Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lost Weight

What's the longest you've gone without looking in the mirror? A day? Two? I hadn't really looked into the mirror for weeks until last night upon getting into Truckee. Sure I've glanced to make sure my hair looked ok, or to see how ridiculous my beard looks. This time I realized how much weight I've lost and how skinny I've become. This caused me to proceed to step on a scale and find out that I've lost at least 15 lbs, and that was with a full stomach after dinner. Thing about it is, I feel better than I've felt in a long time. Not much muscle on upper body, not a shred of fat, but feel superb everyday.

To correct this possibly weight problem, I'm taking a zero day here at a trail angel's house in Truckee. After taking a shower as soon as I got here, there was a huge dinner waiting for us. There are 6 hikers here, and we had a feast of SALMON!!!, Ribs, steak, chicken, stir-fry, Corn on the Cob, and Potato Chips. Wow. Today I'm taking the day off for an egg/pancake/coffee breakfast, TONS of little debbie junk foods, bagels with cream cheese, fruit salad, and another amazing dinner I'm sure. CALORIES is the name of the game before I get out and possibly hike all 40 miles into the next town of Sierra City in one day.


A day off in Truckee staying at a sweet cabin on Lake Donner means recreation and relaxation. There are boats, canoes, and kayaks here that we are free to use. I'm hoping to score a bike and ride into Truckee, but not sure if the guy here only has fancy road bikes, which I don't want to be responsible for ruining. At the very least, I plan on getting in a kayak, paddling to the park on the opposite shore, and loafing for hours. Oh yea, there will definitely be some swimming thrown in there too.

The miles, the smoke

I have been flying the past few days due to many reasons. Well, not really flying, but the 25+ mi days have felt really fast because I haven't been allowing myself many breaks. Reason being there is smoke everywhere destroying the views, and there are mosquitoes everywhere there isn't wind making sitting still a lesson in patience.

The views? Well, when not clouded in smoke, they have been of some funky, metamorphic/volcanic (where is geologist Steve Taylor when you need him?) rocks, unlike any I've ever seen before. Lots of really cool, craggy spires...covered in green lichen, and crumble under the touch. Luckily most of the excessive water hundreds of miles south is gone, but not the mosquitoes. Still, I'm not crossing over 20 streams each day via logs/rocks, wading thru waist deep water, or dancing around too many muddy bogs. It's really really really nice to be hiking on dry land again. Really nice.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Finally online again

Amazing that I was able to go a month without signing onto the internet. I"m not sure that this has happened since back in grade school, but I'm proud.

So so so so much has happened since then, obviously.


First the melodrama: my camera fell into a creek. Not just any creek, but a crik 6 days into the High Sierra. My memory card was in there. I have no pictures of the High Sierra at all. And the High Sierra is by far the most beautiful area I have ever been to. Screw the Grand Canyon, the wilderness of Maine, the balds of North Carolina. That hurts, but what can I do? Practice nonattachment.


Anways, I saw more desert since we last spoke. I went through the typically horrendous stretch of Mojave Desert where people see temps soar over 100 degrees, while walking over the concrete LA Aqueduct, but I was underclouds with a terrifying thunderstorm threatening. The storm never came, but the clouds never failed to amaze us. We took an absurd amount of photographs of these clouds, naturally I can't post any of them since I'm not technologically advanced enough, nor do I have the necessary connections (the real reason).

I got to the High Sierra....carried 10 days of food to go 10 days without seeing a road. Saw no other people out there in the wilderness except for other thru-hiking friends, with the exception of tons of people hiking up Mt Whitney. Yes, I can now brag that I've climbed the tallest mountain in the lower 48. It's a pretty hard climb too, especially when you haven't climbed over 10,000 feet in the past 4 years. I was out of breath constantly, but the views were spectacular, the snow fun to climb over, and the ice creepy to slide around on.

The Infamous Passes

On day 4 or so, we entered the world of infamous passes. I was hiking with friends Sarong and Wasa (dunno real names really, but from Philly and Santa Cruz, respectavily), and we approaches Forrester Pass. I've been reading for months how terrifying the Passes were, and now it was great to see what they were actually like. Once I got 2 miles before the 'V' in the ridge that was Forrester Pass, the trail completely dissapeared under the snow. Out the maps came. Out the ice axe came. It was like hiking in Antarctica out there. Really fun to make up my own route according to the map, and just go cross country to get there. Once I climbed up the steep mountian wall to get to the pass, I could see a staggering view of the alpine lakes on the other side. Going down the mountain from the pass is equally as fun as climbing since I just sat on my butt, and slid down the thing. MUCH MUCH faster than going up.

After about 5 days of hiking in persistant snow, I got sick of snow. There are suncups. I hate hiking on sloped suncups, sliding all over the place. Scraped up shins and legs from postholing in the snow. Snow is water in disguise, and when it melts, it covers the trail downhill in a giant stream. There is water everywhere making it really tricky to decide what is the trail, what is a stream, and what is both. But, it's all so worth it for the views of the mountains in snow. Yes, I want my cake and I want to eat it too.


After 10 days away from civilization, I went a few miles off trail to Vermillion Valley Resort. Here I picked up some food that Ma shipped me, and took a day and a half off to relax my body. Beer was drank. Tomalie Pie was eaten. Jokes were made. Beer was drank.


After going north from VVR, north through Tuolomne Meadows, it may be safe to say that the trail is drying out a bit. There is still surpsingly snow at elevations as low as 8,000 ft. There are no more waist-deep creek fords though, from what I can tell. Now there are actually conveniently placed rocks to hop across instead of making crazy leaps across crazy things to find away across a water source.

However, there was a storm the other day. A storm creepy enough to have me consider going back down the mountain to safer elevations. There was hail. There were the strongest winds I've felt yet out here. Incredibly exposed, but apparently I lived. We got to the top of the pass and thought that the worst of the clouds were passing us. When we wrapped around the mountain 2 miles later, we saw more coming from a different direction. Well, we nearly sprinted, with numb hands and feet, down to the road. I hadn't planned on going into town, but the town of Bridgeport, 30 miles away, offered a dry motel room, food, beer, and most cream. Sweetfish and I got a ride into town by a Mom and her curious daughter. We both had pizza and a burger. I had a teriyaki burger. Later ate an entire cake and pint of Haagan Daaz ice cream. Showered for the first time in 2 weeks or so. Cleaned up some terribly torn up and infected legs and feet. Now I feel much better.

And I hitch hiked alone from Tuolomne Meadows down to Yosemite Valley. The valley was phenomenal itself, but the place is a zoo and a shopping mall. Sadly I'm still holding a grudge for the fact that there was an Ansel Adams 'Gallery'. Not a gallery at all, but really just a store selling his prints in disguise. Ansel would have been disgusted.

I'll be getting online more frequently now....