Sunday, June 30, 2013

Close to Sierra City

The lake. Apparently it's not my first time here. Either way, it's a nice pit stop. 
Close to Sierra City...
Had a great sleep and some weird dreams. My brother was in all of them, I guess because I'm gonna see him soon, maybe. About a mile or less into our morning hike we came across a cool lookout point where we could see Mt Lassen, or maybe Shasta. The rest of the day was good hiking through tall trees and hills with loads of flowers. We pushed it till about 2pm where we got to a lake and had a swim! My first real swim I think on the PCT. I splashed around and got my socks clean and didn't have to rush out because it was warm. 2 lunches and a nap followed, then we did maybe a mile to a nice spot where we played some cards and met a new PCT'er who played some cards with us. We had a Mountain House meal each too. Those things are so good. So thanks Dad and Mark for that. 11 miles to Sierra City tomorrow, then beer and burgers and a rest. Mark is having a blister attack, so we have to try and fix that when we get there. Dad got one too. Great day. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

PacDad and PacUncle

               PacDad (orange backpack) and the man from PacUncle
Free breakfast at the motel! I paid a little more than normal to stay so I felt obliged to eat my share, and I did. My Dad and Uncle Mark showed up and took me back to the trail. We met a few hikers at the rest stop and got on our way. After the first mile we were only about 100 yards from the car and there was a shortcut that we could have used to get us there in a minute what we did in 20 minutes. PCT, the long cut to Canada. The walk was great but with moderate mosquitoes, so our breaks had to be where the mossies weren't. Dad's 30 year old pack got a compliment from Long Legs. They were moving just fine and I think they might have wanted to go further, we did about 12 miles, but I said what we did was good for day 1. Also, they brought cards and a crib board so I wanted to get a game in. It had been too long since I played with Pops. Dinner made me feel sick, it was that herb sauce that kept making me throw up a while ago. I got it from a hiker box and I think I'm allergic to it, or something. An hour later the sick feeling went aw
ay and I'm hungry again though. Great day and it's nice to be dry with family! 

Lots of Rain in Tahoe

I slept ok for it being so wet. I woke up about every hour shivering and cold, especially my feet. I woke up to a dream and thought, oh ya, why don't I just put my feet in warm water. When I got going it was raining pretty hard. I did about 6 or so miles to the intersection where I said if it's not sunny by this intersection, I'm going to town (North Tahoe). It was still raining so I went for it, a 10 mile trail and a few more miles of road to town. My stuff was so wet I figured I couldn't get through the next night. This has been a part of my plan... If it rains and I can't handle it, there's usually a town close enough. If town would have been 50 miles away, I would just walk through the night. I got to Tahoe and saw a coffee place where I got one that warmed up my hands so I could move and feel them again. Then a motel and food. I am glad I got some rain because I figured out I need some sort of rain poncho. My rain gear is ok and can handle a few hours of rain, but not 2 days straight with no breaks. So for Washington, I'll add a poncho of some sort. No pics today too. I didn't want to ruin my camera by getting it wet. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Lots of Rain To Tahoe City


The best part of today was sleeping in. When I got up at 9 it was raining and didn't stop all day. It was ok. I just had to keep walking. Didn't stop for the 9 hours of walking but maybe 2 times. I ate 4 power bars, then about a pound of cheese because I didn't want to cook. I'm 16 miles from Tahoe City on other trails in case tomorrow is bad too. I don't think I could do another day like that. Tonight is going to be a rough night with not much sleep I'm guessing. Everything is wet. No pics today. At least I got a full day of rain before Washington so now I know that I need a rain poncho. Full rainproof, not half rainproof, like all my other rain stuff. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Desolation Wilderness, Mile 1100

Desolation Wilderness (Tahoe) Mile 1100
I had a good weekend of camping and hanging out with my friends near Hwy 50. I hitched all the way until about 200 yards from the spot when Maurice picked me up. It was lots of good food and laughs. Good times. They sent me on my way and I mozied to Echo Lake Store where a soda and sandwich cured the hangover. At the store, I met a new group of hikers, and did the rest of the day with them. At one point I saw the funniest thing. There's these wild chicken like things. I saw one howling at me because I was in between its chicks and it. So I backed up to see them run to mama and they decided to try and fly. One did ok but the other got a gust of wind mid-flight and smacked straight into a tree, hard. It was hilariously cute and funny. It walked it off so all was good. We stopped at 6pm and I am tired. Time to sleep 10-12 hrs.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hwy 50, This Way To Tahoe


     The Funky Ice Crystals. How do they happen?

Last night was the coldest night so far. It's the only night I have been cold and lost some sleep because of it. I slept in though, so it's ok. The morning walk was cold too, it definitely was cold because there were these ice crystals that looked like they were growing out of the ground like mushrooms, till 10 am. Right near Hwy 50, I followed the sign that said Hwy 50, "This way." It was correct, but it was the long way. That took me an extra 2 hours or so because by the time I had realized where I was, I was 10 minutes down the hill, which would be an hour back up, so I kept going. I ended up at a ski resort that I went to this year. There was a taco stand where I said, "I know that taco stand. I know where I am." I popped in at Hwy 50 from some bushes, and luckily there was road work with traffic backed up, so I had a chance to walk down the line with my thumb out. Got a ride right away from a guy who has natural gas things all over the place. He has one in Tahoe that he uses to get away. He said he can check 10 plants a day but the Tahoe one takes him 3 days... I got to Tahoe and figured, it's Wednesday, so I'll see what the prices are like at motels. They were dirt cheap so I did it, and there was an all you can eat across the way. China Buffet, or something. Bad news. That was dirt cheap too, so I had to do it. I ate so much. I'm so full. I had a normal plate with noodles and a bit of meat. Then I got relaxed and just went for a plate of meat, loaded, falling off the edge. Then I realized the fried shrimp was good, so I had a full plate of them, maybe 10 or so. Then I found out Sushi wasn't extra so I had a plate of Sushi, 10-15 rolls and a few Sashimi. I thought I was done and went for the dessert, but there wasn't much so I had more Sushi. Then I couldn't move. Paid. No dessert. Motel. Fall asleep. Woke up from my nap still full. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hwy 88, Carson Pass

A couple miles out of Tahoe. 
Last night the wind started howling and it was knocking my tent around and making it flap. I hardly slept. Only 6 hours instead of the normal 8-10, sometimes 12, sometimes more. The morning walk was kinda cold but great. I was along the shaded ridge till about 10. It was pretty windy, but at about noon it got very windy, then I came up to a switch of going from one side of the hill/mountain to the other, so I was exposed to wind. The wind there was blowing harder than I've ever seen by far. I had about 10 yards of walking in that wind and it felt like there was a very strong guy pushing me as hard as he could and occasionally throwing a Mike Tyson punch at my side. If I had to guess it was gusting 40-100+ miles per hour. I'm no expert on knowing what wind speed is, but whatever it was, it was so hard that if it would have been a couple miles an hour more, I don't think I could have done it. I was crouching down to stay balanced and strong. It almost blew me over twice, and I was on the ridge!!! Then it died down to 20 or 30, or something manageable to where I could hear myself think. I got to the Carson Pass Ranger Station on hwy something, and got a coke and 2 bannanas!!! What a treat. If you ever want to bring food for hungry hikers a coke and bananas are A+. They know what they're doing at that ranger station!!! Got a few miles to south Lake Tahoe where I'll figure out the upcoming few weeks. If you didn't know, I'm from El Cerrito, Bay Area, and Hwy 50 and 80 is a quick drive to the trail, so I've got a few visits coming up. I'm pretty excited to get em going. Friday starts with camping with my friends, then hike a week with my Dad and Uncle, then camping, I think with my brother. So, I've got 2 days to figure out what to do in the Tahoe area. Also, I might be borrowing a friend's dog for a bit. I feel weird from all the wind today, like drunk or hungover, or constantly dizzy. Great day and I'm sure I'll sleep well, and sleep in tomorrow.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Melted Castle Before Lake Tahoe

            The Melted Castle

30 miles before Lake Tahoe. 
Got up late today. I usually like getting up early but it stays light till after 8:30pm, and I am enjoying the evening hike right now. So 8am to 8 pm is still 12 hours of hiking. Also, it's so nice from 1-3, I don't really need a siesta. Did my morning miles along nice shaded forest and meadow that didn't have many mosquitoes. It was very nice walking. After lunch I was approaching what looked like a castle. When I got right up next to it and under the jagged castle, it was so cool. There were all these caves and things that I got to poke my head in. I spooked some deer which was pretty scary, haha. It looked like a 'melted by acid rain' castle. Also, the afternoon was mostly rolling hills, so not much up and down. It was a nice change to the 12,000 foot passes we climbed everyday not so long ago. Great day!!!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sonora Pass Zero Day and Another Favorite Spot.

                                            6-15 to 6-16-13
                          Weight 186
   A small waterfall I got to walk across. It's on the trail.

Zero day with Ma was great. I slept about 15 hours, I'm guessing, and I ate very well thanks to Mom. Great day at a great campsite off the road, too!
Got up late today with Mama and had some good breakfast and hot coffee. Thanks Ma. She took me up to the Sonora Pass trailhead where we saw Maverick and Lodgepole looking for a ride to the northern Kennedy Meadows resupply, so they jammed in the already jammed car. They are both 6'4" or so, so it was pretty funny to see them drive off. I got going and ran into a few day and section hikers going south. The terrain is getting to remind me of my usual camping area near Tahoe. The mosquitoes are not bushes any more, which is nice. I think I got through the worst of it for now. There will still be mosquitoes but no mosquito clouds 2-10 miles long, I hope. Got an amazing spot where I get to see the sun light climb up an amazing mountain. So far, I like this section a lot. I would even go as far as saying, this is my favorite section...along with the other 10 or so. 

Compact Car...
Maverick in front, Lodgepole in back, backpack on laps...

Mile 1020, Sonora Pass Zero...Section J

   The cloud looked like a rainbow cloud. Pretty cool.

Mile 1020
Got up at the crack of 4:45 today, and got going. Within a couple minutes I got to a small creek crossing and was deciding what I should do about it, before I knew it, I slipped on a rock and landed on my the water, so I just kept on walking like nothing happened. I got out and had to laugh at that one. I guess nature made that decision for me. I saw Opa again on the climb up to the ridge where I walked about 8 miles at 11,000 feet over quite a bit of snow. It was my favorite part of the trip so far...amazing views. I know I say that was my favorite a lot but who cares. It was the best! I made good time to Sonora Pass, and when I got close to the parking lot I heard Mommy!!! She was talking with hikers who I hadn't met yet. I got my coke and banana, followed by lots more food. Thanks for coming out Ma. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Climb, Drop, Walk Along River, Cross River...Staircase!!!

            A Stairway too... More stairways!!!

Today seemed to mesh together. Climb, drop, walk along river, cross river, walk along other side, climb... Repeat. It was a good day but the mosquitoes are getting to be so bad most of the time, I just walk fast so they can't get a hold. They do, so I try to keep my eye on the trail. The breaks are hard too. If you want a full break, you have to solve the mosquito problem before getting comfortable. These are some amazing valleys that I am walking through. They are very lush and full of trees and water. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Mile 1000!!!! The Determined Hiker Look!

                   Section I
       Squishy, and a mosquito breeding ground.
Mile 1000!!!!
I made it to mile 1000! From what I have heard, if you make it to 1000, you get the look... 'The Determined Hiker Look.' I was determined, too, as I would have my days off when I organized with my Mom at Sonora Pass, so I had to push myself to make it. I had 50 miles to cover before meeting time, so I did about 30 something today and have 15 or so tomorrow morning before 2pm, which is when we're suppose to meet. I also forgot to say happy birthday to my Mom when I called her, so happy b-day Pacmom! But in my defense, I think I could forget my own birthday the way I keep track of what day it is out here. Today was another day that seemed to mesh together, and also a day of running from mosquitoes. There were 10 nonstop bushes of mosquitoes. Breaks were not an option. But, I needed to do some miles, so, oh well. I have an alarm set to make sure I get going early. It's not that often I whip out the alarm. 


                          The peaks are getting more rounded left to right. 
            Yosemite Valley is to the right.

Slept in since the store opens at 9. Great sleep too since my stuff was all dry. Had a hot coffee and sandwich and took off into a pretty touristy spot north of the main Yosemite area. All the mountains around this area are more flat and rounded, like Half Dome. I took a nap and must have spooked some day hikers because I was wearing everything black including my mosquito net. It's a Ninja in the forest!!!  My breaks mostly have to be done on the move when I'm not clothed up, or the mosquitoes will get me bad. After my nap there were about 50 that were searching for a way in and wanted blood! Luckily, there's a breeze, or at the wrong time there could be a mosquito forest. At least it's not a poison oak or poodle dog forest. I'm watching out for Speed Bump, too. I have a tent peg of his and I guess he is right ahead of me. At a creek crossing I had to get a shoe wet, so I only have one wet shoe. It feels kinda weird only having one wet shoe. Dinner was another amazing Mountain House meal from a JMT hiker. Oh, and I am not on the JMT anymore. They went off into Yosemite Valley. Those Mountain House meals are so good; tonight was chicken and spuds, and it was like a town meal. And, my chips and tuna mix isn't too shabby. I got Calvin addicted. I'm living a life of luxury and eating a lot of good food right now. Thanks again JMT hiker. My body just keeps wanting more food (and beer). 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mile 930, Donahue Pass

Mile 930
The morning walk was nice since there was a small breeze that kept away mosquitoes. There was a lake with a bunch of islands in it, then I got up to near Donahue Pass and it started to rain. So I put up my tent and had a nice siesta while listening to the thunder. I ran into a lot of JMT hikers today. 10-20 maybe. The last part of the day was all downhill and level through meadows. The sun wasn't shining much today, but it still was a great hike. I'm right outside Reds Meadows (Yosemite), and hopefully I'll be able to climb Half Dome tomorrow morning. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bishop Pass, Devils Postpile, and Great Weekend with my Friends

                          Calvin and Moe in action on the Devils Postpile

Weekend of 6-9
First of all, thanks Moe, Calvin, and Kingsley (Calvin's dog) for coming out. I had a great weekend. They got to Mammoth Friday evening and we drove up to Bishop to get a nice spot for the night. We had an early wake up and 13 mile round trip up to Bishop Pass (~12,000 feet). They muled the day supplies, so I had 0 pounds on my back. Moe and the dog got a little tired from the elevation and midday heat, but I think all of us (Kingsley included) thought that was the best hike we have ever been on. We did some exploring around the top of the pass, and we can't forget the nice siesta. At one point there was a mosquito bush where if we would have stopped there would have been 100-???? mosquitos on us. We all ate a few on the way through. After the rough day, we took a drive to a hot spring at 5000 feet and had a good soak and some beers. The next day we went back to the PCT and went to Devils Postpile and a waterfall. After the hike we decided we better go to another hot spring. After that we ate some good food. Not much to complain about for the weekend. It was a great weekend off and on the trail for me, and I'm sure it was for the guys, too. I'm glad they got to see the Sierras, and now they know what the Sierras mean. And, last but not least, it was a quick goodbye because they dropped me off in a mosquito bush, so it was off to the races for me and back in the car for them. Bishop Pass Devils Postpile

PCT Hikers at Mile 1018.5, Sonora Pass

  Pacman, Sharon, Patrick, Allen (Bananas and Cokes for all!)
 Pacman Packing it away.
         Father's Day  2013
         Maverick (son), Pacman (middle), and Lodgepole (Dad)
         (Only apples left after the weekend.)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day 2013

                          Pacdad (with hair) and Pacman (without hair), photo by Pacmom

Thursday, June 13, 2013


CA/OR/WA, 2 pages.
Thanks, Mark!


                 I need to do laundry in a real laundry machine! 200 miles of Sierras with only creek washes and a shower wash at Independence. After I did laundry, it's still pretty dirty, too. 
Did a nice 8 miles through on the ridge and a little burn area. When I pulled into the Reds Meadow area, I met a nice guy who was scoping out an area. I got a ride with him to Mammoth ski area. Also, I got more JMT food from a hiker box!!! I'm loaded. They are Mountain House meals too. They are very good and filling, just 'add hot water' mixes. 5-10$ each and I got 3. At the ski area I quickly got another hitch from a local who does a lot of hiking, JMT a few times, and wants to PCT when he retires. He had a lot of good info about Mammoth, gave me a tour, then dropped me off at Motel 6. I lazied around and waited for Spitfire and Dora, but they didn't show!!! Uh, oh! I hope nothing bad happened. Motel 6 was cheap enough (hiker discount, off season, and not the weekend), so I'm not complaining. I had 2 beds to myself!!! I ate at Whiskey Creek Bar happy hour, and man it was good, and cheap!!! Amazing fish tacos and a local Mammoth beer, then sliders and fries, and a beer for only 20 bucks. Great deal! My friends Calvin, Maurice, and the dog Kingsley are coming out for the weekend!!! Should be fun.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mile 900, Out of VVR and into Reds Meadow

  Another day of not that many pics (3 total). It's tough when mosquitoes are thick. I don't even remember what this is but it's better than the other two. 
I'm right around mile 900
Got up feeling not so great, probably from the beer and staying up late. It was nothing that a cup of coffee and 2 big breakfast burritos couldn't cure. Everyone was planning on taking the ferry boat to the trail, but I saw a trail that went to the PCT and was only about 4 or so more miles. With the ferry being 10$ or 18$, I took off on the walk. VVR was great, kinda expensive, but they kinda are off in the middle of nowhere. I didn't do too badly in terms of money there, only 2 burgers 2 burritos and 10$ for beer. You could really rack up a bill if you weren't careful. The JMT hiker food really helped. The homemade dehydrated meals are awesome; it's like good town food and there's a great variety. The trail I hiked went over a non-PCT pass. It was a good walk, besides the mosquitoes were getting into the territory where it's dense, like you stop and there's 10-30 hovering, or on you. The pass had a lot of snow on the north side but I had fun. I did my 10 or so miles of non-PCT and I guess my way on the trail was faster than waiting for the ferry and doing 6 PCT miles because I beat everyone. The rest of the days hike was great too. 7 or so miles to Reds Meadow store, then a hitch to Mammoth where we will celebrate Spitfire's birthday, and have more town food. Then I'll see if my friend from home, Calvin, maybe Maurice, and Kingsley (Calvin's dog) are coming out for the weekend. I'll have to find a good weekend hike for them. Should be pretty easy up here in the amazing high Sierras.

On to VVR

Got up today with 8 miles downhill to VVR. I practically ran the 6 trail miles and did it in about an hour; so I guess I was running at some goals. Beer and a burger were on my mind. Pulled in and the whole Sierra crew and a few JMT hikers were there with great news; some JMT hikers who were carrying about 100 lb packs dumped a bunch of food. So now I have about 30 packaged tunas, a few dehydrated mixes that are great, and some protein. I have about 80$ worth of food and can get to Mammoth for free, which is nice since a resupply here would be pricey. I had two burgers which were amazing, a few beers, and lots of laughs. It seemed like I was laughing from the time I pulled in until 11pm when we called it quits. Good times. Great day. I think the highlight of it was when Dora asked if the New York ribeye steak was a fish. We are all so close now we are very good friends and pretty much a little family. I was also the butt of a joke; someone has a video of me doing a yee-hawww in my undies after we jumped in a lake. So that got played about 100 times and everyone at VVR has seen it.

I guess this was the only pic I took today. It's the veggie dinner. The food here was amazing. Don't forget the Bud Light too!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mile 860ish, Halfway Point...of California!, and Selden Pass

      The lakes before Selden Pass, loaded with fish. 
Mile 860ish
Today marks the halfway point... Of California! Started off the day by getting lost at from about 8 to 9:30. I was sitting waiting for Spitfire for about an hour, so not that bad. He didn't come because I was on the wrong trail.  Did some climbing over Selden Pass (11,000 feet or so) and saw a spot where if I had a helper, I could have reeled in enough fish to feed a group of hikers. They were big in this lake, too. Took a siesta at the top of the pass, then headed to the Bear Creek Ford. It looked kinda rough, so I did it with my shoes on. I'm glad too because I found out later that Spitfire fell in, twice! I missed watching them ford it because I got across, covered up because we're in mosquito country now, and it started to rain and hail. So when it rains my options are hike, or get in the tent, so I hiked on. A JMT hiker passed and didn't want to strike up a conversation because I had all my stuff on, which happens to be all black, and I had my mosquito net over my head. I look like the grim reaper. They keep saying how funny it would be if I held Dora's silver, very sharp and very dangerous looking ice axe at all times. JMT hikers would definitely give me right of way on the trail then. The rain let up and mosquitos came back out. When you stop there about 3-10 hovering, or on you. Mosquito bites don't bother me though, they go away after about 2 minutes. Also, the only area usually exposed is my ankle to knee area and that part of my body is so tough now. The other day I had a decent size gash with blood all over the place, and I didn't even notice it. When someone told me about it, I still couldn't feel anything. My legs are just dead skin, cuts, and also very tan. So mosquito bites on my legs don't bother me one bit. Set up camp and had a nice fire to dry off. 8 miles to VVR tomorrow!!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Muir Hut at Muir Pass

              Muir Hut at Muir Pass
I forgot I did Muir Pass this morning until I scrolled through my pictures. We got going at 5:30 straight into the snow. There were a few frozen lakes and an uphill climb to Muir Hut on the pass. We didn't take much time because the sun was shining and every second postholing became more likely. This is also where postholing is no joke because there were many times where we were walking over snow and you can hear water beneath you. That's such a helpless feeling. So, it was quick off the pass, all in all about 5-6 miles of walking on snow with a little bit of rock walking mixed in. After that we did a few more miles to the first big creek ford. I was by myself and took the alternate through the meadow that's suppose to be less water force but a longer distance. I got there and my nerves calmed, took off my shoes and socks, and happily got in no more than knee deep across nice sand and cool water on a hot day. It felt great. The low snow year is great for fords too. Bear Creek is up tomorrow. After that came the great view of the valley and waterfalls. The mountains are more rounded now, beginning to look more like Yosemite type mountains. We called it on the earlier side since it was a long day. Also, that's the last of the big passes!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

6/1/13 Whale Rock, Daydreaming About Food, Muir Pass

     The Whale Rock got me!!!
June 1st!!!
We knew today was going to be an easy one so we slept in. The first little bit was level and nice walking through the valley. I saw deer 5 different times. On 3 separate occasions, it was a single deer that was pretty close and 2 were groups of deer. One of them was when I was eating brunch and we stared at each other for a good 5 minutes. Every time it moved, I said, "Eh" and it went back to looking at me. After about 10-15 miles, we got to where the snow was pretty thick before Muir Pass, so we stopped at about 3pm. Muir Pass has to be done in the morning. There's a bit of snow leading up to it, and after the pass there is a very gradual walk down snow for a long time, miles maybe, so we have to wait till morning so we don't post hole every step. We're at a nice lake where we got lazy for the afternoon. I have been hurting for a good meal since I didn't have a stove through the Sierras. My alcohol stove took too long so I ditched it and will get a good fast boiling stove soon. Also, I only had instant potatoes for dinner (cold). I learned my mistake; mix it up. The potatoes are good but not every night. Dora gave me a rice and bean mix that she got from Horse and it made me so happy. It was so good and filling. I'm still hungry but I'm always hungry now. My appetite has grown in the Sierras. I can't get full. Lunch today was an 800 calorie bag of Fritos, a tuna packet, and an instant potatoes pack, and I was ready for more when I finished. Also, the mix I got was good and a very large homemade portion. I'm grateful for it, but it's 30 minutes later and I'm hungry again. Most of my daydreaming now is about food.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Mile 820ish, Top of the Golden Staircase

             The top of the Golden Staircase
Mile 820ish
Another great day in the Sierras! Even though I slept in till 8:30 today, everyday of the PCT seems like it goes on forever. The morning today seems like a week ago. Well, I was last out of camp and did 4 miles to the top of Mather Pass where I met up with all 5 of the group. My compass and map skills have greatly improved up here because it's easier to take some time to get a read, then make a different path instead of following the trail that squiggles and curves and disappears under snow. It's fun to do, makes the hike quicker, and I'm improving my skills for the Continental Divide Trail. There's not much trail on the CDT so you have to be very good at that stuff. On the way down Mather Pass, we did some glisading, or sliding on your butt down the snow. It was very fun and we got some good videos. That wore us out so Team Siesta (Spitfire, Dora and I) took a siesta. We got to hiking along a lake at about 11,000 feet and Spitfire and I decided to jump in. It was cold to say the least. The pictures and video prove it because the other side of the lake is still ice and snow. Very refreshing though. We made our way down after that and hit the top of the Golden Staircase. Going down was amazing, going up would be rough. It's probably something that required a lot of man power and was made back during The Depression. I'm just guessing though. It's very steep switchbacks carved out of the rock. It's an amazing site. The top and going down is probably the best view so far on the PCT. What I should mention is that from Whitney to Yosemite, we are on the John Muir Trail, also PCT. JMT is more popular and gets a lot of revenue and all that stuff, so the trail is very well maintained. So the JMT is basically a part of the PCT. Most, maybe all, JMT hikers go south when there's little to no snow. I have only seen one hiker so far. Now we're camped at another great campsite. PCTA Photo winners

About Mile 813, Pinchot Pass

South side of Pinchot Pass. PCT did a curvy 'S' over a lot of snow to get to it. I did a somewhat straight line.
About mile 813
We got up early today and had 5 downhill miles to get us down to around 8000 feet. That's practically sea level for us. We have been at 10-12000+ everyday, it seems like. At the bottom I saw Boomsticks and his dog Leftovers, who came running up to me. Geared Up is with them. They are friends from Portland. After that it was like 3000-4000 feet of climbing to Pinchot Pass, and a bridge crossing that felt like it was going to flip over. It was one of those bridges that goes over lava to the castle with a dragon guarding it. That was a tough afternoon and took way longer than I thought it was going to. The south side of Pinchot was pretty snowy and hard to navigate a good way up. I took some time to figure out exactly where I was and where the pass was with the compass reading skills my Uncle Mark taught me. Thanks, Mark. I got a perfect match and made as straight of a line to the pass as I could, bypassing all the snow and zigzags the PCT did. It saved me an hour, or so, I'm guessing. Once I got up there, the north side looked easy so I took my time, found a non-snowy route down, and took about 10 steps in snow that didn't have rock or ground right under it. After that I took my time and enjoyed the walk. We met up before a creek, then had to get our feet wet, to end the day. I did it barefoot since it wasn't that bad, and I have bigger shoes that would take some time to dry. Got set up at camp on the earlier side and had an hour or so to BS and chat. Fun day, lots of great views. It was nice not having to trudge through snow on the north side of the pass, too. Mather Pass (~12,100) is 4 miles away tomorrow, yet another 12,000 footer. But no scary talk about that one either, so it shouldn't be bad. We get to sleep in too, so we don't go over it in the morning when it's icy!
       Leftovers (aka Kia), yawning???

Friday, June 7, 2013

Close to Mile 800, Rae Lakes, Glen Pass, Grizzlying

   The north side of Glen Pass is the very snowy part on the right side (top middle right). The lake is Rae lakes. 
Sorry. I don't keep good track of what mile I'm at. It's just something I don't keep track of. I'm close to 800 though.
We slept on the trail last night and woke up to Maverick, his dad Lodgepole, and Opa walking over us very early. It woke me up so I went with it, and left into the bad looking weather without my jacket. Spitfire wears it to sleep because he gets cold. I sleep very hot. I used to just sleep before the trip but now that my metabolism is a bit higher, I sleep like a furnace and usually have my bag unzipped, sometime even on the freezing nights. Spitfire always makes sure to give it to me, but for some reason I said no I don't want it. My mistake. So, I walked for about 15 minutes and it started snowing. I was fine but figured I'd wait for him. When I got to the top of Kearsarge Pass, it was a full on whiteout snowstorm with wind howling. It was a lot of fun when all the hikers got to safety. We all talked about how much fun it was. We're crazy! We took a nap till it cleared then went over Glen Pass (11,798). Glen is another one of the big passes (~12,000 feet), and the north side is dangerous because it's steep. I started the steep snow covered north side and post holed a few times while making sure my focus was on not slipping and having a fall, because a fall on that slope could be very bad news. Once I got over that I saw a long route with no snow that could get me to safety, so I rock hopped and boulder climbed to the bottom where I rewarded myself by pigging out. I kinda lost control and ate a lot lot, like a lot lot even for me. The group got down safe and we had a nice walk through another paradise. The Rae lakes are amazing. It's a bigger than normal lake for 10000+ feet and it is amazing. It's another thing that's hard to explain how amazing it is. A lake with many small islands, anything but round, it is all over the place, and towering mountains all around with creeks gushing snowmelt into it all over the place. It was a great 3 mile 3 hour walk to our campsite. We took our time. Another long post for another great exciting day in the Sierras. It seems like not just every day I have gets better than the previous, but every moment gets better! Life is good! Also the Sierra family got smaller. Now, it's just Spitfire, Dora, and me sticking together. We should be seeing lot of Maverick and his dad Lodgepole, too, as they go our pace. Crumbs and Horse are trying to get to VVR in 5 days and we are taking our time and have 7-8 days of food. Marie left to go to DC for a wedding for a week off the trail. We kept joking that it's an AYCE (all you can eat) wedding!

Lots of good pictures today. The Kearsarge Pass whiteout, the steep slope of Glen Pass with Maverick off in the distance, me bear-grizzlying some water (getting into a pushup position and drinking straight out of the stream with my mouth), and the path going right along the lake. Here are a few.
Pacman Grizzling
Rae Lake

Minivan Ride- Wheeling and Dealing to the PCT

 1 minivan, 7 hikers with bags, 1 driver, 2 babies, 1 dog.
Today was a good zero in Independence, CA. Slept in, ate well, had a beer or two, got a few days of food, and did the most dangerous thing I have done on the PCT. The van ride up to the trail was a curvy steep road up about 7000 feet, maybe. The hotel/Chevron/Subway owners were nickel-and-diming us on certain things, one of the main ones was trying to charge 25$ per hiker for a ride back to the trail, so I went out and waved down a van that looked like a local and said 40$ for a bunch of hikers to pile in for a ride up to the trail. It was an adventure, to say the least. At the trailhead we got lazy and had some more beers and Subway, and chatted, then walked up the trail a quarter mile so we didn't have to pay for the campground (16$ each). 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

iChat between Greg and Doug, or a Pacman Blurb

                  Our Pacman
We got to Mt. Whitney and word on the street is she is not too rough. So, we head up from the lake area for 5 miles (3000-4000 foot climb or so). For the first part, going up was amazing, 3 miles up, switchbacks, and I was feeling good. At the last 2 miles is where the trail meets up with the people who pay to do Whitney (east side). So, I initially, was like, "I'm gonna crush Whitney." Then, I hit the intersection and saw a couple. The guy was sitting with his hands over his head in full Everest mountain climbing gear: jacket, huge pants, boots, ice axe, crampons, face cover... all that stuff. He peeks over and I'm like, "Hey man, what's up?" I'm wearing my shirt with sleeves rolled up & buttoned down half way with my chest and a little stomach hanging out, no gloves, shorts... that type. He looks at me and glares like who the "heck" is this guy. Then, he mumbles something to his girlfriend in a rude way, who is kneeling down, fumbling with something. She is trying to open a ziplock bag... with her super duper snow gloves on. To myself, I said, "Struggl-inggggggg!" And I knew I was gonna see more people struggling because they came from sea level and are just not in shape. So, I do the last 2 miles in 35 mins and get to the top. The people at the top are talking about how sick they feel and that they are gonna barf while I'm running around taking pics from edge to edge.  Then, I whip out my salami log and cheese block and devour it while trying to start conversation. None of 'em are having it. There was another PCT group behind me that told me later, "I asked one how much further to the top?" The guy was like, "About 4 hours from here. I'd turn back if I were you, it's getting late…" He said he did it in 20 mins! The best part is there is a guy named Slim. He is about 300 pounds, wears an Hawaiian shirt, didn't even bring a jacket into the Sierras, and is a fast hiker. I would have paid to see those people's expressions when a 300 pound man in a Hawaiian shirt flew past them!

5/27/2013 Memorial Day, Independence, California

Last night I went down the wrong trail, but, as always, when I realized it, everything became clear and peaceful. The walk back up was amazing, only two miles off trail, so not that bad. I got to the turn off to Kearsarge Pass (11,760) and saw Yeti who went over Forester Pass alone. His route down the north side was very different then the normal.
I practically ran 3 miles up the hill after that, then 4 miles down the pass because I had Subway sandwich on my mind. I got a ride down the road pretty fast and went straight to Subway for 2 subs. There was a pretty big hiker crew in town at Independence, and word of bad weather coming in, so I stayed for a night. The night was normal hiker stuff, drinking and eating, and talking about hiking and stuff. I'm writing this the day after so I forgot a lot of what happened. From what I remember, great day!