Saturday, April 21, 2012

My home is a boulder field

Mile 56 and still having fun. I have had a very solitary day today, walking alone and only meeting one solo guy and a group of three young hikers who are doing mega daily miles. For myself I hiked ten miles before 1:30, took a long break and finished my day with another three miles. My legs and feet feel tired, but not in a bad way. It's 6:30, I've eaten, sent my spot message and I'm ready to hunker down for a restful night of limitless stars. Tonight will be my first night camping alone. How nice is that?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hiker hunger

It's supposed to take longer than this (only five days) but I seem to be very hungry already. I probably didn't pack enough lunch snacks and my breakfasts have only been good for less than two hours. Got to add in more food from the store here for the next section. Who knew?

Later in the day...

I am done with my chores and have added in lots more food in the form of protein, mostly cheese. Unfortunately I am now getting antsy to get back out there, but having paid for the room for two nights I reckon I'll stay.

Looking at my maps for the next section it is clear I won't be able to use my hammock so I've sent it home. Probably to redeploy it once I've hit the Sierras. You know, trees and all.
That drops the weight in my pack by nearly one pound which will be good for my feet.

I'm starting to get a hint of comfort with what I'm doing out here. Hovering just in the background I can sense that, in time, the anxiety associated with hiking off the beaten path, alone, will be replaced with a calm confidence. I'm not there yet but I can feel it hiding around a bend in the trail. Of course confidence, being a feeling state, is fluid and won't stay put all the time. Well, I guess this is good, otherwise I'd be insufferable, eh?

I'll add some random images here for your viewing pleasure.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fred's Canyon

I don't know who Fred was but they sure named a sweet creek and campsite after him. Today's hiking was a very hot traverse of a bunch of mountains with full sun exposure.
Youza. Twelve miles of hiking to get to this oasis in the middle of scrub brush, sage and a few left over wild flowers. I got here around fivish after many hours and lots of breaks in whatever patch of shade I could find.

I am traveling with a loose group of folks. A guy named Hono (Japanese for fire boy) from Ohio, Shannon from Canada, BC, a couple on their very first backpacking trip... (their packs must weigh a million pounds) and just before dark Neil and Tanya from Yorkshire England staggered in, after a 16 mile day.

Speaking of packs, I don't think my latest pack is going to go the distance. I think it is much more suited to weights that don't include four to six liters of water. I'm doing ok with it but I think I'll be buying a pack at the kick off. I like to think of Thomas Edison who said, for every success I've had a thousand failures. At this rate I may never get the pack right!

Tonight I get to sleep in my hammock for the very first time on this trip. Yes! It will be interesting to see how it goes. More will be revealed...

Day four.
Cold, cold, cold was my night last night. The thing about pretty canyons is that cold air settles in them at night. A good thing on a hot summer day, not so much in early spring. Looks like I'm going to have to tweak my sleeping system as well.

I'm in Mt Laguna tonight, in a motel room, with a shower and heater. Wow! The simple things. My dogs were barking a bit too much today so I decided to take a day off tomorrow to let my old body rest and recuperate. The old R&R as it were. It's a long way to Canada and it won't due to injure myself so soon. I am sad to know my hiking buddies will be going off without me but hopefully we will meet again this summer.

They had 16 inches of snow here last Friday. What you see is the leftovers.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Days one and two

Yesterday was a study in contrasts. At the border at 7:15, saying hello and goodbye to my dear friends who drove hours to see me off, goodbye to everyone I had met only the day before and headed off north. All I could think of was "it doesn't get better than this" I was off.

This pretty much was my mantra for much of the day. It was beautiful, not too hot and there was water everywhere. Somewhere near mile eight I started looking for suitable trees from which to hang my hammock. Not so many trees about, at least ones for hanging. I took a side trail down to where I say some oaks and found the perfect spot. One tree strap on the first one, second strap on number two and by the time I got back to the first one, it was swarming with ants. And I mean swarming. Wriggling with ants, all looking for something, or maybe angry at me for intruding. At any rate I grabbed my stuff and beat it out of there pronto.

Back to the trail, trying out numerous other possible spaces until it was clear I would have to find a spot on the ground. This wasn't a problem for me, sleeping on the ground, but finding a spot somewhere safe turned out to be one. So, the very first day I broke my ten mile a day rule with a 16 miler. Geeze! Remember the part about a study in contrasts? Well by 6:30 I hobbled into the campground at Hauser Creek, cussing the last, long downhill and hoping my IT bands wouldn't snap. It would be bad to injure myself on day one.

But as usual when I woke up I was stiff of course but ready to go. After all I only had four miles to go today to stay on my schedule so it's all good. I rolled into Lake Morena at ten and I've been lazing about all day. By now there are six tents here at the hiker site with more to be coming in as the day advances. I think by tomorrow morning I'll be ready for day three.

PS I just spoke with Angela and she said my spot messages haven't been coming through. Electronics. Not to worry, I'll try to figure out what is up and fix it.