[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[CDT-L] Update: Flight of the Spirit Eagle

Coming direct from Ginny!

Greetings from the Flight of the Spirit Eagle. As Kahley has probably told 
you, we are enjoying the hospitality of Creede, Colorado. It is interesting 
being in a tourist town in the off season - the signs on the store windows 
all say, "Open in May 2000." Although a few places are still open to cater 
to the hunters, who have started to arrive in anticipation of Saturday's 
opening day, most of the town is very very quiet.
We had four beautiful days from Monarch Pass to Cochetopa Creek, sunny and 
cool, and then yesterday winter arrived again. We don't know what is 
happening in the high country, but rain all night and part of this morning 
does not bode well for the situation on the trail. We'll leave town 
tomorrow, heading for the quickest way out of Colorado, but still hiking 
the Divide as long as possible. We've seen some beautiful country and lots 
of wildlife (one herd of 22 elk and another of 17, plus some deer and 
antelope). We're looking forward to the South San Juans, and hoping this 
latest snow melts soon. It makes for beautiful vistas, but hard hiking.
To put in my two cents on the late AT-L discussion about east vs west in 
hiking - a lot depends on interests and attitude. I came from the deserts 
of Arizona and was fascinated by the endless variety of theeastern forest. 
I studied plants and animals before I went, and tried to learn about the 
flowers and mushrooms. In one day in Virginia I passed through five 
different kinds of forest. So, I was never bored by the AT.
Nor am I bored by the western mountains. They are not a single kind of 
terrain. Both Bristlecone and Kinnickinic are right. Some trails are 
beautifully graded (as in the PCT) and easy climbs on smooth surface, 
others are rocky, rolling, steep and nasty. The western trails may have big 
views, but they also can be endless rollercoaster trails through conifer 
forest or sagebrush grasslands or burned out lodgepole that are as 
monotonous, in their way, as the long green tunnel. It depends on where you 
are and how far you are going. It is possible to hike only the "highlights" 
and never see the difficult trails, but then you are likely to be hiking in 
a crowd, and miss out on some of the best but most inaccessible places.
What doesn't get boring is what's in my head. Most of the time, I am able 
to entertain myself when the squirrels, chipmunks, deer, birds, flowers, 
mushrooms, etc don't do their job. Long distance hiking requires an ability 
to be content within yourself, with your thoughts, your nonsense poems or 
songs, endless observations of the world around you and your daily routine.
Some people have learned how to live without outside distractions and 
entertainment, others haven't. I'm one of the lucky ones - three thruhikes, 
and not bored yet. I may not always like the section of trail I'm on (rocky 
eroded jeep roads are on the bottom of my list), but I always know that it 
will change -- that better trail conditions, views, wildlife, weather, etc 
will come -- and so I am content, wherever I am, whatever the trail conditions.
Enough said. Back to the snow tomorrow.
Walk softly,
Ginny and Jim Owen
Flight of the Spirit Eagle
PS - We've been telling At-L for 4 years now that thruhiking is a head game 
- how did some of you miss that? Try going to www.circumtech.com/outdoors 
and read anything that says "thruhiking". You might learn something.
Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com

Message from the Continental Divide Trail Mailing List

To:            cdt-l@backcountry.net