Thursday, June 26, 2008

sunrise on Day 69 June 26, 2008

Hiking early, 3.5 miles to Sonora Pass, warm night. Saw Gordon and Nimblewill Nomad at the Pass. Caught a ride down to Bridgeport with this great couple going fishing and found a cafe for breakfast (where we ran into the couple again) and when we finished with our Cheddar and Bacon Omelette.........we found out that the couple had paid for our breakfast! Wow! Went to the laundrymat, cleaned clothes, then to the PO and mailed home some more stuff that we don't need. Then this man (Steve) comes into the PO and says that he takes hikers to his house if we need anything! Well.......I couldn't tell you how much I wanted a shower! So, we followed him home (like puppy dogs!) and we are here now with Mollie and she made us brownies (after we weighed ourselves......and I'm 110.5 and Neighbor is 187...yikes!!) and wow, we are clean and feeling GREAT! I love this town and it's only .5 mile long, so we don't have to walk far at all! Now, we'll go to the little store, buy some food for the next 75 miles to Echo Lake and get ourselves back up to Sonora Pass and back on the trail.........headed North! Thank you so much Steve and Mollie......people like you are amazing and make our trip what it is.

Barren trail, but nice views!

Day 68 June 25, 2008

Mosquitos were awake before us! Skipped the cereal and just got moving! Still easy walking, gotta love the terrain change! Passed Dorothy Lake (picture to the left) Hiked 20 miles by 2pm and only saw Cliff Clavin all day long. Felt good at 3pm, so we kept going, but it brought us up to this barren, treeless landscape with drops on all sides and no where to camp! Finally, we found a beautiful spot just below this bowl of snow that looked like a mini Tuckerman's Ravine! Slept on the Tyvek with no tent (no bugs up here) The stars were amazing! Wow, what a great day and we didn't have to use any DEET! Funny how 1 day makes all the difference!

Day 67 June 24, 2008

Lots of ups and downs today. Down into a canyon, cross a raging "creek" and then climb back up the other side, then do it all over again and again and again. Oh and the air is still filled with smoke and now the mosquitos are out in full force. Creek crossings were a little rough today, 2 of them were up to my waist and had some force behind them. And the whole time, the mosquitos are in full attack mode. Fun stuff. I know I was thinking, "why am I here?" thoughts today. I live 5 min drive from 3 major stores that sell lots of food and I'm here?! Crazy! Eventually I just hiked with the headnet on. Came very close to just crashing through one creek (instead of taking the shoes and socks off) because I was covered in mosquitos, but in the end, just pulled out the 29% DEET that we bought in Tuolomne meadows! Hiked 22 miles and put up the tent and jumped inside in the end! Only saw Cliff Clavin today (another thru-hiker) Only 30 miles from Sonora Pass. Filled out some postcards, but forgot to mail them, so I'm carrying them for the next 75 miles!

Day 66 June 23, 2008

Hiking by 7am - easy walking, couple of creek crossings that I thought were going to be tricky were no problem!! (Cathedral Peak in the distance in the photo to the left) The air is filled with smoke, you can see it and smell it and it makes us wonder if we are walking straight into a wild fire that we don't know about yet....rather unsettling. Had to cross a small creek today that I thought I could just throw my sneakers across (instead of strapping them to my pack for the short crossing) well......the first one made it to the other side, and then it bounced off the banking and into the river........and downstream it started to float, so I had to jump into the river and grab my now soaking wet shoe. Ugh. I won't be doing that ever again. Hiked about 23 miles today.

Yosemite National Park!

Day 65 June 22, 2008

Caught a ride down to "The Valley" with Kentucky Graybeard's wife (it was an hour and 30 min drive!!) Then we played tourist for the day! Saw Yosemite Falls (walked up to the lower falls) Took some great pictures of the falls and Half Dome and walked around a bit. Some hikers were going up Half Dome, but we'll save that 16 mile hike for some other day! Hitched back to Crane Flat and were about to stick out our thumbs to get back up to Tuolome Meadows, when who comes around the corner but Gordon in the Van with Nimblewill Nomad!! Yes! What a great day! Camped behind the store with Gordon again and will be back on the trail in the morning, we are ready to hike!!!!

Heading down to Tuolomne Meadows

Day 64 June 21, 2008

3.5 miles to the pass were a breeze! We were at the top of Donahue Pass by 8am! (view from Donahue Pass to the left) While the snow was still hard for once! No slipping and sliding around for us this morning!! Nothing steep or scary either, pretty mellow pass. Then the trail flattened out and meandered along a river/creek for the next .....oh 12 miles?! All the way to Tuloumne Meadows! Picked up a care package from Priscilla (homeade cookies, freeze dried meals, jolly ranchers, spices, tootsie pops! yummm) And a box that we mailed there to ourselves with extra stuff. Then we raided the store! ice cream, yogurt, soda, donuts, chips, you name it............we ate it! :) Then the sky darkend and the strangest thing rained! Wow, only the 2nd rain in 64 days! No complaints here! We took refuge in the store (which had a canvas roof that nearly blew off) Camped behind the store with Gordon and some people are talking about going down into the "valley" tomorrow (I've never been to Yosemite National would be nice to see since we are sooo close)

Thousand Island Lake

Day 63 June 20, 2008

Slept great, cereal for breakfast, then took a side trail to the Devil's Postpile (picture to the left) (interesting geographical feature). Then the PCT and the JMT split for the next 14 miles, so we stayed on the PCT (we can always come back and hike what we missed of the JMT some other time) Passed by Thousand Islands Lake. Saw 3 deer today. Feels good to be rid of the ice axe (I nearly speared myself on that thing a few times while packing up in the morning!!) Found a great camp spot just across a creek, Chief came along later and camped with us. Seeing more and more JMT hikers now, which is great because there are more footprints over the snowy passes! 17.6 miles to Tuolomne Meadows and only 3.5 in the morning to Donahue Pass!

The rest of our day in Mammoth Lakes

We went back to Von's for some lunch and then caught the bus back up to Red's Meadow, skipped the second steak dinner at Whiskey Creek. Camped with Nomad and Sunny at the campground and checked out the hot spring showers! Back to the trail in the morning!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

somewhere in the Sierras

Day 62 June 19, 2008

Good night's sleep at the campground $9 for all 3 of us! Went to breakfast, then packed up the tent and left our stuff at the outfitter in town (so we don't have to carry the packs all over town, looking like the homeless people that we are!!) Went to Von's, bought a pint of Ben and Jerry's for the "early lunch" and now we are back here at the library! Thinking of going back to Whiskey Creek tonight for the $9.95 steak! I had a filet mignon last night with asparagus........oh my, that was just some amazing food! I will have the same thing tonight! And then we'll head back up to Red's meadow and be back on the PCT. My sister fixed the "comments" section on this blog, so anyone can say hello now, (just be nice) :) Thanks Chels! The Chief is uploading more pictures to his site right now and all I can say is, WOW! He has almost captured what our eyes have seen! You never know when he's snapping the pictures! Oh and he and Neighbor had a Lakers vs the Celtics bet going......looks like the Chief lost......that might cost him! Chances are before this hike is over, the Chief will be wearing a GREEN MOHAWK! Ha ha! Never bet against the Celtics! :) Oh, another thing I wanted to mention, the chickadees out here.....they don't say chick-a-dee-dee-dee. They say Cheese-burger! If that isn't annoying! ha ha! Ok, way over the 1 hour time limit at this library (but they have like 20 computers!) and the stomach is telling me, it's time to go! So, that's all for now!

Day 62 June 19, 2008

Good night's sleep at the campground $9 for all 3 of us! Went to breakfast, then packed up the tent and left our stuff at the outfitter in town (so we don't have to carry the packs all over town, looking like the homeless people that we are!!) Went to Von's, bought a pint of Ben and Jerry's for the "early lunch" and now we are back here at the library! Thinking of going back to Whiskey Creek tonight for the $9.95 steak! I had filet mignon last night with asparagus........oh my, that was just some amazing food! I will have the same thing tonight!

Day 61 June 18, 2008

Happy anniversary guys!

Got up and started hiking early, withing 20 feet from where we camped was a river crossing, sooo, after getting all packed up, shoes on and off we go........then it's take off the shoes, put on the crocs, roll up the pants, cross the river, sit down, dry the feet, socks back on, shoes back on, crocs on pack and away we go! 11.5 miles of easy walking to Red's Meadow. Met the Chief there (who saw a big bear on the way) and then we caught the bus down to Mammoth Mtn. Ski area and then caught a ride to town. Got a campsite for the night, then found the laundry mat, picked up some food, updated blog, showered, wandered around town, heard about $9.95 meals at Whiskey Creek (good steakhouse in town) and went there for dinner (yummm) Crashed at the campsite for the night.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

day 60 June 17, 2008

We got to sleep in! Had breakfast at VVR (I had a breakfast sandwich, 2 pancakes and Tazo tea and thought of Karin at work, hi Karin!!) and then caught the big boat back across the lake and started hiking around 1030. Crossed Mono Creek 3 times, the first was the strongest and the last was the most beautiful water crossing ever! We basically crossed the river in the middle of a waterfall! Just beautiful. Hiked up and over Silver Pass (the pass with the least amount of snow yet) And then past a bunch of lakes and hiked until almost 8pm and got in about 20 miles which is pretty good considering we didn't start until 1030! One lake we passed, we had to cross the outlet of water and there were stone steps to walk over, but the water was up over the steps and it seemed like an optical illusion, the water was sooo still and clear that you felt like you were going to step on the rock........but it was really atleast 6 inches under water! Almost like the rocks were under glass!

Day 59 June 16, 2008

Hiked 8 miles to VVR ( a campground with food!) We took a "ferry" across the lake (the ferry was actually a boat that had to be smaller than my dad's fishing boat!!) and stayed the night at the campground. The owner (Jim) was just coming back from the store in town (over an hour's drive away) and was resupplying the store with goodies! We just sat outside and watched him bring in box after box of food, waited a few minutes and then went in and bought something else to eat! The store has a scale outside and when we got there, it said I weighed 112 and Neighbor 183........we thought.........oh, no! But then someone said the scale was 4 pounds off. So, I'm down to 116 and Neighbor to 187. We made sure to eat lots! Had a cheeseburger and fries when we got there and the waitress was just putting the movie "Into the Wild" on, so I sat in the restaurant for the next 2 hours and watched the whole thing. Good movie. We managed to fix the belt on my pants that broke a few days back, so I'm back to pants that fit!

View from Selden Pass

notice the little marmot type thing in the bottom of the picture taking in the view!! he was just too cute!

View from Selden Pass

notice the little marmot type thing in the bottom of the picture taking in the view!! he was just too cute!

Day 58 June 15, 2008

My parent's surprise 25th anniversary party today.......Thinking of you guys all day long!
Up early and within 2 miles, we were to Evolution Creek crossing (where both Neighbor and I stripped down to our underware to cross the creek) Not too bad and not too chilly thank goodness! Saw a big brown bear today, neighbor saw it standing up scratching it's back on a tree! Climbed over Selden Pass (easiest pass) Felt great today (lots of good camping on the south side of Selden) Not too much snow on the south side too! (but some on the north) Had to cross Bear creek at 5:30pm (I don't like big river crossings) and neighbor came back across the river to get my pack and then guided me across and I am SOOO glad he did, I probably would have been swimming in that one. It wasn't a pretty site.

North side of Muir Pass

Neighbor in his element, (route finding)

Chickety going up Muir Pass

Neighbor and Chickety at Muir hut

Day 57 June 14, 2008

Chief slept cowboy last night with his headnet on! Funny guy! Hiking by 6am and headed to Muir pass. Saw a small black bear on his way to get water, he just stopped (like he was camoflagued) as I walked by and snapped a pretty lame picture. Muir pass was pretty snow filled, had trouble finding the trail, soon we were slipping and sliding our way up to the pass. There is a hut at the top of the pass, and it's very cool (I'll add a picture soon) We passed one lone hiker (hiking the JMT) today. (We only saw 1 hiker in 2 days) If you get in between the groups of hikers, you really do feel isolated in these big mountains. Had to cross over a few snowbridges today with rushing water underneith, just holding my breath hoping that they don't break as I walk over!!! Came to this view of Evolution Valley today and wow, isn't it just like a postcard?! Camped near Mclure ranger station and the mosquitos were out in full force (we wore our headnets!!!)

One of the Palisade lakes!

Day 56 June 13, 2008

Hiking by 0620 and downhill to a raging "creek" crossing! Brrrr, at 7am, dipping into that frigid water was the last thing I wanted to do! But we made it across and let our legs get feeling back into them and went along our merry way to Mather Pass. Nice walking, lots of snow covered streams (like the one in the picture) you just never know how long the snow is going to hold while you are walking over them!!! EEEeeeek! Up the steep pass we climbed and walked alongside some beautiful lakes (Palisade Lakes) and rivers for miles. Every corner you came around was a new beautiful view, sometimes it seems fake it is just so beautiful. In the end, we hiked close to 20 miles and camped next to the Le Conte Canyon ranger station (closed) and the mosquitos were out for the first time on the trip!! I don't think they were biting, just flying around, but they were out!!!

Day 55 June 12, 2008

Beautiful walking this morning, the sun and the reflections on the lakes were amazing. One tricky river crossing with fast rushing water with 2 narrow downed trees (covered in ice) to cross my heart beating fast! The next crossing was more rushing water where we just took our shoes off and then decided to change into shorts and try that for something new. (should have put on sunscreen..) Then we crossed the river again, but on a big swinging suspension bridge! Up and over Pinchot Pass, made it to the top of that pass by 3:15pm and thank goodness the other side wasn't as snowy as this side, cause we'd be sinking in snow up to our hips all afternoon!!! Camped up high with an amazing view of massive mountains all around us! What a place to be!

Day 54 June 11, 2008

Walked to the bakery for breakfast (man, I love that place!) Then caught the 7am bus from Bishop back 42 miles to Independence and then hitched for close to 2 hours and finally got a ride back to the trail! A nice guy named Brian gave 4 of us and packs a ride up the big hill! Thanks again Brian, hope the car is still hanging in there for you!! The hike up kearsarge pass wasn't as bad as we thought it was going to be and we motored right along....powered by cinnamon sticky buns from the bakery!! We made our way over Glen Pass (had to use the ice axes) and then down to Rae Lakes where we camped for the night. I have no idea where this picture was taken, it just looked pretty!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Day 53 June 10, 2008

We got to sleep in! Then we went to this amazing Bakery in town! Schatt's! Wow! Then we went to Vons to buy food for the next 96 miles to Vermilion Valley Resort. Light food is all we were thinking! Cause we have to hike back up Kearsarge pass in the morning with it all! We went through our packs and will be sending home more stuff that we haven't been using to lighten up even more. I'm sending home my headlamp! I'm getting desperate here! LIGHTEN UP! We were even thinking of buying a tarpten (we are carrying the Hubba Hubba) and as great as it is (easy to set up, free's heavy) But between the 2 of us, we have 6 tents and don't need to accumulate any more gear! Oh, big thanks to Stinkyfeet for the Sierrasummitssunblock! I've been putting that on my hands twice a day (and I'm still getting sunblisters.......but without it, I'd be in big trouble) Chief wears his winter gloves during the day to keep the sun off his hands and might have to resort to that if things get too bad. So, we are out of Sequoia National Park and into Kings Canyon National Park. 790 miles north of Mexico and will be at VVR in another 6 days time! Internet there is $45 per, I won't be e-mailing! :) The internet I used at Kennedy Meadows was charged with a solar panel! Amazing the technology you can find on the trail!

Day 52 June 9, 2008

Up early and headed to town! Oh the food we have been dreaming about! STEAK! Basically, meat and ice cream fill our minds all day long! We were hiking by 0530 on a side trail (off the PCT) to town. Hiking up and over Kearsarge Pass was beautiful, but it was a bit more downhill than we expected........since we have to hike back up it on our return to the PCT with fully loaded packs. Anyway, Gordon was in the trailhead parking lot and he gave us a ride to Independece where we picked up our 2 boxes at the PO and then 3 letters that had been forwarded from Wrightwood!!! (one from my sister, one from gram and grampa Kingsbury and one from Grammy Peg!!) Always a nice suprise! Then we caught a ride to Bishop (40 miles away) with a nice couple going to buy some hay in their huge pick-up truck. Once in Bishop, we found a motel and showered and did laundry and then put a hurting on the all you can eat Sizzler salad buffett! YEAH! Nice town, good outfitter, good times!! Denny's for dinner with Thrust and Pacman.

Neighbor and Chief on the trail

Bullfrog Lake with East Vidette in back

Day 51 June 8, 2008

Up early and heading for Forester Pass (highest point on the PCT at 13,180 ft) before the snow gets all soft and slippery. We were only 5 miles away, but had to actually FIND the pass! The trail is covered in snow, so it's basically a "pull out the map and go" type of hiking. Well, we found it alright and made it to the top by 9:30am and the views were just breath-taking. Just the 3 of us, again! Taking it all in. There was a significant amount of snow on the northern side, so we pulled out the ice axes and made our way down safely. The snow started getting soft around 1130 and luckily we had found (bushwacked/snow-whacked) our way to the trail below treeline by 1230. Only about 1/2 hour of post-holing. Once below treeline, following the trail was easy and we made good time to Bullfrog Lakes trail (which would take us to Kearsarge Pass we could hitch into town for more food) Camped past Bullfrog Lake with Thrust and Pacman and had the most beautiful campspot ever!!

Day 51 June 8, 2008

Neighbor sitting at Forester Pass.

Chief crossing the chute at Forester Pass!!

I figure you didn't want to see either Neighbor or I in this scary picture, but we also crossed the same chute! :)

video from Bighorn Plateau area

Just click on the little arrow and it should play. Sorry if I moved the camera too fast and make you all motion sick!

Day 50 06-07-08

Didn't sleep so great inside the stone hut at 14,495 feet! The wind howled all night long and the lightening rods on the roof were shaking like mad! I kept thinking........please, please, don't let us wake up to a snow storm or something crazy like that!!!! But it was a beautiful morning, Neighbor went out for sunrise.......I was waaay too warm in my sleeping bag for that view! He took a few beautiful pictures and then we packed up and geared up and braved the cold! A few more summit photos and a few last glimpses of the amazing views that we had ALL to ourselves and then we started down the mountain at 0645am! There were quite a few PCT hikers making their way up to the summit and they looked at us and said, "what time did you start up this morning?!" ha-ha! Back down to Guitar Lake, we retrieved our stashed stuff (the marmots are crazy and will steal anything, so we had to hide it well) and made our way back to the PCT. (Mt. Whitney isn't on the PCT, it's a 17 mile side trip and worth every step!!) We crossed the Bighorn Plateau and had more amazing views and had to ford a couple easy creeks, and then camped by Lydall Creek for the night. Forester Pass tomorrow! What a great couple of days for the eyes!

sunset from the summit of Mt. Whitney!

Sunset was amazing! The Chief took tons of photos and uploaded them last night. check his pictures out!

sunset on Mt. Whitney!

Day 49 Fri June 6, 2008

Ahhh, what a day! Today was supposed to be an easy 10 or 12 mile day to Guitar lake, so we leisurely made our way there, stopping at Crabtree Meadows, hanging out, relaxing, washing our feet, etc. Then we hiked up to Guitar Lake and the Chief said.......I think I'm going to go up to the summit now and sleep on top! What?! Crazy man! It was 2pm and I looked at Neighbor and we said, hey, why not?! So, we took everything we didn't need for the night out of our packs and hid them between some boulders (like everything! I even took out my toothbrush to lighten my pack!!) And at 2:30, we started up Mt. Whitney! The views were just amazing, this one above is just a sample of the sights we saw! We started passing people who were making their way down (and for once WE were the silly hikers going up the mountain late in the day!!) ha ha! Anyway, we huffed and puffed and made our way to the summit for 5:45. There really wasn't that much snow on the way up, we carried the ice axes but never pulled them off our packs, the couple of snowfields were hardpack with deep footprints to follow, so we never felt unsafe at any point. We 3 (Neighbor, Chief and I) were the only ones on the top! What a great feeling! It was very cold and windy though, so we took a bunch of pictures then went inside the stone hut on the top (which MIGHT fit 4 people) and pulled out our warm gear and suited up! We cooked dinner inside and then waited for sunset...........

Monday, June 9, 2008

Day 49 Fri June 6, 2008

So, today was supposed to be an easy 12 mile day

Day 48 Thurs June 5, 2008

Brrr, what a chilly night! Should have put the extra pair of wool socks on this night! When we dared to crawl out of our sleeping bags at 0630 it had warmed up to a steamy 26 degrees! Frost on the sleeping bags, frozen camelback hoses, and a wet tent! We waited for the sun to hit the area we were in and dried out all our gear and then finally got hiking around 0720. I usually get a good headstart on Neighbor and the Chief, I enjoy the warm-up time, leisure pace and rising sunshine. Not too many big climbs today, hiked over Cottonwood Pass at 11,000 feet and then we could see Mt. Whitney for the first time! Doesn't look to be a crazy amount of snow either! Views are getting expansive and amazing! We hit our 17 mile mark, but because the going was so easy, we pushed on and hiked almost 24 miles this day! (mileage usually drops in the Sierras due to elevation, terrain, snow, etc) Hiking the extra mileage today will make an easier day to Guitar Lake tomorrow (then Mt. Whitney the next day). Camped with Sauerkraut by a nice little stream. Turkey tetrazini Mtn. house meal for dinner with Idaho instant potatoes! Yummm! Also, love the Kona cola Nuun! It tastes just like flat soda and that is a luxury on the trail (even though neither of us even drink soda at home!!) It sure tastes yummy out here!

Day 47 Wed. June 4, 2008

Chilly morning, didn't get hiking until almost 7am. Had a little Carnation Instant breakfast to get us going (yeah, right!!) Hiked up to 10,000 feet (from 8,600 where we slept) and as we were all quietly walking along the trail, I looked up and saw a HUGE brown bear coming down the trail right towards us! I let out a little eeeeek and then Neighbor started yelling, BEAR, BEAR, BEAR! And off it ran! It must have been 350 - 400 pounds of flesh! Thank goodness it ran! But it never even saw or smelled us until it was pretty close! Too bad I didn't have the camera out at the time! Wow! After all that excitement.....up we still climbed, through a few patches of snow, higher and higher, not sure if it was the elevation, the 7 days of food in my pack or what, but the uphills were killing me today. Took a nice break overlooking the valley below and a dried up salty lake. Reached our intended goal of 17 miles around 4:30pm and called it quits......unfortunately we were at 10,500 feet and it was going to be a chilly night, that's for sure. Camped with Argentina, Laces, Cliff and Chief near a water stop. Ate a Mtn. House dinner of Lasagna and then some alfredo dinner. Eating all double dinners through the Sierras......and 5 bars a day and breakfasts (carnation and some granola)

Day 46 June 3, 2008

Well, I forgot some of my guidebook pages inside of the Kennedy Meadows we had to hang around until they opened up at 9am before we could head into the Sierras! Atleast we were able to buy a muffin for the trail!! :) Pretty easy walking, the chaparral wasn't quite behind us yet, we were still walking in the 4 inches of beach sand for quite a few miles. Not sure if I mentioned the forest fire that we were about to head into, but there was yes, another fire in our hiking future (the Clover fire...they name their forest fires out here) Anyway, it was about 5-6 miles from Kennedy Meadows and as we got closer, you could smell the smoke and a helicopter kept going over our heads hauling a waterbag.......kinda eeeery! We passed a sign that said, "trail closed, federal offense to pass this point" or something to that effect.....but we were told it was okay to, onward we hiked! Then we came to a fire crew along the trail taking a lunch break and they were fine with us being there. They just had one guy at the begining of the fire area and another at the end and as long as we checked in with both fire guys........we were out of the danger area and all was well! I will attatch a picture of the fire in a bit. Interesting stuff! Then we came to Beck Meadow (this HUGE green meadow, open space and a big ole mountain in the distance.........welcome to the Sierras!) yeah! Crossed the South Fork of the Kern river (on a bridge!!) and hiked a few more miles before we camped for the night. 16.4 miles into the Sierras....officially! We camped near The NewZealanders, Fireman, Sundown, Laces and Chief. The packs feel VERY heavy with the bear cannisters and ice axes and 7 days worth of food..........ugh.

Day 46 June 3, 2008

Monday, June 2, 2008

one more thing

I mailed the blog updates from Mojave to Lake Isabella to my sister a few days ago (she should be getting them soon) and she will update when she has a chance, so the missing week is in the mail. I threw some pictures up today, so it should all go together. we come!!!

Guessing 7 days from here to Kearsarge Pass (including a day to summit Mt. Whitney...if the weather is nice) Then we'll come back up Kearsarge pass and hike north from there, but I'll try to find computer access in either Independence or Bishop around June 10th or so.


Day 45 Mon June 2

The Chief's b-day! We were up early and excited to get to the famous Kennedy Meadows! We gave Chief a birthday card (one we found in the PO in Mojave.......but it's the thought that counts!!) It sang Happy birthday to him! Then we hit the trail, 5 miles to the General Store where there is laundry, showers, ice cream and all of our boxes of "stuff". We were there by 7am! Took the picture to the left on the short road walk to the store. The place was full of excited hikers! When the store opened at 9am, we picked up our ice axes, new shoes, our bear cannisters full of food for the next 7 days and some more resupply stuff we had sent. We got right to work and figured out if we had enough food, bought some more and filled the cannisters full, tried on the new shoes (montrail hardrocks, but they are owned by a different company now.......we'll see if they hold up as good as the last pairs we had) I had to go up one size due to feet swelling! We ate a pint (each) of Ben n' Jerry's and got our computer time in! Now it is 7pm (what a long day) and we just had our fill of a spaghetti dinner that the store put on for the hikers. We'll be going to bed soon, excited about tomorrow! But now I have to go back and make sure the bear cannister is going to fit in my pack! (minor details!!) Hi to Kevin Rooney who lives nearby and tried to meet up with us around Walker Pass 2 days ago, sounds like you only missed us by a little bit, which is amazing considering how long a trail it is! Thanks for thinking of us! Ok, that's it for now, next update will be around June 10th when we hike out of the Sierras to resupply in Independence or Bishop (cause we heard the store in Independence has closed)

Day 44 Sun June 1

What a great sunrise and nice morning walk we had! 3 miles of ridge walking and then like 5 downhill, we hiked 8 miles by 8am! Easy hiking that is for sure! Stopped by the Fox Mill Spring, filled up on our water for the rest of the day and kept on walking (basic theme here.......walking) Walked through an old burn area with lots of purple lupine and small yellow flowers blooming and came around a corner and WOW, the Sierras! We could see them! Snow covered and just waiting for us to get there! Yeah, feel the excitement! Walked down to a stream and it was 3pm and we'd hiked 21 miles, so we rested there for a bit, washed the feet/legs (still very dirty hiking, dusty and dirty trail) and then we pushed on a few more miles for a good ole 25 mile day. We could see smoke in the distance (but not too far distance) from some sort of fire today. Noticed I have a few sunblisters coming back on my hands.....time to use more sunscreen. To bed by 7:20, a good day and tomorrow will be even better!

Day 43 Sat May 31

Said goodbye to Meadow Ed and the crew and back on the trail we went by 0650. Uphill we climbed.......maybe the extra food we bought wasn't such a good idea afterall?! Ate lunch with Samuri (she hikes about 500 miles of the PCT per year and her hike is done in 2 days for this year) Met a new couple on the trail from England (no trail names yet) Warm day hiking....or maybe it was the extra weight! When we reached the spring, we rinsed our feet, legs, arms, basically everything! Neighbor practically did a full laundry wash there! But it felt good! Saw 2 horny toads relaxing in the sun, smack in the middle of the trail, I stepped right over them and never saw them until Neighbor yelled, Hey, did you see these toads?! I went back and took a picture (see above) don't they look like they are kissing?! Stopped hiking just before 6pm on top of a ridge. Mac n' cheese for dinner.

Day 42 Fri May 30

Up early and hiking by 0530! Beautiful morning and close to the road, we saw a sign that said "Pancakes".......say no more, we are there! We walked down to Walker Pass Campground and found Meadow Ed and Meadow Mary with fruit, pancakes and the works (see picture to the left...that was the set up)! We each had a pancake and then set out for the road to hitch into Lake Isabella. Roadside, within 10 min a nice lady with a large drooling dog named Goliath pulled over in her Solara! So, Neighbor, Chief and I jumped in! I got to sit next to Goliath and he seemed to like the salt on my pants........during the 40 min car ride, he managed to lick most of it off.......yummmmmy. Anyway, we made it to Lake Isabella and quickly found the Kern Motel and decided not to stay the night there and headed for the famous milkshake diner! That was worth the trip! Oh my gosh! Over 100 different varities of milkshake.......ahhhhh! Neighbor and the Chief got Cookies and Cream/pistachio/something else and I got a chocolate/peanut butter/resees pieces! Wow! Then I got an omellette and the guys got Bacon cheeseburgers! Only when hiking can I eat like this and I love it! I'm still dreaming of that milkshake! Afther that, we waddled over to Vons (supermarket) and resupplied for the 51 miles of hiking to Kennedy Meadows (2 days and 1 morning of hiking) Then we caught a bus to Onyx for $1 and then caught a ride with 2 dirtbikers back up to Walker Pass, the funny thing is .......they know Stinky and Chris! Really small world! So, back at the campground for the night Meadow Ed was cooking up some steaks and salad which we gladly took part in and then we crashed for the night, bellies full! (after apple pie) :)

Day 41 Thurs May 29

Cold night but an amazing amount of stars. Another day of easy walking. Someone said the large snow covered mountain in the distance is Mt. Whitney! We saw more mountain lion tracks today (the locals call them pumas). Saw Laces and Lucky on the trail and that was it for hikers. Camped at McIvers spring with Chief, Vizor and Super (same crew as last night.) Hiked about 20 miles today by 4pm. The talk of the evening was all about going into Lake Isabella tomorrow morning! The famous milkshake place is going to be busy when we show up! Then its only 51 miles (2 days + 1 morning) of hiking to Kennedy Meadows. We are going to carry lots of food and eat good! Since we are used to carrying 5 days of food, 2 1/2 days will be nothing- so we'll carry extra! We are at miles 644.1 and feeling good- our bodies are finally in hiking shape!

Day 40 Wed May 28

Woke to damp sleeping bags and tent fly again. Cold morning, wool hat and gloves to start the day. Feeling low on energy, both Neighbor and I had to tighten our waist belts recently, so we know we're starting to lose weight. On the AT we both wore elastic waist shorts, so it wasn't a big deal, but now we're wearing nylon khaki pants and they are feeling loose. Hiking in the pine trees, large boulders everywhere, expansive views, its just wonderful. Made it to a road where people left water in jugs for hikers (called a water cache) by noon and that was 14 miles for the day. Dried out our gear there and devoured PB & pita for lunch. Walked another 8 miles after lunch. Warm afternoon, I even rolled up my pant legs and let the breeze blow on my skin. Heard many chirping bugs in the bushes- sounded like people snapping their fingers. Ate a meal that Pilgrim sent us "curry in a hurry"- that rocks! We might have to order a few of those online! Good stuff- then I made another interesting jumble of food in a pot meal and we finished dinner off with a tootsie roll pop. 28 miles to the next town- we were going to go into Onyx, but everyone keeps saying that Lake Isabella is the place to go. A store there has the best milkshakes on the trail, so Lake Isabella it just might have to be! Oh- we saw a big mountain to the north today, covered in snow! Its got to be in the Sierras!

Day 39 Tues May 27

My Mom's birthday- happy birthday Mom! We slept until 6am! Considering we went to bed at 6pm...that was a good nights sleep. Easy walking today, only 4 or 5 miles to the spring. Our tent and sleeping bags were damp, so we dried them out at the spring. Met a man who works for the wind farm and he told us how 1 windmill puts out 400 kilowatts of electricity per hour and the average house only uses around 200 kilowatts per month. Thats impressive, these are some windy mountains and we walked past hundreds of windmills today. The next water was 19 miles from the spring, so that was our destination for the day. The scenery is changing, more pine trees, less cacti, glacial valley below, mountains seem more impressive...I like it! Walked through a herd of cow, they stop grazing as we walk by and just stare. I move quickly through them. I know cows don't "charge" but they are big animals and I'm not hanging around! The sun came back today-ahh-feel the warmth. And yes I put on my sunscreen! I use celazome and I buy it from Michelle at She's great :) We made it to Robin bird spring by 6pm (mile 602.2). 7 others here, which is amazing considering we didn't see any other hikers today! Cooked up one interesting dinner- all in one pot was Annie's shells and cheese, some sundried tomatoes, a package of spring vegetable organic ramen, peas, carrots, corn, onions (from Just Tomatoes) and a foil package of sweet and spicy tuna! Tasty!

Day 38 Mon May 26

Up early and caught our 0630 ride. We asked someone yesterday to give us a ride to the trail, otherwise we might have been hitching all day long! Get us out of Mojave! Cold back on the trail, clouds flying by and drizzling, brrr. We got moving fast to stay warm. Chief, Wasa, Neighbor and I hiking together. We crossed Highway 58 (for those of you following our progress on the Triple A map) and climbed uphill. We realized that once we get above 6,000 feet, we won't come back down for another 700 miles! Great view back into the desert. We heard a few explosions from the military base below and joked that it was a meth lab blowing up! No water for 26 miles. So our packs are heavy and we have a full resupply of food, so we called it quits after 22 miles, only 4pm but it felt good to stop early. Cooked a chicken and rice dinner and crawled into our sleeping bags.

Day 37 Sun May 25

We forgot to get fuel yesterday and by the time we remembered, the Napa store was closed, so we had to wait until they opened today at 9am. We usually use denatured alcohol for the stove, but when that isn't available, we use HEET (antifreeze). So we walked to Napa, then looked towards the mountains we were headed for and noticed the big dark scary clouds and decided to stay in town for another night. Then we decided to try to "slackpack" the next 8 miles in between roads (leave most of your gear in the room and just hike with light packs). So, we tried hitching out of town for 30 min and gave up, most of the people driving by were from out of town and probably didn't even know about the PCT and the rest were from town and I wouldn't have wanted a ride from them! So, we went to the grocery store instead and bought some food for lunch, went back to the room and actually relaxed! Watched the Weather Channel and watched the big dark scary clouds get scarier and scarier! Cheese pizza and rootbeer floats for dinner. Oh and I've learned something new over the past few weeks- what tweekers are. I've never even heard the term before, but now I'm surrounded by it. For those who don't know- tweekers are the meth addicts and a few areas we've hiked through are full of them. Chels called our room! I had called her earlier but she was flying home from San Diego- so when she got the message she called our room back...what a great surprise!

Day 36 Sat May 24

Hiking by 0530, 13 miles to Mojave, putting on the wet shoes wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. It was a cold morning, I had 5 layers on top (all the top layers I'm carrying) and my wool hat and nice wet gloves. Up, up, up we climbed, into the snowy mountains, the wind was so cold, but we soon warmed up and took a few layers off. A dirtbiker was playing around in the snow last night and made an absolute mess of the trail. We were now walking in 4-5 inches of snow mixed with mud and once the sun started warming things up- yuck! We were able to walk alongside the trail on top of the snow without falling through for awhile, but eventually things softened up and snow kept going in our shoes! We made it back down to 4,000 feet and to the road (where everything was dry and snow free) and caught a ride into Mojave and right to the post office. Picked up 2 letters (one from the fam and one from Gram and Papa) and 2 care packages! One care package from Pilgrim who wanted to spice things up for us with "curry in a hurry", some thai meals, asian noodles and trail mix and Lindt chocolate (which never actually makes it to the trail because we eat it so quickly!) Thanks again Pilgrim!! I love the surprise of a care package and you just never know what you'll find inside. The other care package from Priscilla with what she says are homemade cookies (but they are the same ones she mailed last time and tried to pass off as homemade, so I'm not so sure if they are store bought or really homemade!) Either way- we loved them! Thanks! Some lipton side meals, instant potatoes and spices which are staples out here for us. A small bar of soap which I'm sure was a joke, but it'll come in handy, so I'm going to carry it. A familiar looking deodorant from Christen, which I know was a joke and I'm not carrying! Thanks for the thought. And many other snacks and treats that we will eat over the next 94 miles to Onyx. Anyway- then we walked the 1 mile to Motel 6 and being Memorial Day weekend and a Saturday, we thought we'd be paying tons of money for a room, but it was very reasonable and we quickly moved in and spread out all our wet gear. (the tent, fly, groundsheet, sleeping bags, packs) basically everything we were carrying was either wet or damp. Then we showered, went to the library and checked email/updated blog as much as possible, and picked up some bars (cliff, powerbar, nature valley, luna, odwalla, etc) per day. So the next stretch to Onyx is 94 miles (roughly 4 1/2 days of walking) so we needed 32 bars between the both of us. Then Chief and Wasa showed up at the motel and we all went out (across the street) for spaghetti and meatballs.

Day 35 Fri May 23

Good night sleep- our first time sleeping "cowboy" on the trip (no tent, just on the sleeping pad, in your sleeping bag). I woke and saw the moon rising over a city in the distance. Up and hiking by 0615, lots of flat mile ahead of us this day. Many clouds in the distance hovering around some mountains we were to climb later. Met up with "The Brothers" (Brit, Water Buffalo and Chunks) and before started to sprinkle! Wow- our first rain the whole trip! We put on our trusty precips and away we went. The sprinkles turned into rain, ummm, yuck and with no rainpack covers, our packs soon were a bit heavier than we really wanted. Everyone said, "Oh, it never rains in the desert, and if it does, its only for an hour- then the sun comes out again." Well, the rain turned into HAIL and then thunder! This is not what we expected for the Mojave Desert, that is for sure! Wet shoes, wet packs, wet everything! Yuck! We kept hiking and came upon a couple hikers who had started a small fire to stay warm by! Yeah- Neighbor, Chief, Wasa and I all huddled around and it felt great! The hail stopped and the sky started to brighten, so we decided to make a run for it- another 3 miles to a spot where we could camp. The trail was so waterlogged at this point, rocks started sliding down the trail, eek! The hail started up again and then the thunder- so we got to the canyon- we set up the tents and climbed in to get warm. Only 3pm, but we were at 4,000 ft and had 13 miles to go until we got to the road to Mojave and the trail goes up above 6,000 ft and we didn't want to mess around with the cold winds, hail, and being soaked and have to camp in the snow. Cooked 2 meals for dinner and went to bed by 6pm!