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Archive for July 21st, 2006

Destination: North Fork Feather River
Starting Location: Carter Meadow Trail Junction
Today’s Miles: 23.20
Trip Miles: 1345.90

Carter Meadow Trail (1321.6, 6600) to North Fork Feather River (1344.8, 5020) ascent (2976) descent (4511)

It took nearly 3 months but today I crossed the half-way point on my journey between Mexico and Canada. This is a milestone for me and provided a big mental boost. I asked myself today if I could do it again and while I qualified my answer by saying “yes, but it would be really hard” I felt confident that indeed I could keep going. A short day also helped today and Elevator joined us and added fresh ideas and perspectives to our conversations.
We have been seeing Mt. Lassen for about 5 days now and it really came into view today. We will reach this first volcano and start of the Cascade Range tomorrow. I am excited to be in a new mountain range. Think about it – we walked the length of the Sierra Nevada and now we begin our trek up the spine of the Cascades.
Camped high in the water shed of the Feather River and this river is tiny in comparison to the “creeks” we crossed in the Sierra. The water turned my ankles blue as I stooped knee deep while cleaning up. When I did the full submersion I thought my heart was going to stop. But it had to happen. This morning it rained just enough to get our skin moist and as we walked through the red dust of the Northern California forest our skin grew darker and darker. I actually started finger painting on my thigh during a not particularly scenic section. My art work was largely abstract or maybe aboriginal.
Walked through Collins Pine Timber Harvest today. What a contrast to the poor stewardship we saw near Jackson Meadow. Well constructed road designed to minimize erosion, selective cutting designed to promote sustainable forest, chipping operation cleaning up the marketable byproduct while reducing fuel load. First class operation.
I developed an odd series of micro blisters on my left forearm that covered an area the size of a 50 cent piece. When I touched the blisters the skin just whipped away leaving a very sore exposed flesh area. It is not poison oak and is a mystery. Between us we had some pretty serious medicines and over the last 24 hours we have treated it with all kinds of stuff. It looks stable at the moment and does not seem to be spreading. It looks like a severe reaction to something while having the characteristics of a very bad burn. Problem stabilized – we hope.
Saw some beautiful mixed forest today. Often in timber land the forest are a monoculture of rapidly growing (Douglas Fir) species. Today was different with multiple shades of green produced by fir, cedar, and pines. Beautiful.
Swiss Miss and I discussed choosing to be happy today. Now Swiss Miss is one of the most up beat persons I have ever had the good fortune to be around. It is contagious. She believes it is 100% a choice. She shared some history about a difficult home situation when she was young but she chooses to be positive and enjoy her life. At 33 she has traveled extensively and has wonderful stories about her adventures and misadventures. I like Swiss Miss a good deal. She is one of the truly great people I have ever met.

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