Monday, August 9, 2010

Into the High Sierras!

I pose with my new ice axe. Nice, eh? =)
June 15: They say in a normal snow year, thru-hikers should leave from Kennedy Meadows around June 15th. This year the snow pack was high, however, and presumably, the ideal time to leave would be a bit later. Somehow, despite nearly a week of zero days, nero days, and plodding along slowly taking my time, I was leaving Kennedy Meadows on June 15th anyhow.

Amanda drove me up, where I met Charmin to hike through the dreaded Sierras with her. This seemed like a good place to have a hiking partner, and I trusted Charmin to watch my back. And I knew I could get along with her well for a possibly lengthy period of time. And she wanted a hiking partner for the Sierras as well.

I came bearing a gift of toilet paper--Charmin, of course--that Amanda found in the travel/trial section of the supermarket. I can't say I've ever given the gift of toilet paper before, and I likely never will again. =)

Amanda and I said our goodbyes, and Charmin and I headed into the mountains.

After a few miles, we found a few hikers near a campground, resting. One of them was Billy Goat, who said that there was no snow to speak of for the next 40 miles. I was dubious--I remembered his claim about the multitude of water crossings and that my count was significantly higher than the one Billy Goat reported. And we'd be getting up well past 10,000 feet in elevation long before 40 miles. I had serious issues with snow as low as 8,000 feet, and he wanted me to believe that 10,000-foot passes had no snow? I was skeptical.....

We continued on, Charmin calling out, "See you up the trail!" Then she stopped, looked around, and asked, "Where's the trail?" Okay, maybe we wouldn't be seeing them up the trail..... =)

At lunch, I offered to share an apple with Charmin--under the condition that she had to rip it in two with her bear hands if she wanted half of it. =) I handed over the golden delicious, and she ripped it apart like it was made out of paper. I was impressed with the speed and relative ease that she was able to dispatch the apple.

The trail climbed for the whole day, eventually peaking at a little over 9,000 feet, and absolutely no snow covering the trail. It was a delightful surprise, but the first 10,000-foot passes were still just around the corner....

We camped just past Cow Creek, along with Tradja, Jess, and Sneezes. After hearing my recital of The Cremation of Sam McGee, and my lament about not having any poems to memorize on this trail, Sneezes suggested The Devil and Billy Markham by Shel Silverstein, and originally published in Playboy. And of all the suggestions I've gotten, that one has appealed to me the most. I couldn't look up the poem then and there, but later..... I might just learn that one. It seems like a good campfire poem.

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!


Unknown said...

The Devil and Billy Markum is very good. Have you already memorized Annabel Lee by Edgar Allen Poe? And Abdul Abulbul Amir?

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Yay!!!!!! Hooray! Charmin is back! So happy to have her in your stories.

You look like you're ready to work the coal mines with that axe. :D

Love, love Shel Silverstein. It's virtually the only poetry my kids will read and enjoy.

No snow? In the Sierras??

Hike On!
~Twinville Trekkers

word verif: dogickk

The stuff left behind when owners don't clean up after their dogs.