. It is rue, he is doing the trail, well some of it, without navigation resources. He said he was at least smart enough not to try the Sierras with such a strategy and so he hitch hiked around. Another great example of HYOH (hike your own hike).
Huge kudos to the fire fighters who worked on the Plumas National Forest fire near the Feather River. It was particularly obvious that this team of likely men and women fought a tough blaze on a very steep slope. And yet, they preserved the trail integrity and did a great job removing obstructions. Also on the Plumas National Forest, we have seen the most consistent use of PCT blazes on trees. These emblems are very helpful to navigation particularly when crossing roads or in burned areas where the trail may be lost. I am not a big fan of having the PCT blazed similarly to the Appalachian Trail, but some reasonable level of marking is an enhancement. And there is plenty of real estate for off trail travel if you are inclined.
Hot days and big mileage is taking some toll. I have a good case of diaper rash and Sugar Daddy and Swiss Miss are revisiting the fun of blisters. Pang is having some foot pain but the wasp that got him this afternoon hurt a lot worse.
This section of the trail is nice but the views are of similar with acres of forest. The surprising thing is the amount of climbing and descending we are doing.
My aqua mira bottle (water treatment chemicals) cracked and I lost most of the juice, so I have been using it sparingly while filling up at safe looking sources. At a spring today I held my bottle under a mosaic of ferns and thanked them for doing the filtering or me.

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