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Archive for August 5th, 2006

Dick Shit

Destination: Paradise Lake
Starting Location: Etna Summit
Today’s Miles: 29.40
Trip Miles: 1636.80
Etna Summit (1606.3, 5960) to Paradise Lake (1635.7, 6130) ascent (4951) descent (4750)

We got out of Etna a bit late as we had the unfortunate luck of sharing a ride with the most self focused hiker I have ever met. He was late again. I have to admit that this guy got under my skin. Rolling Thunder and I discussed it and he observed that I was bugged because I had an unrealistic expectation that this hiker would respond to the significant & continual feedback regarding his behavior. He on the other hand resigned himself to the certain fact that this person is a certifiable narcissist beyond any hope. At first I thought he was off on his assessment of why I was bugged but upon 10 miles of reflection I know his is right. Expectations lead to disappointments!
I forgot to mention my hitchhike into Etna. Now I have never actually hitchhiked. My folks forbid it absolutely (to do it or to pick someone up) as it was dangerous and surprisingly this 43 year old guy still has that in his head. So I am at Etna Summit getting the fire scoop from a USFS representative, who was waiting for the helicopter to come in & be resupplied when I asked if any cars ever came down the road. She said about every 30 minutes or so and here comes one now. So without doing any of the recommended techniques (take hat off, take sun glasses off, smile, clean up. . .) I jumped to the road shoulder and boldly threw out my thumb as a Dodge Turbo Diesel hauling a trailer topped the summit. He pulled over & as I proceeded to hop in the bed he yelled to get up front. I complied and was met by Sidney the mean looking but loveable boxer who immediately jumped inty my lap.
The driver then asked if those X@#%& feds were kicking me out of the forest. Now the Marines taught me to curse like a sailor & I learned how to talk good old boy by hanging out with contractors on restoration projects, so I responded with a simple yep and then asked what ya hauling? Shit he replied. Pick it up twice a day from the fire line shit house. No shit I said. No shit he replied. Well at least it gets you & Sidney out of the house. Damn straight young fella, my name is Dick. Dick hauling shit. We were instant friends and Dick from Fort Jones explained how he had never picked up a hiker before but now that he met me he would start. He dropped me in town and stuck out a very dirty hand, but what was I to do but reciprocate with my dirty hand. Good to meet you Dick.
That evening Thunder, Tadpole the hippo, & Sunny got in around 9 pm. They were all smiles. They were certain they would not get a ride that late until a truck pulled over, introduced himself as Dick Shit, said he was a friend of go-BIG and told them to hop in. Thank you Dick and as we discusse4d, don’t worry about hikers they don’t want to steal your shit hauler.
Saw the uncles fire as we walked the ridge. No danger with several ridges separating us from a mostly smoldering fire. The next fire was also a non-issue but having a helicopter fly overhead with a very big bag of water was a bit exciting. Had a few lightning strikes but I think overall the situation improved as some rain fell, the wind stayed down, & the humidity shot way up. Passing through is perfectly safe but I understand the closure for those wanting to access other parts of the Wilderness. I want to commend the USFS and the California Department of Forestry for doing an excellent job communicating to PCT hikers. In front of the Etna grocery store was a huge sandwich board with maps, fire status information, & alternatives to skip the section by taking a bus. The information was updated frequently & twice I was stopped on the street and asked if I needed any additional information regarding the fires. I have been critical of some of your land use policies but the information officer on the Klamath NF has their act together. Good work & thank you.
The Marble Mountains are beautiful and their namesake is so appropriate given the rock formations that look like marble. This wilderness also holds a lot of deer & we saw them all evening.
Squatch, a talented independent documentary film maker, asked me to be on the look out for evidence of Big Foot. Seriously. So far nothing but I do have a scat headscratcher. Looks canine or potentially feline in nature and contains fur. Easy, right? It’s a coyote. Not. Here is the problem, it also contains what looks like berries and it would take a 400 lb coyote to produce a pile that big. I don’t know what it is. Saw about 6 piles over a 15 mile area. Mutant ninja Coyote or perhaps a wold was moved to California to explore a vegetarian lifestyle?
I should have taken notes but didn’t so I apologize for not remembering the names of those who posed questions on my guest book. Regardless, from memory there was an inquiry about Pang & Swiss Miss having a journal? Yes they do. Unfortunately it is written in Swiss. If you still want the URL let me know & I will get it for you. There was also an inquiry about me potentially talking to a local Boy Scout troop in Southern California. I was a boy scout and while I disagree with what I believe is unnecessary fear based discrimination at the national level, I think scouting is a great program and I would be honored to talk to your troop. And of course I would keep the focus to hiking the PCT. Let me know if you want to try & work something out. I also do some advocacy work in Washington DC on behalf of the trail that may be of some civic interest to the group.
Now Judith, I am not going to hold you to the offer of 10 lunches because I could not get a single date with you when we worked together. But a lunch date will be in order when I get home.
Our two day strategy into Seiad Valley is going to work well & I am really excited to see my mom.
The small ponds in this area are filled with newts. They are black on top with bright orange under bellies. They are really neat and look like some goofy combination of a lizard, snake & fish. When I was a boy, and fished with crude measures we used to use waterdogs as bait. They look somewhat like a newt. I guess a mudler minnow fly looks a bit like one as well. Bass like any of them.

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