Thursday, March 31, 2011

I have Mondays off now and can go backpacking

My boss has cut everybody's hours in the office by at least 20%. I elected to do that by taking one day off each week. Supposedly this is temporary. I should be bummed that the company is in such dire straights or that I will be making less money but the only thing on my mind is that I have more time for backpacking.

This weekend we are planning to join the Sierra Club hike to Santa Paula Peak. This is a strenuous and somewhat crazy hike that starts out as a creek rock-hopping adventure, goes up to a camp that has the biggest picnic table I've ever seen, then goes to Santa Paula Peak and down. I think it's a car shuttle. The Man and I are a little bit worried about the creek part since the creeks were raging just a week ago. Hopefully they'll be reduce, but we are worried we'll be wading most of the way. I'm going to hope for the best.

This hike is on Saturday. But now with my extra day off, I still have Sunday and Monday to do a backpack. So I was thinking of hiking up Chorro Grande or maybe Hell's Half Acre. I haven't decided.

Meanwhile, on the same day the boss said we all had to cut our hours, a recruiter contacted me wanting to set me up with an interview at some company. Perhaps I will get a new job. A full-time job with benefits. On the one hand, I would be bummed to lose all my nice time off that I've used to take classes, make shoes and do day hikes, but on the other hand, I would make a lot more money and then I could save it all up and quit working forever. So part of me is resigned to setting aside life to work for a while.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The love of money is the root of all evil

The love of money is the root of all evil.
Trees are money
Rocks and mountains are money
Shark fins are money...
... but not sharks.
Plastic is money. Figuring out how to dispose of it is not.

Water is money when it's like this...
But not so much when it looks like this.

Your attention is money. Thinking, experiencing and being is not.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My thoughts go round and round

I've been feeling lately like it's time to get a new job. I need a job with better pay and higher quality, more professional work. Something to feel proud of.

But then I remember that The Man was thinking of hiking the PCT next year and I think I should wait until after the hike. I don't want to find a really good job just to quit a year later. And then I start thinking what if he doesn't hike next year and I blow a whole year working at my low-budget job when I could have earned twice as much money for a year?

And then I start thinking about how The Man tends to be more talk than action and I really am wasting a year waiting for the inevitable let-down and that there's no way we'll ever attempt a thru-hike and I should just go get a job now.

And then I start thinking about how boring and meaningless my life seems going to work every day, listening to the TV blaring all night and I wonder if I could make a real commitment to a high-paying career-type job now that I know there's more life out there than this. Maybe I should just stick to what I'm doing now. At least I have time during the day to pursue other interests.

But my interests cause difficulties at home because I'm not conventional enough. I just feel sometimes that from all angles everything external in this modern world seems to hate who I am, and that I'm a square peg and who on earth would hire someone like me anyway?

So then I wonder why would I even want a better, more highly-skilled job when the world is mean and hates me. What I really want is to go hiking where nature is alive with love and beauty and kindness and with real pain that hurts in the body but not in the psyche.

But if I could do the high-pay job for a few years I could save enough money to quit and go hiking for the rest of my life. Maybe hiking on the weekends is enough to get by for a few years. Maybe it's time for a real job.

And then the cycle of my thoughts start all over again.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A trip report from last weekend in the storm

The Sierra Club groups and the boy scouts weren't the only ones who got surprised by the weather and rescued last weekend. There's a pretty good trip report on Backpacker Mag's web site with some great pictures from a couple who attempted to hike the Sisquoc Loop this weekend.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

One-button moccasins

My latest homemade shoe. A one-button moccasin shoe.
One button mocs
The leaf pattern disguises a means to attach my dirty girl gaiters.

This leather was hard to work with. It is not very soft or stretchy. The pull loops on the heels really dig into my heels. But wearing them around a little bit seems to be softening them up and I think in the end they'll end up being really comfortable.

It took me a lot of attempts to make these. I bought a CD on how to make these kinds of boots from scratch starting with taping up your foot to make the patterns. I did all that but the patterns were too tight, too small. The resulting shoe could not be put on and cut against my ankle. I tried at first to make taller boots but after they dug so deeply into my leg, I cut them shorter. That didn't work at all. Only made them worse. They were ruined. I suppose next time I try this I will put on really thick socks before making the pattern, then add 3 times as much seam allowance to compensate for my hatred of my shoes touching my toes, and then I'll use much softer leather.

I have a whole side (of the cow) of this reddish leather, so I started over with my patterns that I bought and modified from Simple Shoemaking, thinking that maybe my tried-and-true patterns would be more friendly with this leather. I tried to copy some of what I could see on Shoemaker Sharon's site. I'm not very creative so even though I would look at her shoes, it was impossible for me to actually copy how she made them. I have to have a pattern, I guess. Anyway, I got the idea for the leaf pattern from her.

I know I make shoes completely wrong. For example, I stitched the uppers directly to some rubber soling sheet instead of to more leather. The CD instructions had me stitching to two layers of leather. This made the seams really thick. I probably should have stitched to one layer of leather for the insole, but I thought maybe I might try to sell the rest of this leather. Hmm, now I'm regretting not doing it right and sewing them to leather. Oh well. Maybe next time.

Anyway, I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. I wish I had a sewing machine so that my stitches would come out smaller and nicer, but I think they aren't too bad. I look forward to gluing on the sole and wearing them and getting them broken in so they don't look so stiff and shiny.

Hikers rescued

It turns out that there were three Sierra Club groups hiking in the backcountry this weekend and all three of them were rescued by search and rescue. People are all mad at them now. Bad publicity for the Sierra Club.

The three groups were part of a Wilderness Basics course where they teach backpacking. The beginner group had tried to get themselves out of the backcountry by trying to hike out to the highway via some off-trail route and were found struggling at a cliff and had to be repelled down. The other two groups were found just chilling in their campsites.

People are all mad now at the Sierra Club calling them a bunch of irresponsible hippies who should pay for for their rescues. The thing is, nobody in any of the groups called for a rescue. It was someone at home who called. Seventy-two people were rescued over the weekend and only some of those people were in the wilderness and even fewer of them asked for the rescue.

I thought about this and what I hope to remember to do if this ever happens to me is to leave a note somewhere as close to the cars ad I can get that says don't bother rescuing me. I'm fine. I am waiting for the creeks to go down and then I'll walk myself out. Then I'd go back to the camp and kick back. There is nothing about civilization that is so pressing that I need to risk my life to get back.

Monday, March 21, 2011

We got a call last night from a woman who was concerned because her daughter went on a Sierra Club Wilderness Basics backpacking trip. The Wilderness Basics is a course that teaches people how to backpack. The Man and I don't have anything to do with it so we couldn't help the woman. We knew there were three separate groups out there this weekend but we weren't sure where they went and we certainly didn't know which group her daughter was in. The woman was pretty upset with us, but what could we do.

We think that at least one of the groups went to where we were hiking the weekend before, on the Gene Marshall Piedra Blanca trail. If so, we had nearly a foot of rain yesterday and it's likely they could not have crossed the Sespe River to get back to their cars. If it would have been me out there, I would have hiked up the Sespe Trail to see if I could cross further upstream and then hike the highway back to my car, but I'm betting you would not be able to cross there either. So it's likely they got stuck out there for an extra night. A foot of rain in that rugged wilderness and boulders and trees might be coming down the river which might be up to people's chests. I wouldn't even try to cross.

People think oh, it's just California. The PCT hikers especially dismiss Southern California as being easy desert hiking. It's not desert and it's not always easy. The weather here is extreme. Sunshine in winter, yes, but sunshine one day and a foot of rain the next. Those big dry rivers you see? They actually do fill up once in a while. Our mountains are young here. They slide and wash away in storms like the one yesterday. I'm sure that San Jacinto is now completely impossible to hike. We have rain in the forecast for most of the whole week. Good luck Class of 2011.

The woman who called worried that the hikers were lost. Don't they have GPS?, she asked. I am sure they are not lost, just stuck. The Sespe River is one of the last wild rivers in California and I believe it's the only wild river in Southern California. Hooray for a river that prevents people from going back to work on Monday!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Chaco "shoes"

So, since I found out that Chacos makes shoes, ordered some and sent them back for an exchange because they didn't fit, I thought I would take an old pair of Chaco sandals that I had in the closet and staple the uppers from a pair of my homemade shoes to them. The uppers were made from nylon men's bathing trunks. I hammered thick metal staples through the uppers into the sides of the sandals. Works pretty well.

I didn't feel bad about possibly ruining the sandals since these were the ones that were too narrow for my heels, that I cut off the edges of the heels to fit me. They were already crudely modified so what is one more modification.

They're not as comfortable as my homemade hiking shoes. Boy are my homemade shoes fantastic now that I modified them. I feel great knowing I finally made the perfect hiking shoe! Thin sole that's really flexible but just protective enough I don't worry about rocks and things. Flexible so my foot can work like a foot should and thin so I can still feel what the ground actually feels like. With the shoes tapered in toward my arches more, they fit perfectly. I felt really stable on yesterday's off-trail adventure.

These homemade Chaco shoes, in comparison, feel thick and clunky. I suppose I can send back the Chacos I exchanged when they come now that I've made my own. Or I may keep them if they are better than my homemade ones.

Fleece works well in wet weather

I did a day hike yesterday in the rain. It was not raining at the start but the bushes were wet and it was a bushwhacking adventure so I got pretty wet. It was still a nice hike. It finally started raining for real near the end of the hike. My fleece jacket worked out well. I have resisted fleece for a long time because I don't like how it gets all full of static cling and my hair sticks to it, but it worked out well in the rain. Warm when wet.

It's really pouring right now. There was a couple at the trailhead yesterday that looked like they were just setting off for a backpack trip. I wonder how they fared.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fancy moccasin failure

My attempt to make a pair of fancy moccasin boots was an abject failure. I should have quit while I was ahead and stuck with my patterns from Simple Shoemaking. The shoes I made with the patterns came out well. At least the ones that came out at all came out well. My plan now is when they wear out, I will take them apart and make patterns from them. I'll have to do that because of the modifications I did over time to make them fit. They fit perfectly now but are different from the original pattern. Perhaps I can make a fancy moccasin boot by modifying the pattern.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I'm a ghost who is really out on a trail somewhere

I feel really invisible today. I think it is because I spent the week reading Jonathon Ley's CDT Journal. His writing is really good and he made me feel like I was hiking the trail myself. He also managed to speak all the thoughts I had while hike the PCT and continue to have while I endure this meaningless life of commerce and money.

While it feels like there is somebody out there who understands and has had exactly the same thoughts as I have had, I also feel incredibly alone and invisible, a ghost walking around in this commercial world. I walk to work, go through the motions, but my heart and mind are out on the trails, in the mountains. I may be dodging dog shit in plastic bags on the sidewalk but my mind is out in the trees and mountains somewhere. Maybe I'm writing some code and staring at computer screens all day, but my thoughts are on the trail and my heart is soaring thinking about some beautiful view or some cute animal or some amazingly difficult situation I endured.

Real life is out on the trail.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Another hike on Rattlesnake Trail

I hiked Rattlesnake Trail again today. This time I went beyond the meadow all the way to the end of the trail where I sat for a few minutes on a rock overlooking the city and the ocean. It was really pretty out. The trail was a green tunnel of canyon sunflower, hummingbird sage and fiesta flowers. Yellow, pink and purple. Since the fire, it looks like a park almost with so many green and blooming things.

I stopped at the grapevine where a small stream came down from a side canyon. I drank the water from the stream unfiltered. It tasted pretty good for Santa Barbara water.

Even though I tried to stay present in the beauty of the trail I kept thinking about planning a backpack trip. I wondered if I could use my lumbar pack and a small day pack and put enough gear in it for an overnighter. How small could I go with my gear? Wouldn't it be funny if I turned up somewhere in the middle of nowhere looking like a dayhiker?

I thought often of the PCT. I thought about the trail around Warner Spring and Barrel Spring. I wondered if I might hike from Warner Springs to the kickoff and then get a ride back to my car pretty easily.

It felt good to get out with the nice long evenings we have all of a sudden with the early time change.

Monday, March 14, 2011

More thoughts on hiking and shoes

I went for a hike today on Rattlesnake Trail. I hiked up to the meadow and back. The flowers were in bloom, but there will be even more coming soon.

Yesterday I altered my homemade hiking shoes. I tapered them inward at my arches and removed a layer of EVA foam. It really made a big difference. They are more flexible and comfortable. They feel more like moccasins now but with enough protection from rocks that I don't suffer. The fit is much better. I intend to take them apart after they fall apart and use them for a pattern in the future.

I also noticed that Chacos makes shoes. I ordered a pair thinking I could alternate between my homemade shoes and Chaco shoes on backpack trips. There are a lot of foxtails on my trails so I have to have closed-toe shoes otherwise my socks (or my skin) will be destroyed in 15 minutes. The shoes came but they didn't fit so I sent them back. I'll try another size but if those don't fit either, I'll send them back too. I probably shouldn't have bothered.

I forgot to mention that the other day at the end of the hike to Pine Mountain Lodge, we reached the parking lot as the sun was setting. There was a moment there where the southwest-facing mountains before us were bathed in golden light. The white rocks of Piedra Blanca and the golden sandstone of the mountains reflected the setting sunlight and the green chaparral hills took on a golden tint. It was all laid out there in front of us like a gift. I stood there and watched the light and took note of this gift given to us at the end of a day fully lived.

Peace Pilgrim

I've always admired Peace Pilgrim even before actually reading anything about or by her. Somehow I just always knew about her.

Peace Pilgrim walked all over the place with nothing more than the clothes she wore and a comb. It turns out she also walked the Appalachian Trail and was the first woman to hike the whole trail in a single year. Also, she did it at the same age I hiked the PCT and it looks like after she hiked the AT she became Peace Pilgrim and started her mission to walk around for Peace.

I guess living out in nature and walking affects some of us women similiarly. Or perhaps it is a certain kind of woman who is attracted to walking. Although I have not gone on a mission for peace or for just walking around, I do wish I could just keep on walking out in nature.

Little day hikes aren't quite enough. There is something about the lifestyle of the wanderer that just feels right to me.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Went to Pine Mountain Lodge

The Sierra Club hike this weekend was to a really great place called Pine Mountain Lodge. It's a great destination for a backpack. The trail is steep and climbs up to over 5000ft elevation. Up there are pine, big cone spruce, cedar and manzanita. Also snow. There's no longer a lodge, but a long time ago there was a hunting lodge. There are Chumash cave paintings, but they've almost completely flaked off the rocks and the last remaining bits are adhered to flakes that look ready to fall.

I had my backpack all packed with the plan to hike in with the Sierra Club and then camp out. But I changed my mind.

It kind of bummed me out to think about hiking up with the Sierra Club and then having them all wave good-bye at 1:00 or 2:00 and then sitting around twiddling my thumbs for the rest of the afternoon, listening to that lonely whispering sound in the pines. The Man wasn't even going to go on the day hike and just thinking about how he seemed to be believing he'd never go hiking again, I just didn't want to sit up there all alone trying to figure out if I wanted to be married to an invalid.

So instead I decided to do the full day hike. It would be more exercise for the day. All the fun hikers that I like would be there. We'd all go out to the Deer Lodge for beer and burgers afterward. It just seemed like more fun. So just before I was almost ready to go, I decided to do the full day hike instead of the backpack and informed The Man. So what does he do but throw on his hiking clothes and come with me.

So there we are, hiking this super steep trail and he's way out in front of everybody. Someone asked if I'd like to get ahead and try and catch up to him, as if I could. When I finally found him, he says, "Look at you, you can't even keep up with an old man with a heart condition." Good for him. I mean here he was thinking he'd drop dead any second and now suddenly he's hiking and thinking himself strong and healthy, and he's happy and smiling and having a good time. I told him Ray Jardine says your legs are like a second heart so as long as you keep walking, it doesn't matter if your heart stops every now and then. Your legs will keep the blood moving. He laughed and thought maybe that would work. His heart is healthy as a horse, but has an electrical short that causes it to beat strangely and then stop beating for a few seconds.

I hiked most of the way wearing Crocs. There are three deep creek crossings right at the start of the trail. So I brought Crocs to wear, thinking I'd just put my shoes on when I finished those three crossings. I decided what the heck, I'd see how far I could hike wearing Crocs. I hiked all the way to Pine Mountain Lodge in them, even in the snow. They're not very good in snow. All the holes let the snow in. I put my regular shoes on for the way down but once we got to a creek crossing in the middle of the way down that also was a wet one, I put the Crocs on and completed the rest of the trail in them. I can see why some people hike the PCT in Crocs. They're pretty comfortable. My feet felt a little sore after a while though. I'm not sure why.

So even though I didn't camp out, I got in a good hike to a beautiful place and had a good time. The trail is called the Gene Marshall Piedra Blanca National Recreation Trail. I told The Man we ought to thru-hike it some weekend. Park a car at both ends and hike through from a Saturday to a Sunday. I kept joking on the way down the trail how all these years I had only section hiked the Gene Marshall trail. I kept making jokes about how Team TrailPiper, or is it Team PiperHacker is going to thru-hike the Gene Marshall trail. Maybe we'd continue on all the way to Bakersfield where I'd be required to comb my bangs so they stick straight up and he'd have to put on a cowboy hat just to be allowed in. Then The Man started wondering if you could walk from Santa Barbara through Bakersfield and over to the PCT. That would be funny. It's nice he's thinking about hiking again.

I'm trying to decide if he doesn't return to the PCT this spring, should I try hiking from Highway 74 south to the Kickoff? I'm not planning to go to the Kickoff, but it would be an easy way to maybe get a ride back to my car and have a little fun. Or if The Man does return to the trail, I could try to get some 4-day weekends and do bits of the So Cal PCT while he's out there.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Johnathon Ley's CDT journal

I have been reading Johnathon Ley's CDT journal. It is very good. He seems to have all the same kinds of thoughts that I do about money, about machines, about the direction our technologies and culture have taken us. He's a good writer.

I highlight the text on the page and have my computer read it to me out loud using the Text-to-Speech function. Then I can work on projects with my hands at the same time.

I am trying to decide if I should do another backpack trip this weekend. I probably should. It's good to get out. It's sad I have to do it alone. I think that Trailhacker's hiking career is nearing its end. It is shocking how quickly a person can go from young and healthy to old and sick. More proof that a person should live life fully while they can and not wait for some windfall in the future.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Living and walking the backroads of America and Mexico

I found my way to this interesting story of a man who decided to just walk around America and Mexico for a while. He walks back roads mostly but manages to live kind of by trail magic. I found it inspiring.

Monday, March 07, 2011

The Man's heart is all messed up

The Man couldn't sleep last night. He looked like hell in the morning. I went to work as usual and when I came home he was still at home. He had taken the day off and gone to the hospital. They tested his heart. He showed me his EKG. It's all messed up. It looks worse than an episode of House. His heart doesn't work right. It's got some kind of electrical arrhythmia or something.

The doctor asked him what medications he takes and when he reported them the doctor said none of them could have caused it. Later The Man remembered a medication he forgot to mention. He looked online and one of the side-effects is the same heart rhythm problem he seems to be having.

This makes me pretty angry. Whatever you do, never take any medications advertised on TV. I'm pretty sure that these days pharmaceutical companies can get just about anything put on the market. I'm pretty sure that most of these companies are investors in other companies, some of which probably have toxic waste they need to unload. Drugs are probably a good way to unload these toxins. Have a bunch of waste? Call it a drug and have people inhale it whenever they feel like they can't breathe.

I believe that it's better to avoid all drugs if at all possible. The only medication you should take is the kind they give you when you are in the hospital. I took a medication for a while and it gave me permanent tinnitus. So-called "lifestyle" medicines should be avoided at all costs. This includes medications to control health problems caused by lifestyle things, such as depression or cholesterol meds. Anything that you see on TV with the line "ask your doctor" should be avoided. Let your doctor ask you and then say no.

Aside from my outrage over our capitalistic health industry, I feel something negative about this unfolding of events. Will The Man be able to return to the PCT to complete his section hike this year? Will he give up backpacking for good? What will that mean for me being able to do another long distance hike? Will we ever hike the PCT or the CDT together?

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Went backpacking last night

Matias Potrero ViewI made it out to one of my quickie backpack places on my list. I went to Matias Potrero.

It was really nice to spend some time back out in nature again. Doing something like hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, where you spend months living in nature, is hard to recover from. I think about the trail every day. It took me about a year to get used to our dry backcountry again. But I can't get used to "regular" life. The commercialism, the pointlessness, the destruction of beauty, simplicity and the natural world at every turn. I missed being the secret little wood nymph I felt like I was on the PCT, living in the forest, peering curiously at this modern world of machines and noise, then fading back into my forest home in relief where I could be alone with my bird friends. I really miss it. That's who I really am. I felt that again on this little overnight trip. The clarity of my thoughts returned and I was simply happy.

My crazy tarp/bugnet setupI was amazed how similar this trail was to the area around Agua Dulce on the PCT, especially the smells. I felt memories rushing back.

This may be a way to cope with modern life until the day I can escape it once and for all.

I wish it was easier to escape. Yesterday I saw some ducks in the river and it made me think how simple their lives are. They learn how to get food out of the water and then they spend the rest of their lives getting food, bobbing around in the water, resting on the rocks and going about the business of just being ducks. We make everything so complicated and difficult. You can barely survive. You can't just find food and eat it until you die. You have to hoard and work meaningless jobs and play a game until you can escape. I wish I could escape right now. I don't want to play that game anymore. I want to sleep serenaded by owls and frogs.
Matias Potrero trail view

Friday, March 04, 2011

Hikes I could do this year

The Man plans to return to the PCT where he left off last year. Last year he hiked from the Mexican border to Apache Peak where he slipped on the snow, slid 100 feet down the mountain and sprained his ankle. He was rescued by helicopter and it took about 8 weeks to heal his ankle. He plans to return and hike for at least 3 weeks. Apparently he'd like to go solo. This is fine. I'd like him to know what the PCT is like solo. But I can't help but feel jealous.

So it occurred to me that I could plan a bunch of solo weekend trips. I thought perhaps if I listed them all out, I could do a better job picking the ones I would like to actually do. Perhaps I could set a goal to hike as many of these as I can this year.

So here's a list:
  • Tunnel Trail to Matias Potrero Camp. ~7 miles from Tunnel Trail Head to Matias Potrero. Could return, catch a ride from Paradise Road or hike on to make a 3-sided rectangle using Gibraltar Trail and Cold Spring Trail. Or a two-night trip and hike all the way home.
  • Fish Creek Camp. 3 miles from trailhead. Quickie overnighter. Could hike on up the trail and stealth camp.
  • Manzana Narrows. 7 miles from trailhead. I hate Manzana Narrows. Too cold.
  • Hole in the wall. ~9 miles from trailhead. Awesome secret place. Pretty long hike. Would need long light to do it on a Friday night.
  • Willow Spring Trail. I think there is an old camp up there. It might no longer have room to camp. It's about 5 miles.
  • 19 Oaks. ~2 miles from trailhead. Maybe too short. Could hike on and see where I end up. Maybe there's somewhere to camp on the dirt road further along. Or maybe hike in from Aliso Trail and make it much longer.
  • Little Pine Spring. ~9 miles from trailhead. Excellent strenuous hike. Far enough into the backcountry to feel like Wilderness.
  • Forbush. ~2 miles from trailhead. Quickie.
  • Cottam/Blue Canyon/Upper Blue Canyon. Further up the trail from Forbush. Could make a loop out of it using Romero Trail and parts of the 9-Trails to get back to Cold Spring or even walk home for a really long hike.
  • Mono/Little Caliente. ~8+ miles from trailhead. Car access part of the year so I'd have to do this when the road is closed. Otherwise the people there would be extraordinarily annoying.
  • Hell's Half Acre. Horrible road walk but interesting spot on Wilderness boundary.
  • Potrero Camp. ~2 miles from trailhead. Quickie hike but a longish drive.
  • Coldwater Camp. ~4 miles from trailhead. Further along the trail from Potrero.
  • Horseshoe Camp. ~5 or 6 miles. Could end up with annoying teenagers/college kids, but could hike on further toward Schoolhouse.
  • Meadow near Negis Cave or therabouts. Stealth camp in secret spot. Could be really awesome.
There are awesome places in the Matillija and Sespe Wilderness, too. For example:
  • Murietta Camp. ~4 miles from trailhead? Kind of dark and gloomy but might be nice in summer.
  • Camps all along Matillija Trail
  • Chorro Grande. Reminded me of the PCT. Might have snow right now. Wasn't too far. Maybe 5 miles?
  • Potrero John Trail. I think there was a camp about 2 miles in.
  • Dry Lakes Botanical area. Stealth camp. Could do on a Friday night if I got an early start.
  • Willits Hot Spring. ~10 miles from trailhead. Pretty popular because of the hot spring. Camps along the way, though. Not a good one for a Friday night.
  • Buck Creek Trail. I have to complete my 2009 hike and go see the trail I missed because I got lost. Would have to drive in on a Friday, stay a bit beyond the closed-for-hanta-virus car camp, and start hiking in on Saturday.
Wow! That's a long list. I could stay really busy doing all these on weekends.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Gonna make Bilgy Parchos

I have ordered kits to make Bilgy Parchos for me and The Man. We don't believe that a poncho can serve as both a shelter and rain gear unless it's near 100% certain you won't need to use it for rain gear. This is because if you are using a poncho as a shelter, you probably want to leave all the tie-downs attached so it's easier to set up at night. Otherwise, you'll be stuck standing there in the rain removing them in the morning and reattaching them at night.

A Parcho is a cross between a rain poncho and a rain jacket. It's basically a jacket with a big bulbout for your pack. It is loose and ugly like a rain poncho so you don't get to hot and sweaty.

We may like them or not. I kind of favor umbrellas and cursing the rain. But The Man usually uses a rain poncho. The Parcho may be an improvement for both of us. We'll see. At any rate, it's another project for me.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Is The Man thru-hiking or not?

The Man informed me that he sent away for a PCT permit, for Highway 74 to Canada. I admonished him for cheating because he has no intention of going to Canada. His plan is to go to Hikertown. This is less than the 500 miles required for a thru permit. But he said, maybe he does plan to go to Canada.

Knowing him, he may be planning just that. Now I'm left to stew not just in jealousy for a nice long section hike but potentially for nearly an entire thru hike. I threatened him if he continues past Hikertown, I'm quitting my job and joining him. Oddly that didn't make him happy or make him laugh. Maybe he just wants me to have some payback. Or maybe he just wants to be alone.

Meanwhile, I created a bookmarks folder on my computer and have been collecting web pages about the CDT and watching CDT videos. I really want to do the CDT now.