Hitting the Dirt with Silly Chili

That’s pretty neat.
~Silly Chili

Lots of shenanigans filled our Continental Divide Trail trek last summer.

Many of you may recall that I was hiking with my son, Silly Chili, Love Note, Burly, Wired, Drop n’ Roll, Ninja, and Sweetfish.

While we were hiking Silly Chili lugged an iPad and books for 2 online classes he was taking for the nursing program he entered last August. Last week he graduated with his second bachelor degree, Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Concordia University. He now is known as bachelor, bachelor, bachelor Grant. I am so very excited and proud of him. Congratulations buddy!

Silly Chili Graduates

Silly Chili Graduates

So I’ll bet you all can just guess how we are celebrating. Yep…hoisting backpacks and heading into the mountains.

We are on our way for a 2 day jaunt. We both agreed our trip needed trail and cross-country, lots of miles, maybe a peak to climb, remote, and of course in the high country.

Just for fun, below is a Google Earth view of our loop trip without the waypoints.

Anyone know where we are heading?
Hint: in the Sierras of course.

Have a great weekend everyone!Thanks for following us along.

Guess where we’re going?

July 29 – oh Cascade Locks!

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.
~Winnie the Pooh

Above Lost Lake to Cascade Locks
25.5 miles

As I was getting in my tent last night, Sadie, a Southbound hiker came up the trail and asked to pitch in the campsite. Of course I said, “Yes!” It was fun talking with another hiker, hearing about her trek through Washington and trading food and gear favorites. She is a pretty amazing lady and I am hoping she contacts me for assistance when she is passing through Tehachapi. It has been fun offering my info to south-bounders as I have been hiking north.

For my last day on trail, I planned an early start to catch the sunrise and have the time to enjoy the Eagle Creek PCT alternate that goes through the famous Tunnel Falls. It couldn’t have worked out more perfectly.

The last 25 miles of Oregon was mostly downhill in deep, green woods along Eagle Creek. Because this is a popular area outside of Portland, there were many day hikers. On top of that, the temps were in the 90’s, so it was the perfect day for the gorge. Watching all the hikers kept me very entertained all day.

At Tunnel Falls the trail is cut directly behind the falls. It is dramatic and not for those that are uncomfortable with heights.

The last few days have been hot and humid, so today I took the time to take a couple dips in the pools of the river. Cool and refreshing….

The Pacific Crest Trail crosses the Columbia River into Washington on the Bridge of the Gods at Cascade Locks, Oregon. I have looked forward to the walk for a few years.

As I reached the bridge, wind picked up. As I crossed, the bridge swayed and cars whizzed by. It was more than I had expected. So guess what? I of course had to cross it again.

Tonight I am at Drop n’ Roll’s in Portland preparing for my Amtrak ride home. She has been the perfect trail angel and friend. Thank you Drop n’ Roll!

Readers, I want to thank you for your words and thoughts of support, positive vibes and encouragement along this summer’s journeys. I can’t express the amount of appreciation and gratitude I have for your comments and well wishes.

I am done with this particular leg of the PCT, but be sure I had lots of alone time hiking the last couple weeks to come up with a very long list of upcoming hikes.

Cheers to all of you and your summer.

One step at a time.

And all is good.

Last Oregon sunrise - I will miss this...

Last Oregon sunrise – I will miss this…

Morning light on Mount Hood

Morning light on Mount Hood

Morning forest

Morning forest

Morning light

Morning light

Mount Rainier and Mount Adams

Mount Rainier and Mount Adams

Lush, green, hot, and humid

Lush, green, hot, and humid

Rain Forest

Rain Forest

Eagle Creek Trail

Eagle Creek Trail

Tunnel Falls

Tunnel Falls

Cable system

Cable system

Cool, fun, and beautiful

Cool, fun, and beautiful

Rockin' walking under the falls

Rockin’ walking under the falls

Under bridge at Cascade Locks

Under bridge at Cascade Locks

Bridge of the Gods toll entrance

Bridge of the Gods toll entrance

Windy, swaying, narrow, and loud bridge over the Columbia River

Windy, swaying, narrow, and loud bridge over the Columbia River

Columbia River

Columbia River

Oregon/Washington Border

Oregon/Washington Border

July 28 – Rain Forest, Rivers and Waterfalls

A long walk is nothing more than a series of short walks. 
~(Ibid)
compliments of Hamburger Helper

Timberline Lodge to ridge above Lost Lake – Mount Hood Wilderness
24.7 miles

Biting flies, log crossings, and hot humid heat was the theme of the day.

After getting a late start from Timberline Lodge this morning, I really needed to make some miles in order to get to Cascade Locks tomorrow. The big, black flies made that easy. If I stopped they came in for the kill. I even tried DEET. Didn’t work.

Today was how I imagine the Appalachian Trail would be.

I took the Ramona Falls alternate and I am glad I did. It was cool and beautiful.

Tonight is my best camp of the trip…high, light breeze, no bugs, and dry.

So excited for tomorrow. I will have hiked all of California and Oregon. It is a big deal for me.

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July 27 – Timberline Lodge

When you find people
who not only tolerate
your quirks but celebrate
them with glad cries of
“Me, too!” be sure to
cherish them. Because 
those weirdos are your
tribe. 
~Sweatpants & Coffee

3 miles above Little Crater Lake to Timberline Lodge – Mount Hood Wilderness
14 miles

Tonight I am writing from a soft bed and pillow at the historical Timberline Lodge.

I was lucky to get a room for a good price that included a shower, laundry, hair dryer, and jacuzzi. Score.

Before leaving Drop n’ Roll this morning, we made plans for her to pick me up at Cascade Locks at the Oregon/Washington border. Family and work calls and that is a great thing. :)

I am looking forward to the next little section. When I show photos of the PCT to my students they always love the northern part of Oregon…now I get to experience it first hand.

Being sufficiently clean and well fed, I am ready to hit the dirt again.

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July 26 – Drop n’ Roll…a good hiker and friend

My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it’s on your plate. 
~Thornton Wilder

View Lake to Ollalie Lake
Timothy Lake to 3 miles above Little Crater Lake
16.2 miles

Such a positive and relaxing day.

I woke up at 4:00 AM concerned about the next reroute. The few miles I did walk on road yesterday killed my feet and I think aggravated my plantar fasciitis. I looked at the maps and the whole reroute was on road. So change of plan. I was hoping to see Drop n’ Roll and get a ride from Ollalie Lake, the beginning of detour, to Timothy Lake, the end of the reroute.

Just as I was almost to Ollalie Lake, here comes Drop n’ Roll walking up the trail. It was so good to see her again.

Turns out she not only was ready to transport me, but also had a ton of great quality food ready in her car for any hikers we might see. How fine is that?

Coincidently, at Timothy Lake there was a group of southbounders that needed a ride. Drop n’ Roll quickly pulled out her portable barbecue, cooked hamburgers with refreshments, chips and brownies.

Drop n’ Roll is nursing a stress fracture and is wearing a supportive boot. We decided to meet at Little Crater Lake and hike/camp together for a few miles. Even with that boot she walked quickly. She hauled beer, fresh sandwiches, and brownies for dinner and we enjoyed all of it around a campfire talking trail. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Tomorrow I will be traversing around Mount Hood with a resupply at famous Timberline Lodge. I have always wanted to stay at the lodge and hoping it works out.

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July 25 – Making New Tracks

“The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.”
-Laura Ingalls Wilder

Mile 4 Mount Jefferson Detour to View Lake – Mount Jefferson and Mount Hood Wildernesses
21.1 miles + 9.5 hitch hike

Welp today couldn’t have gone better.

Except… just as I finished the detour around the fire closure, I learned that they were opening up the PCT Mount Jefferson closure tomorrow. Although I am thankful for the scenery, food, and people I met today.

The Marion Lake trail on the detour to the highway was gorgeous with flowing streams, views, and lakes with no burn area. Early morning I watched a flock of geese in V formation gracefully swim across Lake Marion. Very peaceful.

At the end of the fire road, I ate a huge breakfast and pie without crust (gluten free version) at Marion Forks Restaurant. What a huge treat! I had decided to hitch a ride on the highway part of the detour. As fate would have it, a great family of men from Bend going backpacking went out of their way to give me a ride. It was fun talking with them. They were actually carrying a fully loaded ice chest up to Marion Lake. Crazy.

As I got back on the trail, I stopped to talk to a lovely group of men from the Pacific Crest Trail Association doing volunteer trail maintenance. I am so grateful for the improved condition of this little section of trail. Thank you to all the volunteers out their making this trail a pleasure to walk.

My route then lead through the very popular Jefferson Park that is nestled directly beneath Mount Jefferson. It is a wonderland.

The trail then lead up to a pass that is known for snow. As I climbed, a few backpackers were turned around because they could not find foot prints to follow on the north side and didn’t have a GPS.

Sure enough when I reached the top…pristine snow. I had fun boot skiing down and making new tracks.

Tomorrow I am hoping to see Drop n’ Roll. Many of you know her from her very entertaining and informative Continental Divide Trail blog last summer. Silly Chili and I hiked with her and friends for a month and a half last summer. She lives in Portland and said she would find me on the trail. She surely must have special powers.

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July 24 – Brand New Day

It’s a brand new day
The sun is shining
It’s a brand new day
For the first time in such
A long long time
I know I’ll be okay
– from “Brand New Day” by Joshua Radin

Big Lake Youth Camp to mile 4 of Mount Jefferson Fire Reroute
21.4 miles

After a very dry and warm night in the shelter provided by Big Lake Youth Camp, I leisurely ate breakfast at the camp and packed up. The weather had improved and I left about 11:00 warm, clean, and happy. Thank you Big Lake and your staff!

BIG surprise…an on trail introduction. Just as I reached Santaim Pass, I recognized the hiker ahead as Balls. I have had much correspondence online, but have never actually met him in person. Think Outside interviewed Sunshine, his daughter last year. Balls and Sunshine are father and daughter that have completed the Triple Crown hiking the PCT, CDT, and AT. I was thrilled to talk with him and catch up.

Most of you that are reading this are aware of the multiple fires in central Oregon and some of you have expressed concern along with well wishes. Thank you everyone.

Currently, north of where I am there are 2 detours or reroutes with additional miles, some trail and some road walk. Many hikers are skipping up to Timothy Lake to avoid the whole area. I decided this morning to go ahead and do the first detour and see how it goes. My main motivation is to see Jefferson Park and Ollalie Lake which is right after the Mount Jefferson reroute.

I am camped about 4 miles into the 23 mile Mount Jefferson reroute. The trail is through an old overgrown burn area. Luckily, the forest service recently cut many of the logs that had fallen over the trail.

It was tough finding anywhere to pitch my tent. I finally settled on a little clearing beside the trail that I think the forest service dug out. It is spooky camping in an old bun area. Weird noises in the trees. Gotta say…not my favorite.

The highlights of the day was entering Mount Jefferson Wilderness and traversing around Three Finger Jack. It is one beaut of a mountain.

Tomorrow should be very interesting.

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July 23 – The Reminder

To know the wilderness is to
know a profound humility,
to recognize one’s littleness,
to sense dependent and
interdependence, indebtedness,
and responsibility.
~Harold Zahniser

Sawyer Bar to Big Lake Youth Camp – Mount Washington Wilderness
20.6 miles

Man oh man I have much to be thankful for.

As the day progressed the weather deteriorated from a light rain to cold wind with driving rain. The terrain was primarily open and exposed through lava rock and open burned forest. It was brutal with the scenery of Mordor.

Because I was so cold and wet, I decided to hike the 20 miles without stopping to Big Lake Youth Camp where my next resupply was waiting. I felt on the verge of hypothermia the entire day. I needed my Scotland rain clothes. As I walked, I concentrated on placing my feet carefully as to not fall or slip and just pounded out the miles. I just kept imagining the welcoming arms of the youth camp and getting warm and dry. It worked.

Consequently, I did not take a whole lot of photos.

When I got to camp there were a few other hikers that were in the same shape. The camp host looked at me and cheerfully set me up with a hot shower and laundry.

I also ate dinner in the big dining hall with 200 happy campers.

The rain continued to pour. Big Lake does not provide accommodations, but the camp director set up an empty storage building for the 8 of us to stay. So nice.

My plan is to eat breakfast with the camp at 8:30 and leave when the weather clears up.

Tonight I am reminded of all I have and to always be prepared for the worse, because it will happen.

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July 22 – Oh Those Sisters

Amongst the whales and waves my journey continues polished by sand whitened by sun I flow toward destiny where new adventures await, anxiously.
– driftwood

Horseshoe Lake to Sawyer Bar – Three Sisters Wilderness
30.7 miles

Today was full of reflections of the Continental Divide Trail…the hikers, the land, the immense space, and the many changes that could happen in just one day. Three Sisters had all of these.

Here is a glimpse of the day. Hang on for the ride.

Rain
Clouds
Mosquitoes
Heat
Climbing to the top of a mountain
Wind
Cool air
Sun
Walking on snow
Lakes
Views
Creeks
Wildflowers
Rocks
Thunder
Fog
Pouring rain
Waterfall
Obsidian covered trail
Walking on lava
Rain
More thunder
Hail
Lightening
Nice protected campsite
Loud cracking thunder
Constant flashes of lightening
Dramatic sunset

It is true.

On top of all that it was beautiful country. Oregon you surprised me.20140724-053500-20100672.jpg

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July 21 – Butterflies

The thing to remember when traveling is that the trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast and you miss all you are traveling for.
~Louis L’Amour, Ride the Dark Trail
compliments of Hamburger Helper

North of Bobby Lake to Horseshoe Lake – Three Sisters Wilderness
26 miles

Sometimes ya just know you are in the right place at the right time.

My walk today in the woods of Three Sisters Wilderness was dotted with countless small ponds with an occasional picturesque lake. I was pretty happy to discover one of the original PCT signs embedded in a tree. It says “Pacific Crest Trail System”.

In the afternoon I met two really lovely women who are hiking a section of the PCT to McKenzie Pass. They asked me about my small pack and how much it weighed.

They had both read the book “Wild” and were inspired to take their first long distance hike. At the end of the day we shared a campsite. It was so fun getting to know both of them. We talked gear, family, men, and hiking while they sat in their very comfortable camp chairs around a warm campfire. I sat on my small square of Zrest pad. Too funny. They said I was their butterfly of the day… A good thing.

Turns out they were mine.

 

Charlton Lake

Charlton Lake

Burn Beauty

Burn Beauty

Old PCT Trail Sign - Pacific Crest Trail System

Old PCT Trail Sign – Pacific Crest Trail System

Ponds Abound

Ponds Abound

Bug on Bear Grass

Bug on Bear Grass

Patty

Patty

Patty and BJ

Patty and BJ

Rockin', BJ, and Patty

Rockin’, BJ, and Patty

 

July 20 – Shelter Cove…the devil

The longest journey begins with a single step, not with a turn of the ignition key. That’s the best thing about walking, the journey itself. It doesn’t matter whether you get where you’re going or not. You’ll get there anyway. Every good hike brings you eventually back home. Right where you started.
~Edward Abbey

Diamond View Lake to tarn north of Bobby Lake – Willamette National Forest
19.5 miles

I have sent 3 different resupply boxes to Shelter Cove through the years in hopes of hiking on through Oregon. Two of them were never picked-up.

The first one in 2011, I simply missed my family and got off the trail at Crater Lake. The second one in 2012, I started at Crater Lake and was turned around due to snow. This year I sent the box to Shelter Cove in June in hopes of starting hiking in Oregon. Well that was even delayed.

You can’t blame Dan and I for referring to Shelter Cove Resort, as the devil.

I am happy to announce that I now have picked my box up, showered, washed my clothes, used the Shelter Cove store wi fi, and thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful little diamond in the woods. Even Face-timed with my good friend Wired on the Appalachian Trail on the deck of the resort.

The hike into Shelter Cove this morning started with a pretty impressive sunrise, golden sunlight, and spider web art. The hike after Odell Lake was met with views of lake basins. I am really looking forward to tomorrow as I will be hiking in Three Sisters Wilderness.

Sunrise - Diamond View Lake

Sunrise – Diamond View Lake

 

Early morning spider art

Early morning spider art

So glad to finally visit this place - Shelter cover

So glad to finally visit this place – Shelter cover

Odell Lake

Odell Lake

Shelter Cove Store

Shelter Cove Store

Count the lakes.

Count the lakes.

July 19 – It is a Carpet Ride

“I am always glad to touch the living rock again and dip my head in the high mountain sky. …plain, sky, mountains ray beauty which you feel. You bathe in these spirit-beams turning round and round, as if warming at a campfire. Presently you lose consciousness of your own separate existence: you blend with the landscape, and become part and parcel of nature.”
-John Muir

North of Tipsoo Peak to Diamond View Lake – Diamond Peak Wilderness
30.3 miles

My head hit the pillow last night and I was out. So much so I slept in a whole hour, which rarely happens on the trail.

The trail was gentle, well-maintained and had literally no rocks. Cruise I did.

So much so I fell 2 times today simply not paying attention and tripped over my own feet. Easy = Dangerous

At Windigo Pass I met PCTer, Rootbeer Float and hiked with him a few hours. He is a retired fireman that hikes about 40 miles everyday. He moves. Fast.

Tonight I enjoyed a quick swim and watched the sunset, while eating dinner at the little gem, Diamond View Lake. Pretty amazing. I am even the only person at this lake. So rare.

In the morning I will be visiting Shelter Cove Resort at Odell Lake to resupply, do quick laundry, Internet stuff, and shower.

Morning views

Morning views

More views

More views

Can the trees get any taller?

Can the trees get any taller?

Tree love

Tree love

Sunset - Diamond View Lake

Sunset – Diamond View Lake

July 18 – More Than I Could Wish For

MORE SLEEP
MORE MUSIC
MORE TEA
MORE BOOKS
MORE SUNSETS
MORE CREATING
MORE LONG WALKS
MORE LAUGHTER
MORE HUGS
MORE DREAMING
MORE READ TRIPS
MORE FUN
MORE LOVE
MORE GOD

Mount Thielsen Trail to PCT
4 miles
Trail Junction to Mile 1869 – Mount Thielsen Wilderness
10 miles

Bus, train, train, trolley, car, walk

That is what happened over the last 24 hours to start walking on the Pacific Crest Trail north of Crater Lake, Oregon.

Most everything went smoothly transportation wise until the trolley pulled out of the station in Klamath Falls and had engine trouble. But because of that, great things happened. A car from the trolley service picked us up and because it was so late they offered to drive me right to the exact location I got off the PCT 2 years ago. The best.

I started walking about 2:00 in the afternoon today. The day was beautiful, clear, and cool. This is such a contrast to when I was here 2 years ago. Then it was foggy, lightly snowing, and snow-covered the ground…everywhere.

The highlights today were: Mount Thielsen’s majesty, the smooth gentle trail, hiking at lower altitude (so much easier and without a bear canister), and passing the highest point of the PCT in Oregon and Washington. I didn’t see a single hiker today, but am expecting to meet a few PCTers soon.

Starting at the exact location from 2012

Starting at the exact location from 2012

Mount Thielsen

Mount Thielsen

A bit of snow on trail

A bit of snow on trail

Thielsen Creek

Thielsen Creek

Beautiful trail

Beautiful trail

 

Nature Art

Nature Art

PCT sign love

PCT sign love

Oregon/Washington PCT High Point

Oregon/Washington PCT High Point

Ahh…the little things

The first blog entry I wrote 4 years ago was never posted.

It was about pitching a nice taut tent from a woman’s perspective.

Years later I still struggle with this seemingly simply skill every guy seems to casually master night after night. No problem with motivation…
every she hiker I know is constantly in search of the perfect tent pitch. I certainly don’t think it has anything to do with skill or experience. No matter, I finally feel more confident in this fine art.

NOTE: I apologize ahead of time to ladies out there that have special powers and this is not a problem.

This largely is a result from hiking Scotland in The Great Outdoors Challenge.

Long before our crossing, we were warned about possible ballistic storms and winds that can strike at any minute in Scotland. Luckily, in our preparation for the trek, Swami from The Hiking Life spent time with me going over pitching tarps and tents. Through listening to his thought process and wealth of experience, I now am able to think differently about tension, height, and location of my nightly shelter.

Not everyone can have a Swami visit their house, but I do have a couple tips for tents and tarps that use trekking poles for support.

With the addition of micro line lock guy line adjusters by Zpacks on each line, I pitch my tent with the lines all the way out, pound in the stakes, then tighten all the little guy line adjusters.

Magic.

The first pic shows before and after adjusting the lines. Another slick tip is adding extra guy lines if extra loops are featured on a tent. I use just an extra long stake to guy out the tent. This really helps in wind and rain. No one really likes listening to a flappy tent all night.

The addition of the next little thing is more of a convenience and frustration stopper. Dan added little loops to all my zippers: tent and pack. I think it saves me time and is less stressful on the zippers over time with very little added weight.

The last little guy is cuben fiber tape by Zpacks. It is light, strong, and can repair most anything. I have used it to repair my neo air, sunglasses, stuff sacks, backpack, and have even used it to tape up blisters.

Sometimes it is the littlest of things that can make big differences.

Tent Lock ties

P1210101

July 4 – Be Free

For each morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
From Kerr Bear’s refridgerator

Squaw Lake to Red’s Meadow
21 miles

Hiking on Fourth of July…

Time to reflect on all that I so richly am thankful for…

Here are some highlights…

-a country that has preserved so much land to roam freely in nature
-individuals and organizations that are dedicated to this purpose
-friends to enjoy the freedom to explore the outdoors
-family that I can share this love of getting out in nature

Today I made a few fun decisions while walking, walking, and more walking that I would like to share.

My morning started at 5:30 am. Just about a mile down the trail I spotted a rake beside the trail neatly propped on a tree. The dirt surrounding was carefully raked. No signs of hikers, trail maintenance, campsite, nothing. So you can guess what I did. Yep, raked a bit then hiked on. This so brought back memories of hiking the the Great Divide Basin last summer. At one of the precious water sources out in the middle of nowhere was a bocci ball set. Crazy. Right?

The hike then headed down from Squaw Lake to Tully Hole, up to stunning Virginia and Purple Lakes, then up and over round and about to Red’s Meadow Resort. I met many a hiker with feet problems due to the heat, boots, and BIG packs.

Just before Red’s I had service and received the very funny and cheery photo below of my grandkids celebrating 4th of July. I missed them and just knew I needed to take them on a short overnight backpack or camping trip. Who wouldn’t, right?

So I am now in Mammoth staying at a very good hiker friend’s nice condo and meeting up with Dan and grandkids. Thank you Kerr Bear for opening up your home.

So I will be participating in lots of shenanigans in the next week, then heading to Crater Lake, Oregon to hike 300 miles or so on the PCT. The snow surely will have melted by then!!!

Life is just one surprise after another!

 

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July 3 – It is a Winner

Those who seek beauty will find it.
~Bill Cunningham

Sallie Keyes Lakes to Squaw Lake
22 miles

I am a lucky hiker.

I am sitting cross-legged on a shoreline at what I think is the most lovely lake in the entire Sierras. Why is this one so special?
-the alpine glow at sunset
-the circle of mountains
-deep blue water
-and the peace that emulates

And……wait for it…..I am the only one here….

Seriously…

Earlier today I stopped at Bear Ridge above Lake Edison, because I had cell service. After spending a couple hours checking in at home and posting blog entries I had to hoof it to make my destination for the day.

I came into camp about 8:00 pm expecting the Squaw Lake to be packed with hikers. I worked for this sunset.

The trail today passed over both Selden and Silver passes.

Ya it was pretty great.

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July 2 – Heat and Big Packs

Backpacking: An extended form of hiking in which people carry double the amount of gear they need for half the distance they planned to go in twice the time it should take.
– Unknown, compliments from long distance hiker, Swami

Wanda Lake to Sallie Keyes Lakes
23 miles

The night was cooler. I was happy.

The Sierras continue to be unusually HOT during the day. It seems I keep timing my big climbs at the end of each day. Not smart.

I saw very few hikers today. Most were doing a short backpack and had huge packs that swayed from side to side. They did not look happy nor comfortable in the heat. It almost gives me physical pain just watching.

The route today descended through Evolution Valley to Piute Creek and I am now on the way up Selden Pass. The climb to beautiful Sallie Keys Lakes had bits of shade that was a welcome relief. This area of the JMT is just stunning.

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July 1 – Muir Pass and Wet Dog

Following an old trail like this is a way of keeping alive the idea that there is something bigger in the world than our own human pursuits. I don’t have to pretend that I’m the first one here; I just need the possibility of finding something new and surprising (to Me), a landscape that puts our human endeavors into perspective. I cling to that possibility as if it were a life preserver. 
~Lawrence Hogue, All the Wild and Lonely Places: Journeys in a Desert Landscape
compliments of Hamburger Helper

Palisade Lakes to Wanda Lake
22 miles

I got a super early start knowing that I had a big climb up Le Conte Canyon to Muir Pass that was going to be hot and in the sun. I met a hiker on the trail this morning, which is very rare at 6:00 in the morning and guess what? She is from Scotland and is hiking a very large section of the PCT from Walker Pass, north of Tehachapi where I live, to Crater Lake, Oregon. Her trail name is Scottish Lynn.

Anyone that has ever hiked with me knows that I really don’t do well in the heat. I have come up with many solutions over the years. Today I brought out my favorite strategy. It looks like this. Every mile or so in the heat, find water deep enough to dunk my whole body in and simply take my pack off, walk in clothes, shoes and all, put pack back on and keep walking. It only takes a few minutes and works wonders.

I thought a lot about this hike today. I needed to make this hike unique and different. The Sierras are humbling. Everything is straight up or straight down. Humility is a very good thing. It tests your inner strength and character. And hiking solo…all rules change. It demands attention, concentration, and determination. Notice I really didn’t say anything about a sense of humor. When hiking in groups or with a hiking partner this quality is king.

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June 30 – Oh those Palisade Peaks

ADVICE FROM A TREE: Stand tall and proud, remember your roots. Reflect the light of your true nature. Drink plenty of Water. Enjoy the view! 
~Notepaper, Your True Nature Company, Fort Collins, CO
compliments of Hamburger Helper

Woods Creek to Palisade Lakes
19 miles

I left camp today without Grasshopper. My mind was all over the place and had a difficult day mentally. I knew I needed to shift to be safe.

The descent and ascent was crazy hiking over both Pinchot and Mather passes. A very beautiful but tough day.

The Sierras remind me of what they normally look like in late August, due to such a low snow year. On the other hand, the forest is teaming with deer, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, frogs, birds, and bugs of every sort.

At the top of Mather Pass is an unforgettable and unique view of quite a few of California’s fourteeners. I have climbed most, but want to climb all of them. I will need a guide with gear and ropes for the remaining unclimbed peaks.

I met few new PCT hikers today and am camping with Two Feathers from Hawaii. Our camp is overlooking Palisade Lakes. It is a beaut!!!!!20140703-111229-40349523.jpg

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