Zero Day

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Kearsarge Lakes

Zero Day = Hiking day with zero miles hiked. 

I was ready for a Zero Day. We had hiked over Forester Pass and then had a seven mile diversion, off the JMT, over Kearsarge Pass (elevation 11,800) down to Onion Valley to resupply in Independence.

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One Step at A Time

Its a long long road to freedom

A winding steep and high

But if you walk in love 

With the wind on your wing

And cover the earth

 the songs you sing

The miles fly by

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The Path to Forester Pass – Elevation 13,200

As we began day four our heads were clearer, our pace was stronger, and our confidence returned.

Over the next 2 days we emerged from high elevations to even higher elevations.  Kinda reminds me of the old joke.  How do elephants get into trees?  They jump out of higher ones.

The vistas became panoramas … hope the few pictures give a glimpse of the awesomeness.

 

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

Strawberry Cienaga

Strawberry Cienaga sounds like an exotic dessert with strawberries bathed by scrumptious creamy whipped topping, perhaps with sprinkles of chocolate, completed by a touch of Cointreau … except, it isn’t.

We passed through or by Strawberry Cienaga on our latest Section hike on the PCT.  From the hot, windy desert floor to the snow obliterated trail on the high reaches of the PCT on Mt. San Jacinto we climbed.  We found neither strawberries, nor a cienaga.   Continue reading Strawberry Cienaga