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Archive for the 'Camp' Category

2007-07-19 Baking in Old Station

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

I’ve had a zero day at Old Station in the home of Georgi and Dennis Heitman. A few of the others headed north while the rest of us went to Burney to buy supplies and I got the ingredients. Tomorrow is my birthday but due to the wonder of time zones I’m starting the celebrations today with a home made pavlova! It didn’t quite go to plan. The mixture tasted great, and it really puffed up brilliantly but when I took it out to cool there was some sort of implosion and I had to crumble it all up into a bowl and smooth the cream over the top. The saving grace was the genuine New Zealand kiwifruit I got from the supermarket. It went down a treat and Troll, Oblivious and Tiki even came back from 20 miles up the trail for a taste :-)

Pavlova

Pavlova / Pavlova with Cream

Otherwise not much happened. We ate, talked, planned and lazed. Two Dogs’ triplet sister is here to visit her and using Dennis’ workshop to fix the clutch cable on her bike. We had visions of her driving back to Oregon without a clutch, unable to go below 20mph :-)

More photos of this day’s journey can be found at Belden to Old Station


Frequent travelers are familiar with different flight deals. But for people who don’t travel much they need to look for facilities like airline on-time statistics. All those who might travel towards Asia might go for malaysian airlines for warm sunny environment. And enjoy it through some cruise in those warm waters or you can go to Europe by taking flights to amsterdam . When you are in new land then taking a local map and comfortable rented car can make your day. Or you can just rush in to luxurious hotels like orlando hotel.

Google Maps

2007-07-10 Sierra Buttes

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

For a “town day” I’ve managed to put on a few miles and am now camped with Tiki where the trail crosses the Sierra Buttes jeep road. Today it rained for the first time since the morning before Paradise Cafe. That was the beginning of May. It was only a light spit but it was followed by lightning and then the fire siren.

I spent most of the day in town, starting with the traditional gatorade, ice-cream and crisps combo then finishing by sharing a rotisserie chicken and bread with Tiki. Just as we were leaving town Troll and Oblivious, last seen at Kennedy Meadows nearly 500 miles south of here, came in. I’m glad to see the kid is still going and his dad’s feet haven’t been amputated.

We got a lift in a faded orange 1970’s Datsun that had seen better days. The dashboard material was cracked like dried earth and I had to hold the passenger door shut because some major side impact had broken the locking mechanism. Luckily there weren’t any sharp corners and we got the trail head without falling out.

Walking up that steep climb was tough and looked a lot like I imagine Washington will be. It was gloomy at 5, soft brown underfoot and dark green and the rain was hanging in the air waiting for a reason to soak me.

PCT

With the start of the rain comes the end of my time without a tent. Last night was spectacular, no moon or artificial light to speak of. When I woke just after midnight it was another “wow” moment. This makes me sadder to be undercover tonight, but it’s better than being wet.

PCT

Troll and Oblivious joined us just after dark and Troll took the opportunity to tell the mountain just how he felt about the last climb and how glad he was to have completed it.

More photos of this day’s journey can be found at Donner Pass to Belden

Google Maps

2007-06-11 Forrester (Gump?)

Monday, June 11th, 2007

Bronwyn will remember the stupid grin I had while riding a scooter around Santorini, a sun drenched Greek island. Well the grin is back but this time it’s for the mountains, the snow, the trees and the bears.

PCT sign

PCT sign

PCT sign

Today we crossed the highest point on the PCT. Forrester Pass at 13,300ft. It was quite a slog just to get to the start of the climb, crossing good sized streams and my first proper snow walking experience. The path up the mountain is switchbacked like crazy and looks like a lot of effort moving all that rock just for a few hikers. The pass is known amongst PCTers for the dangerous snow chute right at the top but this year we’ve got it easy. The snow only covers one side of the trail so Tiki, Lucky Joe, Second Hand (formerly known as Mike) and I got to the top just exhausted and not petrified. We posed for photos, admired the incredible scenery and got cold so we set off down the north side. Lucky Joe was the first to try glissading, the art of sliding down the snow to save the effort of walking. We all had a go, some even two and down we went. Four merry explorers in the most awesome place I have ever seen. We did get one dodgy snow crossing, we all went very slowly over it. It was at least 45 degrees and a run out that would surely break legs or worse.

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Forrester Pass

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PCT sign

PCT sign


PCT sign

The walking got easier and the small snow melt streams became a big river as we got back below tree line. We even got to see a bear pretty close, like within 20m. Just standing there watching us watching him. Eventually he saunted off and we all felt a little better for enjoying nature at its finest.

PCT sign


PCT sign


The second climb of the day was a mean one and I was nearly beat. We’re east of Bullfrog Lake on our way out via Kearsarge Pass and the mountains and lakes are…and here I struggle to find a superlative great enough to explain this place. Magnificent, awe-inspiring, magestic, spectacular. All of the above I believe. I’ve taken a bzillion photos and hopefully Dad will have the time to upload a few of them in a week or so and link to them here.

[Well I managed to squeeze a few into this page. Walks With Son]

PCT sign

Tiki, Lucky Joe and I just cooked dinner, talked a little bit and retired to our tents. This has been one of the physically toughest and most rewarding days of the trail. Whoooohooo!

Distance today: 23.2 miles. Total distance: 790.7 miles

*update*

It’s 2:18am and we just had another bear encounter. I woke to hear rustle, then branches snapping, then knawing! Tiki and I got out with headlamps and rocks and I could just make out the shape of a bear trying to get into Tiki’s Ursack. We scared it off pretty easily and hung the bag a little higher.

More photos of this day’s journey can be found at Crabtree Meadows to Independence

Google Maps

2007-06-10 Summiting Mt. Whitney

Sunday, June 10th, 2007

Whooweee, what a day. I’ve hiked to the highest point in the contiguous United States, Mt. Whitney at 14,496ft. Mt. McKinley (known as Denali by the locals) in Alaska is 21,000ft but that’s a whole different sort of adventure.

The morning started early with a song for Tiki’s birthday then we set off up the mountain. I was refilling my water bottle from a nice clean stream at Guitar Lake an hour or so before the sun got to the western wall where we were switchbacking our way up the 4,000ft from our camp.

PCT sign


PCT sign

PCT sign

Guitar Lake

Lucky Joe, Tiki, Roswell and I rolled on as Wounded Face fell further behind. With all our gear back at camp the climb was easier than some but it was long. Even after reaching the trail that comes up from Whitney Portal on the eastern side we had over an hour to go. The elevation gain left me breathing hard at every stop and I could hear my heart pounding over my foot steps on the rocks.

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Trail Crest, where the trails from Crabttree Meadows and Whitney Portal meet before following the summit ridge to the top

PCT sign

Sun-cups

From the top the view was of course amazing, and I took dozens of photos today. The Sierras stretched out beneath me like wrinkles on a sheet and to the east it dropped off dramatically to the desert. I did try to look over the edge when I first got up there but the particular large rock slab I stood on was wobbly. As I stepped forward it rocked underneath me and I felt like a dizzy spell was coming over me and I was about to faint. It was just the rock moving but it unnerved me so much I didn’t try it again.

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Shelter hut on the summit

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SunWalker and Lucky Joe taking a break at the top of the USA

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It’s all downhill from here

We started down just after noon and found Wounded Face still plugging on up with maybe a mile to go. He wasn’t delirious but he was a little odd. I charged down pretty fast, convinced there were 33 miles to do before we branch off the PCT tomorrow and it wasn’t until the others rolled in maybe an hour later that they corrected my maths and I found out I could just say here the night.

So I am, but I’m worried. Wounded Face is up there without enough stuff for the night. We passed a frozen lake this morning and he only has a thin jacket and shorts. If he’s not in his tent by 3am I’m waking up Joe and going to look for him. He may stop at Guitar Lake where tomorrow’s hopefuls will be setting out from. Fingers crossed I’ll find him safe and warm in his tent when I go check.

*update*
Wounded Face walked in around 8pm, much sooner than we expected. He’s tired but happy and talking, he may never know we genuinely feared for his life. Now I can sleep well, 6am doesn’t seem that early if you’re in bed by 8.

More photos of this day’s journey can be found at Summiting Mt Whitney

Google Maps

2007-06-09 Crabtree Meadows

Saturday, June 9th, 2007

I’m camped just north of Crabtree Meadows near the stream that drains from the western slopes of Mt. Whitney. It’s warmer than previous nights but still cold. Quite a few people here tonight and more up at Guitar Lake ready for an early ascent tomorrow. But how was my day?

Dad and I parted ways at Trail Pass. I’m sure he was relieved to be heading downhill from there just as I was glad to be getting closer to Mt. Whitney, but I’ll miss my temporary trail partner. We hike well together.

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Marmot on the rocks for breakfast

I knew I had to step up the mileage today so I powered on as best I could while getting above 11,000ft for the first time. I was glad to have enough water to bypass Corpsemen Creek which flowed into Poison Meadow. Chicken Spring Lake was really something. A deep blue lake surrounded on three sides by steep grey granite topped by tiny snow banks. After that there was a long descent to Rock Creek. On the way down I saw many more examples of the brilliantly coloured tree trunks I’ve been seeing for a few days. The bark is a rich brown colour, but the beauty is where the inner wood is exposed. There the sun bakes the sap-laden wood into all shades of golden yellow. Set against bright blue skies and the green needles of the living trees it makes for one amazing backdrop to my walk. I fear today I didn’t appreciate it as much as I should as I trundled on down to Rock Creek, momentarily saw Lucky Joe then lost him again on the mean switchbacks taking us up 1500ft waaaay too steeply. I was suffering on that one for sure.

PCT sign

Chicken Spring Lake

Out of breath and hungry I crossed the pass and made the last few miles to Crabtree Meadows well before sunset. With a few other PCTers (and one JMTer who gave us info about the trail north of here) in residence, we (Lucky Joe, Tiki and I) decided to stay and make an early start. I’ve packed my day bag, prepped the water and sorted out snacks. Now I deserve a good sleep and tomorrow I’ll bag another peak.

PCT sign

Crabtree Meadows

More photos of this day’s journey can be found at Kennedy Meadows to Crabtree Meadows

Google Maps

2007-06-08 Walks with Sun/Son

Friday, June 8th, 2007

Ice on my sleeping bag. That’s how cold it was last night, this is a new thing for me and it spells the end of cowboy camping for now. Dad (Walks with Son) and I (SunWalker) got up and moving later than I would normally but it was still a while before I could step into sunlight and defrost my hands. Recline wasn’t far away and they chatted while I got water from the other side of a small meadow. Our progress up the first, and significant, climb seemed slow to me but a reputable book has told me that those doing 25 miles per day before may drop down to 18 here in the high sierras so Dad has really hit the ground running. I think the slowness was caused by our tendency to talk. Talking while walking up hill with a heavy pack is hard, so we’d stop and chat and time would pass. And so would the people. Recline, Lucky Joe, Tiki, Path Finder, Deacon, Thirsty Boots and Mike are not far ahead and there seems to be quite a crew gathering for Mt. Whitney on Sunday.

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A glimpse of Owens Lake and the Panamint Range from near Olancha

I was pleasantly surprised to be so close to Trail Pass tonight. I didn’t think we’d make it this far before sunset and it was me who suggested stopping a couple of miles short of our target because this is the last place that we can camp and see sunrise, and I need that sun to get moving tomorrow.

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The last Father and Son campsite the night before Trail Pass

More photos of this day’s journey can be found at Kennedy Meadows to Crabtree Meadows

Google Maps

2007-05-05 Fuller Ridge

Saturday, May 5th, 2007

Tough day for such low mileage. After finishing up in town Squatch drove Beef Stew and I up to the trailhead. On the 2.4 mile climb back to the PCT I overtook a few day hikers and the section hikers I first met a day north of Warner Springs. I was feeling pretty good after that, but cold if I stopped moving. Chiggers was already there and Beef Stew + Lisa were not far behind. Next came another 1000 ft gain and the clouds were moving in. It was cold all day so we rarely stopped.

I spent a while walking and talking with Chiggers and we came across Davy who had come up Deer Spring Trail with the others who I didn’t catch until camp. Fuller’s Ridge was amazing, and amazingly hard. Views northeast to San Bernardino across the desert, the wind farms and I10. Every now and again Palm Springs was in view.

To the west were densely wooded canyons. Miles and miles of all sorts of pines and firs. The switchbacks were the hard part. Winding down in and out of rocks only to go back up and then down the other side of the ridge. Chiggers and I walked into the Fuller Ridge Remote Campsite around 7 pm, 14 miles from our start that day. Paul (Potential 178), George (Vortex) and Caitlin (Blue Sky) were already set up, Lisa + Beef Stew came along to make a party. Paul got a fire going and tonight we’ve all shared the heat and our food. Peanut brittle, cashew brittle, stuffing, carrots (mmmm veggies are rare here) and stewed apple and cinnamon. Davy turned up after dark, beer in hand and now we’ve all retired to our tents to wait out a cold night on the mountain.

More photos of this day’s journey can be found at Idyllwild to Wrightwood

Google Maps

2007-05-03 Onwards and Upwards

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

A big jump in distance today but the real change was the elevation gain. Up and down and up, up again.

The night was noisy but my tent was out of the wind so it stayed in one place. I got up and moving and passed George and Caitlin just a few hundred yards down the trail. I was certainly glad to see they had the sense not to go too far last night. I happily knocked off the miles and found a few people heading back the other way after hitching into Idyllwild and walking this stretch north to south.

Squatch was deep into his iPod when I jumped out from behind a rock. The poor guy couldn’t talk for a while there, but he was smiling so I think he saw the funny side. Next time I’ll need to have an ape mask ready to really freak him out.

The vegetation and landscape sure changed with the altitude. This afternoon has been so much what I was hoping for. The soaring granite peaks. Thick pine forest with giant cones and a bed of soft needles just off the path, and all the smells that go with it. There have been oak patches where the acorns and leaves cover the trail inches deep and small clumps of snow after passing Red Tahquitz. I just couldn’t stop taking photos, especially of the clouds rolling over the passes below me. There were some scary places along here. Steep rock on the left, 1 foot of shale path, huge drop off to the right.

The climb before Apache Peak was a killer. Really tough, so I had lunch at the top and felt like a new man. 8 more miles this afternoon and though tired I feel great.


More photos of this day’s journey can be found at Warner to Idyllwild

Google Maps

2007-05-02 Paradise Café

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

Mist rolled in and out during the night, it looked very spooky amongst the bushes. I packed up and headed north, passing George and Caitlin then Chigger and Lisa all still in the tents/tarps. The air was still cool and the path was good so less than 2 hours later I was at the highway walking towards the legendary Paradise Cafe.

Paul was already there and since it didn’t open until 11 am I had a few hours to wash my shirt and socks (in that order) in the bucket they leave out for us smelly hikers. There were 8 of us there when they opened but Lisa made a quick exit after some interaction with the younger waitress. I don’t know the full story but she left still smiling just saying it wasn’t for her. Soon we got to the business of food. We all had plenty, I’ll just detail mine. “The Pounder” has two 1/2 pound patties, sweet-potato fries, onion, lettuce, “toe-may-toe” and a whole avocado sliced in there too. I washed that down with a few glasses of pink lemonade and after Davy turned up I’d gotten hungry enough to squeeze in an ice-cream sundae. Many thanks to Paul who paid for my burger after I completed the challenge of eating a wasabi cashew nut.

Craig having dessert in the desert
I thought I must be in a dream
When she asked me if I wanted cream.
Said, Baby, you look good to me tonight

                   John Denver

Thanks to Caitlin for this shot of Craig about to have dessert in the desert.

It was after 3 when four of us rolled out of there into the San Jacinto Wilderness. A pleasant afternoon turned into a stormy evening as we climbed higher and the wind speeds did too. George and Caitlin went on towards Cedar Springs but Paul and I have found spots just before a menacing saddle. The trees are howling above me but down here in the hollow the air is still. Ear plugs tonight.


More photos of this day’s journey can be found at Warner to Idyllwild

Google Maps

2007-05-01 Early Morning Packup

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

I awoke often during the night as I have been doing all trip, but last night I noticed more and more clouds until at 4 am Paul said he felt rain drops. Not wanting to take any chances I put my tent up right away and was safely back in my sleeping bag before the shower really started. The day was mostly dry, just a smattering in the morning and Paul, George, Caitlin and I leap-frogged back and forth along with others like Pink Gumby and SloWalker as we each took breaks.

We all stopped and ate at Hiker’s Oasis Cache, not willing to carry water for cooking later. I’m camped a few miles up the hill now after enjoying an early stop and greeting a few more hikers as they overtake me.

Campsite Table Mountain

More photos of this day’s journey can be found at Warner to Idyllwild

Google Maps