Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Well, Ashland is great, we decided to take another rest day (because yesterday was anything but rest!!) I really need a new pair of trail runners, and I had to track down a pair (which was trickier than it sounds!!) So, I just ordered a pair through Zappos (their last pair in wide in my size!) And we'll be back on the trail first thing in the morning! Giving the feet a rest never hurts, both of us have had a couple blisters and rubbing spots and small cracks in our feet lately, so we're taking care of the little piggies! :) Grabbed lunch at the great food Co-op here in town yesterday and both of us bought a new pair of socks. (some of our socks have holes in them and you just keep moving the big toe hole to the other foot and rotating through!!) Time for a new pair of socks! I had to get new baskets on my trekking poles back in Shasta City (some gear is starting to wear out) But over 1,000 miles of walking does that to you (and the gear!!) So, resting today and walking tomorrow! We hope to be done with Oregon (432 more miles) in about 20 days and into Washington we go! Homeward bound in no time! Starting to miss the simple things of home (I am anyway!!) But this is a great experience and we are seeing a beautiful part of the country and loving every minute of it! :)
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Happy birthday Grampa Jim!
Up early before the workers at Callahans (the place burnt down a couple years ago and is being re-built) showed up, caught a ride into Ashland, had breakfast at the Wild Goose, booked a room for the night at Knights Inn, went to Albertson's and bought a TON of food for the rest of Oregon (basically) and mailed it ahead (because the next 4 stops are at SMALL resort type places that you can't really buy 4 days worth of food at) It was exhausting, but we did it all before noon! Caught the bus to downtown Ashland, bought an amazing lunch at the Co-op (what a great co-op) and bought a pair of socks (looking for new shoes for me now) and updated the blog! Ahhhh, how busy we are! :)
Welcome to OREGON! Yeah! Hiked about 8 miles and hit the Oregon border! What a great feeling to have made it through California (minus the 233 miles due to fire closures)
Nearly started a stampede of cattle this morning when we left camp and the cows went running and crapping all over the place, what a smell! And the smell stuck with me beause I stepped in some of it!
The trail is georgeous, you go from fields of wildflowers (full of bees) to big shady pine trees covered in bright green moss, just beautiful walking and easy!! Hot day, quite a few springs along the trail, but one stretch was water-free and we were so thirsty and then....we came to, not 1 but 2 coolers along the trail FULL of soda and beer! Wow! We drank (cherry pepsi) and felt great and revived! Then decided to just motor the remaining miles to Callahan's Lodge! We got there around 8pm and it was 37 miles for the day (and we still felt pretty good!!) I picked up a package from Gram and papa (mints and stamps and bars....and seashells?!) Thanks!!! Then we showered, did laundry, put up the tent in the front yard and called it a night!
Up around 5am, yogurt and powdered donuts for breakfast, then 8 miles of uphill! Lots of poison oak on the climb, but I steered clear! We can almost see blue sky again and it's great! Hiked 15.1 miles by noon (PB and Jelly on Oregon Trail bread!!) The trail is beautiful as you can see in this picture, flat, meandering, big pine trees, scenic and very "almost to Oregon" like! Camped near a spring and as we were cooking dinner, we heard something like chimes........well, it turned out to be a herd of free-range cattle and they stuck around ALL night! You could hear their bells and they got uncomfortably close once! Eeeeeeeek!
Didn't hike at all today, it was Saturday and we had to be at the Post Office for when it opened at 12-1:30! We had packages to pick up! (we hoped) And they were there! LOTS of packages! We got our bounce box that we missed last round, homeade cookies from Grammy and papa, A package from Frodo!! A box of food and stuff from Priscilla, a letter from Grammy and Grampa Kingsbury! Wow, goodies galore! And Neighbor got his new pair of shoes, it was like Christmas! Had breakfast at the Cafe (the town of Siead Valley is basically an RV Park, a PO, a small store and a cafe....the last 3 all in the same building!!) The breakfast at the cafe was amazing, huge and cheap!! Gotta love it! We got all our packages, mailed some stuff out, relaxed and hung out with nothing else to do!!!
My cousin Sarah's b-day!! Up around 5am, cheerios for breakfast, climbed up a little saddle and saw the most beautiful full moon setting with the pink/purple sunlight of the sunrise coming up! Wow, I must have taken 10 pictures of this one sight! I hope atleast one comes out decent!! Then the smoke line in the valley, amazing what a distinct line it makes, like undercast in the mountains, in a weird way, it was beautiful! Further up the trail, we had to hike over a huge patch of snow and then we saw a massive volcano in the distance and never did quite figure out what mountain that was. Down to Etna summit (a road) and we could see mounds of kids and backpacks in the parking lot! A group of 130 kids were going out backpacking at 1pm! yeah for them! Atleast 1 girl going uphill asked me..."when do we go downhill?" ha-ha! Little did they know........it wouldn't be for a loooong time for them!! Caught a ride with Sam to town (the driver of the horse trailer that brought all their gear up to the trailhead) Once in town, I picked up a letter at the PO from gram and grampa Kingsbury and a package of Lindt chocolate and some Slim-fast bars from Gram and papa!!! Then we got ourselves into the Old fashion soda fountain store and I got a rootbeer float and Neighbor got some Espresso chip ice cream! Good stuff! Then we found out that some of the same church group that was going hiking were going to be driving right through Seiad Valley in 2 hours!!! We caught a ride with them around the 55.8 miles of trail that we had to miss due to another fire and were in Seiad Valley by 6pm! Grabbed a spot in the RV park, took a shower and did some laundry! What a day!
2 bowls of cereal for breakfast! Because we've hiked so many miles, we have lots of snacks for the next 2 days! More easy miles! Saw Billygoat today hiking southbound and he says that he's seen 38 thru-hikers heading north and out of all of them, I am the 4th female. Wow, what odds. Hiked over 2 "summits" today which were actually gaps (like in VT) and not summits at all, just highpoints in the road. Still pretty smoky out on the trail. Lots of honey bees too, I had 3 of them ON ME at once today! They are almost like flies! Chilly and breezy campspot in a saddle. Only 20 more miles to Etna (where there is an old fashion soda fountain!!)
Basically, we all have blisters on our feet now, due to the hot temps, just something else to deal with. After lunch both Neighbor and I were sleepwalking, the trail was so flat and easy and it was so warm out, we nearly fell asleep walking! Ended up hiking 31 miles by the end of the day, made it to a spring and called it quits, 5 of us camped smack on the trail! Good thing not too many people night hike around here!
Skipped the cereal this morning until we reached a spring some 5 miles away. Beautiful trailside spring with cold flowing water (there have been lots of springs lately, it's great to just fill'r up right into the bottle!!)
Castle Crags in the picture.
Packed up and caught a bus to Dunsmuir in the morning, the bus driver dropped us off on a lonely road and said, the trail is 1 mile that way and pointed to the right.....okay. So, we start walking....and then we come to the interstate! Yep, we had to walk Southbound on the side of the interstate for 1/2 a mile! He forgot to mention that part of the deal! Anyway, we finally found the trail and headed north! Walking through a beautiful section of the PCT. Castle Crags. I saw a rattlesnake! It startled me and even rattled! Yeah! Finally! Hiked all day and called it quits around 6pm, camped on the Trinity-Shasta Divide with JZ, Thrust, Antfarm and Swiffer. Neighbor has been singing Johnny Cash for weeks now, "This ring of Fire" it's in all of our heads!!!
Well, what a suprise, after I left the internet cafe and went back to Chad's. M&M and Pootz come walking in! They happened to be driving by Shasta City when my e-mail went through and dropped in for a visit! (and they helped us resupply for the next stretch out of their bear cannister!!) Here is a picture of us with Mt. Shasta in the background (a bit smoky...but there) Then we found out that the trail from Etna to Seiad Valley was closed due to more fires. So, that is another 55.8 miles of trail that we have to skip. Yikes, we are up to 233 miles in California total. No fun. Camped in Chad and Jennifer's backyard a second night, grilled some pizza for dinner and had a great time in Shasta City.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Slept great in the backyard, up early and went to the laudrymat. I only had my long johns to wear (everything else is dirty and has to be washed!!) So, luckily it was cool out! Then to Rite Aid where I bought some more Technu because I don't think we are out of the poison oak section quite yet! And then here to this internet cafe, where I've been for the past 1.5 hours updating this blog!!! I'll be heading back to Chad's soon and package up some stuff that I haven't been using and I'll be mailing it home! Still lightening up the pack! We'll stay in town tonight and head back out on the trail in the morning. 99 miles to Etna, so that will take us 4 days. So, we should be there by Friday evening or Sat morning! If anyone mails us any packages, can you e-mail one of us as to where you mailed it to. We have a few packages floating around in the post office world right now that we can't seem to locate! One of them has a bunch of our good dehydrated meals in it too! Ok, computer time running out, must save and log off! Less than 200 miles left in California! We can almost taste Oregon and it feels great!!!
Happy birthday to Aunt Azelle! Had a nice little campspot down at the Ay-din-ah campground. Someone's car alarm went off in the middle of the night, we were thinking it might have been to scare a bear away. I was up and walking the .6 back to the trail by 0540 and I saw a small bear cross the road! Lots of uphill today, but I felt great! The miles came easy and we were walking over 3mph for most of the day! Saw another bear digging away at a tree for food, tried to take a picture, but it's pretty dark (I might attatch it here) Tons of poison oak again. Had lunch on a dirt road called Girard Ridge and then only had 10 miles to the road to town! We were not really planning on getting to town until tomorrow, but with only 10 miles........real food calls us! Supposedly the remainder of the hike was downhill to the road, but there were lots of little uphills thrown in the meandering route to the road. Sometimes I just want to go straight down the hill instead of wandering all over the place like this trail does! Ahhhhh! Super close to Mt. Shasta now, but it's so hazy out, my pictures look awful. We can see another volcanic mountain off in the distance, Black Butte if I remember correctly is the name of it. Passed by a trail crew (ha ha- they should go about 60 miles south!!) Got to the road and the crew was there too. 8 of us! Luckily Slider met a mlan named Chad on the trail and Chad offered to give us a ride to town! Not sure if he knew there would be 8 of us! But Chad showed up with his van and all 8 of us and packs and poles piled in! On the way to town, Chad offered us his backyard to camp in! Nice and the best part (besides a free place to stay and shower) is that he lives right in town! We don't have to walk far at all! We all went to the Billygoat Tavern for dinner (delicious pub food) and then to the store Ray's for some ice cream for desert, then back to Chad's to crash for the night!!
Up and hiking by 0547, the sunrise was a beauty as we climbed uphill. Had to cross over some snow right on the trail at 6,000 feet today, that was a surprise! Tons of prickily bushes on the trail today, our shins are taking a beating, all scraped up from the bushes on the trail. Ate lunch at what we thought was Deer Creek, but it was actually the next creek we came to. Hiking with a LARGE group of people. Lucky, Milky, JB and Gadget all jumped around the fires and now there are a ton of us together. Started seeing tons of poison oak on the trail today. I'm carrying Technu (the poison oak wash) so I wash my arms and legs down every night with that stuff and it sets my mind at ease. Also saw some Lilies on the trail today....July 12th lillies! Both Neighbor and I have started hiking in short and t-shirt. It's just too darn hot for pants and long sleeves out here. Hiked down to Ash camp and met Dave who was kind enough to give us a soda and cold yogurt! Yummmmm, thanks Dave, that tasted great! 94 degrees and we were by a river, so we rinsed our feet, legs and shirts off. Decided to hike on a couple miles and then walked .6 down to a real campground (where we had a water spigot and picnic table for the night) So, Neighbor, Thrust and I camped there while the others either stayed at the river or pushed on a bit. We are too big of a group to camp all together.
Hiking by 0620, ate grapes for breakfast, feeling pretty good today, must have been the food from town! Came apon a baby bird that must have fallen from it's nest today, it was a HUGE baby bird, not quite sure what kind of bird, but it wasn't looking too good......I guess that's nature for you though. Trail today was 100% overgrown with bushes and trees and we felt like we were bushwacking for part of the day, crazy! The book says this section is "crawling with poison oak" but I really haven't seen any yet....Impressive views of Mt. Shasta but it is smoky or hazy in the distance. Camped by a water source and the book mentioned a campsite.....well, maybe for 1 person! We managed to fit 11 people (9 tents) in this small area. Some were camped directly on the trail!
Up and hiking by 0530, saw Mt. Shasta in the sunrise light in the distance, how beautiful! Came to a water pipe with a hole in it and washed up a bit in the water spurting out of the thing! Got to the road to Burney around 0830 and hitched into town. Cars were flying by, but we got a ride after about 30 min. Went to Safeway and bought a sandwich, some strawberries and we split a half gallon of Newman's lemonade! Yummm! Bought some more food for the next stretch and then caught a ride out of town. Hiked the remaining 7 miles to Burney Falls State Park and man was it HOT. Wow, this heat just zaps all the energy out of you. Went over to the State park and got an ice cream at the store and decided to camp there for the night with a bunch of other hikers. Showers were $1 for 10 minutes! Yeah did that feel GREAT! We washed our shirts in the sink with some soap and were feeling as good as new again!
This is how DUSTY it is! We were covered in this dust!!
Up early at the Heitman's, then they started cooking breakfast! Scrambled eggs, sausage, cinnamon raisin pancakes, OJ! Yummmm! Then we got a ride to the trail and started hiking at 0830. I was carrying 2.5 Liters of water because the section up ahead was going to be HOT and DRY. We hiked 7 miles by 1030 or so and came to a family with a spread of food on a picnic table! Jessie said "dig in"! We had cold grapes, steak and chips, what a great suprise! Thanks guys! Hope you had a great rest of your vacation! Continued up to Hat Creek Rim and wow was it HOT. I felt like a slug this day, a dirty smelly slug! No shade anywhere, just kept moving. There was supposedly a water cache at road 22 and by the time I got there, I was soo low on water I was sipping and saving the remaining water that I did have........thank goodness there was water there for us! What a saviour that was. We had another 12.6 miles before the next water and I would have been miserable without that cache. The whole crew drank some water and then moved on the ridge. Neighbor and I decided that we should get as far off that ridge and as close to the next water as possible because it was just soo hot, so we (and Thrust) hiked until 9:40pm (past dark) and then gave up. We tried to wash down as much as possible before getting in the tent, but we were filthy. What a day. We were dirtier and hotter than many places in the desert today, who would have known??!
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Had an amazing dinner of chicken, broccoli, salad, rice, potatoes, corn on the cob and get this.....homemade baklava! (hope I spelled that right) Delicious! Wow! Camped out in the yard, lots of hikers here. It's now 7am and we had some Cheerios and are going back to the trail soon, the sun is up and it's going to be a hot one, word is there is a 30 mile waterless stretch coming up. But there are water caches (like back in the desert).
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Woke up early, ate some Cheerios and headed up the trail! Uphill right away, but the rest of the day was basically 22 miles of downhill! Very easy walking, but very dry and hot and DUSTY! Around 11:30, we had hiked about 15 miles (and were only hiking 24 for the day) but water was nowhere to be found! Our mouths were dry and we read that the next water source was another 4 miles away..........so on we went. It was so dusty that you can not hike too close to the person in front of you because of the cloud of dust! Crazy, like the desert all over again. Got to that river and drank up and cleaned our legs/feet off. Felt great. That was at 2pm and I realized that the Post Office in Old Station closes at 4:30 and Chels had mailed us a package there! Yeah!!! Only 4.3 miles to go and we were there by 3:15! Got our letter and bars...Thanks Chels and George!! Grabbed an ice cream sandwich at the store and a Dr. Pepper........and a 25 cent bag of popcorn (like at the movies!!) Then Thrust called the Heitman's (trail angels that let you stay at their house nearby) We were picked up in 3 minutes! 7 of us and backpacks crammed into the caravan and here we are right now at their house! I can smell the chicken on the BBQ and saw some corn on the cob being shucked earlier! I'm not sure WHY we bought food in Chester, because we've had amazing dinners the past 2 nights in a row! It sure is fun to carry the food..........Oh, we saw a 4H group going up the trail today all on horseback, that was pretty cool! Well, going to finish up here because dinner is almost ready! We'll camp on the lawn here tonight and be back on the trail in the morning!! Oh and there are some hikers from last year here cooking up a storm! Wounded Knee is one of them and we both know Numtum/ultrabrite from different trails (small world it is!!)
Had a great time at the Deluxe Continental breakfast!!! Waffles, cereal, english muffins, boiled eggs, loved it! Then we ran over to the Post Office to get our box (with all of our maps, trail info, food that we had forwarded from South Lake Tahoe).............well, it NEVER made it there! So, we wasted all day hanging out yesterday for nothing! Ahhhhhhh. I ran to the store, bought some food, packed it up and Mark (the Best Western manager) came and picked us all up and brought us to the trail. We were hiking by 0845. Easy walking, but really dusty and dry. By noon, we had hiked about 10 miles, so we only had 8.5 left for the afternoon! Saw a side trail for "Terminal Geyser" and I'd never seen a geyser before, so we all hiked the .02 down to the stinky, smelly, boiling and steaming hole in the ground. Sulfur stink! But it was cool, then we saw 5 deer and passed "Boiling Lake" (which was actually a green sulfur lake) and then we could see Drakesbad Ranch down in the valley! We stopped in the parking lot, cleaned our legs off, then made our way to the ranch (where they are SUPER hiker friendly) As soon as we got there, they took our dirty clothes, gave us clean stuff to put on, gave us a shower, let us go in the hot springs pool and then we got to purchase dinner at the child's rate of $10 (which is an amazing deal for this place) We had spring mix salad, roasted turkey, sweet potatoes, green beans and my favorite....cranberry sauce!! Then raspberry and chocolate ice cream for desert!! We were in heaven! Wow! What an amazing place that was! Walked 1/4 mile down the road to a campground and camped for the night with full bellies!!!!
Monday, July 7, 2008
Slept great! Up at 0530, over here at the Best Western using their internet access because I can! They have a Deluxe Continental breakfast that is starting up in......on 2 minutes, so we are here and ready, I think they even have a waffle maker! I know they have tables and chairs and it looks fancy! We stayed at the hotel next door, but have access to everything here at Best Western! Can't beat that! Ok, Breakfast, then the PO at 0730 and then a ride to the trail and we are Northward bound. The terrain is different 138.2 miles north, more volcanic mountains, big trees, and flat walking! Hopefully we can make up some miles and we'll be out of California in about 400 miles! Wow! Really feels like we are getting somewhere now.............even if it did involve a ride up here! Have a great Monday........it's waffle time! :) The picture I just attatched is of us yesterday.......hanging around on our little patch of grass in Chester! Fun times!
Had a good night's sleep inside a house! Woke up to Wasa cooking up a storm! He is quite the chef, he made gingerbread (I got the recipe it was so good!) Homemade biscuits, this egg souffle type of thing with zuchinni and all sorts of veggies in it and Carol made fruit salad! What a great morning! Wasa and Carol traded recipes like baseball cards and then we packed up and Chris gave us a ride up to Chester (which was quite the drive) Along the way, we saw road fire detour signs and more smoke. We dropped Wasa at the trail (cause he was ready to go) and ran into Ash, Roscoe, and Just Ben. Then Chris brought us to town and gave us the tour, we even checked out this ball field where it looked like it might be a nice place to camp for the evening! Thank you for everything Chris and Carol. Then we went to the supermarket (this was around 11am) and found a nice patch of shady grass to sit on for the next...........oh........5 hours! Slider, Thrust, Graybeard, JZ, Antfarm and Swiffer rolled in around 2pm, so there were a bunch of us........just hanging out and taking turns buying stuff in the store. Around 5pm, Slider and Graybeard went to check out the ballfield and found "no camping, no loitering" type of signs...........uh oh. Then.....Mark drove up and said, "are you guys PCT hikers? and do you need a ride to the trail?" Why......yes we are, and yes we will! We asked if he had somewhere we could camp for the night and he told us that he was the manager of the Best Western just down the street! Perrrrfect! There were 8 of us and we really didn't want to dish out tons of cash for a quick one night stay (we had already checked in town motel prices and they were PRICEY) So, Mark called up the hotel next to the Best Western (he manages that one too!) And struck us up a deal that we could not refuse! (and we had no where else to go at this point!) So, we all walked down there, got 2 rooms for the 8 of us and took showers and grabbed dinner at the Copper Kettle and then went back and went to BED! What a day! We were basically wasting the time until the PO opens at 0730 on Monday morning for our packages (maps, food, etc)
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Happy birthday Chels!! We were up early and hiked the 3.5 miles in no time, caught a ride into Sierra City within minutes and found where the hikers were in town minutes after that! 2 nice ladies had rented out an apartment above a restaurant in town (view of town from apt above) and were letting hikers stay with them! We showered, did laundry and were eating breakfast all by 9am! I called Chels (her b-day) and Gram Peg (to have her NOT mail out a package of ours) and made some muffins for breakfast. The hikers were coming in and figuring things out (the next 138.2 miles of trail are basically closed due to forest fires) So, most are hitching rides up to Chester and continuing north on the PCT, a few are walking random roads to get to Chester so they can say that they did walk from Mexico to Canada....we are already missing those 39 miles back in Idyllwild, so we'll just add these miles to the missed section and keep going north on the trail that is open. Around 4pm, we decided that instead of hanging out in this town, we would head to/try to get to Chester (pretty far by car from here), so we made a sign and stuck out our thumbs and smiled :) Our first ride was to Barretts in the back of a pickup with 2 people going biking (we were with the bikes, picture of Buttes that we'll missing hiking near in picture above), our second ride was to Graeagle with a nice couple that wasn't even going there, but went out of their way for us (thank you again Micheal, Pamela and Pippin (the pup))! As we were walking out of the festival traffic of Graeagle, a young lady on her way to Quincy drove by and picked us up! Wow, we were rolling now! She left us in Quincy (where there was a massive 4th of July 4 day music festival going on) 6pm now, we were starting to think about where we were going to spend the night when Carol and Chris walked up to us (and Chris was wearing a PCT hat!!!) and they offered us their house for the night (they were going to the festival) Wow! So, the owner of the gas station gave us a lift up the road close to their house! Wasa is here also (they found him in town earlier) and I've been on this laptop for hours updating this blog! Wasa just made some homemade gingerbread, Neighbor is sleeping on the floor and I'm about ready to do the same, what a day! Chris and Carol have offered to give us a ride to Chester tomorrow, so we'll officially be at mile 1335.8 and walk north from there. All of our maps/info are at the PO in Chester, so we might have to wait until Monday morning to actually start the walking north process, but we'll be in the right town to do it! So, 3.5 miles of walking and 5 different rides have brought us to Quincy. The smoke is thick in the air and it doesn't look like it's getting better anytime soon, so hopefully north of Chester will be better. 2008, the year of the fire......or is it always like this out here?!
Slept great with the 2 benedryl I took last night for the poison oak that is now more than one spot on my leg! Smoke had cleared a bit by the morning, sleeping bags were a bit damp from the moisture (we were near a creek/meadow/wetland area) Hiking by 6am, today was going to be a big mileage day because yesterday was not! Lots of downhill to start the day (fine by me) We hiked 15 miles by noon and went over these 2 bald mountains and the wind was pretty intense, pushing me around a bit. Had lunch around 1:30, more PB (and jelly this time) and a bag of smartfood popcorn that I carried out of Soda Springs the day before. Hiked the ridge above a reservoir and could hear families below boating, swimming, camping, doing 4th of July family together things and you remember home, if we had not hiked past that area, it would have been just another day in the woods to us. Still lots of smoke in the air (but today I convinced myself it was a BBQ!!) Hiked all but 3.5 miles into Sierra city (which was somewhere around 30.5 miles for the day) and cooked up some dinner, no mosquitoes, but a few no-see-ums were out and biting.
Beautiful sunrise, hiking by 0545, 4 miles to Tinker Knob and we could see I-80 from there. Wandered the ridge for a bit in the open breeze, as we got closer to Donner Pass there were lots of day hikers! Made it to the road for 1030 and caught a ride the 3.5 miles down to Soda Springs where there was a little country store and DELI! We each had a sub and soda and little snack and I bought a couple snacks for the trail and then we caught another ride back up the hill and were hiking north again by 1230! Perfect! 4 more miles and we crossed under I-80 (for those of you following us on the AAA map) Walked past a rest stop and stopped in for some water and the use of the bathroom for a bit. (today was a lazy day) Then we hiked on about 5 more miles and came to the Peter Grubb Ski hut (2 story camp that hikers can stay in) it was soo nice, we decided to stay! Lots of hikers here, Irish who we hadn't seen in quite some time and Brit who remembered us from Gorham, NH last year when I gave him a ride to the store from Hiker's Paradise (small world) It was only 4:30, but we called it a day and decided to tent outside the hut (kinda dark inside) well, the smoke from the forest fires was soo thick, we almost changed our minds! Taking a deep breath is just not an option.
Up with the mosquitoes, walking fast, hiked to Barker Pass, took a break there. JZ saw 5 bears this morning! Yikes, that makes you think when you are sleeping with your food as a pillow! :) Walked 5 more miles and the Tahoe Rim trail and PCT trails finally split (we hiked about 39 miles on the TRT) Could see Lake Tahoe from the trail, it's a massive lake! Then we got to walk a great ridge with a wonderful breeze and no mosquitoes for about 5 miles! Eventually hiked 27 miles and camped near Granite Chief Mtn (which is part of Squaw Valley ski resort) Amazing camp spot with a great sunset and sunrise! Heard today that the trail might be closed up ahead due to forest fires....
Stomach felt ill all night, too much food! It was an all you can eat and I did just that! Jumped in Gordon's van by 7:30 and he gave us a ride back up to the trail at Echo Lake. Nimblewill is having some trouble with his foot and isn't hiking for a few days, but he'll be back on the trail in no time. Saw Chief come into Echo Lake as we were leaving, always good to see him. More easy walking, this section of the trail is also part of the Tahoe Rim Trail (100 ish mile trail that goes around Lake Tahoe) but lots of the trail is actually crushed rock, so you feel like you are at a park or something. Tons of hikers out and about. Walked past Aloha Lake, beautiful lake after lake in this area. Over Dick's Pass and down into a lowland section where the mosquitoes thrive and came out in full force around 5pm. Called it quits around 6pm, I had to put the head net on while cooking dinner. Oh, we mailed our bear cannisters back from South Lake Tahoe! And I got a letter from Gram and papa and I finally got postcard stamps! So, no more heavy awkward cannisters to tote around with us.....instead, the food comes in the tent with us, which felt a little weird after having our food in a safe zone for so many miles, but that's that!
Good night's sleep in a bed and with a big fluffy pillow! Thrust, JZ, Cruising, Neighbor and I went to Ihop for breakfast (nothing fancy, but it was good) Did our laundry, picked up a cheese pizza for lunch and walked half way back to the motel, saw Lake Tahoe (blue beautiful water, like the Carribean) Gave up on the walking and finally caught a bus back to the motel. I found a Nestle Tollhouse Cafe! What a great little place! We realized that this massive mosquito bite on the back of my leg might actually be poison oak! So, I put some prescription cream (that I've been carrying since Mexico) on it. Made a few phone calls and a bunch of us (the crew, plus Antfarm and Swiffer) all went to the All you can eat buffet in the next town over (which was technically in Nevada...wow, a new state!!) I felt ill afterwards as we waddled back to the room.
More cereal for breakfast, 11 miles to Carson Pass and were there by 1030, the rangers had a box of clementines out for the hikers.....yumm! Hiked over Elephant's back (little snow on the trail still) Stopped at Shower Lake for lunch with "the crew" Rolling meadows, easy walking and we were not sure if we'd make it all the way to Echo lake, but it was looking good at this point! As we got closer to the road, Neighbor came upon this little pup howling in the woods, the little guy was lost and followed us to the parking lot! He had a couple phone numbers on his tag, so Slider called one and a lady came and picked little Kabyah up! Only 2 miles from the Echo Lake PO/store, but it was going to close soon, so I gave Shirley my license and a note and she was able to get our packages for us! Nice! Now, all of us at Echo Lake piled into the 2 vehicles (Shirley's car and Gordon's van) and went down to South Lake Tahoe (big spread out city) We got a room for the night, grabbed some dinner and went in the hot tub! What a day and we hiked about 26 or 27 miles! Care packages from Gram and Grampa (homemade molasses cookies and some bars!) Pilgrim (get this 4 CANS of Moxie!, some Trader Joe's ginger chews, trail mix and mango slices, toblerone, Jambalaya and some other fun trail foods) Priscilla (freeze dried meals, cookies, ghiradelli, spices, green tortillas.....hope they were green when you mailed them! and some other treats)
Skipped the cereal this morning, too many mosquitoes! Uphill right away and we are off! Beautiful terrain, canyons and meadows. About 7 miles in the "crew" met their support team. (Graybeard's wife is meeting him at road crossings so he doesn't have to carry a full load) And Nimblewill Nomad is being supported by Gordon in "the van" but Nimblewill is not hiking right now due to an infected foot (which he is pretty upset about, but he'll be back in the trail in no time) Slider, JZ and Thrust were hiking with Nimblewill until the foot issue, but they are still meeting up at roads until Nimblewill gets back on the trail. Anyway, we hiked the short side trail to the parking lot and ate our cereal there this day. Back on the trail, lots of hikers out and about (it's a Saturday) More PB and oreo's for lunch (love this diet) We had hiked 24 miles by 4pm, so we camped with the crew near a parking lot and they let us in on their dinner, so for $5 each, we had Chop Suey, green beans and hot dogs for dinner....on the trail! Nice!
Hank whipped us up some hot tea/coffee for breakfast, we ate some cereal and started hiking around 7am. Little more snow to walk over, but easy going for the most part. We had hiked 14 miles by noon, enjoyed a PB sandwich, some Mollie brownies and were on our way! Around 3:30, the sky darkened again and we thought we were in for it, but it only sprinkled a little (lucky us) Today was the first day in a long time that we didn't have to take the shoes off for even one river crossing! Yeah! Neighbor wore shorts today (2nd time on the trip) and I rolled my pants up a bit (it's hot) Stopped early, but we had hiked close to 25 miles, so that's good enough. Neighbor did a little sewing job on my backpack (it was starting to tear at the shoulder strap and we wanted to fix it before it came out completely) Mosquitoes were a little rough, but I just jumped in the tent!
What a great town Bridgeport was. After I finished updating our blog, Mollie cooked us up some fried egg and cheese sandwiches and we enjoyed the great brownies she made! Then it was time to go, Mollie gave us a to-go baggie of brownies (thanks again!!) We checked back in at the Post Office for post card stamps (no stamps, so I carried the Yosemite postcards another 75 miles.....) and walked past the laundromat where we saw Slider, Thrust, Cruising, JZ, and Graybeard, they remarked on how clean and refreshed we looked, so we told them how we had just met the nicest couple and they all wondered if they could get showers too......so, off they went! (Sorry Mollie if we had your house invaded by stinky hikers that day, but it was definitely appreciated by one and all) Then it was off to Buster's Market to buy some food for the next 75 mile stretch. That is a pricey little market and we found it cheapest to resupply with candy bars! (fine by me!!) And the only bread product we could find was a loaf of bread! That was wonderful in the bear cannister! So, candy bars and a loaf of white bread and PB for the next stretch! Yummy! We hitched for a ridge outside of Busters and saw a lady in a green Subaru outback drive by with NH plates! small world, got a ride to the Sonora Pass junction with a local man and then the sky darkened and it started pouring like mad! Yikes! He told us how there have been lots of dry lightening fires lately (no rain, just lightening!) Luckily the rain slowed as he dropped us off and we were picked back up again in no time by a young lady on the way to her dad's 60th b-day party. So, back at Sonora Pass, we ran into Hank who was doing a little trail magic for a couple days, we hung out with him for the evening. He said it hailed up there earlier when it was pouring in the valley below! Crazy weather. Thrust, JZ, Slider, Graybeard and his wife Shirley, Nimblewill Nomad and Gordon all showed up and camped there at the pass that evening.