Friday, August 13, 2010

Bears, Gay Weddings, and Ever Growing Mountains

June 17: I woke up from a horrible nightmare. I dreamed that I was invited to a friend's wedding, and when I showed up, I found out it was a gay wedding, and I was supposed to be the one getting married! "No, no.... this is all a big misunderstanding.... a BIG misunderstanding....." Even my mom was there, thinking I was getting married to another guy, and what the hell was going on anyhow?

It's a distressing way to wake up in the morning.

When I sat up and looked around, Running Wolf was gone. I told Charmin that he was "missing," and she said a bear must have gotten him. And I said it must have been a very clever bear because it unzipped his sleeping bag then ate him whole.

When Running Wolf did return, I joked that we thought a bear got him.

"The only bears that worry me are the grizzlies up north," he said, confident and strong.

It was hard for me not to laugh. Really? Bears aren't a concern? He's the only thru-hiker I know who's been carrying  bear canister from the Mexican border. All other thru-hikers have only carried canisters since it was required. One time he hiked past me and I heard bear bells! I'd never seen a serious backpacker--thru-hiker or not--ever carrying bear bells. On his belt, he carries bear mace. And he's the only hiker I've seen going to the effort of hanging his extra food. Not afraid of bears? Really? Seems like every action he's taken assumes that bears are actively out hunting the human population.

So I had a difficult time keeping a straight face when he said that the only bears that worry him are the grizzlies up north.

Early in the afternoon, Charmin and I crossed into Sequoia National Park--the highest of the High Sierras. Patches of snow continued to bother us, more so than in previous days, but the relative lack of snow continued to surprise us. We passed over our first 11,000-foot pass and I didn't feel the need to use my ice axe or microspikes.

At lunch, I had one more apple to tear in half--a breaburn--and I failed to ripped it in half. Too tough for me, but Tradja gave it a whirl and succeeded. I think I must have "loosened" the apple for him. It's the only logical explanation. *nodding*

That night, we camped with Sneezes and Hasty, and it was the beginning of the end of my hike with Charmin.....

During the month of August, I'll be participating with Amanda in the Washington Trail Association's Hike-a-Thon. If you haven't already, please consider sponsoring us. (Especially me!) The folks do great work helping to fix up and maintain trails such as the Pacific Crest Trail and help make thru-hikes such as mine possible. If you enjoy reading this blog, consider giving something back to the trails that make it possible. Thanks!


veganf said...

The suspense is killing me. I usually wait til my morning coffee to read your posts, but now I have to wait another two days at least because I stupidly checked in to AQ before bed. Great posts lately, very enjoyable reads!

Anonymous said...

I think Running Wolf is just being prudent, which is not the same thing as being scared of bears.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

"The only bears that worry me are the grizzlies up north," he said, confident and strong.

My guess is that his use of the bear canister, bear bells, bear mace, and hanging his extra food gave him confidence. And he's right about all those safety precautions working on the black bears. But it's well known that brown bears/grizzlies aren't phased by any of those things and are more apt to attack, just because they can. Their reputations precede them. And of course, they are much bigger and stronger than little black bears. So Running Wolf is wise to be concerned.

But I'm not worried about either of those bears right now. You mentioned that this post is the beginning of the end of Charmin's hike with you.

So sad....I miss her already.

Hike On!
~Twinville Trekkers