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

David's Latest Journal Entries

We are sending David a pair of pants.  You will know why when you read
his latest journal entry.

David's Dad

Erratum: Sean of Mohave is spelled "Shaun".

[4 July cont]
My walk continued through a wind farm full of high-tech windmills. The
drop down to Mohave went by a wind farm. They make a sound
shush-shush-shush like a huge washing machine. 

As night falls in the dusty, windy Tehachapi Pass, I cross over the
railroad tracks, then over the truck-filled highway. At the trail
register, Shaun has written both me and Chris (from Donna's in Agua
Dulce), "Keep Trekking!". Chris writes, from the day before, "Dave, are
you behind me?" My extra days in Mohave, knitting together my
disassociated soles with bad Star Trek movies, has placed me behind the
fellow I left behind. I resolve to catch him.

Near the register is one of those signs that make a hiker's heart pound;
of the three lines one says, "Sequoia National Forest  33.5"

Cautious of showing people I am there and going out away from
civilization, I pick up the Dromedary bag I cached from Bill's truck with
4 liters of water, then climb about 3 miles until I am windblown lying in
the dark, small level just above a desert bush on the slopes high above
the pass.  I look in vain for Independence Day fireworks. Many days
later, Chris will tell me about seeing the unsuccessful missile
interception test from the trail. It was quite spectacular and beautiful,
he said, in the dark desert sky.

[5 July]
Today dawns hot and cold, as I wind first on the sunny side, then the
shaded side of Sweet Ridge. Soon another wind farm appears, but where the
farms to the south were in parcels on elevated low hills, the Sky River
turbines are strung along the ridge just one or two deep to catch the
river of air flowing up from the coast as the eastern desert heat creates
a pull that reaches to the Pacific, making the LA coast cool and breezy.
Also in contrast, these turbines are both more modern and better
maintained; I didn't see a single one out of commission.

Despite the man-made intrusion, though, on the ground I am still swinging
from water source to water source, high above the sharp parched rocks of
thirst. Golden Oaks Spring, 13 miles from my dry camp, is being visited
by several cows, calves, and a horned bull when I arrive. A patient wait
eventually goads them to move on, but I have my eye on the nearest tree.
The fence around the spring box has been breached by stomping bovines, so
I reluctantly treat the water with AquaPur. Eventually I camp on a
waterless windy ridge; today has been just above 20 miles.

[6 July]
The next spring in the swing is Robin Bird Spring. I arrive, hot and
thirsty, at 1058. The spring box fence is intact judging by the high
green grass inside, and a long pipe is pouring bathtubs-full of clear,
clean, delicious, magical water onto the dirt road, making a small gully
that runs off the road and down the hill. I dawdle and drink and munch
until a green USFS truck arrives. Dave is an amiable, intelligent fellow
who has come to continue the spring upgrade. We talk for a while, then he
starts measuring and planning and cutting pipe while I go back to the
shade for 30 minutes nap. Dave's truck is playing Led Zepplin for us. By
the time I leave at 1434, he (with minor assistance by yours truly) has
added a valve, a vertical extension, and placed a water trough in
position. Dave agrees with me that this has been a cooler year than
normal, and reinforces my impression that '94 was hotter. The North-South
PCT thru-hike must be quite a step harder than the South-North hike that
I am attempting, because of the late arrival in these hot, dry places.

The next section through the Piute Mountains is a cool, pleasant, relaxed
relief after the intensity of the Mohave. The path's dips and turns are
mild, the pines are shady, and the small close intimate hills are not
grand, demanding, simply pretty. At the Piute Mountain Road, I have
another encouraging message from Shotgun, and he has placed the time of
his arrival together with the date; I am exactly 24 hours behind him.
There is a spring down a little ways. The PCT here is protected from dirt
bikers by a more-elaborate gate system, and good thing, because the next
few miles are some of the prettiest of the trail so far. I cross Piute
Mountain Road again, as night begins to fall, and the setting sun pulls
out the subtle desert greens from pine and sagebrush. 

Bright Star canyon below has sparse home lights. I swear I can smell
barbecued chicken. But it is only a satisfying memory of Donna's hiker

[7 July]
Down St. John Ridge, and my AM chocolate bar has melted and resolidified
into a bar of dark brown marbles surrounded by rings of lighter brown.
The crumbly granitic rocks on the side of the trail have done nearly the
same, with their uniform flecks of black and white turning day after day
into the crunching sand under my feet. 

I bypass a water cache at the Kelso Valley Road, and wonder why it is
there with Willow Spring close, but not in a religious anger. Wiser now,
I am often glad of the Trail Angels' help. A trail register shows I have
gained six hours on Shotgun.

I have followed Chris' distinct footprints with their V-shapes, similar
to those of Scott, Tracy, and Kelly, whose footprints have been erased
now for weeks. Just before a message scratched in the sand ("HI DAVE"), I
exercise a bit of refreshing independent judgement and drop down a
trailless canyon that appears to lead directly to Willow Spring. It does,
but I see why the trail guide doesn't recommend it. I have to clamber
down a few minor cliffs, one of which needed my tarp line to get the pack
down. But it's fun, and an hour later I am rinsing my head, rehydrating,
and cooling my feet at shadeless, willowless Willow Spring and its
unbreached springbox fence.

The unmitigated midday sun is still turned on, though, and I have to
pause under a Joshua tree during the 1.8 mile climb up glaring
white-sanded road SC103 to combat heat- and work-induced nausea. It is a
long, long trudge after that through dirtbike waves in the trail up and
around several hills until, just before Bird Spring Pass, I pause in the
late shade of the day to eat and drink. I urinate into the dirt off the
trail; the air and dirt are so dry that the urine slows and flows just a
few inches as though it were lava cooling into stone. 

I realize that I will not make Yellow Jacket Spring that night, and that
I am a couple of liters short, which will mean hiking later into the
exhausted night and rising too soon after that to beat the sun to the
spring. But at the Pass, under a bush, is a welcome cluster of white
jugs, some empty, some full, some partially full, of water to drink, from
unknown Mary the Trail Angel (and, too, judging from the trail register,
from the Bureau of Land Management). A note in a glass jar says use the
water, because Yellow Jacket Spring is horrible (not a direct quote). A
mixture of grateful, relieved, and cautious emotions, cautious because
(Upper) Yellow Jacket Spring was supposed to have been upgraded, like
Golden Oaks and Robin Bird; it was _Lower_ Yellow Jacket that was
supposed to be less than appetizing. Unlike the reliable guidebook, the
note is overly simple when it does not make the distinction. I wonder,
too, in my overly analytical way, if there is an attempt to keep
farther-away Upper for the equestrians and cache for the hikers, in the
same way that, weeks ago, the trail signs lead the hikers away from the
water at Sulphur Spring and its newly renovated (built? I don't remember)
equestrian camp.  The hikers, perhaps, despite their significantly
smaller political clout, might deserve it, at least those that, every
chance they get, scratch out the equestrian icons on the trail posts that
say that this is a horse trail too. Perhaps they have read Mr. Jardine's
book with a little less caution than is required.

In any case, I am too grateful and tired to dwell much on these thoughts,
and I take the water I need, write a big "thank you" on the bottle's note
like others before me, and press on. 

I also learn from the register that I have gained another six hours on
the Shotgun. 

The view from the long climbing switchbacks is rich with desert islands
and shadows from the setting sun. Soon I am up the ridge and find a
sloping, rocky camp in the dark. The ants are there too, not as bad as at
Silverwood Lake, but I object when they bite my lip when I am trying to
drift off to sleep.

[8 July]
Daylight and not too many steps show me many happier campsites, perhaps
not as memorable. Down and around, following Shotgun's footsteps,
bypassing the Yellow Jacket Spring road with my load of cache water. 

Although my pack is light of food, the right side of my back continues,
as it has for weeks, to knot up. It is uncomfortable and requires
constant stretching. Perhaps its root is my feet or hip; perhaps it is
the open vertebra a doctor once told me I had. I resolve to order a pack
with a better suspension when I get to Kennedy Meadows.

The guidebook's "sagebrush/buckbrush expanse" has burned into black tree
skeletons and seas of beautiful violet wildflowers. 

Four and a half miles later, the McIvers cabin with its piped flowing
spring is in beautiful shape. The trail register is more than
entertaining. A note from Shotgun to all who follow warns that some of
the wildflowers, called "poodlebrush" (did I get that right?) may cause
extreme skin reactions. Max and Robyn, weeks ahead, had arrived there
having done 26 miles and were complaining that they couldn't catch
anyone. Chris Cox had swept the cabin clean.

The trail north of the cabin is overrun with the poodlebrush which leaves
a thick film of sap on my skin. Thanking Chris out loud, I stop and wash
it off after the worst is past. The trail from McIvers Cabin winds along
a ridge, changing elevation little, then begins a long, gradual descent
to Walker Pass.

I arrive at the Walker Pass Campground, and settle in at a picnic table
shaded by a green cloth canopy on a wooden frame. Time to rest a bit, eat
the mash-n-beans that I started hydrating an hour ago, then read up on
the next section; this is the end of section F!

Soon, though, a dusty Nona arrives, having just hiked south from Kennedy
Meadows, fifty miles away, as part of a multi-segment trip. She is the 60
year old mom of a thru-hiker and a family doctor. Her left foot was
damaged as a child by a hit-and-run and she wears a brace to help correct
the motion of that ankle. She shows me a wide scar a foot and a half long
that runs up her shin. She loves to talk and ask questions and changes
subjects twice a minute.  We are joined by Artemis, a mannish American
Indian woman who has come up for the summer to move from campground to
campground in the cooler high elevations, and now the conversation is
even crazier, so I abstract a bit and wash my feet. Nona is very generous
and offers me all kinds of food; I can carry some delicious pecan
chocolate chip cookies and a packet of cocoa mix. It is hard to convey in
these few words the energetic, quick, interactive personality that Nona
has. Artemis tells us about an incident on the trail ahead (I'll get to
it tomorrow). Nona shows me her backpack and orthotics and donates some
bottled water to my water bags. I thank them both and drift off into the
heat of what is now Section G.

The trail up the other side of  Walker Pass is introduced by a sign
proclaiming that the next seven (?) miles are being maintained by the
Friends of Jim Jenkins, a hiker/naturalist who did a great deal of work
in the Southern Sierra. A note attached to the trail register says that
the trail is closed to horses because of fallen trees. 

I am short on flashlight batteries and can't afford to hike at night, so
I resolve to quit at 2000, and climb to a pleasant campsite between
Morris Peak and Mount Jenkins, named after Jim Jenkins

[9 July]
Morning begins at the usual time but its a little easier because I'm
camped on the eastern slope of the saddle. I've stopped making a cooked
breakfast because they take too long so it's water and a Clif bar while
I'm walking. Soon I'm beginning the circle of Mount Jenkins, find the
dedication plaque, and find evidence of trail troubles -- abandoned chain
saws and related gear. According to Artemis, later verified in part by
Shotgun, a couple of the "Friends of" maintainers had brought two horses
loaded with chain saws, etc., up to cut sections out of some fallen
trees. Sometime during or after the operation, one of the horses,
supposedly blind in an eye, became skittish and fell off the trail onto a
steep slope, falling down a short ways and breaking its leg. The
maintainers were forced to shoot the injured horse. Horse #2,
understandably upset by all this, broke from its tethering and galloped
down the trail. This didn't last long on a stony trail two feet wide, and
it went way down the mountainside, and wasn't moving when it stopped
tumbling. This is the story I heard, and I'm not an investigative
reporter, or an equestrian, or anything of the kind, but that's what it

Of course, as I rounded Mount Jenkins, besides trying in vain to figure
out which structures were the China Lake Weapons Lab, way down below, I
had something else to do: look for horses down the hill. I never did see
any, but I did see chain saws, and hoofprints, and sawn trees, and a
cleared trail. I must say, though, that the trail tread on that E and NE
side of Jenkins was in fairly poor repair. At times it was less than a
man's foot in width, or very irregular, or covered with large stones, all
on steep to very steep slopes with varying degrees of further exposure.
To me, just a hiker, only a very special animal (perhaps Gibbon's
"sure-footed mule of the Alps") could negotiate that part of the trail
solidly. Other parts of the trail have been worse. For example, high
above Deep Creek, where a 50-foot slide down extremely loose pebbles and
sand could result in a fall from a 200 foot cliff, there were times when
the trail had been completely obliterated by sand slides, and it took a
quick, balanced, and alert hiker to pass those sections. I don't know how
a horse would handle those spots. I also can see how hard it must be to
keep this trail open year after year. In Deep Creek there really isn't
much with which to build a trail, which there can be merely an
indentation in the sand; here on similarly unstable Jenkins the trail is
an pause in the multitude of slides of the ringing quartz rock. In
general, the trail is in beautiful shape -- flat, cleared,
well-constructed, clearly marked, a pleasure. But here, perhaps, the
trail tread contributed to the accident. Like the Adopt-a-Highway signs,
an Adopt-a-Trail sign is a two-edged sword, which after all is the idea.

With all these ideas running through my head, the mountain passed
quickly, but it was impossible to ignore Owens Peak, a white sea serpent
whose jagged humps gradually sank east under the desert's calm surface.

Down to Joshua Tree Spring. The spring box in disrepair, is not even in
the loop, because the barely dripping pipe was stuck directly into the
now minimal stream. Perhaps the disrepair is justified somewhere in the
bureaucracy by the test that showed too-high levels of uranium. A sign at
the trail says the water is not fit to drink. I ignored the uranium
issue, as did probably every other thru-hiker, and saw no evidence of
cattle or other biological contamination, so I drank it straight from the
stream by funneling it into my water bottle with my ground pad. It was
fine, and I was fine, although I have noticed that my flashlight glows
just a little brighter.

At the top of "still another saddle", I see fresh, still-glistening bear
scat, full of berries, and tiny prints, and as I turn east into the
Spanish Needle Creek watershed a cub goes bawling down the hill. Uphill,
smallish momma grunts, and she and little brother go up the hill. I don't
want to go between them, but after a while, listening to little brother
bawl for his playmate, I realize that momma is making the best of it, and
the only way I can resolve the situation is to continue on, and I did.

I experiment with water-carrying, and as I go up Spanish Needle I
hyper-hydrate with 3.5 iodized liters and carry just a quart to get me to
Chimney Creek, a hot, windy 11 miles away. It works, the overall lighter
approach allowed me to move faster, but it was just dark when, following
Shotgun's tracks, I finally reached Chimney Creek and camped right on the
trail. This day was a personal best of a little over 25 miles. I figure
that I'll catch Shotgun tomorrow in the morning. I figured wrong.

[10 July]
Chimney Creek is carrying lots of particulate matter, but Fox Mill
Spring, just ahead, is beautiful and I have no excuse when I
hyper-hydrate with only two quarts and carry only one. The following
"seasonal" streams were gone, and it wasn't until the South Fork of the
Kern, ~16.6 miles later, that I get more water. I didn't enjoy that walk
as much as I should have. I am getting better, though, at keeping my feet
cooler and dryer.

Like a centuries-robust symphony, the PCT carries themes, and asserts
them in turn, or mixes them, as it pleases. Here, approaching the
relatively well-watered Kennedy Meadows, here the trail shows me Mount
Jenkins' flinty stones, and there I am just a few miles north of Campo,
winding through the manzanita and light brown sand.

Chasing Shotgun, I don't stop for a swim in the Kern, but just to filter
the sedimenty water, then continue on through various manifestations of
the extensive meadow. Just before I reach the paved road to the General
Store, late at 1900, I see from the register that Chris is "here" today,
and plans to leave tomorrow. The question is, where is "here"? The
General Store, 0.7 miles away, is closed by now. The Kennedy Meadows
Campground is 2.4 miles away or so. There are several roads around in
addition to the PCT. Moreover, his footprints end at the road, suggesting
that he arrived before the store closed, a surprise because I thought I
was only 3 hours behind at 0600 this morning. Muttering and grumbling, I
take the PCT to the campground, reasoning that he got to the store, did
his thing, and hiked on a road to the campground. Besides, there is a lot
of private land around, and I'm not sure where I can camp. The PCT sand
here is several inches deep, adding to my frustration. When I finally get
to the campground, there is no sign of Chris -- he is not at a site, and
his footprints are not on the PCT. The tension between doing what I need
for myself and what I could do to hook up with Chris is incredible. I
settle in to the site closest to the PCT and put notes on the trail and
on the campground message board. 

A man in a camper with a dog is playing Beethoven a few sites up, but
fades behind the door as I walk by. The long drop toilets are spotless,
the water is fresh and clean, and there are fly and bee traps in my
spot's trees. It is nice to sit at a level, undamaged picnic table to
make dinner.

Chris, perhaps having dawdled at the store after it closed, does not show
before I go to bed. 

I do not sleep well, and when I do, my dreams are unsettling.

[11 July]
I awake early, and it is no sense trying to sleep in. Breakfast is last
night's remains, and then I can be lazy at the picnic table by making a
full 1/2 liter of hot cocoa by combining a packet I brought with the
packet Nona gave me and some powdered whole milk. I begin to pack up,
taking my time, then I hear a truck engine start up. I think I should
rush, but then settle down. The engine stops. I have just about finished
when I hear it again, and I know they have finished their truck-camper
adjustments and are ready to head out. This time I'm quick. I scoop up my
notes to Chris and walk quickly to the road and settle in as though I
were just casually hiking to the store. I hear the combo behind me and
flag them down. Mr. and Mrs. roll down the window. "Watch out for the
dog!" (it is trying to get through the louvered windows of the cap to
tear me to bits) ... "I don't think the dog would let you in the back."
And Mr. and Mrs. and Doggie German Shepherd roll on down the road. 

~2.4 miles road walk later, I'm at the store well before they open, not
having seen Chris on the way.

Chris arrives a bit later, and takes a while to "thaw out". The long hard
chase was output communications only for him, and I think he had resigned
himself to being the true caboose, that I had left the trail. But soon we
are enjoying each other's trail stories, and have had enough time to
think about whether we want to try partnering - we both do.

Kennedy Meadow General Store is a pillar of the local community and of
the thru-hiker pilgrimage.  This year, Leona and Al (did I remember those
names correctly?) have had over 300 hiker boxes in their back room. There
is no public utility electricity in Kennedy Meadows, so they run a
generator -- 2-3 gallons per hour, 5-600 gallons per month. A couple of
hikers have made thoughtlessly or forgetfully, direct long-distance calls
from their phone, last month to the tune of over $100.

Several microwave chimichangas, iced teas, and ice cream sandwiches, with
side orders of laundry, showers, package pickup and mailout, and
supplemental groceries, followed by a dessert of get-the-email (none this
time!) and call-the-outfitter-for-a-new-pack, we are ready to go on the
next stage of our adventure. Perhaps our new partnership will help us in
our game of Beat The Snow.

By the way, the only way to take a shower is the Kennedy Meadows General
Store way -- outside under the warm California sun, the breeze blowing
under and over the plywood walls, with plenty of hot water and soap,
followed by a thick white towel.

After dinner at the campground, we hike independently to Crag Creek,
where we hope to rewater, but it is only green shrubbery and dry sand in
the flashlight's sudden brightness. We have enough to last the night and
to the Kern in seven miles, but the empty creek is a fresh reminder that
we are three weeks behind a normal thru-hiker schedule.

Up off the trail for a stealth camp -- we are now in Bear Country. The
moon is waxing but we are soon asleep.

12 July]
I leave our camp above Crag Creek at about 0630; Chris has a more
involved morning ritual than I do. A couple of miles up the canyon, I
hear water and investigate. Apparently the creek surfaces here, then goes
back underground, which is where we crossed last night; I'm able to get
more, but there are cows about and I need to add iodine tablets. My
Katadyn Mini-filter is light, but very slow to use, so I'm often lazy
(read, "save precious hiking time") and use iodine when I can't drink the
water straight. In fact, I'm trying to get rid of the filter entirely so
I loan it to Chris until he can replace his, which is broken.

We cross the South Fork of the Kern on a beautiful rusted-steel-and-wood
bridge, then have a lazy brunch under it in the grass and shadows. Chris
wishes he had fishing gear and calls out the sizes of the trout wriggling
by. The cliff swallows nesting under the bridge swoop in and out of the
sunlight. I wake up half an hour later.

We are now in the Sierras, where water is not a problem, but Cow Canyon
Creek is a thin ribbon of bright green sludge and we worry as we climb
until four miles up water appears. Things look good and we decide not to
treat the water. 

After our water stop I am suddenly drained of energy and, out of
embarrassment I tell Chris I'll meet him seven miles on at Gomez Meadow.
We'll eat dinner there, then go on to camp away from the smell of our
food. Time for bear-safe trekking.

The climb is a real ordeal for me; it seems as though all of my cycles
have reached bottom at the same time. I take many breaks, eat as much as
I can, and drink well, but other factors, altitude acclimation and
psychological/emotional issues, cannot be handled so readily and I have
to  fight through them, mile upon mile, horizontally and vertically.

The scenery is fantastic. The foxtail pines, separated by smooth white
sand, seem so clean and neat. Boulders, white and clean, stacked as
though someone had placed them to achieve the effect of a Japanese
temple. Weathered gray trunks, thirty feet long, spiraled like a barber's
pole by the hard mountain seasons. Olancha Peak, a huge pile of sparkling
clean grayish slabs, poured out of a giant's tilted hand.

Gomez Meadow is waterless, I am a half-hour late, and Chris donates water
to my dinner. We compare stoves. His Coleman uses isobutane cartridges
and is amazingly fast and controllable. My Trangia Westwind is slow and
less controllable, but also less bulky, lighter, and almost breakproof,
with no moving parts, and has alcohol fuel that is more readily
available. The mosquitos give an uncomfortable hint of things to come,
and I am glad to have my headnet.

We traipse a few hundred yards down the trail, then off to the side and
up among boulder mounds onto white sand subdivided by fallen pines. The
northern and eastern cliffs gleam in the nearly full moon and cloudless
sky and Chris recalls a friend's comment about a "Five Thousand Star
Hotel". And I have slept around the world in all kinds of accommodations,
and this is truly one of the cleanest, most beautiful rooms I have ever
paused in for a short night.

[13 July]
I left our 5000-star hotel, as clean as I found it, about 0630 and walked
a couple of miles down the trail to Death Canyon Creek, where I sat on a
boulder and finished dinner as breakfast. This technique, that of just
leaving your unfinished dinner in the pot overnight (in the bear bag),
then finishing it for breakfast, is a bit scary at first because of our
Tupperware/refrigeration society, but it works very well and saves a lot
of otherwise wasted calories and already-transported pounds. I guess it
works partly because the act of dinner preparation sterilizes the pot.

Chris had misplaced his Walkman tape player and arrived later than he had
hoped. I didn't know until the next day and 15 miles later that I had
left my long pants at Death Canyon Creek; a present for the bears and
another opportunity to adapt on the PCT! I think that, after 2 solid
months, mostly hiking solo, that each of our personal routines and
thought patterns will undergo some chaotic change as we partner-up; these
little mishaps are the symptoms.

A good climb and a few local hikers later, we arrive at an awesome summit
view and the other end of the LA water chain. Far down below is flat,
dry, white, empty, alkaline Owens Lake, its inlet waters diverted into
the LA aqueduct, ribbon-tracing down its shore. Bob Baldwin, who later
gave me a ride down to Lone Pine, said, "It looks like Death Valley." To
the Owens farmers, it is. 

[14 July]
I awake early to a pleasantly warm day. Shotgun and I rehearse our
coordination plan, I donate the excess of my iodine-orange water to his
climb over Cottonwood Pass, and head down Mulvey Pass Stock Trail a
little after 0600. This trail, which I imagine is used to drive cattle
from Mulkey Meadows to Horseshoe Meadow, and certainly has horseshoe
prints in its sand, is as neat as many as the foot trails in the East. As
I drop north into Horseshoe Meadow the air cools and the sunlight begins
to flow obliquely from the east across the opposing range of hills. Bare
cliff faces to the west are lit fully, promising warmth to come, whereas
directly ahead miles-long shadows, caught on sharp up-pointing
projections, stream out to the left across the sparse pines.

As I approach what I think is Horseshoe Meadows campground, which is off
my map, I hear loud radio noises and what sounds like someone blowing an
air horn. Whatever - even people that behave loudly give rides into town!
But as I pass from the meadow into the forest I see a large pen full of
noisy, bellowing cattle, one of which is our air horn.

Off into the woods for the morning dump, but I am short on TP. I take a
tip from the book, "How to Sh*t in the Woods," which I had perused in The
Book Barn, and finish off with water, then sterilize my hand a la Ray
Jardine with some gel I picked up at Kennedy Meadows. What a great
system! Cleaner and less (or no) TP. I thought about using this system
earlier, but the acute shortage of water on the trail south made me
hesitate. Salman Rushdie, in _The Satanic Verses_, criticizes Americans
for using only paper to clean themselves. It's time for us to start using
bidets too.

I hit Horseshoe Meadows Road somewhat below the campground, have no
success with hitching so walk up to the campground and try my luck there.
Early on a weekday morning -- not the best odds. I need to go 20 miles
down Horseshoe Meadows Road, then 3 miles on Whitney Portal Road into
Lone Pine. Perhaps it would have been better to skip this resupply and
hump the next 6+ days of food all the way from Kennedy Meadows!

Not much more than 20 minutes later, a retired minister brought me down
right to the hotel. I hope, as I always end up doing, that I can be as
generous as people are to me. 

The Horseshoe Meadows Road is a bit hair-raising (if you have any) -- no
guardrails, long long sheer drops.

I get a bathroomless room at the Dow Villa Hotel, then to the PO to pick
up resupply and my new pack, then a beautiful ham and egg breakfast at
PJ's, where I hang out as long as possible working on this journal. Then
it's lunch across the street, working on this journal. Then it's iced tea
at PJs, working on this journal, until they kick me out. I would have
ordered something real soon! Then it's the Pizza Factory, where I work on
this journal. A quick trip to the jacuzzi, where I meet a trio of Whitney
climbers, then Jay Leno, then bed.

[16 July]
Yesterday no success finding a wind pant replacement, so I bought polypro
longjohns of uncertain quality. 

Breakfast at PJs, where I hang out working on this journal (sound
familiar?). Same for lunch, but I have to buy groceries and do laundry
and pack and check out before a generous 1300. The barber shop, and the
PO are closed today.  Donna Saufley needs to move to Lone Pine!

Although I have obviously been busy, I realize why I am usually reluctant
to leave town: I leave the possibility of communicating with Mom and Dad,
with my kid, with my sisters, with those who send me email.

Until next time...

-- Dave 
* From the PCT-L |  Need help? http://www.backcountry.net/faq.html  *