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[pct-l] Update...flight of the Spiriteagle

Folks, these up updates go to people who don't know anything about
the PDT so some of it obviously doesn't apply here.

Pt one of 2

Really need to apologize to you all for dropping the ball
on the Spiriteagle updates.  Things have been nutty around here
and I just can't seem to make myself write up the notes.
And now, I can't find some of them so that's that, I'm afraid.

They are pulling close to Kennedy Meadows which means they
have left the desert behind and are back in the High Country to
everyone's relief.

The earlier sections were much of the same as reported.  Cruel
heat in the lower elevations which made the loooooong (but well
graded <grin>) , climbs even longer as they sought the relief of
the higher trail and the trees.  While the desert was blooming,
they saw few animals.  A kit fox represented the mammals, some
lizards and too many Rattlers!  Three to be exact within a
10 minute stretch.  One actually seemed to sneak up on Jim
from behind as they paused on the trail.  And a baby rattler
tried for them as they contended for trail rights.

Ginny has posted her hello from Aqua Dulce which she reported as
a true hiker's haven.  And only great praise for Jack Fair (SP?)
a real character who has provided a place for hiker's to hole
up and avoid the mid day heat before setting of into the Mojave.
Ginny said although it was 90 degrees in Jack's garage, it still
was much cooler than the outdoors.  As the day cooled some,
they set off to walk the aqueduct into the night in the Mojave.

As with last year's CDT hike, water has been THE issue as you can
well imagine.  Some stretches are 25 miles with no water or else
the water is waaay off trail and waay down.  So you are sometimes
faced with either spending 20% of your hiking going to/from the
water or else carry a gallon plus each..or both.  Tough choices.
Results .... people are taking chances.  Even Jim and Ginny got
tied up in a tough spot and ended up camping Stealth near a spring
cause they just couldn't go any further.  Problem was that the miles
before the spring were no camping/private land too.  The ironic
thing is that the miles before, were terribly chewed up by bikers.
So why would a land owner allow that kind of real destruction but
forbid camping?  (My thoughts...don't flame G&J).  They have
seen a lot of trail damage by wheeled stuff.  Bikes, and ATV's
and motorcycles even!  Ginny gave two M-cyclists "what for" when
they met on the trail.  By that time, she was royally pi**ed
by the damage they had been walking through and told them in no
uncertain terms that the trail was off limits to motorcycles
through there.  They turned and left but not quickly and J&G
heard them stop, turn back towards them and then finally leave.
Little did they know what a favor Ginny had done them because
just around a sharp bend, was a monster of a blowdown which could
have caused them real trouble and had them sliding over the
edge.  From the tone of Ginny's voice as she told me this, I
think they are lucky she didn't just knock them off the mountain

Speaking of stealth camping, earlier on the trail, they came
upon a hot spring.....a really nice, beautiful, big enough
to actually swim in hot spring.  It too, was signed for no
camping but there was a camp there anyway.  Tent and some gear,
but no hikers.  Weeellll, no hikers except for Jim and Ginny
who happened to be climbing out of the spring when a ranger
stopped by.  Seeing the tent and G&J but no one else, he made
an understandable assumption and proceeded to write them up.
Understandable maybe, but when they told him that the stuff wasn't
theirs and that they hadn't camped there he would not believe
them.  I think it took just short of them dumping their packs to
prove that the tent and gear in question wasn't theirs before
he would accept the truth and let them go un ticketed.  I keep
thinking that the real culprits were probably in for a shock
when they returned to a very angry, frustrated and by Ginny's
estimation, a naturally officious and offensive ranger.

to be continued

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