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[CDT-L] Update: Flight of the Spirit Eagle
- Subject: [CDT-L] Update: Flight of the Spirit Eagle
- Date: Thu, 07 Oct 1999 19:23:13 -0500
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.
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.
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