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[at-l] Cake and LN

Kay K. Harvey wanted me to send y'all his journal-type thing. Here it is:

Greetings all…

Well, we have completed Stage 1 of the odyssey.  After
starting our hike from Walker Pass (east of
Bakersfield) on June 20, we made it to Carson Pass
(south of Tahoe) on Friday (7/30), where our friend
Mandy, working for the Eldorado National Forest
nearby, picked us up.  We promptly devoured ravioli,
burgers, fries, nachos and rootbeer floats at the
Kirkwood Inn, an establishment that has welcomed me
from the wilderness on several prior occasions.  We
are now ensconced at Ellen's home in Manteca, CA, for
the week, resting up and preparing for the next leg.

Some trip stats so far (subject to revision as hike

PCT miles hiked:  410 (yes, Felix, that's all of them
between Walker and Carson)
Total miles hiked:  ~437
Days out: 41
Most miles in a day: 20
Least miles in a day: 6
# of nights between real sheets since June 20: 3
# of nights on a real spring mattress: 6
# of showers:  Mike, 8; Ellen, 6
# of rolls of film: 9 (270 exposures)
# of hitches: 6
Highest point: Forrester Pass, 13, 180', between
Sequoia and Kings Canyon Nat'l Parks
Lowest Point: Walker Pass, 5,200'
Lowest non-trail elevation: Lone Pine, ~4000'
Longest snow traverse: ~50yds
Longest continuous downhill stretch of trail: 18 miles
from Muir Pass to S. Fork San Joaquin
Widest stream ford:  60ft
Deepest ford: just below waist
# Nat'l Parks: 3
# Federal Wilderness Areas: 7
# mosquitoes swallowed: 14
# mosquitoes up nose: 3
Hottest day: 93F, Owens Peak Wilderness, June 22
Coldest night: 29F, Lyell Canyon, Yosemite, July 19
# hours of precipitation while walking: 2.5
Coolest fireworks: Independence, CA, July 4
Best Trail Hosts: Butch & Peggy Wiggs, Vermilion
Valley Resort

The first stretch from Walker Pass to Kennedy Meadows
is basically the northern-most portion of 'the
desert,' as the trail climbs out of the Mojave in the
southern Sierra.  Once we hit the S. Fork Kern river,
I began to recognize the mountains as 'true Sierra.'
We saw many of the tail end of northbound thru-hikers,
most of whom have cruised on past us, some of whom
have dropped off the trail, and still others who have
decided that reaching Canada is not as important as
simply enjoying themselves and the trail, walking at a
slower pace until the early snows force them off
somewhere in Oregon or Washington.

On Day 9, Ellen, despite quarter-sized blisters on her
heels, decided that today would be our first 15 mile
day, the lure of the Dow Villa Hotel in Lone Pine
overcoming any physical pains.  15 miles and two
tenths, to be precise.  Getting to Lone Pine a day
early meant a full day off, our first, and 2 nights in
a real bed.  Little did we know there would only be
one more night in a bed for the entire month of July.
With a 24hr pool and spa and the Pizza Factory across
the street, the Dow Villa was great digs.

A two stage hitch got us back to Horseshoe Meadow on
Day 11.  2.2 miles and 1500' later we were heading
north again on the PCT.  Into Sequoia Nat'l Park,
hiking beneath the bulk of Mt. Whitney, over Forrester
Pass, the highest point on the PCT at 13,180', into
King's Canyon Nat'l Park, then a 9 mile side trip over
Kearsarge Pass to resupply at Onion Valley campground.
 It happened to be July 4, and we couldn't resist
seeing the fireworks down in Independence, so we
hitched in and found the last room in town.  Fireworks
were great.

Back over Kearsarge Pass on the 5th, and 7 days
through gorgeous High Sierra to Vermilion Valley
Resort.  This stretch included 4 more passes over
11,000', and our longest mileage days strung together:
15, 14, 16, 20.  The last was, again, in an effort to
get to VVR early.  It's amazing what beer and bugs
will do.  And the bugs were bad between 9000 and 10000
feet.  Head nets and l/s shirts and pants were
required in camp, and often while walking; DEET just
didn't cut it.

3 nights at VVR, the last sitting out a huge
thunderstorm that had been brewing a few days.  Saw
many hikers, both PCT and JMT.  Then a quick two days
over to Red's Meadow and Devil's Postpile.  We took
the lower, foul weather route to avoid the tail end of
the storm system that was still passing through above
10,000'.  I guess is was safer, but the bugs were
awful in the wetter canyons.  3 more days brought us
to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite Nat'l Park.

We sent our ice axes home from here - there just
hasn't been any snow to worry about given the low snow
year in the Sierra, and the late start and low miles
we've been doing.  The Yosemite Washboard, as it is
fondly called due to the never-ending
canyon-ridge-canyon-ridge roller coaster ride, wash
beautiful, tiring, and as buggy as any other part of
the trail.  It was quite a relief to cross over to the
eastern, dryer side of the crest upon exiting the

The volcanic crest on both sides of Sonora Pass was
exhilarating - open, windswept, exposed, treeless,
barren, dry … and bug free.  Arrived at Sonora Pass
mid morning on Sunday, July 25.  An hour or so later,
Ellen's parents drove up with fresh smoked turkey
sandwiches, fruit salad, ceasar salad, home made apple
pie, and cold, cold soda.  Mmmmmm.  Dardanelles
campground west of Sonora Pass was a welcome rest
(only $1.00 to wash and dry a load of laundry!).  Easy
hitch back to the pass from a nice couple from San
Francisco who were only going as far as Kennedy Meadow
but decided to give us a ride the extra 10 miles up to
the pass anyway.

For this section, we had the privilege of escorting
Ellen's german shepherd, Rina.  She did a masterful
job with semi- loaded pack for four days, but since we
had forgotten her  booties, her pads were tender on
day 5.  We improvised some duct-tape booties which
worked very well, but still decided to get off a day
before Echo Lake for Rina's sake.  At Carson Pass, we
called Mandy, and by 9pm we were down in Manteca in
air conditioning.

The decision now is where to go from here.
Originally, the plan was to hike south from Canada,
but there is just too much snow right now (still!),
and it may never melt this year.   We are toying with
the idea of starting near the OR/WA border and hiking
north;  if the snow hasn't melted by the time we reach
it in mid-August, chances are it won't before the
first snows in Sept.  In that case, we'll abandon
northern WA, and continue south through OR.  We'll
have to finish WA another year (sniff).

That's it for now.  More updates pending internet
access, which is pretty skimpy out here, so don't hold
your breath…

ke kaahawe & fidget
PCT '99
mexico  <----  walker pass  ----> carson pass  <----  canada

Felix J. McGillicuddy
ME-->GA '98
"Your Move"

Stop and see me at:  http://members.tripod.com/~Felixhikes/index.html

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