Monday, January 31, 2011

My dinner was half wild

Tonight I made a dinner comprised of wild chanterelle mushrooms and wild mustard greens. I picked both of these on hiking trails. Also in my dinner where spinach, onions and cream. It was a cream soup. It was delicious.

I ordered a book on edible plants and am waiting somewhat impatiently for it to come. That free Amazon shipping takes a long time. I hope to find more greens I can eat. Many of them probably grow as weeds in my yard. Next time I make a soup like this, I hope to substitute some kind of wild greens for the spinach. I could have used miners lettuce except I didn't have a bag when I saw some the other day so I didn't collect any.

People are slow and stupid

People move too slowly. Even cars are too slow. Birds are so much better at getting somewhere fast.

I took my big bird to the vet today. On the way home I could tell she was very impatient about how long it was taking to go home. She's very aware of geography and can tell when she is getting close to home. I kept thinking, as I had to wait every block for another traffic light, how my big bird could have been home by now with just a few flaps of her wings. I needed oil sucked out of the ground, processed into gasoline, and wars fought to do what she can do on a few pieces of fruit and some nuts.

People are really inefficient. Birds do it right.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A local hike in the rain

Today's Sierra Club hike was much better than yesterday's. I ended up leading both hikes this weekend.

I got a call from a man visiting from out of town. I told him if it was pouring rain the hike would be canceled but if it only looked like it might rain, we'd go. It was pouring rain in the morning so when he called again, I told him the hike was canceled.

Then it suddenly got nice again so I decided we should at least go see if anybody was waiting at the meeting place for me. There were 3 people there waiting for me. They looked like nice people so I called the out-of-town guy and told him the hike was back on. He hurried over and joined us.

We headed up the trail and it started raining again. I have a hard time getting out there in the pouring rain when I'm already dry and cozy at home. If I'm already on the trail and it rains, it's usually a really pleasant experience. The rain today made the hiking a lot of fun.

We did the whole hike except for the final summit climb up to the top of a large rock. There wouldn't have been any views on the rock and there wouldn't have been any shelter from the rain. Instead, we waited around a little while under some trees but we started to get cold so we went back down without much of a lunch break.

We took a different route part of the way down. It was over grown and very wet even though it had stopped raining and the sun was peeking through. Shades of hiking in Washington all over again.

As soon as we got to the car, it really let loose and rained harder than ever. We laughed at the perfect timing.

The visitor from out of town thought, when I told him the hike would take until 2pm, that maybe it was going to be a slow ambling hike. I tried to tell him it would not. I couldn't explain why the hike would take so long except that it usually takes that long because you never know who will show up or how big the group will be. We hiked fast up the trail and he was happy to get a good workout. We went a little more leisurely down the trail. We reached the car at 1pm.

I much prefer smaller hikes like this. They feel more fun and the weather adds an extra bit of adventure. It was a perfect hiking day. Everything looked so green, there were so many wildflowers already blooming. Just perfect.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

27 hikers

Twenty-seven people showed up for my Sierra Club hike today. That is just too many people. The range of abilities is too wide. The expectations among people are too different. And that's just simply way too many cellphone calls. I hate cellphones.

It turned out okay. The hike was a short one with a long drive. You'd think that would eliminate people but it didn't. With such a large group, I expected it to naturally split into two groups, a group that would want to do a real hike and another group full of beginners who would poop out. And that's what happened.

Being the leader, the one who has to be responsible, my job was to hang with the beginners because that's the most annoying job. I let The Man take all the real hikers further up the trail for a real hike. I stayed back with the beginners and poseurs, herding them to the advertised goal and then trying to manage expectations when they wanted to go home early even though not everyone they carpooled with were present. A group of 4 said they had their whole group with them and wanted to leave early so I said go ahead. Then they proceeded to call me several times to ask where everyone was because they were waiting for two people who had ridden up in their car with them. I hate cellphones. What a way to ruin a hike to have demanding people calling me for status reports every 10 minutes.

Anyway, everyone managed to get the hike they wanted and nobody was lost, so it was a success. I brought home some wild mustard and hopefully I'll get a chance to cook it up and see how it tastes.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Miles and meal planning on a long trail

I'm a 40+ woman. I went pretty light hiking the PCT. I took a lot of zeros and often I would exceed my daily goals so that I could bank miles for my last day coming into town. If I got that last day down to only a few miles, I could get BREAKFAST!!!!

These are my miles not averaging in zero days.
  • So Cal to Wrightwood - Daily goal 15 miles. Easily met and sometimes exceeded.
  • So Cal between Wrightwood and Kennedy Meadows - Daily goal 20+ (22-23 miles). Usually met.
  • High Sierras to Sonora Pass - Goal 15 miles (one big pass per day.) When the passes got smaller my daily miles went back up to close to 20.
  • Sonora Pass to Oregon - Daily goal 20+ miles. Usually exceeded it by 5-15 miles.
  • Oregon - Daily goal 25. Usually exceeded it, sometimes by up to 10 miles.
  • Washington - Daily goal 25+. (Here's where I fully committed to a 25 mpd pace, carrying no more than enough food for that pace.) Always met, sometimes exceeded by no more than 5 or 6 miles.
Here's how I thought about planning and miles.
  • Your daily goal is X miles. Let's say 20.
  • To meet that goal, you must hike no LESS than 20 miles per day.
  • If you hike less than 20 miles, you must add those miles to the following day or else you will end up with an extra day. So you hike 19 miles today, tomorrow you have to do 21. Hike only 15 and tomorrow you have to do 25. It can get daunting really fast, so dipping below your goal is extremely undesirable.
  • Adding miles is better. You don't have to add a whole 20 miles to subtract a day. Here's why: Hike 25 miles and your last day is only 15 miles long. Hike another 25 miles and now your last day is only 10 miles long. Hike another 25 mile day and now your last day is only 5 miles long. You can do 5 miles before breakfast, so this day has pretty much evaporated!
What this means for planning purposes is that X miles a day is not the maximum you can do it's the minimum you will settle for.

It also means that if you haven't put in exactly the right amount of food, you'll be fine! Short a day of food? (sometimes that would happen to me--moldy tortillas, miscalculated the mileage, whatever) No problem. Start tacking on the extra miles and that last day of starvation will vanish. You'll roll into town in time for a big pancake sandwich breakfast and all will be right in the universe.

When I finally realized how easy it was to control my miles, the need for detailed planning completely evaporated.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Classes are starting

I tried to get into the Android Programming class last night. Since it's a very popular topic, there was no chance of getting in. My co-worker also tried to get in. He had even less chance than me of getting in since he wasn't even on the waiting list but I was. But we sat through the first lecture anyway.

We both agreed even if we got in, we wouldn't let our boss know we were in the class. It would not be worth letting the boss know we knew how to do something like programming for the phone. An iPhone or Android programmer surely makes more than the two of us combined. If the boss wants our knowledge, he'll have to pay for it.

My next attempt at a class will be to see if I can get into Data Structures. If I can't get into that, I guess I won't have any classes this spring. I shouldn't have let it go so long that I didn't get signed up for any classes. I've been working my way up the prerequisite chain for Data Structures all along. And now I've sabotaged myself. Oh well.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Are we potential 2012 hikers?

It was a gorgeous warm spring day today. Good for hiking. There were hot breezes in the sun and cool breezes in the shady canyons. The ceanothus was in bloom filling the air with fragrance. The Man and I hiked up to the top of the mountains and back down again.

Along the way we made crazy schemes up for hiking the PCT. I thought of doing it as a tag team. While one is hiking Section A, the other is driving the car up to the end of Section A, enjoying some rest, getting supplies ready, doing trail angeling. When the other arrives at the end of Section A, they switch. Now the one who did Section A gets to rest, resupply, do trail angeling while the other hikes Section B. Keep going like that slowly up the trail, making forward progress at about the same pace as regular thru-hikers. Repeat the following year so you get to do the sections you didn't do the previous year.

The Man thought it would be better to leap-frog up the trail. While one person is hiking Section A, the other has driven the car up to the end of Section A and is hiking Section B. When the first person gets to the end of Section A, they take the car up to the end of Section B and start hiking Section C. That way forward progress is made at the pace of two sections at once. Since we'd get to the Sierras too soon, we'd turn around at Kennedy Meadows and hike back to the border letting each other do the sections we each didn't do the first time.

I liked my idea better because then we could bring the birds with us and not have to pay for expensive boarding. He liked his idea better. I don't really care either way because it's all just crazy talk.

Or is it? He said in 2012 he will turn 62 and be old enough to retire. He could quit his job to hike the PCT and if he didn't find another job when he got back, he could take early Social Security and retire right then and there. Wow, could we really be hiking the PCT in 2012?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Eating more healthy

I don't eat very healthy. I usually eat something starchy and sweet for breakfast, such as a piece of cinnamon swirl bread with almond butter on it. Then I go to work where the boss often buys donuts or bagels. I have a hard time not eating them. I also drink a lot of coffee. I think that computer programming is to coffee as drinking is to smoking for some people. Computer programming seems to require coffee for the concentration.

We always have chocolate or cookies around the house, so I often eat some after work.

The Man likes a big dinner so I usually eat too much. Dinner is often some kind of pasta or burritos or Indian food with Naan bread.

I thought I would try eating more protein recently. I ate a lot of protein for a few days in a row. I got to where I didn't want to eat anymore protein. I really wasn't hungry much at all, actually. I think I ought to eat more protein on a regular basis. I just am not a good cook and meat is something I really don't know how to cook very well. I can cook a whole chicken. I can cut up steak and make something sort of Oriental out of it. I can cook a piece of fish. But that's about as far as I go and I don't like to do it much.

I also have been trying to eat more greens. I really like greens. What I would really like is to be able to identify wild edible greens, even if they are weeds, actually, especially if they are weeds. Then I could go for a walk, collect some greens to go with dinner, and cook something to go with the greens. Perhaps put them in a soup or omelet or serve them as a side dish.

Another thing I would like to do is cook more things from scratch. I often resort to various Trader Joes pre-assembled things that The Man likes to buy. I made lentil stew the other day from scratch. It had beets and kale in it rather than carrots. It turned out really good. I'm not a fan of carrots, but beets I really like. I also made a homemade spinach/mushroom cream soup using the wild chanterelles we found a few weeks ago. That probably wasn't very healthy because I put a whole cup of heavy cream in it.

Anyway, I don't really want to go for any fad diets. Just eat more real food and less stuff Trader Joes and maybe less cookies, donuts and bagels.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Update on my shoemaking hobby

I haven't made any shoes for a while. I recently received a set of instructions for making "side opening, turned moccasin boots with button closures similar to what might be worn at renaissance fairs and buck skinner rendezvous." The instructions show how to make the pattern on the foot and how to make the moccasins. I want to try it.

I ordered a big piece of leather and some more Vibram Newflex. I will take a stab at the instructions and maybe end up with some cool boots. In the mean time, I started making another pair of sandals since I have all this scrap leather and sandals don't require really big pieces.

I discovered a trick. I put a heavy-duty needle in my sewing machine and used it to pre-punch stitching holes in the leather. I used my sewing machine manually, by turning the wheel with my hand rather than with my foot. I didn't just sew the leather because I need to use waxed thread and didn't want to hurt my machine or screw up the tension. It sort of works, but the holes close up again and it takes a lot of effort to push a needle through by hand. So I made my own tiny stitching awl with a needle pushed into a cork.

I've almost finished stitching all the tabs and heel sections for the sandals. After that, if I have any scrap leather big enough for soles, I can stitch them to the soles and then when my Newflex comes, I'll glue on the Newflex and have some awesome 4-tab sandals sort of like these (only not nearly as fancy or perfect).

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Thru hike the PCT with The Man?

The other night The Man phoned his mom. I overheard him tell her that if he gets laid off he's and I will thru-hike the PCT. News to me! Good news. Sadly, I don't want to pray for him to get laid off, but I look forward to the day, should it happen. Heck, maybe he's just waiting for the day himself. Waiting for "the package."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Spring sprung

Looks like Spring has sprung. With all the rain we had in December and the week or so of hot weather we've had, the flowers are blooming and filling the city with strong fragrance. No going back to winter now.

Winter is so brief in Santa Barbara. And it's actually more like Fall is other places. It's a season I really like, but it is short.

Looking forward to longer days soon. By February, the days are long enough to get in an evening hike after work.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Are things looking up or is it just the great weather?

The Man and I took a hike yesterday on one of our favorite trails, the Lost Valley Trail in the San Rafael Wilderness. A long time ago when The Man was married he used to go up to that trail and cut the brush with loppers. I think he went every weekend for a whole spring and summer. It gets blazing hot in the summer. He loves to work hard in 100 degree weather. He's nuts. Back then, he wanted to see that trail and the Hurricane Deck trail kept open. The forest service seems to have decided these trails should be abandoned. Probably because they go too close to Native American archaeological sites. We've watched it decay over the years and haven't been there for a while.

Seems the forest service got a bit of stimulus money recently and opened up the Lost Valley trail for about 4 miles. The trail was in great condition. A few blow downs, but otherwise better than it has been. For the first 4 miles anyway up to Oak tree camp. Then the trail has fallen to pieces. Our jaunty 3mph pace slowed to 1mph in a few sections.

Near the summit, though, it improved and past the Pine tree camp the brush was dry and easy to get through. The area had burned in the 2007 Zaca Fire and remains fairly easy going. We reached the junction with Hurricane Deck by 1pm.

We had lunch up at the junction. We enjoyed views of the Sierra Madre. It was so clear and the air so clean I knew if we had been on the Sierra Madre mountains we would have been able to see the snowy peaks of the High Sierra. I commented to The Man that this was the first hike in a long time where I actually sweated some. It was pretty warm.

After a quick lunch, we headed back down. The Man decided to cut brush with his loppers and asked me to go ahead of him so he wouldn't get carried away with brush clearing. I enjoyed a leisurely pace down to the Oak tree camp. The Man put away his loppers and we hurried down the trail. After a while we started jogging. We were losing the daylight on this short January day. But not the heat. It was still in the 70s and the running was making us sweat.

We really wanted to get back to the creek crossing of the Manzana creek before dark. The Man didn't want to try and cross the creek in the dark. Even with headlamps it can be hard to see the bottom and get a good footing. He sprained his ankle on Apache Peak last year and still has trouble now and then. He went to the emergency room three times last year. We joked often that he was gearing up for another trip, such as when he would slip on a loose boulder in one of the landslides or something. He didn't seem worried.

The Man said he really enjoys our solitary hikes. Nothing to worry about compared to the Sierra Club hikes where sometimes people will cause problems with bad decision-making or poor physical conditioning. We often go out half daring ourselves to get stuck somewhere. We never have, though. It's fun to be adventurous and tempt fate without worrying about the babysitting and liability blah blah blah of a group hike.

He was in such a good mood today. When he gets on the trail he becomes a different person. I got him to open up about retirement the other day. Turns out he's got enough money to retire. The only thing holding him back is health insurance. He's just holding out for medicare. That made me wonder. What about me? Am I going to have to work until I'm 62 because of health insurance? Normally I don't care about health insurance. When I was younger I was super poor and knew how to get free health care. Free clinics with the sliding scale. I always fell on the free side of the scale. Sometimes I could just tell a good sob story to a doctor and get free care. Not sure that works as well when you are 40+ as when you are 20+.

Anyway, I've planted little seeds in his head about doing more hiking, maybe traveling around in an RV or van. We could bring the birds. They couldn't go backpacking, although I think The Man thinks maybe they could. I don't think they could, but I know they could go camping. Years ago we took Ariel camping and she slept with me in my sleeping bag. It is really hard to sleep with a big giant bird on your arm. Even more years ago I went on a road trip in my VW van with my little parrot. She slept inside a plywood nestbox. I stuffed a sock in the round opening so she couldn't get out and I slept with the nestbox under my blankets in the back of my van.

I guess I feel a little better about working lately, like maybe there really is a light at the end of the tunnel, like maybe it is not so permanent. Could just be the weather makes me feel better. Or maybe that I've done more walking lately. Since I don't have my second job anymore, I'm back to walking to work. I haven't made any new shoes lately so I've walked after work, too.

I wore my hiking shoes on yesterday's Lost Valley hike. They worked pretty well but my feet slip around a bit and that started to annoy me after a while. I got an instructional CD for making unlasted shoes and want to try it. It includes instructions on how to make the pattern by wrapping your foot with tape, drawing the seam lines and then cutting the tape off your foot. You get a better fit. That's what I need. A better fit. Otherwise, the super wide, zero-drop, no arch-support thing seems to work out very well for me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My authentically adventurous self was evident in childhood

When I was a kid, I think it was in second grade, I wrote the following story. I think it says a lot. It was written on two foot-shaped pieces of paper and the assignment was to write a story from each foot's point of view. (I kept all spelling and punctuation errors in.)

FEET Were we go! What we see!
One day I ran away from my body. When my body saw that I was gone, he held on to my buddy. I jumped up on my bodies bed and tikeld my buddy. He got away. Then we traveld to the end of Alpine Dr. The next night we were in Los Angles. We started to run. then we got lost, we could not cry because we didn't have any eyes.

We found a knife and two eyes and a bottle of glue. We cut a hole in one foot, and another in the other foot. It hurt. We glued the eyes on. Then we could see we traveld to a mountain It was big for little us. We climbed up we saw a campfire, in no time we were warm. We found some shoes, and put them on. We ran home and put on a body.

The End

When I was a kid, I thought I would grow up to become a writer. As I got older, I would write elaborate, multiple paged stories about adventures. A group of friends would go off on some kind of journey through a fantasy world, or we would ride in space ships to other worlds. Once I wrote for a practice standardized test an essay about a dream where I was in a forest running through the trees. We had to grade each other's essays in the class and so many people liked my story that the teacher asked me to read it to the whole class.

As I got older, people told me that's not the correct way to write an essay. You were supposed to follow a structure. They taught me how to write properly. I never wrote creatively ever again after that. They also told me that being a writer was not a realistic goal. I spent the rest of my life struggling to somehow find a compromise between what they said would be realistic and what I enjoyed. I never succeeded at this.

When I talk to children, which admittedly isn't very often, if they tell me they want to be artists when they grow up I congratulate them on a wise choice. The people I know who are artists make good money. Many work for themselves. Art, I was always told, was the most unrealistic goal of them all. Nothing could be more wrong. If I meet a kid who wants to ride a unicycle, I say, Good for you! What if they excel so well at riding a unicycle they get to ride it in the summer parade and they enjoy that so much they end up becoming the executive director of the organization that puts on the parade? You can never know where something will lead so I never tell a child something they want to do is unrealistic.

There is a huge gap between when you are a child and when you are an adult. In the gap between my own childhood and when I became an adult, personal computers were invented among other things. In the years since, so many things have changed, so many new fields have been created, that the occupations that are available to me now could not have even been explained to my parents and teachers when I was a child. Who am I to say that the skills learned riding a unicycle won't prove to be the key to that kid's future? I haven't a clue what the future is going to be.

It's clear from my childhood writing that I wanted to write and have adventures. When I engage in those activities, it is the truest expression of my authentic self. It has been a long struggle to get even this far back to who I am, and I've spent so many years not being myself that I sometimes feel a little sorrow for how much of my life has been wasted. I suppose that maybe answers why I left a good job at a billion dollar company to hike the PCT and why I didn't go back to it when I finished the trail.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Being vs having

I subscribe to an email discussion for people hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. The list is really active lately because all the new hikers are in their preparation stages. They're all obsessing about gear and bear canisters and all the unknowns. One of the things I enjoyed about hiking the trail was how it put into perspective how little you need to be safe, warm, comfortable and HAPPY. Whenever people obsess about gear, especially about bringing electronics, it makes me feel the huge gap between the artificial world of "society" and the real world of nature. We really need so little, and of electronic things, even less.

Here's a response I wrote about what kind of headlamp is recommended.

I found a headlamp a few hours beyond Mojave Dam at a little camping area somebody carved into the chaparral near a spring. If it's yours and you can tell me what year you lost it and describe it, I'll return it. It has three LED lights. It's very light. It's very dim. It was perfect for my needs.

I have usually hiked without any light at all, or at most with a one LED light that I could clip to the bill of my cap. I enjoy fumbling in the dark for some reason. I really, really hate light at night. Years ago I had a studio apartment in town that faced the street. Somebody came to the door asking me to sign a petition to put street lights on my street. I told them I would never sign such a petition. What about safety? Criminals? I countered, What about stars? What about sleep? They put the darn light in and I had to pull down a blind every night to sleep but my room was still pink from those infernal sodium vapor lights. Curse from hell, those things are.

I'm not a big nighthiker, but one LED is enough to hike a little bit at night if you aren't in a hurry. Three is absolute luxury. Mostly I use it for reading.

There's so much excitement involved in getting ready for a big adventure like hiking the PCT. You think of all these cool things you can get to enhance your experience. By god you NEED some of these things.

The real gift of hiking a long trail like this is you learn you don't need most of it. You start sending stuff home so you can lighten your load. Then you start sending stuff home because you really don't need it. Your gear gets smaller and smaller and your happiness rises higher and higher. You acclimatize to being outside. You aren't cold anymore. The heat's not so bad. Hills? Yeah, so what? 15 miles to the next water? Yay, that's one of the shorter stretches. Soon you don't care that your stove is made from an old can, your water bottle brand names are for liquid long drunk not for empty containers backpackers are supposed to have (and if you're like me, you found a way to scratch off the brand names anyway). Your maps were downloaded for free. You have a sixth sense about the trail and can find your way pretty well and don't need the GPS anymore except for its entertainment value. The tent you have, the sleeping bag--you barely notice which brand you bought and you couldn't care less what brand your friends have. Ahh, the freedom of the trail, the freedom to just BE and not to HAVE.

I miss the trail SO MUCH!

Fantasy life

I don't know why I feel so disatisfied right now. But I just feel like doing some dreaming. Escapist dreaming. Here is my typical day right now:

Wake up around 6AM. Get ready for work. Walk to work. That's a nice part of the day. Work until about 2 sitting in an office where I'm not really allowed to talk to other people. Sure I can try, but the conversation has to fit in about 2 minutes time because that's when the boss comes over and interrupts and makes sure you can't have a conversation. Doesn't matter if it's about getting your job done. Nobody is allowed to talk. We might actually make some plans or something. Then I walk home from work. That's another nice part of the day. Then I have the afternoon to do things I want to do. Often I fritter that time away. Why do I do it? Then The Man comes home and we eat too much for dinner and then I feel bad and wish I hadn't done that. Then we watch TV with our birds and go to bed. Pretty boring.

Here is my fantasy:

I wake up in some beautiful place somewhere. Maybe it's a forest with trees. Maybe it's a forest with chaparral. Maybe I am near enough to a town that I can pack up all my stuff and drive into town for some coffee and read the newspaper. Maybe I'm far away from town so I'll make my breakfast, eat it and pack my stuff. If I am hiking a trail, I'll hike all day. If I am just camping and exploring, maybe I'll jump in my truck and go see some beautiful places. Maybe I will find chanterelle mushrooms. Maybe I will find thimbleberries, huckleberries or blackberries. Maybe I will go fishing. Maybe I will do trail magic for people hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Maybe I will read a book all day. I'll eventually make some dinner, set up my tent and go to sleep. No TV watched, no pointless for-pay work, no waiting for years to pass when we are not enslaved to health insurance and can just go live.

Okay, I've indulged my fantasy. Time to go cook dinner.

Sunrise this morning

A beautiful sunrise was forming this morning. I should have watched it unfold. Instead I took a shower. What is that saying? You cannot serve both God and Mammon. Egads how wrong we have it in this culture where instead of appreciating the gifts of nature we put on our work costumes and go further the destructive machinery that takes nature apart so it can be eventually thrown into a hole and buried. Can you tell I had dreams I was hiking the trail last night?

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Divide Peak and fantasies

Today I did a little hike to Divide Peak. Divide Peak is a peak overlooking the ocean near Murietta Divide. Murietta Divide is the boundary of the watershed between Ojai and Santa Barbara. It is also the same trail I hiked on the first and second day of my 2009 hike from Santa Barbara to the Pacific Crest Trail. I walked right by the place where I slept on my first night of that adventure. It was nice to be back.

At the summit of the hike, we were at the top of 4700-something foot Divide Peak. Peaks and ridges surrounded us all at similar elevations. I was on the Crest once more. Two ravens floated by cawing. For a minute there I felt like I was back on the PCT in the So Cal section. I felt happy and at home. Everybody I was with (and it was a big group) sort of disappeared for a moment and I was back on the trail.

Lately I have been engaging in little escapist fantasies about living in an RV on the road spending all my time touring BLM and forest service lands. I have been wondering if I should get a van so I could have something to live in on the road. I currently own a pickup truck. Maybe I should get a camper shell instead.

It occurred to me today that an amazing adventure could be had with my truck and my backpacking gear. All I would need is my backpack and gear, a box with some extra gear for colder or warmer weather, a box with some extra clothes and a cooler to store some food. So a camper shell would be sufficient.

I could imagine myself parking at the trailhead and hiking up to Murietta Camp to spend the night. Maybe I could set up a stealth camp near the hot spring that was nearby. Backpacking feels so much safer to me than sleeping in a vehicle. Backpacking is respectable behavior. Sleeping in a car is practically illegal, at least around here. I could do this all over the place. Drive a little, hike in and set up my tent, pack it all up in the morning and return to my car, move on. Stay awhile somewhere nice. Do a few days of hiking at a time. What an awesome way to live that would be!

It's a great fantasy. Back to work tomorrow, sadly.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Success is time, not stuff

I read this quote today:
"Success is having everything you need and doing everything you want. It is not doing everything you need to have everything you want."

I totally learned this hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Poison Oak Relief

I got poison oak from hunting mushrooms last week. I knew I would get it. I try not to worry about poison oak too much. It's just a rash.

I've discovered a pretty effective home remedy for relief from the itching. I use a hot compress when the itching feels really bad. Tonight I had an angry red welt that itched like crazy. I put the hot compress on it and after a while, the itching subsided and the angry red welt was almost gone.

I've done this each evening when the poison oak seems to flare up. It really does relieve the itching.

During the day I haven't even noticed the poison oak for some reason. I don't claim this is because of the hot compress. I really don't know why it hasn't been very bothersome this time. I've got quite a lot of it on my legs.

I have an additional theory that poison oak is a good treatment for the common cold. I started catching a cold last Thursday or Friday. But it hasn't amounted to much. I had a sore throat for a day and a half. I had a little mucus for a day and a half. Otherwise, I've felt fine. My theory is the poison oak was such as assault, my immune system was in high gear before the cold could really take hold. It may have helped I took a lot of Vitamin C, too.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Sad to see my holiday end

My glorious week off is almost over. I am sorry it has to end. It was so wonderful. We slept in, ate at the Daily Grind, hunted mushrooms, went for a hike every other day, got terrible poison oak and a cold. The Man never snipped at me. Not once. He was happy and kind the whole time. I wish he would retire.

It rained hard all day today. The sun was out for a little while. There was snow on the mountains.

I really don't think I can go back to sitting in a room all day with people I would never choose to spend time with. I need to find a way out of there. I found the company that does the campground hosting in my area. Maybe I will see about that. I also joined a yahoo group with people who live a vagabond life.

I attempted to make another pair of shoes this week, but they looked like they would turn out really ugly I gave up. I was trying a different pattern than the one I have been working with so far. Part of the pattern works well, but part of it doesn't. Maybe I can salvage the project, maybe not. I joined a forum to ask questions about shoemaking, but the shoemakers are all professionals so I think they sort of don't like my presence. Not all of them, though. One nice lady said she'd send me some leather.