Saturday, May 12, 2012

May 11th Mile 294

Sitting on a gray boulder, listening to Holcomb Creek rolling over the rocks and happy to be doing what I'm doing. I finished hiking for the day at 3:15, my kind of mileage at 14 miles. Again, this area is relatively easy hiking so it isn't hard to do the miles, even when it is hot outside. The only downside (isn't there always a downside?) of stopping here is that I get to commune with all the creek side insects. The biting kind. I will be brave.

I'd say 10 of the 14 miles I walked today were in burned over forest. Some within the past couple of years, one spot was so new I could still smell the burn. Sad to see so many trees burned up, even though I know how important it is for forest ecology to have these burns. Still it is hard to see. But, looking closely it is possible to see new life and that helps with the feeling of desolation.

I do love being alone. Even though I really enjoyed the company of my trail friends, sometimes it's just too much and I just have to get off by myself. For one thing I do my best idea hatching when I am alone and WALKING. Not just alone but walking alone does something to my brain and it seems to loosen up my thinking and new ideas get to coming along. I don't know what it is but I like it. I can't guarantee the ideas will amount to much but I'm just happy to be in the flow.

I took a picture of my dinner tonight-Alice Lake Gnocchi. Little potato dumplings with a yummy cheese sauce. Try as I might the image of dinner keeps popping up between the burn images. You-all are just going to figure out which is which. I have faith in your ability to succeed.

Moral Delima #1
To take the Deep Creek PCT route or to take the road walk detour? All (unofficial) reports of the damage to the trail and bridge say it isn't dangerous and can be safely traveled. The Official report says the areas are dangerous and are not to be traveled until repairs are done. Clearly someone has it wrong, or maybe it is an issue of liability. Either way I have to decide whether or not to violate the detour and hike in a beautiful canyon or follow the rules and do a road walk. Another way to ask the question is "Do
the rules apply to me only when I agree with the rule? Who knew hiking the PCT could put one into such a quandary?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

May 10th Mile 280

Today was a cheerful day on the trail. A bunch of us got dropped off at the trailhead by a woman named Sherl who just heard about this whole thru hiking thing three days ago. To say she is enthusiastic would be quite an understatement. So, hiking by 10am and the weather was great. Warm but not too hot. The hill climbing wasn't too bad and the bulk of the hike was easy walking, especially in comparison to the last few weeks. Very nice.

All went well and about nine miles in we all ended up at the same watering hole and took a nice long break. My goal for the day was to hike fourteen miles so I only had five more to do. The group was planning to go a bit farther. About three miles later I came to a junction with another trail called the Cougar Trail. The junction wasn't well marked so I took the trail that looked most used. It seemed right for a bit till it swung around back the way I had just come, as well as downhill. Clearly this wasn't right so I turned around and double timed it back to the junction. Low and behold, coming back I saw high up in a tree the PCT junction marker. I had zigged when I should have zagged. This little adventure added another mile to my total so that makes 15 for today.

The plan for this section is to hike 14 miles each day for 7 days which will bring me to Wrightwood for an overnighter, or possibly two nights. It depends on how tired I am when I get there. Though if today was any indication, I seem to be handling the miles pretty well. Time will tell.

The images are of Sherl and Mr Soup and of a tree bridge.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

5/9 Town Day

I guess it's like Mother Goose says, a day off in town doesn't mean a rest day. Laundry, grocery shopping, schlepping about town on the bus. You get the idea. However it is now 6pm and everything is done that can be done the rest will take care of itself.

Leaving town tomorrow my pack will be heavy with 7 days of food. Water will be an issue so add a few more pounds for water and I think you can imagine my pack will be a tad on the heavy side. Mother Goose and Alphabet Soup will be upping their mileage so our paths may diverge for a bit but I am sure we will still see each other out there. This is good for me as I was feeling a bit needy for some alone space. I am a good group member but my goal was to do a solo trip, not join a group for the whole trail.

Here are photos of my trail friends, Mother Goose and Alphabet Soup m

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

5/8 Big Bear Bound

I am sitting on a couch, yes a couch, somewhere near Onyx Summit with Happy Feet eating cookies and trying to stay out of the wind. Big Bear Hostel has put out this trail magic in the form of three ice chests full of soda's, food and water. Not to mention a couch, (did I mention a couch?) which I must say is very comfortable.

I reckon my 30 degree sleeping bag isn't quite warm enough. I was ok till about 2am but after that, burrrrr.

Big Bear Lake Mile 266

I am ensconced in a tiny room at the Big Bear Hostel with Mother Goose, our stinky packs and clothes. Tomorrow is wash and logistics day with a move to Motel 6 In the future. More room to spread out and plan for the next section. More later.

May 7th Back in the pine trees!

When I woke up this morning I was seriously doubting my plan to hike so many miles each day. All I wanted to do was roll over, snooze a bit more then get up and have a leisurely breakfast and cup of joe. What I did was get up, pack up, have some coffee and get to walking by 6:45.

After 2,000 foot climb in 4.5 miles I got to Mission Springs Trail Camp at 9:20 and had the enjoyment of breakfasting at a picinic table. How nice! The jury is out on the length of today's hike but it could be a 15 mile day or a 20 mile day, it all just depends on how the day goes.

Mile 249 Near Hwy 38 6:58pm

Today turned into a 14 mile day. At altitude it wasn't so hot so the miles were easier to manage and there was even time for a couple of leisurely breaks. I like the break part because it gives me time to take off my shoes and rest my feet. When I can do this I feel much better all around. It might be the arnica I am using twice a day that is helping as well as stretching my calves. So much to do in a day, heh, heh, heh.

I had the best dinner yet on this trip. Gnocchi with cheese, bacon, blue cheese dressing and olive oil. With an appetizer of miso soup and seaweed. Yum. It looks to be cold tonight so I have a candy bar next to my bag that I will eat later on if need be.

Monday, May 7, 2012

May 6th Mile 235.5

What a long day today was. We started walking this morning at 6 am and we staggered in here at 5ish this evening. Seventeen miles and 4,000 feet of elevation gain. The temps got up 90 degrees and we walked through it all, which is probably why it took us so long to get to this camping spot. I say us meaning Mother Goose and myself. Alphabet Soup got here at 3 but he is 37, that must have something to do with it. I hope. But really, what else do I have to do with my time? Might as well be walking.

There is a lot I could say here about the walk today but I'm too beat to search for the words.

The image is of a baby bunny I saw on the trail just a bit before getting to camp. Sorry 'bout the back shot, the rabbit wouldn't cooperate.

May 5th Whitewater Preserve

Well, there's been some skipping of trail around here and by the magic of auto travel I am now sitting at a table under some cottonwood trees at an oasis in the middle of a blasted hot desert. Apparently there are some folks named Warner Springs Monty and Lake to Lake who are bringing some trail magic (in the form of food) here for the next couple of days and this has been bringing lots of hikers to this place. The plan is to hang out here tonight and hit the trail at first light tomorrow morning. Hopefully to get some miles in before the heat gets too intense and we have to find some shade to hunker down into. I'm ready to get back on the trail.

There have been reports of a plant on the trail called Poodle Dog Bush that has similar effects on people as Poison Oak. I don't like PO and react badly to it so I decided to go into Cabazon and pickup some long pants to wear to protect myself from the plant. I hate wearing long pants when it is hot but apparently this bush is worse than PO and last year put some people into medical care. This year the plants are even taller. Yikes! I got a pair of Columbia zip off pants for 21 bucks. A good deal.

It is hard to imagine but, despite searching Stacey's house high and low, I still managed to leave something behind, I think in her car, (or maybe behind the TV stand in the bedroom???) a super thin, 2oz pad that goes under my NeoAir sleeping pad. I just can't understand why I don't seem able to keep track of my stuff. Geeze.

The images below are of the food, and bringers of the food, and of the fish in the ponds in this beautiful place.