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Archive for the 'Movie' Category

2007-07-20 My day

Friday, July 20th, 2007

Though I heard my troupe leaving this morning I stayed in the tent and didn’t wave them off. I’ll see them again in a week or so and today is my birthday so I opted to sleep in. It’s a relative term on the trail though and I was in the kitchen by 8am. Everyone else left this morning except Chigger who has been here nearly a week trying to get over her mystery illness.

Tree House

Overflow accommodation at Old Station

When Girl Scout returned from dropping the gang at the trail he had a little video to show me, check it out :-)


Happy Birthday

Through out the day I mostly ate, watched a bit of TV and repacked my bag. I’ve read a couple of the cards I received here but also kept some for on the trail. Along with the epic Shogun they’ll give me a reason to stop walking and take a rest.

A lot of hikers came in this afternoon. I already knew Mr Parkay and Stretch but the other dozen are almost all strangers and all the proof I need to know the herd is nipping at my heels. I really got to enjoy just having a few good friends around rather than lots of vague people. I think everyone here now is moving on tomorrow. Hopefully it’ll seem more spread out when we’re hiking.

PCT

We’ve had a big social meal and a small musical camp fire. I’m packed and beginning to mentally prepare to continue with the hike. I’ve only one more planned zero day and it’s three weeks away. Even though I’m only halfway it seems so much closer to the end. Just under three weeks to finish California. Three to do Oregon. Three for Washington. It seems so simple in those terms but I still see a lot of effort ahead. The first half took a long time so I’m looking back on it and thinking I have to do that much again. This half is supposed to be easier. This half stays below 8,000ft. But I still have almost 1300 miles to go. Ridiculous.

PCT

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

Google Maps

2007-07-18 The Spice of Life

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

Variety is the spice of life so I was almost glad to realise the sound I heard at dawn was not a sprinkler but actual proper rain. I was even more glad that I was inside at the time.

Thanks to Sarge and Debbie I stayed warm and dry this morning while other PCTers were probably getting their first soaking in months. With limited computer access and constant rain we stayed indoors for most of the morning and I caught up on a missed episode of Curious George and Clifford – The big red dog.

Sarge drove me to the trail, via the deli to get me a sandwich. I have to hand it to the Americans, they sure make the best.

PCT

It was still raining slightly when I started but the change was good and it made the air cooler for two hard climbs before the trail leveled off around Swan Lake. The novelty soon wore off as the rain soaked undergrowth brushed against my trousers and into my socks. I’d stuffed energy bars and snacks into various jacket pockets so that I wouldn’t have to open my pack in the rain. This and the easy terrain kept me moving pretty fast. There were dry periods but mostly it got down to a light drizzle that was comfortable to be in without a hood. Before I knew it I’d reached Badger Flat, the halfway point to Old Station. The rain was fading away and I glimpsed Mt Lassen with heavy clouds rolling over its shoulder. The day got better and I carried on along the damp trail with no dust for a change. Not surprisingly I didn’t see anyone until I reached the holiday village (mobile home park) at Old Station. Georgi Heitman (who gave me a lift down to the kick off) came to pick me up and I’ve been chatting with other hikers-in-residence here. Chigger, last seen powering off towards I-10 a couple of months ago, is here. She’s been really sick and is finally taking the time off to kick what ever she is plagued with before continuing north.

PCT

Mt Lassen

The house is interesting. Lots of things hanging down everywhere. Sweet, homely things, nice quotes, cute pictures of country cottages, baking trays and old-time food tins. The grounds are large and almost everyone is tenting out there. I’m in one of Georgi’s ones, “the flamingo suite”, named for the pink flamingo stakes that secure it. Some of them are mine that I won at Kick Off and, had Ol’ Skool, Vortex and Blue Sky made it this far we were each to carry one to the border. Now I’m the only one left and I’ll have trouble convincing anyone else to take them on.

PCT

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

Google Maps

2007-07-16 HALF WAY!

Monday, July 16th, 2007

No point beating around the bush, I’ve made it half way up the PCT. Quite where half way is can be debated ad nauseum but for me it was mile 1327.5 which is the midpoint between the Mexican and Canadian border ignoring the eight mile walk to the road at the end.

PCT sign

Tiki, Troll, Oblivious and FireBall also made it across the line. I assume Old Corpus did but I haven’t seen him since we re-found the trail this morning. I’d come off it at a dusty saddle and found him stomping around looking for it in the scrub. It was easily fixed by returning to the last marker and trying again.

So, half way, what’s that like. Well it doesn’t look much different but I sure do feel good. It’s not that I want this to be over but I came into this wanting to complete it and I’ve been gradually seeing it become realistic. No-one back home ever told me I wouldn’t finish, they thought I was a loon for trying but that’s understandable. It took me 89 days to get here and I think it’ll be 65 to do the rest. I’m stronger, the terrain is (mostly) easier, and there are less places to take time off.

I know this year has been much easier than others with the low snow fall in the sierras but there have still been challenges and it is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I won’t be counting down the miles just yet, but I am aware that the end is closer than the beginning. In Echo Lake Steve told me that his son (class of ‘01) wouldn’t think about the end until it really was in reach. The size and scope of the endeavour was too much. I’ve thought about the end lots. About achieving that goal and completing a country sized walk in one go. That’s what has kept me on the trail. I know the high sierras are the highlight of the trail and I could skip up ahead to other good points, but it’s the whole thing that I’m here for and I won’t be done until I’m sipping Canadian Club and eating moose.

P.S. I passed a place called Butt Mountain today and thought that was funny.

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

Google Maps

2007-07-12 2000km before lunch

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

Today I passed mile 1242.7 which doesn’t mean much to the Americans around me but I marked it with sticks as “2000 km”.

PCT

The last few days have been full of new and interesting smells. Today continued with the peppermint coming from Penny Royals that Troll spotted yesterday. Coming into Sierra City we passed through a sweet honey-fungus area that reminded me of the black stuff growing on some trees when I toured NZ’s South Island a few years back. For quite a while now on exposed slopes of fist-sized rocks and grit there has been a plant whose flowers look like a cross between daffodils and sunflowers, and their large leaves smell of cabbages.

There were a few switchbacks two days ago that smelled of vomit and at one point I thought I detected cinnamon toast, maybe I was just hungry.

My favourite part of the day was jumping in the river, complete with trousers and shirt thus covering my bathing and laundry requirement for the week. Just west of the bridge over Middle Fork Feather River there is a big green pool. The water has just come over shallow rapids and is quite warm compared to all the other places I’ve been.


Wash Day at Middle Fork Feather River

The swelling on my foot has gone but my shin is still a little sore. I did manage a major downhill and at a good speed today, just a week after I limped to Donner Pass. I’ve got a good log to put my foot up on now and tomorrow is mostly uphill which is harder but more comfortable.

PCT

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

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

2007-07-08 Careful now

Sunday, July 8th, 2007

It’s not yet 8pm and I’ve been lying here for a little while. My feet up and a book in my hand. It’s fair to say I have learned my lesson and I’ll be going gently for a while as I build up my muscles/tendons again before trying anything as crazy as 210 miles in nine days.

Lucky Joe has gone back to Echo Lake and will be catching up soon I hope. Tiki must be somewhere between us and I expect to see him in a day or two. Blue Sky is taking some time out and plans to rejoin the trail near Ashland.

Mary and Charles drove me back to the trail head I left four days ago. They’ve been excellent hosts and along with Roger and Lori in Truckee I can honestly say the rest they helped me attain has saved my trip.

It sure has been strange sitting on a couch, eating normal food and watching tv. I kept zoning out and then coming back to reality to remember I’m not even halfway through this yet.

PCT

I’ve been in air-conditioning and away from the windows for a while. Outside the air has been hazy with smoke from some far-away fires. The drive north along Lake Tahoe shore was strange. Where I had previously looked across pristine water to the foothills of Nevada I now saw only an erie white smoke. Like looking out to sea as fog rolls in it was hard to tell there was another side out there. The sun is about to set now and it’s much redder than normal as the dust in the air lingers on.

From here on up, with the possible exception of Old Station, I think internet access is going to be hard to come by. Luckily Dad has been doing a sterling job with the site and photos to keep you entertained. I’ll send memory cards home as frequently as I can.

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

Google Maps

2007-07-03 In and out of Desolation (Wilderness)

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

Steve was ready before I was and after a proper breakfast of cereal, milk and *fresh strawberries* I was kindly driven back to Echo Lake and set loose on the PCT. I thought I’d see Blue Sky and her parents today but they must have been on a side trail as I whizzed by. I pushed on like crazy so that I could make tomorrow shorter and get to Truckee at a reasonable time. Getting up to Dicks Pass was like being in the high sierras again. Lake Aloha was gorgeous. A chilling blue colour set against speckled granite and dotted with countless islands it was just begging to be swum in, but it was too early and too cold for me.

PCT

The only PCTer I saw was Rest Stop and he was able to give good info on the whereabouts of a few people.

I made Barker Pass, 32 miles from Echo Lake, within 13 hours of setting off and took a photo by the sign to prove it. Dinner was short and sweet and now I’m up on the ridge with a view across Lake Tahoe. I was told by a south-bounder there’d be fireworks in Squaw Valley, but that’s 10+ miles away and here will do quite nicely. I think I can hear something exploding over the hill though.

PCT sign

at Barker pass after 32 mile day

PCT sign

I washed my legs yesterday

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

Google Maps

2007-06-23 One Third Done!

Saturday, June 23rd, 2007

It’s day 66 and I have passed the 33% mark on the trail. Lucky Joe and I were with Angelhair and Rigatoni (together known as The Noodleheads) and we made a little sign with sticks so others would know how far they have come. And we have come far. I’m sleeping on a hillside 898.8 miles from Campo and I walked all this way by myself. I appreciate all the people that have helped me along the way so far, and I’m looking forward to meeting more later.


Crossing Silver Pass was a slog, they all have been, and after that we still had considerable ups and downs today. Resting at the top I put my feet up and Angelhair noticed we had the same shoes, and socks, and even spare socks drying on our packs! That deserved a photo.

Later at our lunch Rigatoni pulled out one of the most useless, but funniest, items I have seen any thru-hiker carrying. He had a fully laminated menu from Denny’s and got Lucky Joe to read out some of the main courses, especially one that had ground beef sprinkled on chicken. That ain’t right.

I’m surprised my feet are holding together, they really don’t look good. I’m down to just three energy bars for tomorrow’s dash to Red’s Meadow where I hope to find the food I stashed and an open diner for breakfast. I discovered today that Lucky Joe actually gave me his last cookable dinner the other day (we skipped VVR so I was a day short) so only ate cold food tonight. He said he was ok with it because he brought far too many snacks. Good guy.

Well it’s cold and dark up here, again without tent but we’ve been down in valleys for a few days, this may affect my ability to make an early start.

More photos of this day’s journey can be found at Muir Pass to Reds Meadow

Google Maps

2007-06-22 Magic Hot Springs!

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

Though I initially doubted the wisdom of adding 4 non-trail miles to my day I did go to visit the Blayney Hot Springs just across the San Joaquin River from the Muir Trail Ranch, and it did wonders for my feet. Fording the river was a simple, but freezing cold affair, then follow the path and the barbed-wire fence out into the middle of a meadow to a hole full of warm water. My feet really did feel good so I tackled the big climb of the day, up to Selden Pass, without trouble and arrived in time to see Wounded Face before he hobbled down the north side. Poor guy has to get to VVR for a rest and some foot care.

PCT sign

Lucky Joe crossing San Joaquin River to the hot pools

PCT sign

Blaney Meadows hot pool

On the way down Lucky Joe and I had to cross the other much-hyped creek of the Sierras, Bear Creek. The water was swift but with my shorts rolled up they hardly got wet. We had more trouble with insects than water. The mosquitoes were swarming like nothing I’ve seen before so it was a rush to put shoes and socks back on before heading to the hills. We actually managed to run short on water today, not an easy task in these stream-laden hills. But there wasn’t one where the data book said so we had to do 3 more miles than we expected and consequently we’ve racked up 28 miles today, a big number for this part of the trail and great for how bad my feet were last night.

PCT sign

P.S. I think I spent too long without a shirt yesterday, my shoulders are a little crispy. No fun when you have to lug a backpack all day.

More photos of this day’s journey can be found at Muir Pass to Reds Meadow

Google Maps

2007-06-21 Hike Naked Day! (a.k.a. Summer Solstice)

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

Today is the longest day of the year here in the northern hemisphere and boy do my feet feel it. My socks have suddenly started wearing out all over and it means a lot more rubbing on my skin, which hurts.

Getting up to Muir Pass was tough. Not that there was any snow worth mentioning, it was just a long way up. Helen Lake, just before the top, was still mostly frozen. Standing on the rocky edge and looking at my feet it was so clear it was hard to tell where the water started.

PCT sign

Helen Lake

PCT sign

Muir Hut

PCT sign

On the way down, when I could see miles of the trail in front of me, and I knew anyone coming from the south would stop at the hut for a while, I was able to partake in the days festivities until stopping for lunch meant I could be surprised at any second.

PCT sign

Nature in the raw

Once again the descent from the pass was what wore me out. I trundled on past the deep blue Evolution Lake, snapping only a few pictures of its far granite wall. Crossing Evolution Creek was a simple affair. This and Bear Creek are often talked of as the big crossings but with this year’s low snow it hardly even splashed above my knees.


Crossing Evolution Creek

Now I’m camped much further down the valley, exhausted and sore, debating whether or not to go to the hot springs tomorrow. They sound great but can I add 4 miles and soaking time to my day?

More photos of this day’s journey can be found at Muir Pass to Reds Meadow

Google Maps