Friday, September 24, 2010

Search for the Nipple

The Nipple! Yes, it's the Nipple!
July 8: There had been a lot of discussion on the trail about a particular feature that we had been approaching: The Nipple. It's the name of a mountain the trail passes by, and everyone seemed to be obsessed with it. From a distance, we'd look at all of the various peaks and try to figure out which one was the Nipple. 

Who were these people naming mountains after nipples? Explorers, perhaps, who'd been in the woods too long? Did the same people name Wet Meadows, which I passed the day before? Were they hiking naked at the time?

So I woke up this morning, anxious to finally reach the Nipple. Would it live up to its hype?

It didn't take long before I identified one particularly prominent peak as the possible Nipple, but then the trail started veering well away from it. No, that wasn't the Nipple.... Then I spotted another one. Yes! Certainly, that must be the Nipple! And once again, the trail veered away from it. Another false alarm. You start looking around for nipples, and you start seeing them everywhere!

Some of the lumps on trees started looking like nipples. Various boulders often had a series of nipples running across them. Even roots sticking out of the trail started looking like nipples. Clearly, I've been spending way too much time out in the woods myself.
Wait a minute... that hill behind it also
looks like a nipple.... Would the real nipple
please stand up! =)

But The Nipple continued to elude me for much of the morning, until I saw it. Yes, that was definitely a nipple! More nipple-like than any of the other nipples I had spotted. But there were two of them? My topo map only showed one nipple. Which of the two was the Nipple? I guessed it was probably the slightly larger one, but I liked the idea of two nipples better. Better symmetry. Even if the two weren't entirely symmetrical. =)

I wished I had a model who could lay back, topless, and I could compose a picture of the mountain Nipple with a real nipple. Yes, I thought, that would be a wonderful photo. That certainly wasn't going to happen anytime soon, however. I wasn't even hiking with anyone, much less a woman who'd be willing to pose for such a photo. (And I could just imagine that conversation. "I don't even need your face in it. Nobody would ever have to know who's nipple it is! I just need a nipple!")

Look at the lack of snow!
It's just as well I passed the Nipple in the morning. It gave me other things to obsess over the rest of the afternoon than looking for nipples everywhere. =)

The scenery was spectacular, even without the joy of the Nipple, and at Carson Pass I found a little information center housed in a little building. I had no idea this little bit of civilization was on the trail and was thrilled to use the payphone outside (I hadn't been able to talk to Amanda or my mom since leaving Yosemite), and the volunteers inside offered me a Coke and a banana which I gobbled down.

Carson Pass was packed with people!
Near the pass, the trail was positively packed with hikers, to the point that I started feeling annoyed by them. The parking lots at the pass seemed to be holding a hundred cars, and at least twice that number of people packed the trails. Coming down into the pass, I started discouraging them. "Go back.... while you still can! The snow can swallow a man alive!" and "I barely came out alive!" It was melodramatic, and most people laughed when I'd say things like that. I'd shake my head sadly in reply. "You laugh now. You won't be laughing later...." The trail was still thick with snow coming down into the pass, but admittedly, none of the hikers were actually going that high on the trail. They were all headed towards lower-level lakes. They'd have to deal with small patches of snow, but nothing serious.

A lot of the day hikers asked me about my hike, and it started slowing down my hike. It's fun telling the occasional day-hiker about my thru-hike, but I'd grown sick of it after the first dozen or so asked how far I was headed. Still, I tried to keep a cheerful disposition and kindly answered their questions.

Oh, great, now I have to worry about
the plague?!
It paid off when I left Carson Pass and a couple of hikers ended up giving me a brownie, Fig Newtons, and a giant bag of fresh cherries. Score! I almost felt a little guilty taking so much food from them, but they were offering it, it looked really good, and by golly, I'd enjoy it! So I took everything they offered and ate it over the next couple of days. =)

Afternoon thunderstorms struck once again--a seemingly repeating pattern I didn't much care for. It rained and even hailed a bit, but it dried out before I stopped for camp about four miles short of Echo Summit near South Lake Tahoe.

My first view of Lake Tahoe!


Anonymous said...

Similarly, if you are looking for a specific SPOR, everything begins to resemble said SPOR. ;-)


Anonymous said...

A friend of mine had an adventure when she was a young teenager.
She swam across Lake Tahoe

Anonymous said...

LMAO! I enjoyed reading your hike to the "nipple", that was too funny! I never thought I'd read a blog that said nipple sooo many times, good job!

Lady Morgannah
from "Dickens Family"

Sue KuKu said...

I heard that's one theory where the Grand Teton name came from, too: French explorers who had been in the wilderness for far too long without women looked at the mountains and . . .

Take a look at the picture:


Anonymous said...

This was a laugh out loud moment. I'm pretty sure now when I go out on the trails, I'm gonna see nipples everywhere! LOL Thanks Ryan!
The Cats Meow.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

See? Day hikers and tourists aren't that bad. You ended up with a lot of loot!

We get those afternoon thunderstorms from July through August. In New Mexico we call that our Monsoon Season.

Hike On!
~Twinville Trekkers