Archive for August 2nd, 2006

Destination: Just past Bingham Lake outlet
Starting Location: Saddle after peak
Today’s Miles: 35.50
Trip Miles: 1594.30
Saddle (1557.7, 6160) to Just past Bingham Lake outlet (1593.2, 6867) ascent (5650) descent (4948) 35.5 miles

The perfect end to a perfect day. Just as I was about to resign myself to sleeping on the trail I spotted a perfect cowboy camp bench behind a huge tree on a slope that must be 35%. The moon is barely visible through the tree canopy, the air is perfectly still, and with the thick smoke it feels like a blanket is over the forest.
Met some very nice trail rides at highway 3 who were just heading out. I think his name was Ed, I did not get hers, but the dog’s name was definitely Zeke. Also chatted briefly with a south bounder who introduced himself as a thru-hiker from ’05. But he was section hiking about 500 miles that he did not do last year because he flipped to Canada & did not come back or something like that. The story was getting pretty complicated so I asked for a fire report & moved on. And then no one for the rest of the morning and throughout the day. I loved it.
Decided to try & live up to my trail names even while it is a parody. So I put my 37” inseam to hiking & go-BIG pulled off 35+ miles with + 10k vertical change. It took 14 hours to the minute for a pace a split hair over 2.5 mph. When I finally pulled the clutch in at 8:30 sharp, it felt as though I likely had at least another 5 miles in me. That felt awesome. It took the go mobile 200 mg of vitamin I every 3 hours for the first 9 hours, then it took two doses of 400 mg to bring it home. It was fun to test myself & hey now I get to Etna on Thursday. I hope with all the fire activity I can secure lodging. I also wanted to experiment a bit with bigger miles in case I need to do some later. It is always good to explore what something feels like so if you need to go there you can. I am thinking I may need this tool later on. I may have to do some timing adjustments to my schedule as I get close to finishing. Only way to adjust the schedule is speed up or slow down and either may be an option. I know Liz has some schedule constraints before September 15 but I won’t beat that so no problem. However, Mom is committed to coming to Manning Park also if I make it & her chemo schedule might prove challenging. She is on a 3 week cycle. From what I understand week one is hell & travel is out of the question. Week two is better, & week three is pretty good – then do it again.
So I may need to adjust my finish date to correspond with week 2-3. Knowing go-BIG can go-BIG could help if things get tight. Now if you are wondering if this is consistent with HYOY (Hike your own hike) let me assure you it is. Having my wife & family, especially my mom, in Manning Park is my hike.
Bambi & in this case babies are really cute regardless of your age. Standing at full attention & gull of spots they watched me as I watched them. Then as if on 4 pogo sticks they bounded off after mom.
Lying to one’s self is a subtle thing. Looking back to when I was sick in old station I realized I had begun to write a lie in my head that went something like “yea, I was forced off the trail with a nasty staph infection . . . tough break”. Had I gotten off it would have been because I quit. But quitting does not play as well & so we, or at least me, write stories to make us look good & be right. Too bad we are lying to ourselves as well.
Castle Crags, the Trinity Alps & now the Russian Wilderness have all been great surprises. We are back in real mountains with rugged character again. As I kept seeing Mt Shasta over my left shoulder I knew my latitudinal progress had come to a screeching halt as the trail heads a whole lot south & a whole lot west. If I extrapolated my azimuth I would have ended up in San Francisco Bay & that is not the direction to Canada. Heading the wrong direction is a bit tough mentally even though you know the mileage is the mileage. I just kept saying to myself “they are great mountains even if they are the wrong direction”.


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