Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Typical Journal Entry

Heading up Silver Pass
June 28: Typically, late in the afternoon or early evening, after I've eaten dinner, I sit down and write "talking points" in my journal. I'm too lazy to write out detailed descriptions of what happened during the day, so I just write a bunch of points to remind me about what happened during the day so, when I get online later, I can type them up in rich details as if I wrote it directly on the trail. I can type a heck of a lot faster than I can write anyhow, so the details come in my typing--not in my writing. I just need enough information to "jog" my memories of the day. Maybe look through my photos as well.

Not today, however. Today, I'm going to copy June 28th's journal entry word-for-word, to give you a taste of what I actually write in my journal at night. =) It's nowhere near as detailed as my regular journal entries, but perhaps you'll find it interesting anyhow.

As an aside, I'm currently typing this entry on August 3rd, for stuff that happened to me on the trail on June 28th, and this post isn't scheduled to actually go public until September 4th at 5:00 in the afternoon (Pacific time).

So, without further ado, this is my journal entry:
Fidget slips on a log while trying to avoid the snow.
  • Silver Pass (10,900') was covered in snow for several miles. Exhausting but glad Fidget and I did it in the morning to limit postholing.
  • Passed Tully Hole. Not sure who Tully was or what the deal her hole is about.
  • Steep climb up to Lake Virginia, where the trail is inexplicably routed through the lake. Okay, normally, it's shallow enough that one can cross by jumping over a series of large rocks. Right now, the lake is so high, the rocks are underwater.
  • Ate lunch on far side of Virginia Lake. I cooked mashed potatoes (440 calories) while sewing a new hole in my pants closed. I'm so domesticated!
  • Food levels critical. Enough to last me about 24 hours--if I conserve!
  • Lost trail in snow several more times--at Duck Lake Turnoff, at Purple Lake, at Deer Creek, etc. Argh!
  • Stopped for night with a French couple thru-hiking the JMT southbound. Fidget pushed on to Red Meadow with two other hikers hoping to arrive in time for a drink. Never even had a chance to say goodbye. French couple have terrible English, so I didn't try to talk to them very long.
  • Ate Mac and Cheese--the last dinner in my arsenal. 
Fidget postholes up to her waist.
Instead of helping, I take photos. =)
One thing I'd like to elaborate on--Fidget and I hiked through the worst that the High Sierras could throw at us--and this particular evening, we finally parted ways. Ours is a strange relationship. So far as I can tell, off the trail, we have absolutely, utterly nothing in common. It seems like the trail brought us together to get us through the tough times, and once we made it through that, we drifted our own way again along the long, windy river known to thru-hikers as The Trail.

Late in the afternoon, Fidget asked me if it would be okay if she went on ahead with a couple of other thru-hikers who were planning to get into Red's Meadow where there was a store with food, alcoholic beverages, and who knows what else. I was a little surprised--like she needed my permission? But it wasn't that she needed my permission. She was just looking out for me, making sure I'd be okay hiking alone again.

We never really entered any kind of formal agreement to watch out for each other. It was just something we kind of fell into, but it worked out really well. When my trekking pole broke, she was there offering one of her own to get me through tricky creek crossings.

Late in the day, I was hiking behind her, and she was moving! I'd never seen her hike so fast. At a couple of points, she even started jogging a bit. "She really wants that beer in a bad way," I thought. =)

For some inexplicable reason,
the trail is routed directly through this lake.
I had no intention of going into Red's Meadow that evening--I wanted to go into Mammoth Lakes the next day, then take a zero day--and when I stopped to pick up some water from a creek, I never caught up with Fidget again. I was a little sad to not even have the chance to say goodbye, though I was sure we'd cross paths again somewhere up the line.

So I camped, a couple of miles short of Red's Meadow, with the French couple who didn't speak very good English, silently wishing Fidget good luck on her journeys, and thankful our paths crossed when they did. I knew there would be more snow-covered passes ahead, but they were becoming progressively lower and easier to cross. My confidence level at navigating such treacherous terrain had grown tremendously in the week or so I spent with Fidget. Even though she wouldn't physically be hiking with me anymore, our experiences together would still help me through the days ahead, and I really can't thank her enough for helping me through the worst of the Sierras.

Fidget offers me a trekking pole
for the creek crossing.
And I can't help but laugh at the memory when I first met her, while I was hiking naked. It seemed like a lifetime ago, but it was only a week. Our last night we spent together, Fidget turned to me and said, rather unexpectedly, "I've really enjoyed hiking with you." It made me smile, and I really enjoyed hiking with her too. I'd miss her.


    Goofy girl said...

    Don't throw dates and times at me like that my goodness I'm so confused. Oh well I'm glad you both made it okay and past most of the dangerous stuff. Can't wait for the next part of the story!

    ArtGekko said...

    I would find it hard to be so close to someone as to put your life in each other's hands and yet say goodbye (or not) so quickly. Life on the trail is an interesting prospect. Glad you made it through that bit safely.

    Love the captions on the pics - that helps a lot!! :)

    Anonymous said...

    Yes! Please keep the captions coming on the photos! :-)