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Posts Tagged ‘House’

In the morning, everyone slowly packed up to go back to the picnic tables where we ate breakfast, lounged, and sat.  Periodically, some people would get motivated and leave the picnic tables for the trail.  Eventually, after a good amount of french fries, I got motivated.

Dead Animal and I cut across a field to get back to the trail and we walked for a bit until we came back to the Tuolomne River which we had tried to swim in before at a higher elevation, but it was too cold.  There, the river got wider and warmer, so we jumped in since we couldn’t shower anywhere near the store.  The whole first few miles, we passed ridiculous amounts of day walkers, horse packers, and complaining kids.

After a good swim, we got to the Glen Aulin Camp, a horse camp type thing where a few people worked.  It had a super buggy backpacker camping area next to it, so we set up there and tried not to be completely eaten by mosquitos.  It was a bit early but there wasn’t any water for 8 miles and the terrain didn’t seem too amenable for flatness for a bit.

Bolt rolled in right before dark who we hadn’t seen for quite a bit and he said that he and House had gone down into the valley for a bit.  He was trying to go to South Lake Tahoe in 8 days which meant a lot of 20s.

The mosquitos were horrible right from the get-go and did not care about deet what-so-ever.  Plus, we had a long slow climb first thing in the morning heat.  Since we entered Yosemite, the trail turned shitty.  It was super rocky and in parts it seemed like they didn’t really try to build a trail, rather they just brought some horses through for a footpath when they couldn’t just make cairns on large rock slabs.  Other times, they built the trail up nice, lined with large rocks, but left piles of ankle-twister rocks in the middle.  Or, worse yet, these cobblestone-like steps which were usually covered with sand and were too small to actually put your feet all the way on, i.e. I’m-going-to-fall-on-my-ass-steps.

Most of this section was dominated by that and going in and out of canyons.  We would hike sharply up on rocky steps to almost a view, then descend sharply down the same shit into another canyon.  Sometimes, a large blow down would cut off the corner of a steep switch back so we had to cut the already steep switch back into a steeper one.

Once in another canyon, we followed it for a ways, then climbed up into another one pretty much.  After dropping into the first one there, we ran into Waffles, Gator, Snowflake, and Mancake by the water.  While we ate lunch, they headed up the next steep climb which turned out to be a bitch of a steep climb.  The climb redeemed itself by taking us past Miller Lake which proved some of the best swimming yet.  Waffles and the others had caught Ornie and were building an elaborate sand castle using six different pots for various building sizes, a mote, and the whole nine yards.

We continued steeply down, then back up toward Benson Pass.  The first third of the climb up was a little absurd in the steepness, but it evened out a little bit afterward following up Wilson Creek.  At the last creek crossing, we stopped to cook dinner and decided to stay there, taking the 17 mile day.  I would have loved to read, but couldn’t since the Kindle got in a fight with my bear canister and lost.

Hiking up the last 600 feet, we reached the pass to find G camped there blasting Jay-Z off of speakers and Bolt fifty feet up on some large rocks.

“What are you doing up there?” Hop-a-long yelled up.

“Sleepin’!” Bolt called down as he began traversing down.

G had left the Tuolomne store at 2pm, passed us at midnight, and camped in the pass for a nice 26 mile day.  Little crazy.

We went up and down, up and down, pretty much the whole next day.  For lunch, we had to set up mosquito netting and tents to not get bit near the side trail to Benson Lake.  Of course, we had another steep climb after that.  On the bumpy top, we stopped by a small lake and Brittany (a JMTer who continued on the PCT from Tuolomne to Tahoe) caught us.  Then the wave came: Dubs, Wiz, Trip, Cactus, Extra Credit, Drop Zone, and Hollywood (not the same one from the AT) all came up and joined us.

The way “down” Kerrick Canyon was so much of a bitch, we all camped at the bottom.  Trip made a campfire and Cactus attempted to make a large spam kabob.

Realizing we were a little low on food, we got up early to pull a long day in the direction of town.  We had already climbed 2,400 ft before 10am in two small climbs that had longer descents.  We passed Drop Zone and Brittany who had camped three miles ahead of us.

We had over ten miles of super slow ascent through meadow after meadow up to Dorothy Lake Pass which would take us out of Yosemite.  For the first time since leaving Tuolomne, we had a decently graded climb.

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A little under two miles after the pass, we crossed the 1,000 mile mark, so we stopped and celebrated.  The last of potato chips were devoured and we opted to go as far as possible.

We stumbled down the trail trying not to stop for dinner since we knew we wouldn’t go any further.  At 8:30pm, it was called at 23 miles as we all began stumbling over our own feet.

We followed a meadow to Kennedy Canyon, then hiked up the canyon to a very exposed section above 10,000 ft.  All four of us were beat after the day before.  We found Bolt again at the last creek crossing and the section was making him feel beat too.

The last big climb went super well.  At the top of the ridge, Dead Animal, Hop-a-long and I stopped for a snack.

“Those were the nicest graded switchbacks in hundreds of miles,” Dead Animal said.

“Yup,” was the resounding reply.

We went from one side of the ridge to the other several times staying high and exposed the whole time through some amazing volcanic rock that reminded me of Colorado.

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Sorry for not posting, we took out eight days of food and I had no internet for that long.  Mt. Whitney pictures are at the bottom which wouldn’t upload before as well.  Thanks for your patience!

We resupplied by taking a side trail east over Kearsarge Pass down into the Onion Valley to a road which would take us several thousand feet down to the small town of Independence, CA.  Taking the Bullfrog Lake trail up to the pass, we caught amazing views of the Penacles and beautifully blue alpine lakes that reflected the image of the mountains in them.  The pass stood at 11,780 feet; although it wasn’t on the PCT, we took it as a bonus pass and got naked for it anyway just to keep up ESPN.  It was definitely the longest I’ve ever hiked to a resupply…usually I hit a road and stick out my thumb, conveniently getting a ride to food and beer.  Nope.  Nine miles to a road.  Then we had to depend on day walkers, all of which were inconveniently staying at the campground there and enjoying the outdoors, not Subway, beer, cheap motels, and hot tubs.

Eventually, we did get a ride down in a beat-up white pickup with a guy who charged $5 a head and had taken up a load of thru-hikers including Neon, Onna Move, Bolt, Ornie, Waffles, Cheesecake, and Snowflake.  Astro, Magellan, Dead Animal and I jumped in and put our heads down every time he took a turn fast and yelled at us to hold onto our hats while we bounced in the bed of the truck.

We got dropped off at the Chevron gas station and Subway where I had the amazing resupply guru, my mother, send me a package of seven days of food.  I got it after I wolfed down a foot long veggie sub in about five minutes or less, then all of us jumped on the regional bus up to Bishop, a bigger town 40 miles north.  Inspector Gadget and Hop-a-long had gotten ahead of us to catch the post office hours for his laptop bounce box and gotten Gadget’s dad’s Holiday Inn points for a room in Bishop.

A nice zero was in order where we relaxed, played in the pool, checked out Bishop’s three outfitters, and ate copious amounts of food.  The next day, we got back to the Chevron via the local mid-day bus and began hitching back up to Onion Valley.  We picked up House and Lunchbox, so we split up to try for rides.  Eventually, Hop-a-long, Inspector Gadget, House, and Lunchbox got a squeezed ride up while Dead Animal and I waited.  Before long a car pulled up and screeched to a stop.  Bounce Box, Major Upchuck, and the Indiana Boys jumped out with one of their girlfriends who was going to hike for a while.  Bounce and Upchuck were actually heading back to Lone Pine where they got off, so they got back in the car while a nice woman named Debbie drove the five of us left up to the Onion Valley trailhead.

Hop-a-long had left her poles in a rides car going down.  The trail is good though because the ride gave them to a hiker at the Chevron who posted on the PCT-l (PCT email list) that they left them with the Onion Valley Campground Host.  However, when we got there, the host had lent them out to a family with kids two and a half miles up the trail.  We began walking and we found the kids who returned her poles one at a time.

That evening, Hop-a-long, Dead Animal, Inspector Gadget, Lunchbox, House, and I camped near a lake about halfway up to Kearsarge pass.  We hit the pass in the morning for a second time and took the pass trail back to the PCT where we immediately climbed over Glen Pass.

We had naked time on top to continue ESPN, then hiked down to Rae Lakes where we went swimming in the alpine lake and got eaten by mosquitos.  The downhill continued to right before mile 800 where we camped in the last bear box campsite we saw with lots of JMTers.

The PCT and the JMT (John Muir Trail) are the same for a large chunk of the Sierras and most of the JMTers hike sobo to finish on Mt. Whitney with their extremely large packs.

The next day was trying for me.  Pinchot Pass kicked my ass, the seven days of food weighed me down, and I cursed the bear canister which was trying to rub blisters on my back.  The pass just climbed and climbed and climbed on obnoxiously large rock steps and for most of it, I kept thinking I was farther than I was, probably because we tried to hike faster to out-hike the mosquitos, then running out of breath and expending energy killing them as they tried to suck our blood.

We took a decent break on top, getting naked to spite the evil pass that took incredibly too long to climb, then we descended slowly.  I was so beat by the bottom, Dead Animal and I camped there with the mosquitos while Hop-a-long and Inspector went on another 40 minutes or so.

In the morning, Dead Animal realized that some creature had eaten large holes out of his new socks that he had only worn once.  The probable suspects were either a mouse or a chipmunk.

We found Inspector Gadget and Hop-a-long not too far up the next morning and they talked about frost.  We all got to the top of Mather Pass, did the usual naked ritual, and began a hideous decent which actually hurt my knees a bit for the first time this trip.  Following a waterfall down, switch back after rocky switch back, we passed lots of JMTers and their large packs going up.  There were beautiful look out points where we could see deep into the valley that we would plunge down into, almost down to 8,000 ft.

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After another 15 mile morning, we got down through some ridiculous heat to some of the best trail magic yet.  Jack-a-lope, her son Bear Bait, and Okie Girl had a sweet set up of tents and all the food you could imagine.  Jack-a-lope was also vegan gluten-free so she helped me out with a veggie burger, curry quinoa, and a veggie dog.  It was the best feeling ever to come down and see the tents there.

We got a ride super easily out of Walker Pass in the nick of time to catch the Post Office in Onyx.  At the last minute, we all decided to go into Lake Isabella because we desperately needed showers and clean socks.  The crusty, sweaty, dirt caked socks just weren’t doing it.

An orange picked us up in the form of a man named Kyle who taught Dead Animal and I all about dirt bikes and dirt biking trails in the area.  He was also kind enough to wait for us while we grabbed our boxes from the post office and dropped us off at the cheap motel with a pool in town.

That evening, we played in the cold pool on the neo-air, drank some beers, did sink laundry (the laundromat was a mile and a half away…i.e. screw that), ate boatloads of food, and watched some shitty television.  Quickly we realized that the town was full of crazy desert people.  I seriously believe the heat screws with your mind out here, kinda fries your brain a little.  Everyone was incredibly friendly, just some were out there a little ways.  We knew we had to keep walking or we would become crazy desert people.

The morning progressed slowly as we still recovered from the amount of wind and sun we went through the previous days.  We grabbed lunch at the locals diner before trying to get back to the trail, which was deliciously awesome.  They even clapped for us when they realized we’d hiked from Mexico.

Hop-a-long and Inspector Gadget got a ride relatively quickly with some church ladies who weren’t even going to Walker Pass but they wanted to help them out since they “looked normal.”  Dead Animal and I had a bit of a harder time getting out.  One crazy desert lady yelled “GET A JOB!” out her window at us.  An awesome couple crossing the road near us came over and gave us two bus tickets which would get us up to Onyx again and hitch from there since if one drove near Onyx, they were pretty much going to cross the pass anyway.  After 45 minutes of waves, we went and caught the bus with Magellan and some definitely crazy desert people.

The three of us got there, then within five minutes, we got a ride from Pops and his chihuahua.

“Just don’t pet the dog,” Pops said while the little thing sat on his shoulders while he drove.  Naturally, Magellan goes and tries to pet it and it almost bites his fingers off in a yippy dog frenzy.

Pops told us all kinds of things.  One of which included how to de-smellify skunks.

“Yeah, ya just pick ’em up by the tail, put some wet bear skin on their butts and the smell sacks pop out.  Then ya just pinch the suckers off!  No more smell,” Pops informed us.

When we got back to Walker Pass, we huddled under the semi-shade of a Joshua tree for two hours, next to a tiki statue while we waited out the heat.  We had a nice big climb to start with which turned out to not be too bad, just hot.  Once we got up to the first saddle, we took a small break to grab some grub and battle some ants.

In the third saddle, we stopped to celebrate the “under 2,000 miles to go” mark.  There, we realized that we had better 3G there than in town.  Eventually, we knew we didn’t really want to hike seven more miles to the water, but we left the decision to Dice Bear Pig (a beanie baby like thing that Hop-a-long and I found on top of the Banning movie theater and convinced Dead Animal to carry at Ziggy and the Bear).  Heads up and we stayed, butt up and we hiked on.  Heads up.  We stayed.

We actually walked back just a tad to the better camp area where we found Magellan setting up.  Hop-a-long spearheaded a small fire that we all sat around.  Before long, Virgo, Trip, and House (formerly known as Marcus) showed up and joined our party. Since we hadn’t seen them in a few days to several weeks, we stayed up late.  House had left Klondike in Tehachapi because he desperately needed new shoes, so he was planning on waiting for him in Kennedy Meadows.

The next morning, the trail continued up and up on the contour of the same ridge as we hopped from saddle to saddle.  The next water, Joshua Tree Spring, had a warning on it since it apparently contained a bit of uranium, but the water report said it was still ok to drink.

I had left before everyone but Magellan, so when the others came up, they had a small story to tell.  They all reported seeing a small bear cub sitting in the middle of the trail.  After determining that the mama bear was nowhere around, they grouped together making a lot of noise and got it to get off the trail a wee bit to pass.

The five miles between the spring and the next creek was so hot my eyeballs started sweating and I wondered if I was becoming something of a crazy desert person.  I found House, Virgo, Trip, and Magellan in a small camp area near the water and joined them.  Hop-a-long and Dead Animal showed up not long after and we cooked, read, and napped through the heat.

After that, we had a monstrously hot devil climb.  It just kept going up, we were tired, Inspector had a head ache that was maybe turning into a migraine, and we had to get some afternoon miles in.

We found someone’s water filter at the last water before the climb and I packed it to Kennedy Meadows, hoping it was someone’s so I didn’t have the extra weight.  At the first of two saddles in the climb, we stopped and watched the sunset as clouds appeared off in the distance.  We watched them, remembering the concept of clouds since we had not seen any in quite a while.

On the ridge walk, occasionally we would hit a nice flat spot for camping and debate about it.  Near one, we saw two bright things reflecting back at our headlamps at the perfect bear-eye level, so we immediately made loud noises.  It turned out to be Magellan’s trekking poles and we woke him up by accident.  He must really hate us for being loud at night every time he’s near us.

We ended up camping on top of the ridge right before descending.  Since Inspector was behind, we left Hop-a-long’s distinctive poles in the middle of the trail with an arrow to the spot we found.

In the morning, we got motivated early.  I was hiking ten minutes before six a.m.  The first five miles downhill was easy-squeazy.  At the bottom, a creek ran nicely for some dip-cup bottle fill action and had a nice bucket of trail magic beer in it.  We found Trip, Virgo, and House there getting water in the morning and we all headed out for the long ass climb ahead.  Once you go up, you must go down.  And none of them had a filter that they lost.

The climb took forever, the heat had set in, and for some reason, I moved sooooo slowly.  I had drunk plenty of water and eaten normally, but I just went slowly.  I found the Canadians, Julia and Brian, from a long time ago who had become Buffet and Mr. C.  They had extra vegan electrolyte packs and gave me some to suck down which made me feel ten times better and got me the last 800 feet up the ridge.

That day, we hiked straight through the heat, despite its terrible hotness and soul sucking.  By 2pm, we had already done 18 miles and had another 8 to go to Kennedy Meadows.  I huddled under a bush at the bottom of the ridge for shade for an hour and a half, then sucked it up and kept hiking.

The trail went through the valley for 8 miles to the road we needed so desperately.  Right before leaving, we noticed Magellan had left part of his gravity water filter behind, so I packed that out.  Then two miles up the trail, I found Virgo’s hat just laying there, so I packed that too.  At that point, I thought they were playing a joke on me since I had that other damn filter with no owner.

We trudged on, cursing the sand all the way to Kennedy Meadows, the gateway landmark before the Sierras.

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