July 4
When the grand account of our adventure is written, today’s verses should be titled “Rebecca versus the re-supply”. They shall be sad lamenting versus, depicting a take of mosquito’s, unnecessary switchbacks and overpriced tortillas, and ending is a puddle of sardine oil soaking in the bottom of my pack.

All in all, I had a rough day.

The morning went fine – despite my trail name, I woke up to the 4am alarm and had myself on the trail by 4:30. I did my eleven miles and got myself to Edison Lake in plenty of time to catch the 9:30 ferry to VVR, where we had sent ourselves some resupply boxes. Then everything fell apart – one of our boxes had gotten lost and I had to replace some food from the most expensive store ever, the hiker box contained a jar of moldy peanut butter, a bag of unlabeled pills and not much else, and the free beer VVR’s website promises you  (the consolation prize for their $18 a box holding fee) was no longer a thing. Additionally since I spent a fair bit of time looking at every box in the VVR’s package holding area trying to find our last box, I left VVR later than expected and by the time I’d hiked the 6 ½ miles back Curtis and Kimi were a little convinced I was either dead or seriously lost. Oh, and then there we discovered that a tin of sardines had exploded all over the bottom of my pack, and we’re hitting Yosemite where the bears are crazy in a couple days. We had to stop and wash my pack so nothing tried to eat it. We’re at the VVR trail junction waiting for my pack to dry, but we have a fire and cards and a really nice JMTer keeping us company, so I’m not so bummed. Definitely sleepytime.

-Becca


The only photo we took on Independence Day– the transition from a blanket of granite and pines to an aspen grove.

July 5th – Becca’s Birthday
Birthday’s on the trail are silly because everyday is so relaxed (generally) and there is very little to do to celebrate. No presents, no cakes, no party…except when Kimi is on the trail with the birthday person. So today we left VVR, Becca’s favorite place (NOT), climbed a pass, hiked a bunch, got awful gas from eating too much hummus, and camped in a rocky, buggy spot with no fire for the night. Not an ideal birthday, in my opinion, but then Kimi threw together a cake complete with burning sticks for candles.


The peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie cake.

Off to bed now, to stretch because after about 5500 feet of climbing today my legs are gonna fall off.  What a day, and yet just another typical day on the PCT.

Adios for now,    P.B.

Not sure what they’re doing, but Becca seems to always have the same pose whenever we tell her to “make like a ____”.

😀 😀 😀

A lovely chair complete with a foot rest!

Becca looking a little like Betty Boop with her bug net on hahaha

July 6 – Trail Stank

There is no stank like trail stank. Stank is like stink except more potent. In the desert we had musty stank. Now our stank is just pungent. I could probably kill an elephant just by exposing my armpits. I think the funniest part about smell is so bad is how sometimes, just sometimes, I love the smell. I know that’s weird. I know that’s so weird but sometimes I’ll be hiking uphill and my arms will be swinging up and pass by my nose and I’ll catch a wiff and I’ll just smile at the smell. It’s the best reminder of why we’re doing what we’re doing. I’m really not sure why I’m also not really sure why I’m doing this. I’m not sure anyone is. We probably get that question most frequently and I’ve never heard a response that wasn’t something along the lines of, “because it’s there”. And honestly that’s kind of it. That’s all there is to it.

We spent a good amount of time at Red’s Meadow today (the place ya walk to in order to catch the bus down to Mammoth). We got a decent amount of ice cream and met back up with as few of the guys we met down in Kennedy Meadows who were coming back from Mammoth (sally wag, Bolt, Lunchbox, etc.). Met a couple of new hikers, too(Safari and Maverick). It wasn’t until after we left that we learned that Halfmile, the maker of the PCT maps that pretty much everyone uses, was at Red’s! Wish we could have met him, at least just to say thanks. Curtis had a grand old time at Devil’s Postpile today. I got a short and sweet geology lesson on columnar jointing and how hexagonal columns are the most energy efficient formation. Don’t get me wrong – it looked awesome. I wish I could appreciate the formations we see the way Curtis or Becca do, though. I just don’t have a geologist’s mind. Back in mosquito land for us tonight. I guess that’s the price of camping close to water.

Xoxo – Littlefoot

The plate of condiments Becca acquired for our sardine salad (like tuna salad except made with sardines).

Curtis was in heaven.

Favorite photo of the postpile.

July 7

You know what I like? Other through hikers. Also lakes. My family (myself included) being the ocean nuts we are, I haven’t spent that much time around lake until now. The lake we stopped at for lunch, however, was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I think it was the snow on the mountain tops. Actually there was some visible ice too – enough to qualify it as a glacier according to Curty, our resident geologist.


Thousand Island Lake.

When we came over Donahue Pass (I know I spelled that wrong) and I saw other hikers I was even happier. They had a great camping spot which they gladly shared with us and had a fire going already, which was excellent. We don’t usually camp around other people, but every time we do someone comments on our chore rotation schedule. I think with a group of people it;s kind of necessary – if everything rotates nobody gets upset about work distribution – but as groups of more than two are rate, our system apparently looks quite odd. Speaking of… I think it’s my turn to do the dinner cleanup, so I’m going to sign off.

Happy hiking, Becca

Descending Donahue Pass.

July 8th

We were the first ones to get out of our camp today. So pristine the morning was as we left Safari, Blue Sky, Maverick, and Lunch Box at our camp the night before. The remnants of a glacier sparkled in the  morning sun in the high mountain peaks above us, the glacial melt water streams bubbled down the valley and we walked separately down the valley toward Tuolumme. And apparently we gooched it, because we made 13 miles in less than 4 hours.. The Tuolumme grill and store was packed with all kinds of people… hikers, tourists, climbers, city people who were obviously out of their element and not enjoying themselves…In the hiker log there was actually a bingo game [showing] all of the types of things that one might find in Tuolumme,

Our hikers mob caught up to us and congregated in the grill outdoor dining area, drinking beer and eating ice cream and burgers, well, everything else the store sold. I think I had 6 It’s It’s this afternoon. So much ice cream. After swimming in the river running into an old friend from North Face, and occupying the dining area for 8 straight hours, we’ve decided to go to bed! Some of the older people in our hiker mob are off to some party, but I’m calling it a day. Anything past 9pm these days is too late for me. We were going to try to make miles today, but we’ve got to ship our bounce box tomorrow (it’s Sunday), so we’re staying.

Quite honestly I’m thrilled. Tuolumme has always, always been one of my favorite places. I’m quite happy to take a 0 (zero) here.

but Good Night! P.B.

July 9

These days are becoming lazier and lazier. We spent far longer in Tuolomme this morning than necessary. Far too long. And then we spent far too long sitting by a creek being lazy and heat – lagged and didn’t even swim. But it was great. We chilled with Minor and listed to some of my favorite music. To top the day off, we hiked a grand total of 5.6 miles. Score. It’s about time for a campfire.

Xoxo  Littlefoot

Minor looking out at the glacier-scarred granite.

July 10

Today at dinner we found Kimi’s earring in the chopped onion bag. Not just in the spice bag – the earning had actually managed to get zip-locked into the snack sized plastic bag. I misplace things all the time in real life, so one of the things I’ve enjoyed about this trip is having so few objects to keep track of and so few places to put them. You sort of have to have a system. I know this is how most people handle everyday organization, but it’s just so overwhelming when you have drawers and a purse and more than one pair of pants. This  chopped onion business? Totally screwing with my theory of backpacking organization. Spice bag, you better behave – I’m watching you.

-Becca

Kimi may lose her earring, but Becca will never lose the sunscreen.


Becca passed out after a night of partying.

June 30 – Chase and Paige

It’s such a privilege to sleep in every once and a while and today we definitely did. Today is a fantastic day. We all woke up on Chase and Paige’s living room floor after an awesome night of partying and the first thing that happened was that Ludwig, the most adorably clumsy 3 month old yellow lab climbed up onto my sleeping bag and fell asleep on my chest. A great start to the day. Bishop is one of my favorite towns thus far with the exception of being able to find a milkshake (I don’t understand it… this craving just won’t go away!).


Cleaning up in the morning.

Bishop has everything. We saw Pixar’s Brave for $5!! It was so good. Becca and I walked at and couldn’t stop talking about Pixar’s ability to take what could have been a very cliche viking princess story and make it so good. My other completely different was amazement that we were actually seeing a movie. It’s funny.

When we’re on the trail I often fantasize about these things I can do once we’re in town but then when we’re in town I often get overwhelmed with all of the things that we could do. This hike is an interesting balance between wilderness walking and town hoping. We’re not so far removed from society that seeing a movie in theater is a distant concept but we’re removed enough (that at least for me, walking into the theater was a little strange. I could not imagine going into a real city like back home right now. I think it would be too fast paced and full of lights and people and advertising. Advertising. That’s a weird concept.

I’m becoming more and more convinced that nicer people are bred in smaller places. People in the city aren’t as trusting either. Like today, I’m feeling pretty sure all of us were amazed when we were left alone in Chase, Paige, and Kevin’s house. Left to our own devices. I would have been so scared to do that. I think the crowded-ness of the cities is what makes you urban paranoid. Or maybe it’s the crime rate on the news. Either way. Chaise and Paige are still some of the best people we’ve met.

Another great things that came out of our trip to Bishop – I like another IPA! Adam, if you are reading this, this is specifically for you. If you find it, pick up a pack of Mammoth Brewing Co.’s 395 IPA (the label is dark green with a highway sign that says “395”). It’s brewed with juniper berries – gives it a unique flavor.

We’re back at the same site we camped at two nights ago. Back over Bishop Pass first thing tomorrow. My advice: stay in Bishop. I know Mammoth is the place to go but you can’t go wrong in Bishop. We’ll unless of course your name is Curtis and 10 years old and stuck in Bishop over spring break because the care broke down on the way to the Grand Canyon. I’ll give him that.

Xoxo Littlefoot


Sad to leave Bishop.

July 1 – Bishop Pass 2.0

Still 12.5 miles long and far too steep. It’s interesting re-hiking the same section. I hadn’t thought about it until Hanna mentioned it the other day but we really never stay in the same place for more than a couple of hours, which is a bit of a change from anything else I’ve done. Though hiking is a fun thing.

Another funny thing I’m not sure I’ve gotten used to yet is how much time I have everyday to think. Even hiking with other people, I’m inside my head for a large portion of every day. I probably supposed to be soul searching or figuring out my life or something important like that, but after about 5 minutes of thinking about the rest of my life I’m half convinced myself that I’m wrong about everything I thought I wanted to do a started wondering why I never considered medical school or somehow talking Pixar into hiring me to do, well, anything and the world is a big scary place and so I spend most of my time daydreaming or trying to remember the lyrics to whatever song I have stuck in my head. I have a penchant for picking songs where I only know one verse, so it can take a while. Today everyone is singing Avril Levine (is that even how you spell her name?). The person who started it is a) someone who was an eleven year old girl b) someone who was once an 11 year old girl, or c) Curtis. Three guesses, first two don’t count :-).

Happy July, Becca


The sign at the top.

July 2 – 21st!

Today will be a very fond 21st birthday memory for me, I believe. As I am still in my younger years and still look forward to birthdays, this morning just stared out brighter and more beautiful than usual. A lot of people love the idea of going out and getting wasted at bars for their 21st but for me, a day in Kings Canyon in the wilderness is perfect. Beautiful scenery, beautiful everything, really.

And we did Muir Pass today! Definitely my favorite pass so far, it wasn’t awful steep, and the lake along the way were breathtaking & unforgettable. And the waterfalls from the melting snow on the top… oh man it was great. There was a little stone hut the top which we hung out at for a bit, and in the spirit of 21st’s we made whiskey snow cones in our Sierra cups using the snow at the top of the pass and fruit punch Crystal Light powder. They’re called Mule Skinners according to the trail maintenance crew at the top of the pass. And they sure made for an interesting decent, especially from 11,000 feet.

Until next time, P.B.


Inside the hut at Muir’s Pass.


Delicious whiskey snow cones that made us more than wobbly on the way down.


Supposedly an endangered species of frog?

July 3rd
We have no written post, but here are a bunch of pictures…


We were getting a little nervous about rain from the clouds. These are not particularly scary clouds.


DRAMATIC PHOTO! No seriously, the camera has a “dramatic” setting.


Becca’s butt is in tatters.


At the top of Silver Pass.

June 29, 2012

Best Strangers Ever

Best day ever. Because of a bit of pain Kimi was having in her ankle, we ended up following Hanna into Bishop. This morning we got a hitch into Bishop in a family’s camper from the Bishop Pass trail head, which was so amazingly helpful and saved us a 7 mile downhill hike to the highway. Smelled a bit like septic tank on the way down, but we all smelled equally awful & were not about to complain. We got into town and met up with Hanna who up to this time was unreachable since we didn’t have a phone. After several tests, the hospital’s diagnosis was frustratingly vague: epigastric pain, which was not particularly informative, but thankfully nothing more serous. She’ll be going home for a bit, but hopefully she can come back soon. It’s gonna be weird to have her gone.

 

We found Hanna at the drug store. She was riding a giant stuffed giraffe. (This is a complete lie. I will remember it as the truth.)

After doing a bit of browsing and stuffing our faces of calorie packed junk food, along with some delicious pizza, we all headed over to Hanna’s EKG nurse’s house, who had taken Hanna in the night before and was going to drive her to Sacramento, partly to thank her and to say good bye to Hanna. As they we’re loading the car Cindy’s (the nurse) son pulled up in his truck. His name was Chase, we found out, and after Hanna and Cindy [headed off} off Chase offered us showers , laundry, and a place to stay for the night which we graciously accepted. He drove us to his house, and put on some music (we’ve all really missed it) as we hung around. And that was just the beginning. Myself being the only meat eater in the group, Chase asked me my favorite cut of meat. which he put on the grill soon thereafter he picked up some things for veggie tacos for the vegetarians from the store. We bought some beer for the group, and enjoyed an awesome dinner with Chase, his wife Paige, and his roommate Kevin.

Chase, 22, and roommate Kevin, 21 were our age, which made the company even better. In an effort to de-clutter and get rid of old stuff, Chase unloaded some of his gear on us, such as a knife, which is awesome, and a pair of sandals, a sandals slipper type of shoe which I intend on using as my camp shoes. As it is Friday night, a few friends of Chase, Paige, and Kevin’s are coming over with a few beers to hang out and have some fun. These people are wonderful. –Curtis

Ludwig, the very cute 4 month old yellow lab.

 

As I’ll be out of town (and not handling the blog entries again until August 1st), I thought I’d give you all a quick update to let you all know that Hanna is doing fine, but won’t be able to rejoin our PCT gang in the coming months. Happily, her prognosis was torn cartiledge in her chest cavity, between her sternum and ribs, which will heal itself in a period of 3-5 weeks – and not anything more medically serious or long-term. However, she needs to stay completely inactive during healing, so her physical conditioning a few weeks from now will not be what is needed to rejoin our hikers who will be clocking 18-22 miles per day going forward. Plus, if she were to over-exert herself too soon, she could risk re-injury (and that was SOME heavy breathing to begin with to tear something in one’s chest!). So, Hanna is home for the duration, not too happy about it, hurting, but definitely not eaten by bears.  Jennifer

6/15 – The Migraine Day
You know how migraines are supposed to ruin your day and everything revolves around the migraine and you’re just aching to get rid of the migraine? Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have found the cure. Well, it’s not quite a cure but it does distract your for a bit as well as annoying the bejezus out of you. My cure is poodle bush. All you need to do is walk through a maze of the blasted plant for like an hour and I’m telling you that migraine will be the least of your worries. General feeling today: annoyed. We had delicious juice and toast at the biker bar this morning and our pace was nice and easy and then I migrated and then we walked and then we got poodle bushed. It was everywhere. We walked off trail, we put our packed on our heads, we swiveled our hips in ways I didn’t know Curtis could swivel his hips! And all to avoid that silly plant! You know it’s around because all of a sudden everything starts smelling like marijuana. I’m hoping none of us got it. I’ve also never gotten poison oak so I have no idea what I’d be in for. Despite the poodle bush, we ended the day on a pretty good note. The view from our campsite is incredible. I’m so excited to see my mom tomorrow! Yay for moms and zero days! Oh and watermelon. I’m totally getting a watermelon. XoXo Kimi

6/16
This entry is going to be all about how awesome Moms are. Dads, we love you too, & we wish you a happy early father’s day, but Moms deserve a special shout out after today.
We made 8 miles today before getting to our rends-vous point with Kimi’s Mom. She found us at what was, unbeknownst to us, an impossible to find freeway at an unmarked junction. When she arrived, she pulled out a cooler with Genova’s sandwiches that she had gotten for us, burritos that my mom had gotten & fruit from Rebecca’s mom, as well as several other goodies. We then ran several errands including replacing our camera at Best Buy, getting (??) tape & other such necessities at Target & eyeglass screws for Becca at Walmart. Palmdale shopping center for the won??. Then we checked in at the Motel 6, SHOWERED & hung out for a bit before going to dinner. You see, when a restaurant advertises “all you can eat sushi” they’re not expecting backpackers to come through the door. 26 dishes later, we were all stuffed & ready for sleep in BEDS! Thank you to Kimi’s mom for absolutely everything, to my mom for food & the trekking poles & Becca’s Mom for the fruit & for typing up bolts & sending boxes & the “Curtis caches,” & to Curtis’ mom for seemingly endless patience with our lack of communication abilities. Dads, we love you too. Happy, Healthy & not eaten by bears – Hanna

6/17
I’m writing this sitting in the back of Kimi’s mom’s car, wedged between a giant cooler and the window. I’m still clean, which is incredibly novel, and I’m full of all the incredible food our parents sent with Kimi’s mom. I fee incredibly spoiled.
We woke up this morning (in beds) and drove from Palmsdale to Kennedy Meadows, around what looked like a very dry section of trail. Kimi, Hanna and I actually recognized some of the drive from our trip to Death Valley a couple of years ago, which was kind of fun. I used the driving time to patch the holes in my pants with the half of my bandana I have not been using as a handkerchief. My bandana was purchased in Idylwild (where options were limited), so after blowing my nose on the national anthem for the past months I will now be wearing it on the seat of my pants. I am so patriotic.
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The drive up to Kennedy Meadows.

When we got to Kennedy Meadows, we found the general store full of fellow through hikers. We have definitely caught up with the pack. I’m excited to get to know some of them – we’ve only met a couple other hikers so far. Kimi’s mom also brought us a resupply box and some gear, so we spent the afternoon sorting stuff, reassigning group gear weight and generally being lazy. Tomorrow we start up again, but for tonight I’m overstuffed and not too far from civilization – Becca.
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Chillin and dividing up gear.
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It was a great night 😀

6/18
Kennedy Meadows 0 day: We’d planned to start out again on the trail today from Kennedy Meadows, but the early morning changed plans for the day. Kimi felt quite queazy 30ish minutes after waking up, and her poor stomach proceeded to get worse from there. We decided to wait and see how she’d feel, and spent the day eating ice cream and burgers and drinking bear and getting to know the hikers we’d just caught up to. To name a few, we met UHaul, Lightweight, Scaliwag, Caveman, Scrubrat (?), who offered some of his home brewed stout for lunch, and many more. We heard so many stories, and got an idea of other trail experiences our new friends had gone through. That night, we ventured over to “Tom’s,” the trailer hangout for PCT hikers. It was awesome! They had trailers for hikers to get some sleep in actual beds, a phone, and 3 laptops w/ internet for hikers to use. And to top it off, they play a movie every night. We’ll be back on the trail tomorrow.. hopefully Kimi feels loads better. – Curtis
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Hanna patching her pits.

6/19
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Saying goodbye to Kimi at the trailhead.

Today we woke up in the Hiker commune in Kennedy Meadows. Kimi was still feeling sick so she and her mom went to lone pine & team sardine went on one sardine short. We begun our trek into the Sierras! Beccs was also feeling a little sick, so we stopped next to a meadows & she lay down for a bit. The highlight of today was the wildlife! At the first river we crossed, we saw several trout, all between 6″-8″ long. If we find some bigger ones we’re font to try to catch dinner! Then, further up the trail at lunch, we were filtering water and we saw a water snake. He was so cute 🙂 I asked Curtis if I could take him with us… he let me take a picture instead (picture to come). When we were about 2.5 miles from camp I heard Curtis from 50 feet ahead say “Woah!” & looked up to see a large black bear about 150 feet away running up a rock face. It was so cool (it was fortunately far enough away that it was cool and not scary). Now I am sleepy, so I must sign off for now. Happy, Healthy & not eaten by bears (though we have seen them). – Hanna
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Water snake.
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Nighttime 🙂

6/20
Apparently my body does not like it when I eat a tortilla and a Clif bar for dinner after hiking 19.5 miles. Who have thunk it? To my credit, I’m pretty sure that anything else wouldn’t have stayed down. Hanna and I definitely got some milder version of what Kimi has; and I just feel very lucky that it is not as extreme.
Overall, today was uneventful in a pretty nice way. Figuring out where we were at any given time was a bit difficult as there were three different mile markers that fit the exact same description: faint trail leading to a spring off the right side of the PCT, possible sign saying “corral.” Sometimes I think they’re just messing with us intentionally.
Also, someone ahead of us keeps drawing hearts in the trail with their trekking poles. I want to find out who it is, because I’m really enjoying it.   Much love, Becca
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Very important to stay hydrated.

6/21/12– Barney & Theresa.
Today was awesome! Hanna, Becca and I got up and started our stroll in a painful fashion, all slightly aching from gas pains from our rice and beans dinner the night before. Great views, quick miles, and we got to finish our hiking at 1:00 PM when we hiked into Horseshoe Meadow to meet up with Barney, Theresa, Kimi and Maddy. They picked us up at 2ish, at which point they chatted with us and exchanged stories as we quickly scarfed down the fresh fruit they brought us. We wandered down to Lone Pine, and happily wandered around gear shops and sporting stores, as well as a gem shop, before sitting down to dinner and eating venison, ostrich, buffalo and beef burgers as we divulged our trip details to our dearly missed friends. The hotel room was wonderfully clean and comfortable compared to previous nights (I had been cowboy camping to save weight). The showers were coated in dirt once we all had finished cleaning up, and we madly rearranged food boxes and planned out our next 8 days of craziness. Unfortunately, climbing Whitney requires quite the early start, and so getting everything organized is not exactly conducive to going to bed at a reasonable hour. Whitney looms before us tomorrow. Hopefully all goes well – Peanut Butter
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Curtis wields his new poke-in-the-dark after losing his first one on day 3.
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At the Mt. Whitney Restaurant.
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Best sign ever. Hands down.

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In the car ready for Mt. Whitney.
6/22
Today we climbed Mt. Whitney with Theresa, Barney & Maddy! It was so great to see them, especially since I haven’t seen Maddy in over 6 months! We climbed up about 3 miles, had some watermelon that Barney & Theresa had carried up the mountain, & had some wonderful chats. The scenery was absolutely incredible. Huge waterfalls, extensive views of Owens Valley, beautiful trees, granite faces & crystal clear lakes. After a tearful goodbye, we hiked up another mile with just Maddy & stopped at a lake to have lunch.
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The lake.
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The view was gorgeous.

It was really nice to get to talk with Maddy & hang out a the lake for a few hours. We made Arnold Palmers (we have lemonade & iced tea powder) & ate hummus & sardines. Unfortunately, the sardines are getting to me enough that I actually threw them up today! I won’t be eating them for a few weeks I think. We again said a sad goodbye & continued up the mountain. We camped at Trail Camp, the last spot before the first climb. At 5 trail miles below the summit of 12,000 feet it was our coldest & windiest night yet! Let’s hope for better sleep tomorrow! Happy, Healthy, & not eaten by bears – Hanna
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Trail Camp- it was so friggin cold.
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Marmot eating a breakfast burrito.

June 23 – The Whitney Climb
There is a place called Guitar Lake, named as such because the lake is shaped roughly like a guitar. It is on the west side of Mt. Whitney, around 2000 ft below the junction between the Mt. Whitney trail and the John Muir trail. I am sitting on a rock overlooking this lake now.
I know we talk a lot about what we’re doing, what we’re eating, and where we are, but I am going to try this time to show you the places we see. Imagine it is the evening on a summer’s day, a day where you know the sun will not set until well after 8 pm. The air is somewhat chilly, a slight but constant breeze blowing up from the lake below you. The water is straight ahead surrounded by a meadows littered with outcroppings of rocks. There is a stream flowing on your left that has been swallowed up by the greenery; the only reason you know it’s there is by the sound. And on three sides, you are cradled by mountains. There are no trees here. The cliff sides are bare, a dullish gray-brown and jagged. Landslides are everywhere. Behind you is the backside of Mt. Whitney, a steep-sloped 2000 ft rockslide. The sun is blinding you. It has turned half the lake diamond white; you can trace the thick reflection of light from the neck of the guitar to its base as it slashes the instrument in half. The wind is howling a little louder now, a feeling you are all too familiar with since hiking up that monster of a mountain today. Curiously , my legs aren’t sore and my mind is far too fresh for such a climb. It’s probably the mountain air.
We climbed Mt. Whitney today. I’m not one of those “we must get to the top!” people. I don’t get a whole lot of pleasure out of conquering mountains. My happy place is the ocean, which might have something to do with why I am so much more enamored with the view of this lake than I was with the view from the top of the contiguous 48. Don’t get me wrong – it was incredible. I have never seen the Sierras the way I did today. But I think everyone has their own favorite stuffed animal. Mine just happens to be shaped more like a whale than a mountain goat. That didn’t make sense. I hope that makes sense.
I’m happy to be hiking again. The time off was nice in its own way (backstory: I took four days off because my wonderful mom came to give us a resupply and take us to Kennedy Meadows and then I got a 48 hour bug so I stayed with her until Barney, Theresa and Maddy came to climb Whitney with us) and I loved spending time with my mom and Maddy but this trip is about the trail and the scenery and the hikers you meet and man am I tired of sitting on my ass all day! We’ve been going slow but walking feels so good (even if I did somewhat sprain my ankle yesterday). Bon nuit! xoxo Kimi aka Littlefoot (or Walking Trainwreck – take your pick).
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It was quite cold and windy.
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MADE IT!!!!!!!!
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Surprisingly, it was much warmer and not windy at the top!
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The view of the Southern Sierras.

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The south side of Forester’s Pass.
6/24
One pass down, 10 more to go! 24 hours after hitting the highest peak in the lower 48, we hit the highest point on the PCT, Forester’s Pass. Despite the name, it was way above tree line. Even below tree line, we’ve been so high up in elevations there are only a couple types of trees. I’m learning to identify them very slowly; I’m the only one of us who hadn’t had a dendrology class, and I absolutely cannot tell how many needles per bundle a tree has from far away.
After our first pass, I can officially say that I’m grateful there has been very little snow in the Sierras this year. The switchbacks that lead up to the passes are rocky and cliff-y and slippery without snow, but we definitely are safe without ice axes and microspikes and all the other crazy equipment snow years require. There was a patch at the top of the pass that was big enough for us to make lemonade powder snow cones, so I was pretty happy.
Now it’s late and I’m sleepy so I think I’ll sign off. This morning I was so reluctant to get out of bed that they pulled the tent down on me, and I’d rather not have that happen again 🙂   – Becca
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Snowcones!
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At the top of the pass.

6/25 Glen’s Pass
Between the windex-blue high alpine lakes, the crowded bullring route deemed a trail by the PCT, and some of the new hikers we met today, I don’t quite know what to write about. In my opinion, the pass was the most difficult so far, and coming down was by no means any easier, as the trail was covered in fist-sizeds cobbles that are just the right size to twist an ankle. On the way up, we met a guy named Trip, a high, red-headed geologies from New Zealand with an awesome accent. He carried a huge wooden pole for a walking stick. He chatted with us half way up at a resting spot, and made his way up with us tot he top. He then proceeded to run…actually run… down the entire pass on the back side despite the ankle rolling rocks…crazy. The lakes where we ate lunch that day were so pretty they seemed to be fictional illusions, mystical wind-rippled mirrors disturbed occasionally by the native trout inhabiting them. The trip gets better and better by the day. That’s all for now. – PB
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Elevating the bad foot.
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Crazy stream/waterfall!

June 27 – The Sierras are beating us up
Today has been quite a day. We’ve been going slower since we hit the Sierras, first because of my sprained ankle and now for a variety of reasons. Hanna is not fairing so well with the altitude, my achilles is acting up, which is making it difficult to walk uphill especially, and we’re all having trouble waking up in the morning after being pampered by Barney and Theresa. Unfortunately Hanna is doing the worst – we are currently at the LeConte Ranger Station in Kings Canyon National Park and waiting to hear from the interim ranger about whether or not they are going to helievac Hanna tomorrow morning out to the Bishop hospital. We’re not entirely sure what’s wrong yet – she’s been having altitude sickness but today  she all of a sudden got a dizzy spell, sat down, took a deep breath and felt like she had golf ball sized lumps between her ribcage and lungs and a sharp shooting pain went up and down her spine. She is currently on oxygen and all be for the night (yay Becca for knowing how to use and monitor oxygen tanks!). I’m sorry but I’m going to make this short. We’ll update everyone tomorrow of course. Kimi

6/28
I know it’s not the kind of thing you usually plan, but if you’re going to have a medical situation in the woods you should definitely do it near an in-construction ranger station in a major national park.

One of the hardest things about Wilderness medicine is deciding when and how to evacuate someone. Besides the many minor injuries that can be treated in the field, here are lots of headaches, nausea and stomach pains that could signal something dire but are also a common result of walking 18 miles a day, eating an unusual diet and just generally being a person. Especially on this section of the PCT, which is pretty isolated, getting a person out of the woods can be tricky. (Walking someone out, while often the correct decision, takes a long time and can potentially be detrimental to whatever injury or illness is present. Assisted evacuations are costly). Carrying out a person with a badly sprained ankle can take up to 17 people to accomplish, and helicopter evacs further strain the resources of the crew.
My point, which I realize got a bit lost in my ramblings about wilderness medicine, is that where we were last night and this morning was as close as we could get (not physically close – we were a nasty 12.5 miles hike out) to having the resources of the urban world. Besides having someone responsible for search and rescue resources calling the shots, we got to put Hanna on oxygen, which should just never be possible in the woods.
Ahem. I was supposed to talk about today, wasn’t I? After Hanna got helicoptered out, we walked about two miles up the trail when Kimi’s achilles began to object strongly and we had to change plans. We actually ended up turning around and hiking up and over Bishop pass. We originally wanted to get into Bishop tonight, but we didn’t quite make it before dark so we’re staying at a campsite 7 miles from the highway. Hopefully someone will be driving out tomorrow and can give us a ride. We’re probably going to end up having to skip some mileage in here somewhere to make it to Sonora pass by the 8th, but on the bright side we get to check in with Hanna earlier. Here’s hoping she’s doing well. – Becca

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The couch cache complete with cookies and soda just before Big Bear.

6/7  (typist Note: when I can’t decipher a word, I’ve put it in quotes…)

Today we had anticipated getting into Big Bear around 10 AM, but based on us going further than we thought yesterday & us going faster than we had thought, we ended up getting to the freeway at 8:30 AM. We tried to hitch for a while and after being unsuccessful for long enough we called the trail angel in the area, Papa Smurf. He said he would pick us up in 30 min b/c he needed to drop off another hiker anyway. When he got us, who was he dropping off by our friend and fellow hiker, Papa Smurf! We had a good laugh about the coincidence.

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With Papa Smurf (the trail angel).

We got into Big Bear, & my is it a big place based on what we’re used to. I had to get to the outdoor store, which ended up being 7 mi away! After Curtis printed out maps at the library, Kimi & Becca went grocery shopping & ordered carbide tips for trekking poles online & I had gone to the outdoor store for a camptowl, gloves & rope & the hardware store for denatured alcohol before continuing on. I had a jumbo cinnamon roll & a bowl of chile…yum! Here’s to breaking Kosher! After a delicious lunch we made our way back to the trail. B/C Kimi was suffering from compensation injuries, she hitched the 9.5  trail miles (4 real miles). Papa Smurf (the trail angel) blessed us when he dropped us off. After eating some Jumbalaya, mashed potatoes and stuffing, we all got some much needed sleep.    H,H, NEBB   Hanna

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Our resupply– we eat a looooooooot of food.

6/8/12

It was SO COLD this morning! Hanna brought everyone pop tarts in their tents, which I think is going to become a regular occurrence (the eating in tents thing). Of course because it has so cold we got started very late (7:30 am I believe, which is more than an hour later than usual) and I am still dealing with compensation injuries from straining my ankle. Oh trail injuries how you plague us. We walked through an area today that burned in 2007…man was it hot. And no shade! Until lunch when we got to the edge of the burned area and rested under some pine trees. Hanna and I washed our socks (black as usual) as well as various other things while Becca and Curtis napped (bad Becca! no napping!) Currently we’re set up to sleep in the middle of the trail (taboo, I know, but there was nowhere else!) next to a beautiful stream and a very busy ATV course. The ATV part is sort of unfortunate but the rest is wonderful. Off to make dinner! XOXO Kimi

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Playing…um…in the dirt?

6/9

I was having trouble starting this entry, so Hanna suggested I start with my morning. In her words: I woke up. I had trouble getting out of bed. I ate a pop tart*, but not until I’d glared at it for a while first.

I’m clearly a lot of fun in the morning. Best tent mate ever, right Hans?

We spent most of today hiking alongside a pretty large river. All anyone wanted to do was go swimming, but unfortunately the trail was about 300 ft above the water. We kept seeing these beautiful swimming spots we couldn’t get to. Eventually, around 4 PM, we descended and found what was obviously a popular local swimming spot. People had their dogs, which I wanted to kidnap, and the dress code amounted to whatever you feel like! We weren’t all that shocked (it is California after all) but a fellow hiker from Illinois called it a public health hazard 🙂

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The river, a serious tease in the heat.
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Bad picture of Deep Creek (the swimming spot) but it’s all we’ve got.

We’re camped tonight next to a very large dam, our Illinois hiker friend (whose trail name is Paint Your Wagon) is camped nearby, and a PCT veteran we met at the swimming hole gave us an orange. Pretty solid day.  – Becca

*Technically, it was a ‘Toast ’em Pop Up’, the off-brand variety they were selling at the dollar store in Big Bear.

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Crossing the river at the dam.

6/10 – Lake (16 miles, apples, Joel, dam)

Between the long day yesterday & moderately sore legs, we were all surprised today when we’d made 16 miles by about 1:00. And, as it happened, 16 miles just happened to put us at a shady lunch area along the shores of Lake Silverwood. We all enjoyed the cold water and the opportunity to lounge a little, and I watched water skiers and wake boarders as they were towed behind boats thinking about what I’d be missing w/ my family later this summer. But it’s worth it! We made a few miles after lunch, and then got a hitch to a convenient store for some popsicles, sodas and more candy than I personally needed. The hitch back was hilarious, since the guy who gave us a ride back talked exactly like Forest Gump and , to completely seal the character resemblance, had an ‘I heart running’ sticker on the back of his truck. What a day. We’ll see what tomorrow brings! Adios for now, Curtis (Peanut Butter)
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Silverwood Lake.
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The cheese stop sign Hanna made for Curtis.
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Warrior sunscreen paint.

6/11/12
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There ain’t nothing prettier…and I don’t even eat fast food!

Awesome morning. We were so efficient today! First time in a while. We passed by a road first thing in the morning that was Lombard Street without the turns. It reminded me greatly of some of the dirt roads in Guatemala it was so darn steep. I was rather grateful to not have to trudge up it. We had a rather lax hike to McDonalds’s and met Gary the-guy-with-the-badass-camera who was hiking 500 mi of the trail and somehow leap-frogging his car along with him. It felt like forever but somehow we made it to the golden arches and promptly pigged out. I had both a McFlurry and a milkshake, Hanna and Becca had fries and some sort of thing involving ice cream and Curtis got a salad after eating his heart out. Unfortunately, we also found out that Curtis’s grandfather passed away this morning. To everyone in Curtis’s family, we wish you our sincere condolences. We took the afternoon a bit slower and after some unexpectedly long uphill ran into some poodle bush, that blasted plant. We are now camping in a lovely little hiker oasis complete with lawn chairs and a mouse friend in the water cache. Bed early tonight. I think we all need a good rest. With love from the trail, Kimi.
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Hiker trashing it up at McD.
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There are large plants and Becca is their kin.
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Our mouse friend!

6/12

I didn’t sleep well last night, I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because we’ve been sleeping on sand the past 2 days. Today entailed 5500 feet of uphill. About 4 miles in, we had to detour because the trail was OVERRUN w/ poodle bush. Has anyone explained poodle bush? It’s this tall, green, fuzzy plant w/ bright purple flowers that causes a rash worse than poison oak & poison ivy! Look it up, it’s awful!! We ate Ritz & peanut butter for lunch, then completed our mileage by 4 PM. Kimi & Curtis walked down 200 feet to get H2O, & then we did another 2 miles & slept in the road leading up to what is usually a ski resort in the winter months. We ate parmesan cream linguini & played Kanasta at dinner. Time to sleep, Wrightwood in the morning!   H, H, NEBB. H.

6/13

Today was a doozy. Hanna and I made a quick and dirty trip into Wrightwood to resupply. Grocery store, post office, hardware store and we were out. Neither of us even bothered changing into our town clothes. Even with the rushed trip, we’d lost most of our morning hiking hours by the time we’d gotten back to the trail.

Then we went up.

Now I realize that we’re hiking Mt Whitney in about a week, and that after that we’re going to be in the Sierras where we lose and gain thousands of feet of elevation every day, but WE WERE SUPPOSED TO GET ANOTHER COUPLE DAYS OF STUBBY MOUNTAINS! There. I got it out of my system. I have no idea how much elevation we gained in how few miles, but by the time we got into camp everyone (even Curtis) was ready to collapse. On the one hand, we all feel pretty proud that we actually made our 18 miles today. On the other, I think my hamstrings are suing for divorce.

Since Little Jimmy campground, where we’re sleeping tonight, is pretty well known by local bears, I’m going to go help hide all of our pots and cups very far away from camp and then take my very tired, peanut-ramen filled self to bed. Much love, Becca

6/14 – Hanna hurts, bikers bar, meadow

The day after summitting Baden-Powell was the most painful day of the trip in my opinion, because of the intense elevation gain the day before. Having had extensive experience with lead-filled legs from years of track and cross country, I welcomed the heavy legs and sore muscles like an old friend (in a weird sort of way). We hiked the saddle junction trail that day, a trail starting at the junction and working its way up to the neighboring peak. As we worked our way up, however, Hanna developed a serious pain in her Achilles tendon and the surrounding area, stopping feet before the summit because the pain was too much. We took an hour off to recuperate, and gradually worked our way 6 miles down to Eagles Roost, a turn out rest area on highway 2, which happens to be the least populated ever on weekdays (not convenient for getting a hitch). We eventually got a ride for Hanna to the campground a few miles up the highway, and hiked the 3 miles along the highway to the campground, a part of a endangered species detour for the mountain yellow-legged frog. With a series of abbreviated trail sections and hitches (Kimi won at hitching) we ended up at a biker bar for dinner, playing cards and drinking whiskey sours and whiskey arnold palmers until it got dark. We then camped in a meadow across the street with a pack of coyotes and a resident black bear, both of which se never saw fortunately. – Eventful as always, PB

Leaving the preserve and the most water we’ve seen all trail was a little sad, especially for me, having lost my cool (?) buff, a handkerchief type thing, at lunch due to high winds. All cool though. We walked along, marveling at the high winds and a the rocks (mostly me, but occasionally others). The camping was a tad windy that night, despite the thick brush, and the next morning was even more interesting as we strolled through sand, crossed the same creek 20 times, and passed through fields of the desert’s equivalent of poison oak, the poodle bush. We finally reached the high mountains, listening to music on the Walrus as we scarfed down 8 packs of ramen. After a cold night, Kimi pushed through today’s 18 miles with a monster of a muscle knot. We passed a group of kids, giving us  high fives & wishing us good luck on our way to Canada. We get into Big Bear tomorrow, and are currently approx. 260 miles in. 10 (??) done! That’s all for now! Many miles to go. Until next time.   Curtis

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Being trees next to the wizened burned ones.
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The ostrich.
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Poodle bush, that blasted plant.
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Checking up on the feet.