The Famous Five at Smuggler’s Cove

May 17th 2015.

Some time around mid-morning we girded our loins to brave Civilisation – that being anything existing outside of the safe, warm womb-like interior of my tent, or in this case, an American-sized queen bed in a dim hotel room. As we were hefting our packs…….sorry. Gotta stop there. I really like the word ‘heft’ but to be honest, round about now we don’t ‘heft’, we sling. So, slinging our packs into the Uber car that was taking us to Cajon Pass, I – or possibly Just Keep Walking, I can’t remember – noticed an eagles’ nest atop the Hotel sign. The nature is everywhere.

And so, to the Enid Blyton reference. I freely admit that my misleading post title is based on a childhood fixation on Living In Books. On this section of the Trail there was no Cove, and definitely no smugglers were in evidence although had there been, we most surely would have apprehended their greedy arses and taken their whiskey and pieces of eight. Point being, now we are five. This occurred after checking in to Cajon Pass Best Western, presently being joined by Beth and Jamieson and their friend – now mine – Rock City. From Detroit, obviously.

 

After supplementing our resupply from the gas station and buying dinner from Taco Bell (inside the said gas station) Beth and I deposited ourselves in the jacuzzi, where we stayed for a long time. The following day was spent shuffling to and from the gas station for food, doing washing and drying and watching the last eps of Mad Men. Sitting on top of a washing machine on the motel landing we met Blackfoot, wrapped in a towel, waiting for his clothes.

On the 19th we left Cajon Pass via a duct under the freeway, ascending ever upward into the dry mountains. We stopped for lunch at the water cache maintained by TrailRatz – thanks guys!!! Later in the afternoon we came upon first Taxi then Animal in quick succession, Taxi’s lazy drawl emanating from the foliage beside the trail like the Cheshire Cat. Animal was an older guy, a Vet, hiking in spite of chronic pain from leg injuries, or maybe because of them. Beth and I leapfrogged with Animal for the rest of the afternoon, our concern for him growing in direct relation to how often we found him lounging around trailsides, like he was in a magical broccoli forest rather than an armada of dreaded poodle-dog. Today’s highlight was reaching the trailhead to find a note from Jamieson and Just keep Walking along with some cans of Pepsi – trail magic from Pepsi Ed.

Our campsite on this night was lovely – pine needle-soft, a view of the desert mountains to our right and entertainment just downhill, in the form of Animal who made periodic, loud and unexpected remarks and insults about our conversation – mainly, Cheryl Strayed. Something to do with her drug use and the anonymity of her sources being possibly compromised by her memoir. Misguided concern, I’m sure, but we loved it. He who had previously been pegged as a mild-mannered fairly nondescript gentleman had turned out to have major opinions! Attempts were made to goad him further but with the settling of the sun, we too settled, the stars providing a canopy to mind our small forms while we slept.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In which I own my shit

Hello, you out there! If there is anyone left……..

So. I used to be a good blogger. Well, ok – not sure about ‘good’, but certainly an avid blogger, at least. Somewhere on the Trail I lost it. And I’m sorry. You trusted me to tell you my tail, and I just……fizzled out. As a blogger, I make a great hiker.

I do know what happened, though. In all my previous travels I have kept a written diary. It’s what I do – I write, and draw. A pen, a pad. Simple. Every night, into bed I get, pen at the ready, my mind making sense of the day just past. But on this hike, I was so weight-conscious that I took only the bare essentials. Pfffft let’s not kid ourselves; iPad – NOT an essential. I could easily have left this behind and taken a pad and pen to scribble with. but I knew not what I was doing. I fully expected myself to remain the creature of habit I was, with only slight variations. I fully expected myself to adhere to the rules and boundaries I had determined for myself.

The Trail beat me. I blame not having my usual writing material, but in all honesty I don’t know if I’d had just a pad and pen if I’d have managed to keep up with my blog then. OK, yes. I think I would have. I found the difficulty in typing frustrating. I found the lack of service to upload posts even more frustrating, and photos? well……just impossible. But Carrot did it! Yah……SHE is a legend – I am not of that ilk.

So, again, I’m sorry. I’m writing this to tell anyone who is still around that I am slowly recovering from one of the most profound experiences of my life, and that I am committed to finishing this tail, not only to keep my end of our unspoken bargain, but for my own benefit.I think it will help me, as it usually does – to write shit down.

After we did the 40 miler we stayed in Hysperia overnight because Cajon Pass Best Western was full. We ubered to Cajon pass next day, and that’s where I’ll pick up this story, in the next few days. Where I can’t remember I’ll be honest and say so, what I CAN remember…..well. We’ll see. I did make some notes so will not be relying totally on memory. What I am sure of is that I reached Canada just before midnight on October 3rd – yes, night walking, – and will endeavour to record how I got there, over the next few weeks. It was a wild ride.

 

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The Legend of Jolly Pionjar

Once upon a hike in the small picturesque village of Idyllwild a fair maiden was attacked by a fearsome dragon (untrained, probably hungry dog). The maiden’s name was Jolly, after the Jolly Ranchers she handed out at Mile 100, and Pionjar, after the magically perfect round holes often found in rocks. How do they get there? What manner of creature can make such a perfectly round, deep hole in a rock? Anyway that is another legend altogether. The dragons’ bite broke the skin on Jolly’s arm, necessitating a visit to the village healer. The villagers were very helpful and carried Jolly to the healer on a litter garlanded with flowers. At the healer Jolly was bled by leeches ( prescribed antibiotics) and sent on her way. The dragon lived, all the villagers lived, and Jolly Pionjar herself, lived to hike again. And did.

And that is the Legend of Jolly Pionjar.

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Taking Personal Bests to a new level. 40 miles? Okay….

May 15th – I was so cold last night that I could not stop shivering. Even focusing on my breathing stopped me for only 5 minutes or so, before my teeth started chattering again. JKW and I had agreed to share a tent if either of us got in trouble with being cold, but this is the desert! I still have the Sierras to handle. This was just a little snow and cold! I was determined to handle it myself. Eventually I pulled both liner and bag up over my head, and my breathe warmed up the area around my head at least. I know I must have slept for at least 4-5 hours. Waking up at 8 I sat in my sleeping bag, unzipped my fly and door and made a hot mocha for both of us. Both sitting in our tents, we discussed the weather report and our options; we had 52 miles to Cajon Pass and more snow was forecast. We could hunker down here for the day and another night, hike 14 miles to the hot springs and stay around there, or do a bigger day and maybe outrun the storm. The issue is that we are wearing our only dry clothes and if we get wet we cannot warm up again.
We decide we cannot just stay here and not hike, so we plan to prolong our warmth by packing up slowly, to leave camp at 10:30 to hike to a few miles past the hot springs. JKW says if it did snow again we’d have to just keep walking (ha), maybe all the way to Cajon Pass. But he is right – hiking would be the only way to keep up our body temperatures.

I write a note for Beth and Jamieson and leave it under a rock on a stump, letting them know when we left the campsite and where we’re heading. We set off and despite the lack of sleep agree that we feel good, our bodies are getting strong and we can feel it. Again it’s a beautiful hiking day what with the mild temperature and terrain that is visually stunning and fairly easy; no big prolonged ups. We are just cruising and somehow 40 miles is again mentioned, as a magic number doable by people who have hiked all night before, are badass hikers to begin with and are feeling bulletproof. I believe it was actually JKW’s idea. He’s a bit cra-cra.

I sort of also mention that I believe we could do it and there it is, an idea becomes a plan and is actioned immediately; we are now stopping at the hot springs for a half hour dinner break at probably 7pm, then hiking on through the night to attempt 40 in under 24 hours. Why, you ask? Why not. The reasons why not are many but don’t count right now and are therefore not considered.

There are other great reasons to stay awake – the sky is clear and brilliant, there is a space station crossing the sky just after 4am, and I love hiking at night. Guthooks app warns us of ‘naked, ancient hippies’ at the hot springs and he was spot on. There is also an FDA warning about putting one’s head under the water. Although it looks very tempting we stick to the plan, eating dinner, filling our water and chatting with some other hikers for a bit before moving on, our headlamps at the ready.

Around midnight we walk along the dam wall, over the dam (weird, eerie) and along the road for a bit, past sleeping people, people doing what people do in their houses at midnight. At 4:16 am we are again up above the towns of we think Victorville and Hysperia, and stop to make yet another coffee and watch the space station pass over. I was absolutely fascinated, having never seen it. Three people up there floating around! I also saw a satellite and a couple of shooting stars.

Just on sunrise we came to a cache, complete with water and Cadbury Creme eggs! We signed the book there, the first for today of course! Then it was on towards Silverwood Lake, so gorgeous in the early morning light.

Just past the lake there was a recreation area, where we hit our 40, around 9:30 am. Close by was a toilet and shower block, surrounded by inviting-looking grass begging to be laid upon by sleeping hikers. Happy to oblige I first removed all my wet gear from my pack and draped everything over nearby tree branches before flopping down on my mat and immediately going to sleep.

I was dragged out of my sound sleep by JKW’s voice, telling me we weren’t allowed to stay there and had to leave. “Waaaah?” I said. “You’re not serious?!” Apparently this particular area was off limits to some people some of the time. Being a nosy kinda gal who’d had no sleep and for some as yet undetermined reason had just walked 40 miles in one go, I wanted to know exactly who and why and went to ask the only person I could see, a guy in a work uniform. He explained that the amenities there were just for the workers who maintained the park and surrounds, and directed me to the public campground a half mile away.

Dragging ourselves towards the sounds of energetic people playing volleyball, we found an untenanted dirt field, which we promptly laid down on. As the sun rose higher and hotter it chased us around the field as we moved our mats out of it, only to be woken again, sweating, by the heat. GAAARRR!!!! Right, let’s get out of here, we said! A taxi! I wandered up the road until I had enough service, looked up a taxi company and called them. We agreed to meet at the entrance to the rec area, so walked up there to wait. And wait. And….well, wait. I called back and the driver said yes, he was behind the fire station, like I’d said. Huh? Even Siri couldn’t mistake Silverwood Lake Recreation Area for Behind The Fire Station. Ok well yeah, she could – but a real Live Person? I asked JKW to speak to him, knowing that sometimes my broad Aussie twang is difficult to understand. Alrighty, all sorted now, he’s on his way. Possibly. At some point, maybe in the future. After 40 minutes he called back and a confusing conversation ensued, me only able to hear JKW’s end, who, I might add, has the patience of a saint.

Well, we said, we’re hikers – how about we walk! So off down the road we went, soon coming to the Rangers Station. Wonderful! We said – this gives us an actual address to give the taxi person! But we now have no service. We keep walking until we reach the bottom of the off ramp leading from Highway 138 to Cleghorn Road. Perfect! An intersection! JKW calls a different company and explains we want to be collected from this intersection, and happily we sit down to wait, knowing that within probably under an hour we would be asleep in beds having consumed large amounts of food and ice-cold beverages. Oh, would that were the end of my tale, but alas, no. Nonononono, no, no. The following three hours contained a comedically painful series of calls to and from several different cab companies, JKW even sending a screen shot of the google map of our location, to no avail. We could not be found. Lamenting our fate (to pitch our tents – not a great tragedy but just not our preference right now) we had commenced throwing small rocks onto a big square of concrete to pass the time while we waited, closest to the centre wins. Other hikers came along and joined in, taking the competition very seriously.

This, I believe, will go down in the history books as the Inaugural game of the now-famous Hiker Game, Throwing Shit At Other Shit.

Just when we were considering actually putting our tents up, some dudes in a car slowed down to take a look at us and lo and behold who should it be but Spike!! Oh my goodness! Want a lift? He says. Do we?!. He takes us to Hysperia. We love him. We love you Spike. Comfy beds – check. Food – check. Root beer – check. Sleep – double check.

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Snowflakes That Stay On My Nose…

Up at 6am as planned, we mosey over to La Paws, the Mexican restaurant close by for breakfast, where I had the lightest, fluffiest pancakes in the universe, and lots of coffee. We messaged Beth and Jamieson to see where they were at, but they still had some business to take care of so would be stuck in town a little longer. Just Keep Walking then called a taxi to take us to the trailhead. Dee, who had picked us up twice before, collected us and proceeded to build upon past conversations in which she called into question our sanity in undertaking such an endeavor as the PCT. Dee’s fingernails are fascinating – they are so long they curl, and are painted a hot pink. I willed her phone to ring so I could see how she managed them apples, but to no avail. In this one, strong the Force is not. Dee took us as far as she was allowed to drive, then we walked about two and a half miles to the trail. Happy to be back out, the morning passed quickly. The terrain was beautiful and interesting despite portions being old burn zones – or maybe because of that, and there was no storm in sight. Until.

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Great breakfast!

Descending towards Halcombe Creek the air pressure dropped and so did the temperature. At first it just rained a little, then the snowflakes began floating down like so much confetti. I was delighted. Yeah, snow! I’m getting snowed on! Just walkin’ around, under snow. Do it all the time. The novelty did not wear off until the evening when attempting to pitch my tent quickly – it just couldn’t be done with numb, cold fingers. Also, we had seen not a soul all day until 3 miles before the campsite at the creek a guy passed us, ultimately taking the sheltered spot under the oak tree. Damn!

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Burn zone on the way to Halcombe creek

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Big Bear Lake from above

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You Are Here

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Baaahahahahaaa! Actual snow!

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Yes, yes. Snow. I get it. Real pretty, but cold.

Tents finally up, we took my Jetboil and our ramen over to the unoccupied side of the tree and jumped around – House Of Pain would’ve been great for moral – while our noodles cooked, our attempts to warm up while not get any wetter only moderately successful. We continued to move while eating, then both crawled into our respective shelters while the sleet kept falling. My sleep clothes were thankfully all dry so I changed and commenced the process of ‘warming up’ and ‘sleeping’. By this I basically mean shivering. Brrrrrrrrr.

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Big Bear Lake – Day 21-24 (11-14/5/15)

This morning I woke up to my alarm at 4.30 and was hiking by just after 5, feeling positively sprightly. I jauntily trotted along and blew in to where the others were camped just as they were getting up and out of their tents. Beth and Jamieson and a couple of other hikers were there also and everyone was saying how cold they had been overnight.

I felt great and as I hiked I sang, and beat time with my poles. We were stopped for lunch right on the trail when Beth and Jamieson caught up to us and joined us. The five of us then hiked together towards Big Bear, playing the word game Contact as we walked. When we reached the trailhead there was a big ute (SUV) and a woman about to get into it. I said hello and asked if she happened to be going into town…..hitch, done! JKW, Beth and Jamieson had to lie down in the back, Carol and I sat inside with Cheryl, who was lovely and chatted with us all the way into town, even going via the Post Office for Jamieson to collect a resupply box.

At the Big Bear Hostel we waited patiently for Sarge to complete his spiel to the hikers checking in before us, then it was our turn and we sat in a row as he gave us the run-down and showed us the ropes. Particularly important was to not slam the doors. Carol wanted her own room so Just Keep Walking and I agreed to share bunks. I was a little surprised when the bunks were basically all that could fit in the tiny room, but a bed is a bed, and the room was painted in cool colours with climbing scenes.

Just Keep Walking decided to have a nap while the rest of us drank a few beers outside at the tables. At dinner time we walked next door to eat and provide support to Beth and Jamieson, who had decided to take on the burrito challenge. I’m really enjoying getting to know them better, and their cause is really worthwhile. Project Canoe picks up on youth who are involved with or in danger of being involved with the juvenile justice system in Toronto, and takes them out in the wilds kayaking and other challenging activities. They also provide scaffolding for the young person for another three years. Amazing. Beth and Jamieson are hoping to raise as much as possible. Their site is usandithikes.com.

Words fail to give justice to the debacle that followed, various hikers joining us, eating then moving on but most staying to watch with morbid fascination as five pounds of burrito EACH disappeared into already distended stomachs. The encouragement ranged from loud cheering to quiet murmurings of ‘well…..there’s no shame in just quitting……’
Both Beth and Jamieson, however, are way to stubborn to fork out $18 each when the thing could be had for nix, and – eventually – cleaned their plates.

Back at the ranch Just Keep Walking and I negotiated a schedule for who could occupy our 4 inches of floor space at any given time then went to our respective beds, where I slept like a well-fed baby.

In the morning we all had a myriad of tasks that needed to be done; shopping for resupply, washing, and other assorted chores. In my case, I needed to buy a birthday present for my son and post it, and in order to do that I had to walk to wherever I had to go. We went to a great hiker-friendly cafe for breakfast and close by I noticed a music shop and a Native American gift shop. My chances of finding something I liked for my son just improved immensely! None of the shops opened until 10 or 11, so we returned to the hostel and let Sarge know that we’d be leaving. We had decided to go down to the Mitel 6, which was cheap and had room enough to actually swing a cat if we were that way inclined.

While we waited for check-in at the 6 we walked back to the shops near the cafe, me spending most of my time in the music shop. There, my quest for a gift for my son Sam was of course successfully completed. Still Rob showed up to kindly ferry us to lunch and the supermarket. The rest of the afternoon was spent on resupplying at Vons a supermarket along the lines of Woolies or Coles, and moving to the 6. Then, eating. And sleeping.

Next morning we waved goodbye to Gunner, who had decided to hike on whereas Just Keep Walking and I both wanted two full zero days.

My only tasks for the day are to post Sam’s gift and organise my food. At the Post Office I waited in the queue for an age before being told that they didn’t have the correct customs form there and that I’d have to go to Big Bear City PO. Behind me in the line a woman called to me, saying she’d be happy to take me, as she was going straight past. The kindness of strangers…….her name is Jenny and she has two beautiful pitties in the back of the truck parked in the carpark. Her friend Wenzel was driving. After waiting for me at the second post office Wenzel dropped Jenny and the dogs off at her trailer, then needed to stop to do some shopping for his dinner – happily, I followed him in to pick up a couple of things I hadn’t been able to buy, specifically Carnation Instant Breakfast, vanilla flavour. There are 8 sachets in a box and I use them as a milk substitute for coffee, iced coffee and my granola. room Matt was out doing his thing, so I completely exploded my pack, hung my tent over the pool fence to air out and pulled apart stove, water bladder and anything else that was manky, ready for cleaning. Then I used my sleeping bag stuff sack for emptying onto all the ingredients for the best trail mix ever made, so I could mix it and bag it up. Way too much mindless television was watched, way to late into the night. Then, sleep. On, towards Cajon Pass, tomorrow.

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Day 20 – Mile 236-252.5

Carol did reveille this morning around 6 and we broke camp and set off at 7, aiming for a campground at mile 256. I felt like I had just walked 20 miles, rather than had a day and a half’s rest. Hmmmpf. I had lead in my feet and got slower and slower across the morning. Also, I had had no calories the night before; I had a little food left but nothing I wanted to eat. Ramen. Tortillas. Cheese. Blah.

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When I met up with the others at the creek getting water I let them know I’d be stopping for a bit to eat and rest, and would either catch up with them or meet them at the campsite. Still Rob said he would hang with me and the others set off.
I did feel better once I had some fuel in me and Still Rob and I headed off, keeping the same pace and chatting as we walked. Nevertheless after an hour I needed a rest and sat down on the side of the trail in the shade. Rob got his phone out – Lo and Behold, Reception! Noticing that what I was sitting on was actually deliciously soft duff, I murmured something about needing a nap, laid down and was promptly asleep. When I woke Rob was looking very pleased with himself; he had booked a car and a ride out from mike 250, to see his boys in their lacrosse game.
Mike 250 is where the caged animals are, bears and lions etc. and I had no desire to see them or get particularly close, so when we arrived at that junction where the road meets the trail I gave Rob a hug and said see ya later, then in the darkening light walked straight past the enclosures to my right. At mile 252 I started looking for a decent spot to camp, knowing that I wasn’t going to wring another five miles out of myself. There were no flat spots, the terrain going up from the trail on my right and down on my left, but leaving the trail and bush whacking up the hill I found some flattish spots behind large pines and chose one that was perfect. I pitched my tent, ate more ramen and went to bed just on dark.

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My spot behind a tree

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Day 19

Today we left Whitewater as planned under a sunny sky – no storm in sight. Soon we crossed from the San Gorgonio Wilderness boundary to the San Bernadino Wilderness, and by 10.30 were stopped for morning tea and water at Mission Creek. On the sign there we spotted a Splob sticker, and an UsandItHikes sticker also, which is Beth and Jamieson’s site. Splob is an amazing artist and leaves cartoon commentary in the trail registers. He’s also a really nice guy.
Being a day behind Australia here, at home today is Mothers Day but I have no reception to call my mum or for my kids to call me. First world problem, but I do miss them and would love to just hear their voices. 
I was reminded of Nepal today when the trail crossed what was clearly a landslide on a steep mountainside – the work that goes into maintaining this trail is just amazing and I give my utmost thanks and respect to those that give their time and effort clearing the trail and making it safe.
We set up camp earlier than planned in terms of mileage but late in the day – I pitched my tent and went to bed, too tired to eat. 

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Zero at Whitewater

At sunrise I woke to continuing rain and wind, turned over and went back to sleep. Round 8 JKW’s voice broke through, the operative word being ‘coffee’. The people inside the Rangers Station were making us coffee! Trail magic! Apparently there had been donuts…..long gone now and not relevant to me as I don’t like ’em.

I got up and out and over to the shelter, where other members of the tribe were keeping warm in their bags or drying out gear over rafters and tables. It was freezing and there was lots of talk about what to do with the day; hike on, stay? Still Rob has a time frame to get to his son’s lacrosse game, so may have to hike back to Ziggy and the Bears and take a train from Palm Springs.
I’m writing this from the warm comfort of the Rangers station, where a few of us are sitting at the tables, surrounded by information boards and beautiful photography of the area. There’s also a large table holding a to-scale model of the surrounding mountains, complete with hiking trails. After lunch we take a walk to the river, then return to our table. Now it’s 4pm; the station closes at 5 so we’ll be out in the cold again. JKW got a txt from Honeystick, she says she hiked in the snow near Big Bear and it was awesome. Snow? We will head off in the morning, hopefully with dry gear. Some people inadvertently camped where the sprinklers went off at 1am, so their gear was soaked, regardless of weather.
Sitting in here earlier listening to the Eagles and writing, I suddenly got terribly sad and took myself outside for a wander around, tears streaming down my face. ?? Who knows what the human condition means? It doesn’t matter, it is what it is. I felt sad and now I don’t.
JKW and I went for a walk along the road to see if we could get reception, which we did for about 30 seconds at a time. On our return we took off our shoes, rolled up our pants and paddled around in the cold wading pool, which felt amazing for our poor feet. As other hikers wandered around it caught on and soon there were around ten of us shooshing around in the cold water, chatting. This is how I was introduced to an Aussie guy, Daywalker! Huh, who’d have thunk? When I heard there was an Aussie guy here I became excited, asking if his name was Richard. Richard started following my blog before I left and our last communication was that he was starting the trail on April 27. I joked that he would likely catch up to me, so every time I heard a male Aussie accent I asked that person if they happened to be Richard. This was not he, but it was great to meet a fellow countryman.
Over dinner we discussed the plan and miles for tomorrow, and whether Rob would hike with us or turn back. He thought he could manage one more day, perhaps leaving from mile 250 where the animal cages are. Apparently this is some kind of enclosure where ‘exotic’ animals are caged and used for movies. 

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Day 17 – mile 208 to mile 218.5, Whitewater Preserve

It’s 11.30 pm and I’m unsure whether I’ve been asleep yet. Possible….I did finally warm up; lying here despairing that I’d ever feel warm again, nek minute – toasty! Anyway I had to get up to relieve myself of the huge mocha I drank before going to bed and on turning my headlamp on, to fix my tent. We are expecting thunderstorms but have experienced this wind for the past day, it’s just building in intensity. Tent fixed, more rocks strategically placed, I am back inside in my bag hoping that the tent will hold if the weather worsens. Gunner and Still Rob are camped down here with me and a couple others; JKW is cowboy camped up in the shelter amongst all the picnic tables.
If the tent doesn’t hold I’ll go and sleep in the toilet block – it’s really warm in there! We stopped at Ziggy and The Bears for hours today, chatting and resting and eating pizza and knowing that we had only 10 or so miles to walk to Whitewater, where we wanted to hunker down for the storm. The sign informing us we were at Ziggy and The Bears’ was a fixed to a little gum tree, there in the desert. I nearly cried. We hugged, the tree and I. 
Most of the hikers we spoke with said that coming down from Fuller Ridge was the worst day yet. Carol – not Gunner, another Carol – had black eyes from falling over. Beth and Single-Malt were there and a few others we knew. Departing Ziggy’s the ascent through the windmills was brutal, but as always I made up time on the descents, almost running down the switchbacks. We are now in section C. The last 5 miles was just beautiful, through rolling hills then down, down into the canyon, ending with a meander along the canyon floor – white sand, white rocks – and over the stream to the old trout farm and Rangers station that is Whitewater  Preserve. On the way in we met Second Lunch hiking out to do another 10 before the storm.This Trail makes you work like a motherfucker for Everything; Everything is worth it. 

Oh, here comes the rain. My feet hurt like hell tonight walking in, particularly the left heel. JKW has taped it up for me, this is how it is – we all look out for each other. Ha I didn’t tell him about the time I kicked my mum and gave her a black eye ( accidentally ) when she touched my feet. Thankfully he remained unscathed. Two weeks down and we’re all lucky in terms of our feet, some people’s feet are just mashed. We met Lighfoot yesterday, who with her husband will be stopping her hike to become a trail angel for the season, because her feet are so bad and just keep getting worse. Wow the wind is fierce now…. I hope there’s thunder soon. 

I haven’t yet explained why Still Rob is Still Rob, when he was initially Dragon. He is such a clean freak that we were teasing him about changing his trail name to Mr Clean, but he is so nonchalant he just said oh you guys choose, I don’t care…..so we began calling him Still Rob because no trail name stuck.

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