The Little Engine That Could

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”I think I can, I think I can.”

There is really only one way to treat elevation sickness … you need to get to lower elevation.

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ARRIVAL DAY

5A1C5818-6D0E-49EB-A941-CF54758A7AFDStayed at Mount Williamson Motel in Independence.  Other famous guests have been Mick Jagger and Squeaky Fromme.  Left our resupply at the motel, 5 days to return to it.

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From there to Lone Pine to pick up passes and a last coffee before heading out of Wifi range for at least 5 days.  Yes, it’s wonderfully hot.

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Grams

Sixty pounds. What was I thinking?

Here we were at the beginning of the famed West Coast Trail in June 1999 for our first ever backpacking trip. The experts say you shouldn’t pick the West Coast Trail for your first backpacking experience … ha, what do they know.  We’d updated our last will and testament, told our kids we loved them, and packed everything except the kitchen sink to make room for the scrabble game and off we trekked.

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Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine

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“How old do you think I am?” he said
I said, well, I don’t know
He said, “I turned 65 about 11 months ago.”
I was sittin’ in Miami pourin’ blended whiskey down
When this old gray black gentleman was cleanin’ up the lounge
There wasn’t anyone around ‘cept this old man and me
The guy who ran the bar was watchin’ “Ironsides” on TV
Uninvited, he sat down and opened up his mind
On old dogs and children and watermelon wine.

Tom T Hall

I turned 65 about 10 months ago, and uninvited, I share my mind on old hikers, the John Muir Trail, and visiting Lone Pine. Continue reading Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine

Why?

The “rocks” were just out of town in the coulee.  I spent hours as a young boy on the “rocks” carving initials in the sandstone,  then wandering around the coulee eventually making my way down to Kneehill Creek to investigate the goings on of its meanderings.  Perhaps this is where my love of hiking and backpacking began.

Why do I spend multiple days at a time in a tent, sleeping on the ground, walking along trails that have no purpose? It’s a good question.

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These Boots Were Made For Walking

“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest … and moss will grow on your boots, and you will go nowhere fast.”  Proverbs 6:10 (Victors paraphrase) 

According to the West Coast Trail preparation guide: “High quality hiking boots with good ankle support and arch support are required”.  With treachery a potential in every step this is good advice for hiking the West Coast Trail … and I followed this advice on my first 7 West Coast Trail hikes.  WCT hike numbers 8 and 9 are a different story.   Continue reading These Boots Were Made For Walking

Anticipation

“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so … get on your way!”  Dr. Suess

It doesn’t get old … in less than 2 weeks I will be heading out on my 9th West Coast Trail backpacking trip.  As I wait in anticipation and the days to hike draw ever closer a kind of inertia sets in.  I will myself to complete the tasks at work and clear up the last minute items on the to-do list so that I will not be missed or leave anyone in the lurch … but my heart just isn’t there … it’s already on the trail. Continue reading Anticipation