Archive for September 25th, 2006

The Last supper

Destination: Below Woody Pass
Starting Location: Below Alpine Garden Pass
Today’s Miles: 24.40
Trip Miles: 2580.30
Alpine Garden (2618.6, 6600) to Below Woody Pass (2643.0, 6135) ascent (4080) descent (4475)

I am struggling to capture the thoughts of the last night on the trail. I have been focused on this goal for so long that to realize tomorrow is the end point is, well, unbelievable. And the goal has been rapidly fading in importance over these last days & nights. “Making it” does not seem particularly important now. Sure I am excited but it truly was about the journey. And while I am goal driven and pleased with my achievement the achievement is simply a culmination of 5 months (today) of hiking north.
At the register at Harts Pass I wrote: “Hubris is dangerous, you are not there yet”, as a reminder and to avoid ticking off the hiking gods again. But not apparently good enough as another friendly wasp stung me on my achilles tendon. I used every word of profanity I could think of and then I made a few more up. Why the hell does the guy who is allergic keep getting stung? Dr Jones 0 times, Andy 1 time, Rolling Thunder 3 times and yours truly 11 times – damn it.
One of the most scenic days of the entire trip. The miles melted away behind panoramic views as we stayed high on the crest. The colors are changing quickly now and the reds & golds lit up the landscape far into the distance.
Some best of the trails – best buffet: Timberline Lodge. I limped in and my leg began to improve after their buffet. Related? Who knows but the food was great and my hike turned back towards the positive. Best & only (but it wouldn’t matter anyway) hitch hike: Dick shit into Etna, California. It was a first for both of us & it was a great ride. Best cookies: Ryan’s (my nephew) chocolate chip with walnuts that were sent to Stehikin. Best wildlife sighting: elk in the wild during the early days of the rut. Weary animals & totally awesome in the wild. Best trail magic: Gottago & Ray who saved us from the desert heat and provided outstanding hospitality, Steve & Peggy who opened their home to me & 10 of my hiker friends, Barney & Sandy who exhibited amazing generosity & provided much needed moral support when I was injured. Best day on the trail: the traverse across the top of the world before Sonora Pass. 12 fellow hikers, views to live for, perfect weather & a sense of great achievement after the Sierra crossing.
Best restaurant: Jen’s Garden in Sisters, Oregon. 5 course meal of incredible quality. Also most expensive. Best town: Etna, California. Wonderful friendly people, more trucks than cars, and great milk shakes at the drug store. Best BBQ: Sierra City with Chris (my nephew) doing the grilling along with my whole family in attendance. Best support: my dad who drove all over 3 states to lend support to me and any other hiker in need. Best private nurses: Sheri & Cathy who cared for me in Old Station as I threw up outside their motor home, and then followed us for 5 days with food, drink, & good humor. Best inspiration: my mom who was diagnosed with breast cancer & yet still visited frequently & told me I could not quit regardless of her well being. Best wife: Lucky Liz – I am truly blessed & I know that more now than at any other point in our relationship. Best poet: the Old Goat who sent numerous pieces of supportive poetry as well as teaching me about expectation management. Best sport: Sugar Daddy who suffered through my barrage of criticism regarding the hypocrisies of Christianity or more specifically the churches & its members.
Best hiking pals: Pang, Swiss Miss, Sugar Daddy, Sunny the Puppy Grabber, Tadpole the Hippo, Rolling Thunder, 3 Gallon, Mike Unger, Andy, Dr Jones, Cadence, Weed, & Lucky Liz. Best stop: The Ranch at Stehikin. Perfect place to reflect & regroup after the snow. Best Bakery in the world: Stehikin Bakery. Best in the world describes it well enough. Best section of the trail: the Sierra Nevada & all those snow covered miles,followed by the North Cascades and the feel of true Wilderness. Best home cooked meal: Jim & Jackie Manning from Running Springs. Great vegetable soup. Best doctors: Keri & Delphine – can’t say more but their help was paramount to success. Best medicine: benadryl for obvious by now reasons. Best lake: Crater Lake, Oregon – just mind blowing beautiful. Best pizza: Happy Camp & Home of Big Foot. Best trail drama: Rolling Thunder’s personal life. Best guy on the trail: tie between Sunny & Mike Unger. Truly the nicest guys I am privileged to know.
Best attitude: Swiss Miss with a constant smile and a glass always completely full. Best vocabulary: tie between Rolling Thunder & Andy – words I truly have never heard in my life let alone know their meanings. Best fruit: trail huckleberries wet with morning dew. Best guidebook: there isn’t one. Best information regarding fires: the Klamath National Forest rocks & the Okanogan is a very close second. The Deschutes still sucks. Best motel: Sisters Motor Lodge in Sisters, Oregon. Small, clean, & hiker friendly.


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