Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May 29th - Of sidewinder canyons, desert rats, and humming birds

Sunday, May 27th was "sidewinder canyon day".  The trail snaked up and down and around the hills and canyons with very step exposed edges.  The narrow trail hugged the side and I met a few memorial weekend hikers and we had to pass sideways on the narrow trail while avoiding falling into the canyon.  At camp I scored some tuna and fresh water from the weekend hikers.  It was 25 miles and my feet are paying for it.  I didn't want to use the cache water on the top of the mountain to camp with because I know they have to carry it a mile up hill each week so I hiked on to make it 25 mile day.   Besides it was too early and the sun to hot to camp on the top.  So it was another 11 miles to water. 

Monday, May 28th,  Grasshopper and Desert Rat day.  As I hiked through open range the grasshoppers scattered like waves in the ocean in front of me.   And there were dozens of what looked like small rats darting into thousands of holes.  Hiked past eagle Rock and talked with a group of 7 girls and one guy horse back riding.  At the road crossing near Warner Spring I stopped into the community center for water.  Met the woman and her daughter working there and scored a Pepsi and five homemade cookies - but it cost me two hours of fun conversation. Saw a deer in the middle of the trail just starring at me but he ran when I tried to take a picture.  Stopped early to soak my feet in a stream by my camp for the night.  I was listening to my mp3 player while soaking in the stream and it fell in the water.  Fortunately it's still working after a long bake in the sun.  Happy Memorial Day.

From Tuesday, May 29th:
Remote and desolate rocky sandstone with few signs of people to be seen. Saw my first humming bird. The trails wrap around the sides of the mountain and your foot is always at an angle and I now have heal blisters. But the views are all worth it.

Not much water here. Mile 124

Sunday, May 27, 2012

toxic waste dump?

Here's an older picture from back at mile 91 off my camera.  This section of California desert is littered with old plastic containers contaminated with Oxidane, more commonly known as dihydrogen monoxide, a universal solvent as well as a biological lubricant and coolant.  And I'm very thankful to those Trail Angels who did this!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

May 26th - The Wind, Mile 77

Wow, what an amazing two days. Yesterday the winds were so strong I
had to walk sideways on the trail to walk in a straight line. Trail is
high on the ridge-line with steep drop offs. Took a side trail to Garnet
Peak in 50 mile wind gusts. Hairy but great views. Saw the smoke
plume from the fire in the distance. Took a while to find a high camp
where I could set up my tent in this wind. Camping spot on my map was too
windy for a tent. Was going to sleep cowboy style sheltered between some
boulders but it started to rain. Found a dry spot in a cave formed by
the boulders but it was a wind tunnel. Finally found a safer spot to
pitch tent and spent a noisy night in the wind and a little rain. Hey, just like the
whites! Also saw my first deer today.

Today was cold in the morning and it stayed windy all day but the sun was out and the
views were great. Met 'Tuna Helper' who is trying to break the speed
record for the PCT and signed his witness log. Passed some locals that
where shooting rifles very close to the trail. Scary hiking by them.
Woke up a bee hive trying to get water from a fire tank but luckily no
stings. Then I hiked on into the fire zone where I saw many fire
fighters still walking around in large groups. I had talked with a border patrol ranger
at a dirt road crossing and he said the fire was under control but I still
felt like I was entering an active fire area.  Everything was blackened.

Camp tonight is windy again. The tent is taking a beating. I smell like smoke now from walking through the fire zone. Some might say its an improvement.

Friday, May 25, 2012

May 25th - Todays view

Todays view, mile 47 in high winds.

May 25th - Mile 46 and the first rattlesnake sighting

Started my PCT hike at 6am after watching the sunrise from the border with Mexico.  Lots of wild flowers, bunnies, and lizards everywhere.  Pretty trail so far.  Lots of border patrol but no other hikers.  The afternoon of my first day I pissed off my first rattlesnake, scared the poop out of me, and enjoyed an hour rest on the rocks looking over a lake. Then in camp I yogied my first beer. Not bad for my first day on the trail. Yesterday was the day of the snakes. Saw at least five different kinds. Fortunately no rattlers this time. Met my first and only hiker, a thu-hiker,named Chuck. Great views so far and lots of flowers. But the flies are bad until today. High winds but no flies. Just got word that the PCT is closed at Scissors Crossing due to fires. Hope it opens before I get there. Enough typing on this silly cell phone for today. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 22 - San Diego

Back from an excellent adventure in Germany and currently in San Diego. Ready to start the PCT first thing in the morning. Excited!!! ~PapaSmurf

Thursday, May 3, 2012

May 3 - Packing for Germany

Packing for Germany.  My last day in New Hampshire.  Next up three weeks in Germany then on to the start of the Pacific Crest Trail on May 23rd.