Some thoughts before departure...

  • I am still not a vet, doctor, lawyer, dog trainer, cia agent, fbi agent or a navy seal so...walk
  • I am doing this for the challenge of course, and I hope to gain a confidence that comes with this type of endeavor. But also I hope to gain some new knowledge about the world and the truths that reside in it.
  • Am I walking to "find myself"? Or just to take a walk. You decide...and you'll probably be right.
  • I'm not in the best shape of my life, but I do have a lot of new great gear so....
  • After living with my parents the last 2 years, it makes perfect sense to walk 2650 miles - alone.
  • Yes there will be bears, cougars, rattlesnakes and scorpions both imagined and real along the way. I'm definitely more worried about those imagined.
  • Am I scared? Not as of yet, more of just a constantly increasing anticipation. But check back with me on the 3rd night in the desert.
  • I tried to keep my pack fairly light, but I definitely would not call it ultralight. Somehow when I added up all my ultralight gear and put it in my ultralight pack, I ended up with just slightly heavy.
  • My biggest concern for this trip is that I get too hungry somewhere along the way, my brain goes awol as it usually does when I get hungry and subsequently you never hear from me again...I'll try to eat frequently.
  • I am not Christopher McCandless. This is not Into the Wild.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Poison Oak - the corridor of fear

Day 89, Mile 1506.5---This is going to have to be short. I made it into Castella by 7:30. I did 28ish miles today and just put away two bags of chips, an egg-sausage burrito, a banana, 2.5 beers, half a bag of nilla wafers, 1 liter of Gatorade and some of Will and Julia's leftovers. Highlights of today included two bear sightings, and with the winds working, a great view of Mt. Shasta. The trail was lined with poison oak for the majority of the day, as it was for half the day yesterday as well. I will be surprised if i do not get the rash. I just wish poison oak had some sort of stinging nettles so you know when you got... got. This wait 3-4 days to find out things is really just diabolical. Anyway the plan from here is to do some shopping tomorrow for the next leg and then take off. I was scheduled to arrive tomorrow, so this should jump me a half day ahead. I hope to get in a day early to Etna as well, i just have to do all 25's. Alright this post is lacking in all area's and my eyes are barely open. Goodnight. Thought of the day; i miss my Zoë dog. Songs of the day; woke up this morning with - taaaayk it eeeeezay, taaaayk it eeeeezay, don't let the sound of yer own wheeels drive you craaaayzay. This afternoon it was, let meee see you 1-2 step. Both by somebody different, neither of which i know. Craving of the day; take a ripe peach slice, and a slice of mango, sprinkle raw sugar on one side of each. Then with a creme brulee torch melt the sugar and then press the two sides together. Serve over a small single scoop of high quality vanilla ice cream. I think it would work.

JWC on the PCT

They call me the Beastmaster

Day 88, Mile 1478.5---So last night was a little rough. At around 3am whatever it was came back again. And then again sometime between 4am and dawn. Our second time around Will put on a stellar performance; throwing things, banging on tree's, grunting, and telling it "i am getting out of my tent now and i am really really angry!" also "i was having a dream, you woke me up as i was checking into a resort damnit!" By the third time both me and Will barely got up to an elbow and sort of let out a half hearted "bearrr...just...go". I said in the beginning of this post - whatever it was, because i could not find a single solid bear track anywhere this morning. Maybe it was just a really persistent deer who was unafraid of dogs, humans, and cavemen(Will's grunting). Anyway the rest of the day went well. Saw three deer, two of which were startled by me but then when i started talking to them, they just went about their business and did not run away. I got some decent pictures of the doe, and a video of the young buck. In between these mammalian encounters i got so bored i started going through the alphabet and matching countries to the appropriate letter. Then cities, then animals; anyone know a country or animal that starts with X? Met up with Julia and Will again towards the end of the day and we are now camped in the Ah-Di-Na campground. It is the site of an old resort of some kind and there are all types of fruit tree's throughout. The right time of year this place would be like a shang-gri-la to me. We ate some very green apples that stuck to my throat as i tried to swallow. Found a few early blackberries that were just good enough to make me really look forward to Oregon blackberry season. I think i am going to hit it right on time but we shall see. Another 25 tomorrow should put us within 5 miles of Castella and Ammirati's mini market. Ammirati's is said to have the "best selection of beer anywhere on the trail" as well as made to order burrito's and sandwiches. Our plan is to be eating a burrito and drinking a beer by 9am day after tomorrow. Ok, i am going to close out this phone book of a post now. Thought of the day; You may hate me for this, but i feel like i am going to need a vacation at the end of this trek. Song of the day; i got feet that move that groove, i got feet that move that groove, sooo i keep keep keep keep on walkin'- by Jazz 1 class of 02' - originally by someone else. Cravings of the day; Isla Vista fare - Silvergreens' western chicken sandwich, Free Birds' steak quesadilla, Blenders' the banana, Woodstocks' garlic bird pizza, and some quality beer from Isla Vista market.

JWC on the PCT

Over-grown; Under-statement

Day 87, Mile 1453.0---Morning started with a phone call home to see how my Dad's Whitney trip went. Spent too long on the phone with the parents and started imagining where they were in the house, their soft surroundings, and the food that was in the fridge. Got on trail around 9:20 and shortly thereafter i was accosted by the paparazzi. This woman took pictures of me as i crossed the dam, then when i got close she asked me to stop for a picture. Then she demanded not asked me to take off my sunglasses so that "we can see your face" and then snapped another one. It was quite strange but par for the course out here. At what i thought was going to be the end of my day i met up with Will and Julia. They planned on going about 3 miles more to camp near water so i joined them. Along the way we saw some decent size bear tracks on the trail. We got to the creek and small campsite just before 9. I ate and we hung our food, problem was i forgot about the bag of jerky and trail mix i keep in my pack for snack breaks. WOW that was ironic, as i was typing that sentence i kept thinking i was hearing something walk around and then i realized that something was about 10ft from my tent/head. I yelled "GET OUTTA HERE! but it only retreated to behind a tree and then circled over to where Will and Julia are(were) sleeping. I could see the eyes but that's it, but by it's movement it appeared to be a bear. Will started hollering too and then i started in with a series of growls and barks. We talked and nervously made semi good jokes that come off better when you're in these types of situations. Then we decided to hang the rest of everything that could possibly smell good to a bear. I found a nice split stick and banged it on every thing and did about 4 different barks hoping it would think we got a frickin dog sled team with us. Although it also occurred to me that it might say wait a second ,is that only a couple of Cocker Spaniels? I can kick the shit out of those. That would not be the desired effect. We got it all up in the tree without being attacked in the interim anyway. Except i still forgot to put in my chapstick i just realized, hmm ...that is unfortunate to say the least. I think i will put it in the foot of my sleeping bag to mask the odor with the stronger stench of my feet. Alright as much as i would like to just write all night and keep vigil i should probably try and get some sleep. Thought of the day; i want to know every different theological account of dinosaurs. Song of the day; arrrr we really haaappy with thihis lonely game we plaayy, laaawst in the maaasscuraaade. Craving of the day; camp(BBSR) food, specifically corn dogs, hot dogs, potato chips with ranch, a beautiful handcrafted salad with ranch, watermelon and cantaloupe and script; i wanted to thank everyone who has been commenting on my blog, i have heard that it can be very trying at times. Maybe i should write google and explain how these comments are my fuel, and i highly value them, so they should handle their business and fix the problem. Uh, i hear something - gotta go.

JWC on the PCT

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Looking to the future

Day 86, Mile 1423.6

Today was nothing short of boring and nothing taller than monotonous. Walked from 8 to 5:20ish and covered some pretty good mileage. More powder dirt, lava rocks, and hotness. The goal was to get to Burney Falls State Park before the store closed so i could pick up my re-supply box; mission accomplished. I got my package from the store along with an ice cold Gatorade and made my way to the hike/bike campsites. I was surprised to find no other hikers here. I had both sites to myself so i spread out and made dinner. Actually before that i opened my box to find out what constituted 11lbs worth of food for 4 days. My Mother was nice enough to send me extra food that i could eat right away so i had a feast of sorts. Dinner consisted of 1 apple, 2 clementines, instant mash potatoes with jerky for the first half of the pot, and cheetos for the second. While i ate i looked at what is coming up next. According to my schedule it is 9 days to Etna from here by way of Castella. Etna to Seiad Valley is 3 days. So in about 2 weeks i am going to be crossing the Oregon border. The only bothersome part about the next 2 weeks is that according to the maps those first 9 days are spent going pretty much due west, even southwest at times. Also the first 4 days out of here the trail is, "crawling with poison oak" and "in the past has been poorly maintained to the point of resulting closures". Super. All i know is if i get poison oak walking due south-west, i am going to be pissed. But i probably won't, so i probably won't. Definitely looking forward to Etna and the turn northward again that follows. Also Seiad Valley has a world famous pancake eating challenge that while i will not participate in, i hear the pancakes are very good and come with the best blackberry shake on the trail. That sentence was horrible, i think i should sleep now. Thought of the day; Happy Birthday Grandmother!!. Song of the day; Miss Mary Mack mack, all dressed in black black, with silver buttons buttons all down her back know the rest about how she was broke, and she wanted to see the patriotic elephants jump an apparently very tall fence etc. Craving of the day; have a cold drink at a swim up bar, and Banana Lumpia (Jarell you lucky bastard).

JWC on the PCT

Clean to filthy in half a day

Day 85, Mile 1398.7---This morning i had not been up more than 10 minutes and breakfast was served. I totaled 4 slices of cantaloupe, one serving of scrambled eggs, 5 slices of French toast, 5 pieces of bacon, and two glasses of freshly squeezed grapefruit/orange juice. I had 3 of the slices of French toast with homemade apple butter; the combination made me want to stay there forever. I had some more chores to do this morning after breakfast and consequently i missed the first ride out to the trailhead. The next ride didn't leave for awhile and in the meantime i got some extra computer time. I managed to talk to some of my former BBSR staff-mates which was really nice. Having spent the last 5 summers of my life at that place i definitely miss it from time to time. Hope the rest of their camp sessions go well. Myself, Julia, and Will were the only hikers left and got taken back to the trail by Georgi Heitman herself. She packed us little french toast and jam sandwiches that were amazing, in fact, i ate mine in the driveway before we even left. We made it back on trail sometime shortly after 11. The three of us took in the Subway Caves (a lava tube) and 22 miles of trail before the sun went down. Along the way we talked about everything from WWII, to food sustainability, to community design, to future travel plans. It made the miles fly by, and i barely noticed that the talcum powder-esque dirt we were walking on was covering me head to toe. It was fairly hot up on what is called the Hat Creek Rim, and no natural water for 30+ miles. This is the fastest i have ever gone from clean to busted, and actually its up there on the "as dirty as i have ever been" list. It was not a good feeling to get into my freshly laundered thermals with this dirty ass body and then slide into my already in need of a wash sleeping bag. Anyway that's where i am now and its time to sleep. Oh yeah, i wanted to congratulate my Dad on summiting the highest peak in the lower 48; i hope it went well and smooth both up and down. Thought of the day; we should be more conscious in general of the path our food takes to our table - without becoming fanatical of course. Song of the day; Where Have Youuu Bennn My Blue Eyed Sonnnn by James Taylor i believe. Craving of the day; a nice fresh salad with lots of grape tomatoes on it, also the crepe breakfast my Mother made in Mammoth ,but for dinner tonight.

JWC on the PCT

I am getting spoiled rotten

Day 84, Mile 1377.7---Today i awoke to find that i was still alive. Despite waking up a few times during the night thinking there might be, there was no bear. I hiked the 8 miles to Old Station and i found along the way that i had just enough water to get me all the way here without having to stop and fill up. Picked up my package at the PO and soon after got a ride to the house of the Heitman's. They are the local trail angels, and their place is sweet, awesome, amazing, good. I ate through half of my resupply box throughout the afternoon, but it was OK cause the parentos over did it a little. Got another shower (2nd day in a row...whaaaaat) and washed my clothes, also read an article on BillyGoat and the PCT. We had a communal dinner in the works and everybody pitched in to some degree. I churned the homemade ice cream. It was the most work my arms have seen on the trail, i hope i am sore tomorrow. Dinner was fantastic and very filling. The ice cream i labored over was delicious. It was made with half a liter of Squirt, half a liter of Green Tea Ginger Ale, and two cans of sweetened condensed milk. I had no idea that would turn into ice cream in the maker, but it did, and it was good. After dinner i went into the kitchen to help wash dishes. Turns out that they are very green around here and they re-use their ziplock bags. So my job was to wash out the ziplock bags with soap and hot water and then hang them out to dry. Have you ever tried washing Sloppy Joe grease out of a gallon ziplock bag? Don't try, it doesn't go well. By the time i was finished (as good as they were gonna get anyway) my hands were both pruned and moisturized with grease. They smell good though. Anyway the rest of the night folks played music and talked. I called mí madre and ended up getting an update on Max. Turns out he is back at the parents house. Trail life wasn't for him; he has got bandaged feet and an antibiotics schedule now. I am sure he will be back in good form soon in their care, and with Leo(their other dog) taunting him daily. Alright its late, i gotta hit the sack so i can wake up in time for french toast... yeah its sooo tough out here. Thought of the day; its a small world on a big planet. Song of the day; sittin on the dawk uh the bayyyy wahatchin the tiihehide rolllll awayyyay - somebody. Craving of the day; Rice Krispy treats with either a layer through the middle of fresh mango, or chopped up bits of dried(the good kind from Costco) or fresh maybe cut up and folded into the mix before its put in the pan to set.

JWC on the PCT

Friday, July 25, 2008

Good beginning,great middle,questionable ending

Day 83, Mile 1369.4---Woke up this morning around 6:15 and decided to go back to sleep for a little while. Woke up at 7:45 and realized it was longer than a little while. Even with a late start the terrain allowed me to get to Drakesbad Guest Ranch by 12; the lunch bell rang just as i arrived. I was greeted by Rosemary and Moonshine a newlywed couple whom i last saw on the backside of Forrester Pass. They were on their way out but informed me i should stay for lunch, dinner, and breakfast, cause it was that good. I then met Ed who owns the place and he told me i could get a free shower at the pool house before lunch. It was a fantastic place to stop to say the least. I was clean, full from a glorious AYCE lunch for only $6.50 +tax, and back on the trail by 3:05. The lunch propelled me along for the next 15 miles. I did not stay clean for very long though. About 10 miles in, the mosquito's got bad and i had to DEET up much to my chagrin. I planned on camping at Badger Flats where 2 of the 3 sources have said there would be water. There was not. So i continued on and around 8 o'clock as i was videoing myself talking about the lack of camping locales and lack of water when a large bear caught my attention. Luckily it chose to run away from me, i prefer it that way. Not 5 minutes later i ran into Moonshine and Rosemary setting up camp right at a junction for lack of a better spot. I decided to camp here as well since they too had little water left, no decent place to camp, and a bear in the general vicinity. "Don't panic "showed up about 30 minutes after me and made the same choice. I decided not to hang my food seeing as both other parties are sleeping with their food, and i am within 50ft of them. So for the first time since the desert i am sleeping with my food, and on a night in which i just saw a bear. Hence the questionable ending. Once again i am counting on Don't panic as a lure of sorts, although he is a lot closer to my tent tonight. I am going to try and get some sleep now, so i am well rested when i have to get up and fight 400lbs of fur, teeth, and claws sometime during the night. Last but not least i want to wish my Aunt Janie and Miss Kristen church a Happy Birthday, depending on how the fight goes i may have half a bear skin rug for your b-day gifts. Thought of the day; the phrase "more power to him/her" is over-used out here, and it is really just another way of saying "with all due respect" it just happens to come after the insult rather than before generally. For example, "i mean she is really fat to be out here on the trail, but i mean if she can do it then- more power to her". I guess there is a "polite" way to do everything. Song of the day; i can't remember it. Craving of the day; fruit salad and a meat of some variety.

JWC on the PCT

Old school meets new school

Day 82, Mile 1344.8 -100.2 by car---Today worked out much better than i planned, or imagined. Did the 3.1 miles this morning in just under an hour. Waited around for Chuck and Tigger past ten. A woman named Frodo who thru hiked last year and is now a trail angel in San Diego was up in Old Station taking over for another trail angel while she is on vacation. Yeah i know, its complicated and it's like they have a network or something. Anyway she was bringing some bikes out to a couple who wanted to do a ride around the fire. She had room on her way back into Quincy so me and a couple (Will and Julia) got a ride while the others waited for Chuck and Tigger. Turned out to be a good move because when i got into Quincy Chuck and Tigger were just getting there around 11 with a load who skipped from Sierra City to Chester and they had yet to go out to Quincy-La porte road. After i did my resupply shopping i was in front of the Safeway and got approached by a guy asking if anyone needed to go to Chester as he was heading that way. He said he could fit 3 so i ran(walked briskly) across the parking lot and got Will and Julia. I thought, this is great, first i don't have to wait for Chuck and Tigger and now i don't have to wait for the 1:15 bus, and it got better. This guy Taro was his name thru-hiked in 95' and so being a hiker himself he knew what we needed. I got a burger and fries and a strawberry-banana shake from the Pine Shake Shack. Took Will and Julia to the market, and got me to a payphone to call madre. All that and he had us back on trail by 3:15. He and his dog Pocket walked in about 1.5 miles with us as well before turning back. Just a great guy and a wonderful serendipitous thing. Two rides from two former thru-hikers, got some tips and some reassurances. Oregon looks as though it will go by fast. They both confirmed that i could make up some time through Oregon doing 25-30 mile days and it shouldn't be too taxing. That is of course if the rain stays away. I am camped tonight next to the north fork of the Feather River. A couple, "Ridgewalker "and "Accent," and also "Don't panic "are camped here as well; Julia & Will are just up the hill. We all cooked closer to our tents then i usually like, so as an added precaution i hung my food off the bridge over the water. I am realizing now it is probably not the best idea. If a bear decides to attempt a retrieval from the bridge it could snap the line and there goes all my food, toiletries, and kitchen (pot,stove,fuel etc.) into the river. Yeah, that would be bad. Well "Don't panics "food is right next to him and he is cowboying so maybe that will keep a potential bears' interest. Alright i am up way too late and wrote way too much. Thought of the day; the kindness of strangers makes you feel as though they are not strangers at all. Song of the day; oh something don't know what you've got til its gawn...they paved paradise and put up a paaaarking lot - by you guessed it, i have no clue. Craving of the day; the burger, fries, and shake i had times 2, possibly 3.

JWC on the PCT

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I thought i was slower than this

Day 81, Mile 1232.7---First off it occurred to me today as i walked that i had only thanked folks from the blog and facebook for my Happy Birthday wishes. I would also like to thank those of you who sent me cards, they are very much appreciated, thank you. Today was fairly ordinary to say the most. The only thing that happened that hasn't really happened before is i got rained on in spots and after i set up camp. But it was a light drizzle mostly and it blew over quickly each time. The only repercussion is that i have the fly on the tent for the first time in quite a while and it makes it too warm to sleep well most of the time. When i got into the tent it looked like it had completely blown over but i am in the trees so i cannot see the horizon for anything incoming. Better safe than sorry i guess. Made a few more miles than i planned to but the place i intended to camp turned out to be right on a dirt road. So now i only have 3.1 miles to Quincy-La Porte road tomorrow morning. Maybe i will sleep in if i can manage it. I am not sure how Chuck and Tigger are planning to get everybody though. When we made the plan there was 5 of us, but before i left there were 4 others that had joined in. I doubt we can fit 9 hikers plus 9 packs in the minivan, but i am sure they will try. Being only 3 miles out is good though cause I'll be in the first load if they have to take two trips. Man, this is boring stuff. Sorry there is nothing exciting to write about, I'll try and work on that. One last tantalizing piece of info, my shoe surgery was a success, but now the left one is rubbing a little. Looks like it too may now be going under the knife. Thought of the day; i wonder what my music teacher from high school Mr. D'Spain is doing these days. Songs of the day; when i woke up this morning it was - girrererl would you love me if i was down, and out, would you stiiiill have loooove fo meeeeee, by 50cent i believe. This evening as i ate dinner and saw a few rainbows it was Somewhere over the Rainbow the version with the ukelele by that one famous Hawaiian singer... Don Ho? Cravings of the day; pretty much everything i ate off trail from South Lake Tahoe to the Bousquet's, especially the dessert from the AYCE buffet, the tri-tip sandwich lunch at the Bousquet's, and that spread we had at the blue house(Anna's spot) especially the cheese-burgers on toasted ciabatta and then the watermelon mint salad thing that Anna made.

JWC on the PCT-

Another half day

Day 80, Mile 1208.5ish---This morning i tried to sleep in, but my hunger got me up by 6:50. I had the other two bagels and bologna and cheese, plus an apple and an orange for breakfast number one. By 8 everybody else was up and ready to go and we all went out to breakfast. I had a short stack of banana pancakes for breakfast number two. Although i must say they were nowhere near the level of the Firesign Cafe banana pancakes. After our meal i went and used the payphone to call the parentos to explain the plan for getting around the fire. We finalized it at breakfast and it is as follows.: Chuck Norris and Tigger will meet us at Quincy-Laporte road (southern boundary of fire closure) on Monday morning at 10. It is only 38 miles from Sierra City so i didn't have to leave til after noon today. The rest of the group is leaving even later then that, but they all have light packs and hike faster than me. I will prob do a 22 or so tomorrow so that i only have a few miles to do Monday morning and i can get there a little early just to be safe. I am camped up on a small ridge in a eerie little stand of trees. A lot of weird little sounds here and there going on in the darkness right now. I am going to try and turn off my ears and go to sleep with the quickness. Thought of the day; did not have one. Song of the day; black old sun won't you come and wash the rain away...yeah i am pretty sure the lyrics don't go like that at all, and of course i do not know who it is by. Craving of the day; this drink made out of cantaloupe and sugar and ice that one of the booths always had at Poly's multi-cultural fair.

JWC on the PCT

Weakness leads to goodness

Day 79, Mile 1197.6---Today was so-so at best until the end. It was my right shoe mainly that lent to the so-so-ness. In the store when i tried them on they were the best shoes i have tried on so far on the trail. But yesterday the pain started, and i just hoped it would go away. The shoe rubs under my ankle on the outside protrudence on what feels like a nerve or something. Every step that wasn't just right felt like i was walking on a broken ankle. I took 2 IB's at noon and it helped til about 3ish and then the pain was back. Every time a plane went over i wished i was on it, a boat on the reservoir i wished i was on it, anywhere but on the trail with this busted ankle feeling. So by the end of the day i had decided that a) i needed to alter/fix my right shoe, b) i needed new AAA batteries, c) i needed a cold drink, d) i needed to find out about the fire closures, and this all means i needed to get into town. I got into Sierra City around 6:30ish. There were already a bunch of hikers sitting in front of the general store. All of them i already knew except one. I got most of the stuff i needed and decided to spend the night at a local campground with Chuck Norris and Tigger and the rest of the hikers. I enjoyed 3 bologna and cheese on a bagel sandwiches, a peach, and two Full Sail pale ales for dinner. Later we all decided to go down to the local bar for a while. Aaaand we just got kicked out of the bar 20 minutes ago, because a 19 year old hiker decided to tell the bar owner that he was actually 19. Great evening though for a mediocre day. Now everyone is sitting around and talking trail talk - timing, finish dates, fire business etc. Looks as if i will have to leave mid-day tomorrow otherwise i will get to Quincy too early and the bus to Chester only runs on weekdays. That's confusing i realize, I'll explain more tomorrow. Thought of the day; physical pain is temporary, otherwise we wouldn't need a word for it. Song of the day; Candy Girl by Michael Jackson, Do Re Mi by Harry Connick Jr. Craving of the day; a large cold drink, a nice chair, and good stimulating conversation.

JWC on the PCT

Adios Bousquets

Day 78, Mile 1174.7---This morning i was treated to another wonderful breakfast prepared by Esther, it was so very tasty. The majority of the morning was spent getting all my stuff packed and boxed and ready to go. Larry and Esther drove me first to the PO and then to the trail, got going about 12:15. Once again it was hard to leave. At least at the last two stops i had the next one to look forward to just a day and a half away. This time i won't see family or friends until the Oregon/Washington border. I was about 5 miles in when i wished i could just go on auto-pilot for the next month or so. I know this doesn't sound very much in the spirit of adventure but so far the best times on the trail have been meeting family and friends along the way. The Bousquet household falls squarely in that category of "best times". I had a great time there, and i couldn't have asked for a better place to spend my birthday. The rest of the day went well up until it got dark. I turned on my headlamp and the "high" setting output was weaker then the normal "low" output. I changed the batteries at the Bousquet's, and noticed it looked weaker but i attributed this to the fact that i was testing it in the day time and therefore it just appeared weaker. I have been using the high setting for this whole blog post and i can barely see the screen(i usually use it on low). It's also a little bit disconcerting just cause its my only light source. It sucks right now because i am camped too close to a road and someone has their car parked near with the radio blasting. Hopefully its not some whacko, i can illuminate the attack with about one lumen at best. It just got dimmer, grrreat, yeah so lets say 1/2 that then. Alright i am going to attempt sleep. Thought of the day; you have to leave one place to arrive at another. Songs of the day; Changes by Tupac, and the one that goes each morning i waaayke up, beforrrr i pudawn my makeup, i saaayy a little prare forrr youuuu, by someone. Craving of the day; more cantaloupe and watermelon.Post Script; Esther gave me about a dozen cookies to take on the trail and i had zero left by 6ish.

JWC on the PCT

Thursday, July 17, 2008

On to my 25th year

Day 77, a zero---Today i had eggs Benedict for breakfast. Today i went kayaking in Stampede Reservoir. Today i had tri-tip and honey roasted turkey sandwiches for lunch. Today i met a few people and told them of my travels. Today i had a wonderful spaghetti dinner. Today i had a banana split blizzard and was sung to by the Bousquet clan at DQ. Today i turned 24 years old at 702pm. Today was great. I became aware of the fact that starting today, i have one year left before i lose my flying privileges. I should explain; my Mom is a retired United Airlines flight attendant, and as such i get to fly at a reduced rate wherever United flies the friendly skies. So i started thinking, i really can't afford to not take advantage of this. Maybe i will put off growing up just a little while longer. Then again i think a job would be a nice step towards adulthood. I know what you'll say, oooh Jesse don't grow up! well i live in Long Beach, not Never-land, sorry. Alright i think this is getting out of blog territory and into journal territory. So, I definitely appreciate all the b-day wishes i received both on my blog and Facebook. It was great to check throughout the day and receive more and more. Got me geared up for the next 1,300 miles give or take. Take actually, i figured out my route around the fire north of here today and i will be missing approximately 100 miles of trail. Not too happy about that, but not much i can do about it either. Alright this has been a long and confusing post for me(prob cause i fell asleep twice), so good luck reading it. Thought of the day; time knows, time goes, it stands still, it flies, take time, make time, break time, the time is now. Song of the day; sung by Larry and Esther's granddaughters this evening - i liike to moooove it, moooove it, i liike to mooove it, mooove it, i like to......MOOOOVE IT! - from the movie Madagascar. Craving of the day; nothing, that means it was a good day.

JWC on the PCT

Donner party of 13, your table is ready

Day 76, Mile 1155.8---Had a hard time getting out of bed this morning again, i think all these days off are making me soft. But that is not stopping me from zero-ing again tomorrow. Today went very well. Got into the Truckee area around 12:30ish and got picked up by Larry and Esther soon after. Had a free hiker beer at the Donner Ski Ranch while i waited, it was cheap but refreshing. Came back to the Bousquet's abode and had tri-tip sandwiches and fruit salad for lunch, it doesn't get much more down my alley than that. Later we went into Reno and i got a new pair of shoes(NB 992), new sleeping pad(same), and a replacement filter cartridge(obviously the same, its a replacement). We had dinner at Claim Jumper where i polished off a full order of "chicken and biscuits" and a large appetizer salad, it was real good. I got on the internet upon my return and read the newest batch of comments. Also saw that my Mother and Father chose to put up some pictures of a sort of before and after, or rather a before and so-far. Not a big fan of either Jesse the chubs or Jesse the starving miner look. I also read that my Mom thinks folks should know more about the people i am visiting or there connection to me. So real quick- Jarell i met in 7th grade, we have been friends ever since, the closest thing i have or will have to a brother. Anna is a former roommate from UCSB my senior year who currently lives in Tahoe City and is working for Americorps. The Bousquet's, particularly Esther, used to take care of me when i was little and my parents were working. So there you go, that should explain enough. I have to go to sleep in this wonderful bed now. Thought of the day; tomorrow i turn 24, it's like a once in a lifetime thing. Song of the day; whyyyyy doooo fooools faaaalll in luuuuhuuuvvvv - somebody. Craving of the day; nuh-fin i am good.

JWC on the PCT

Departure from the blue house

Day 75, Mile 1143.5---Woke up this morning and had a hard time convincing myself i needed to get out of bed. I eventually did and within an hour or so i was ready to go. Anna and i had breakfast once again at the Firesign Cafe. Once again it was a wonderful meal. Anna drove me to the trail head and then walked about a mile with me. We said our goodbyes and i fell into my pace soon after. There were so many more ways to get back into Tahoe City after Barker Pass. It was very tempting to go back i must say. The hospitality i received, and the easy-going nature of Anna and company at the blue house made it a superb time off trail. I met up with a guy i hadn't seen since Kennedy Meadows along the trail a couple miles after leaving Anna. His name is Mr. Clean (he oil wrestled Mrs. Anderson - long story) and we walked and talked about various trail things, mostly gear. While we sat taking a break a girl comes along the trail southbound and asks us if we have seen a loud group of kids. We told her we thought we might have heard them but not seen them. She asked how to get to 5 Lakes, and then took off, but not towards the lakes. She came back about 8 minutes later still in search of kids, or lakes, or possibly a new job. She said she was a camp counselor and had one of the kids meds that he may or may not need; hopefully not. Anyway got into camp at Squaw Creek in good time. Last water for 15.5 miles is here, haven't had to carry this much since before Kennedy Meadows. It's windy up here and cold but the upside is no mosquito's. Plan on getting to Hwy 80 by 12 or so tomorrow and then call the Bousquet's to get me. Already looking forward to another hot shower, and a meal of food. Thought of the day; fruit is one of the few things that is just ready to eat as is; its so perfect. Song of the day; theeerrrr waaaas ahh bawber and wiiife, aaaand sheee was beeeeyuuuutiiifullll - Sweeney Todd he was a barber on Fleet street. Craving of the day; some more of this watermelon mint salad thing Anna made for last nights bbq dinner.

JWC on the PCT

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

Good food, good day

Day 74, a zero---This is going to be short cause once again i am writing the following morning and i need to get back on trail soon. It was a great day, very relaxing and not as smoky around Tahoe. We went to the Fire Sign Cafe for breakfast and it was so amazing that i am going back there again this morning. They knew what they were doing with food. After we ran errands , i got to do most of the rest of my laundry. The night was once again very cool, with great food and people. We had a real smorgasbord(sp?) on the grill which included pizza, tofu, chicken, burgers, ciabatta bread, corn, portabello's, asparagus - and that was just on the grill. It was all very well executed food, definitely one of the reasons it is going to be hard to leave this place. Off to Truckee to see the Bousquets now, i haven't seen them since high school summer road trips. I promise to put more thought and time into the coming posts. Thought of the day; food can transform your surroundings. Song of the day; aaa yyyynt noooo sunshiiiine when she's gaaawnnnn by somebody i should remember considering its on the i-pod. Craving of the day; another Fire Sign Cafe breakfast.

JWC on the PCT

Fast walker, fast talker

Day 73, Mile 1126.5---Started walking around 7:30 and by 12:45 i was at Barker Pass. I utilized the i-pod for a while and listened to Kat Williams' stand-up "the pimp chronicles". Unfortunately i only made it half way through before the battery ran out, but that half was damn funny. I planned to meet Anna somewhere on Barker Pass road so i started walking down towards Hwy 89 after a snack break. I didn't have to walk far at all and there she was with two other girls all with at least one arm waving out the car windows. She had a sandwich and some fruit and Kerns nectar juice waiting in the car for me, perfect. The rest of the day went to hanging out at the house talking and catching up. I got to enjoy an amazing pasta dinner cooked by Christine (Anna's roommate). I had considered going out to eat but i am really not sure i would have found something as good anywhere else. Also enjoyed a pecan pie made by Anna which was delicious. I didn't know i liked pecan pie but it is official, i do. After dinner we went to a friend of a friends house for a "keg-er". I wasn't sure if i was ready for all that, but it turned out to be a small group of folks and we played games and talked way past hiker midnight. The keg was a really good beer , Longboard Ale if i remember correctly. The game was called celebrities, it was very simple with not a lot of moving parts and a lot of fun. Stayed up real late and crashed hard in a great bed, as such I'm writing this the following morning. Time to go do a little laundry and eat a giant breakfast. Thought of the day; almost half way there... wierd. Song of the day; dmx-" flesh of my flesh, blood of my blooooooood." Craving of the day; the breakfast i am about to have today i was craving yesterday, and i'm not even sure what it is yet, but it will be good.

JWC on the PCT

A pack of forest fire lites please

Day 72, Mile 1110ish---This morning went fairly well for me. I managed to get laundry going, get internet access, get a pre-breakfast from the hotel, and un-pack some of my bag before 9. We all went to Heidi's for breakfast after that. The restaurant was recommended to me by a fellow pct-er, although now i recall that he never actually said it was good, but you would think that's implied. So yeah the food was mediocre, but it was food and i was hungry. Jarell picked up the tab and said Happy Birthday ahead of time which was cool. I got back on the trail by 1:30ish. I once again turned the wrong way, i hope this isn't a pattern considering i'll be getting on and off the trail two more times in the coming week. When i said goodbye to Jarell, Danyele, and the boys it wasn't as hard as Mammoth, but difficult nonetheless. I like being "Uncle Jesse", and i really look forward to seeing them all again in October. The smoke was the worst i have seen it on the trail today. I don't know if it was that, or the buffet, or just being mostly uphill but i didn't quite make the mileage i had planned on. I wanted to have a 10 mile day tomorrow on trail and now i have about 16.5. I think it is mostly downhill and if i get up earlier i should be there by 2ish. One thing that did help move me though was Jarell and Danyele gifted me with a video i-pod. I got to listen to some Dave Chappelle stand-up. If you haven't seen it you need to go rent Dave Chapelles "Killing them softly". Its one of my favorites and i have listened to it at least 20 times since it came out and it still makes me laugh. I plan to mail the i-pod back soon, but for now I'm enjoying it. Alright i am falling asleep. Thought of the day; i can't tell you how much i enjoy reading the comments left on my blog, thank you, and keep them coming. Song of the day; iim still ennnn laaawvvve wit uuu boooy, bedepi know ya know ya love or something - by Sean Paul. Craving of the day; fresh fruit with water "____ con agua" like i had in Costa Rica.

JWC on the PCT

Friday, July 11, 2008

Worth the wait

Day 71, Mile 1094.5---With the proper motivation Icebag and i did the 10 miles to echo lake in great time. We both got milkshakes on arrival and later i got a sandwich and an apple. All of which was exactly right, although i did feel beyond full when i finished the sandwich and apple and liter of water. Called home and got to recap everything within the limits of my dads lunch hour and the conference call style with the parentos. Spent the rest of the day waiting for Jarell to come up the mountain. I actually enjoyed myself in waiting and the particular group of hikers present was the reason i think. Well, and the fact that i was just sitting and didn't have any pressing matters at all definitely helped. Oh, and the free beers from a fellow Long Beachan. I met him today . He was a section hiker and was spending a day or two at Echo Lake before returning to the best city i know. Jarell and family arrived around 5:30 and Danyele said i looked like i was off the A&E show "Intervention". We cruised around south Lake Tahoe and finally found a room at the holiday inn express. The all-you-can-eat buffet soon followed at Harrah's. It was a grrrreat buffet. I didn't eat as much as i thought i could, or would, but i definitely got what i needed. Later that night Jarell and i decided to walk around and let all that food settle. We went back to Harrahs and Harveys , got a beer and walked the casinos. The cougars were on the loose, and not the type i expect to see on this trip. It was interesting to be thrust back into "civilization" especially into the casino type atmosphere. There was also a celebrity/pro athlete golf tournament hosted at Harrahs so we stood and watched people watch other people who they deem to be more watchable then others. Charles Barkley chugged Patron after pouring shots for people at the edge of the stage. Me and Jarell were wearing matching shirts from his gym that said "commit to get fit!" so we got a fair amount of looks too. Although i don't know that i look fit, possibly for a female runway model, calves are staying strong and that's about it. Looking forward to tomorrows breakfast already, not looking forward to leaving Jarell, Danyele, and the boys so soon. Thought of the day; i don't know - all memory was erased in my second helping of bread pudding and caramelized banana's on soft serve vanilla. Song of the day; i can't remember either but it was by The Game i think. Craving of the day; by the end of the night none whatsoever.

JWC on the PCT

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pleasant day

Day 70, Mile 1084.0---After doing a 25 and a 24 back to back the 2 "19's" have seemed like a breeze in comparison. Today went just as fast as yesterday, but with a break in the middle , i made sure i didn't get into camp too early again. Had a small hiccup today when i convinced myself i didn't know where i was going. After that 20 minute delay i got back on track and i made it to Carson Pass by 2:30ish. There was a small little gift shop sort of thing there and they had a PCT register and free water for thru-hikers. The whole thing is entirely run by volunteers and one of them offered me a diet lemon Coke. Anyone who knows me knows i don't do soda too often and definitely not a brown or diet one. But that was the best tasting diet lemon Coke i have ever had, actually now that i think about it, its the only one i have ever had. Well it was good. Tried to send some pocketmails on the payphone but it wouldn't work. For some reason the smaller company payphones don't seem to be compatible or something. Anyway i got offered a chair in the shade and ended up staying til about 4. While i was there another hiker i met just before Tuolumne Ieadows named Icebag came through. He got the same treatment, and so he sat and stayed for awhile as well. We took off at the same time and both ended up camping here at Showers Lake. We talked about milkshakes at Echo Lake, going into the military, working for the government and fellow hikers and their stories. Seems like an alright guy but i doubt i will be hiking with him much after this as he does pretty big mileage daily. Nice to say complete sentences out loud for the first time in a few days though. Talked to my Mom on the phone at Carson Pass and found out Jarell is definitely coming tomorrow which is great. I had been trying to keep my hopes low in case he couldn't make it. I think i will still get there before him as i only have 10 miles and it's mostly downhill tomorrow. But they have a sandwich deli and milkshakes (according to one guide book) at the spot where i will wait for them, so I'll be just fine. I plan to eat a little and then drink as much water as possible to stretch my stomach out for the buffet. I am going to try and get some extra sleep tonight so i can stay up past hiker midnight tomorrow. I'm going to get on that now. Thought of the day; forgetting to remember is like remembering to forget - actually i can't remember what the thought of the day was so i just made that up, you know what , just forget it. Song of the day; predominantly the PCT song, i am not kidding, i really hope i can pick up something else in town tomorrow. Cravings of the day; baby back ribs, Chinese spare ribs, beef ribs, all kinds. Also a decent sandwich and vanilla milkshake - trying to be practical so as to get it realized sooner then later.

JWC on the PCT------------------------------

Kind of boring actually

Day 69, Mile 1065.1---First off, i think I've been brain washed by "Gatorade Man". All day the PCT song was not just stuck in my head, it was taking over my head. I would be in mid-thought and it would just start in out of nowhere. Even when i was thinking about writing these very words it was pushing its way into the forefront. I guess 2/3rds of a half gallon of butter pecan with a speaker right next to my head and I could be the Manchurian Candidate. Anyway today was so-so. It was an easy enough day mileage wise, both in the level of difficulty and the time it took. In fact i got into camp way too early. I tried to drag things out but i still think i am going to be asleep before the sun goes down. Not a bad thing out here i guess. That is of course if i can get out of my tent to pee first. I have been in here for about 40 minutes and what started as 3 or 4 mosquitoes bouncing off the mesh has turned into at least 50. Hopefully as it gets cooler they will find something else to annoy. I was thinking about this the other day - would using mosquitoes in soldier interrogations violate the Geneva Convention or whatever that falls under? Just have a sealed room with an intercom set up and let in about 200 mosquitoes, i know i would talk. There goes my chances at working for "the company". Mooooving on. I have been meaning to mention in the past few posts that my shoes are falling apart. While in Mammoth my parents tried to convince me to get a new pair but i wanted to get more mileage out of these. Probably should have listened, because now there is a complete separation of shoe and sole on the inside of the toe box on my right shoe. The good thing about it is the hole is big enough that most times when rocks get in they fall back out soon enough. I was planning on around 500 miles per pair, but it looks like these will be through at 390ish. I got a little lonely today. I am definitely looking forward to visiting with friends in the coming week. Alright the numbers have dwindled, I'm gonna make a mad dash - well until i have to stop at the tree and pee - but a mad dash there and back for sure. Thought of the day; people say they "have a case of the Monday's", but i would make the argument that it should be a "case of the Tuesdays". I mean Monday is the beginning, Wednesday is the middle, Thursday is good because its the day before Friday which is spectacular because it precedes the weekend. But Tuesday, Tuesday is only the reminder that you just started the work week yesterday ...ugh. Song of the day, besides the PCT song; You got a friend in me, from Toy Story, and a mish mash of James Brown songs i made into one. Craving of the day; cold glass of apple juice, those cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches from my elementary school teachers lunch-ins, some Chinese dish with duck as the main ingredient.

JWC on the PCT

Wildflurs Erywur

Day 68, Mile 1046.1---Not too much to say about today. The grades were not that hard for the most part, and the highest climb between data points was only 800ft if i am remembering correctly. As the title suggests, one thing that consistently caught my attention were the wildflowers. They were everywhere and plentiful, in some places solid fields of them. Most common was probably the yellow Mule Eared Daisy and the purple Lupin (Go Lakers). I only saw two other people today while i was hiking and both were going in the opposite direction. When i set up camp i saw one guy i had been leap frogging with 2 days ago go by. Then i see this guy who looks as though he is ill-prepared. Turned out to be Tatoo Joe, and Scott Williams was about 5 minutes behind him. I introduced myself and talked briefly with both of them. If you recall i wrote about meeting Tatoo Joe at the Andersons a while back. He and Scott left the Mexico border on June 8th, and here they are catching up to me less then a month later. That's 1046+ miles in 29 days, shiiit that's crazy. I assume they have some sort of support team that picks them up at every hwy crossing etc, but i don't really know. I asked both of them if they were on track to beat the record, and they both said so far so good. I wonder if right before they get to the border they start running, and which one actually crosses first for the record? Anyway this evening i built my first fire just for myself so far on the trip. It was nice to have, and gave me something to do while i waited for my dinner to finish cooking. Problem with fires is they always keep you up later then you'd like, and it did. 19 miles tomorrow, another 23ish the next day, and then I'll only have roughly 6 miles into echo lake on Thursday. Thought of the day; dirt is an excellent sun screen. Song of the day; one line out of the PCT song - " iiiim headed forrrr the borderrr and iii'l sooon be therrrrr" - all day i couldn't shake it. Craving of the day; cut up watermelon out of the fridge, frozen grapes, and lemon-lime Gatorade mixed with ice(iced?) tea. Yeah it was kind of hot and muggy today.

JWC on the PCT


Day 67, Mile 1022.4---Today i was back to being the lone ranger and it was good. I made great mileage in good time. I could go on about the beautiful landscape etc, but today's theme was trail magic. It started after my lunch break, the sometimes slowest part of my day. I was feeling as though i might be the only person for miles around when around the corner comes two hikers southbounding. The guy asked where i was coming from, and i never know how to reply. Do i say Mexico, or just the last major stop, or where i slept last night. I decided on Mexico, it was a good choice. He said oh a thru-hiker then, would you like an apple or banana? Trail magic. I saved the banana the rest of the day until after dinner for dessert, it was delicious. So that got my spirits up and i continued on to Sonora Pass. When i arrived it was unclear as to where the trail continued on the other side of hwy 108. So i looked around for a minute and then saw a guy parked on the side of the hwy in a van with the PCT logo on the door. I thought wow, it's on trail support or something. Turned out to be Gatorade Man, who is support for NimbleWill Nomad a fellow thru-hiker. He told me where the trail picked up again and then offered me some Gatorade and ice cream; of course i accepted. He then proceeded to amble out of his seat and make his way to the back of the van. He said you'll have to have your own spoon, pulled out a half gallon of butter pecan, "we'll split it." As we ate he says, we ought to do this proper, I'll turn on the PCT song by Walkin' Jim. So there we sat, on the back bumper of the old man's van, eating ice cream, and listening to a song about the PCT - on the PCT, on repeat. Trail magic. After downing a Gatorade I thanked him for everything; he thanked me for allowing him to share in part of my trip. As i walked away he shouted a line from the song - "let the wind blow all your cares away." So far so good. My only care now is getting to that Ceasar's buffet a.s.a.p. Thought of the day; we are all people, we are all in this together. (actually my Dad's thought imparted to me) Song of the day; iiiyel flyy awayy fly away ohh gloreeee iiiyel fly away in the mornin, something something hallehloooyah by and by iiiyel fly away - from O'Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack. Craving of the day; a dark meat turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, sharp cheddar, and ranch on a toasted french roll. Also the entire Thursday menu at BBSR on a grilled cheese lunch day.Post Script; to be completely accurate we "split" the half gallon 65 for me 35 for him... approximately.

JWC on the PCT

Good day for me, bad day for Max

Day 66, Mile 997.2---Today we got a bit of a late start as we tried in vain to keep our feet dry just minutes into our day. Although the past few days have been rough for me, i am glad to say i no longer feel burned out; i hit the trail with a positive and familiar mindset once again. After a strenuous climb, drop, and climb again we ran into Squatch. He is the guy responsible for the 3 documentaries chronicling the PCT titled "Walk", "Still Walking", and "Even More Walking". He shot some footage of Max and of Gina and Kraig talking about Max. He also informed us that after Wilma Lake in about 2.5 miles the terrain got a lot more hiker friendly, but the mosquitos were bad. Squatch was right on both accounts. It flattened out considerably and it was easier to make good time and mileage. Problem was Max wasn't so inclined; his left front foot is swollen 2-3 times its regular size. He immediately falls asleep at every break, and by the end of the day he would just lay down in the middle of the trail! . This trail is hard on us as it is, and coming in 10-15lbs overweight did not help his chances. Kraig and Gina are going to take a unplanned on-trail zero tomorrow to give him some time to recuperate. Squatch should have been more emphatic about the mosquitos. At one point i was forced to throw down my pack and slather myself in DEET in the middle of a meadow as i was being bombarded. They were so thick i could see, and then was walking through the squadrons as they waited to attack. The noise was hardly bearable. In the swarms they all yelled at me (pinch your nose and read aloud) Whyyyeee? Whyyeeee? Whyeeee? Because weeee CaaAAAn! CaaAAn! CaaAAAn! The DEET mostly worked after the 2nd application; though it only kept them from landing and biting, they continued to yell and bounce of my head and face. We camped early(mileage wise) on the edge of Dorothy Lake. I took Max's pack for the last 2 miles hoping we could go farther and hit 1,000 today but this is a nice spot nontheless. Tomorrow if the terrain stays like this, and being by myself, i will try and do 25ish miles. If i keep adding a few miles here and there i can get to Echo Lake early and spend more time with Jarell and his family. I am really looking forward to seeing how much Roman has grown up since i last saw him. I did not get a confirmation email from Jarell before i left Tuolumne Meadows however, so i hope i am not getting too far ahead of myself. One last thing, i woke up at 3am this morning to find my sleeping bag even more soaked. It was a little chilly but not as bad as i thought. It only took two 15 minute layouts in the sun today during breaks and its back to normal. At mile 23 tomorrow my body will appreciate the good sleep im sure. Good sleep, sounds like a plan. Thought of the day; i don't know, just as i was trying to remember it some crazy deer(s) just knocked over my backpack and then almost ran over my tent. I hope i don't wake up to a pack harness soaked in deer saliva, they better not chew up my socks either. Hmm, maybe good sleep is unfortunately not in the plan. Song of the day; the ants go marching... you know how it goes. Craving of the day; some good carne asada, corn cake from Fl Torito, and a fruit salad comprised of just melons.Post Script; if you happened to be reading this while at work, and you still pinched your nose and read the mosquito cry aloud - you will be talked about in the lunch room, but i give you props.

JWC on the PCT

July 4th; a rough day to be away

Day 65, Mile 980.2---Today was a killer day, and I'm glad it is behind me. We climbed and dropped more then 1000ft twice, some with gradients of 7.3 and -9.1. Not real fun. I woke up this morning with dew soaking my sleeping bag. It was overcast most of the day so i didn't get a chance to dry it out well. Its still a little damp as i lay in it now but hopefully my body heat will help, and it will work, otherwise it is going to be a cold night. Today was also a rough day for Max. He fell off two different logs trying to cross streams in the morning; one of which i had to pull him back up onto the log by his pack harness. He seemed appreciative afterwards. One thing he does while we walk is constantly stop and look back to check on everyone. Every time it reminds me of the scene in "No Country for Old Men" where Lewelyn is watching the pitbull limp away in his binoculars and it turns, looks, and then continues on. Speaking of dogs, i am regretfully missing the Long Beach police K-9 demonstration tonight. I think this is the 2nd year in a row i have missed the k-9 show and fireworks at Vets stadium. As i walked today i thought about how much i enjoy the whole experience even after so many years. Although you won't be reading this until well after, i highly recommend the whole sha-bangabang, so go next year. Man, my sleeping bag is not drying at all really, this could suck. Anyway Happy fourth of July to everyone. Thought of the day; all i thought about was the craving of the day. Songs of the day; heeey western yooonyun man seeend a telegram to myy bay-bay, seeend a telegram seeend a telegram whooooa send a telegraaam to myyy bay-bay- by somebody, and iiiyem prowd to beee an american wherr at least i know ahm freeee- by somebody, last name green maybe? Craving of the day; first it was pork sha-shu-bow, i do not think that is the proper spelling so good luck looking that up. Second it was the meal i missed before the family headed to the fireworks as i imagined it; bbq chicken with bbq sauce from scratch, teriyaki glazed flank steak, potato salad, regular salad with ranch, fruit salad, long beach rolls, and maybe a shrimp cocktail as well. For dessert it was my mothers' strawberry shortcake with vanilla ice cream. Whew, it hurts, it hurts real baaad.

JWC on the PCT------------------------------

I dislike 8 day rations

Day 64, Mile 962.5--- I am on day 3 of ten and i am already dirty and stanky, hiking with a heavy pack today didn't make it any better. It was fairly hot today and we had two big climbs. The country is beautiful per usual but i do feel like i am getting a little burned out on the trail. Two more days and i will have walked over 1,000 miles of the PCT. I do not plan on quitting don't get me wrong, its just starting to all kind of run together. One new thing is hiking along with Max. He is a very capable dog and surprised me a few times today with his athleticism. Today was his longest hiking day yet, and although his feet have yet to warm to the idea he seems to be having a good time. He is not a very good watchdog though. We had more then a few deer come into camp tonight to within 8 feet of where we were sitting by the fire and eating; Max slept through it all. My camera happened to be in my bag and the deer were consistently between me and the bag so i couldn't get a video or picture. I have been in Yosemite for 2 days now, 2.5 more days and i will be out. Although its a great place, like i said I'm getting a little burned out. I am really just looking forward to seeing Jarell and family, and eating at the Cesar's all-you-can-eat buffet in 7 days. One of the good things about backpacking is the longer you go, the more you eat, the lighter your pack gets. I am definitely wanting to eat more and have a lighter pack so it's a win-win i guess. Alright i got nothing else, oh, except to wish Erica good luck in the delivery of your baby girl, hope she came today. Good luck is kind of dumb to say, how about i wish for good health for you and your baby, yeah sounds better. Thought of the day; what is the physiological happenings behind the feeling of having a lump in your throat when you are trying to keep from crying, i mean what is the body doing that for, what is the benefit if any? Song of the day; by Phil Collins or Sting i can't figure out which, but it's the song that has that constant bass line running through it and P-diddy did a remake of it after Biggie got know the one I'm talking about? Craving of the day; Royal Buffet Chinese food i think it's called - off Atlantic between the 405 and Wardlow, and an all expense paid trip to Vegas - the antithesis of the trail.

JWC on the PCT

Back in the Saddle

Day 63, Mile 942.7__ Today went by fast. Donahue Pass was the only reason i still have my ice axe with me and it turned out to be a breeze. It should be smooth sailing from here on out and unfortunately i will have my ice axe strapped to my pack all the way to south Lake Tahoe regardless. After Donahue Pass in the morning it was a really easy day, with all downhill grades to my destination of Tuolumne Meadows PO/store. When i arrived i noticed a big dog with a pack on and realized Kraig and Gina were here as well with Max. Bought an 8 day ration at the store, and for the money i really won't be eating that great. Had a good dinner though, i had a pre-made salad and corn on the cob to add to my dinner. Its getting late so I'm out. Thought of the day; i dunno I'm falling asleep again, i need to get back on my rhythm. Song of the day; In The Still of the Night by BoysIIMen. Craving of the day; grapes.

JWC on the PCT

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A rough re-entry

Day 62, Mile 922.8 - This morning i took my last shower for a while and packed up. Said so long to the awesome condo, and comfy bed. I forgot to mention previously that the Snowcreek condo my dad rented out just happened to be owned by a family from Long Beach. I knew it felt right, just like home. Anyway i had breakfast with my parents and then we all rode the shuttle up to Reds meadow. They walked with me all the way to the trail and then we said our goodbye's. It was a tough one for me, i couldn't really say anything cause i was choked up. I managed a "love you" after i had started down the trail. I am going to miss those folks. After that i hadn't gone 10 minutes and i made a wrong turn. I realized about half way down the other trail, that it was only headed to Rainbow Falls. Instead of just turning around i ended up talking with a woman along the way and rationalizing my current course. I decided that maybe my parents would be there as they were talking about going there when i left. I wanted to thank them for everything they did for me this weekend, and i hoped i could get it out if i got a round 2. They weren't there though and i turned around knowing i should have just gone back as soon as i realized my mistake originally. The rest of the day seemed lonely. I met a girl named "wildchild" when i finally got back on track. I walked with her for a while but i needed to make more miles then she did so i lost her eventually. Kraig and Gina are ahead of me by 2 days, so i got to get used to hiking alone again. Alright this is the third time I've woke up now, i didn't get enough sleep the last few days and after today's mistake i didn't stop hiking til 830 and i am still 2 miles short of my goal and its late. The Yogi book says this was a bad bear area in 2006, i hope they leave me alone, cause i need this sleep. Thought of the day; God is love. Song of the day; don't remember. Craving of the day; good granola with mango and blueberries on it.

JWC on the PCT

A good day

Day 61, a zero--Today i once again enjoyed my Mothers cooking, and my Fathers as well. Breakfast was amazing, dinner was the same, and i snacked the rest of the day away. Managed to add some pictures to the blog today, ran some errands, and planned the next couple weeks of the trip. Throughout the day it felt like i was on alloted time. This stop has been the best of the trip, and the extreme comfort is hard to abandon to return to the trail. I have stayed up way too late tonight, just trying to make it last. I am not one of those hikers who condemns society, urbania, and touts the freedoms and truths of life on the trail that they believe cannot be found elsewhere. I like civilization as much as the wilderness, for me they both bring something to the table. So when i have had so much of one recently and so little of the other its hard not to seek a balance, to stay a while longer. But if i hope to reach my goal of walking across the Canadian border in a timely fashion, i must go. I also have people to see, which helps motivate me along my ortherly path. Is northerly a word? Anyway I've made the day last til 1:45am now, so i should get to sleep. Thought of the day; i wonder what it's like for Dana Perino at family gatherings? Song of the day; the melody from a song "Learning how to live with change"by my Dads friend Dan Walker. Craving of the day; more time here with my parents, a bed, and all the fruit i can eat.

JWC on the PCT

A proper zero

Day 60, a zero--Woke up this morning at 5:19am, managed to stay in bed til about 6:20 then wrote the blog post for yesterday. Had a great breakfast this morning, the waffles didn't turn out quite like i had planned(i beat the crap out of the batter) but everything else was good. Spent some of the day just hanging out, and when the Internet was working i was posting blogs. Interesting to be doing it myself, spell checking and everything. In fact i found out i am a habitual mis-speller of sandwich, mosquito, and protein. Tried to get some pictures up but only one from Guitar Lake made it before the connection went down for like the 5th time and i gave up. Ate a lot of good food today, just need more sleep to make the recovery complete. In the afternoon my Dad and i went on a hike which was pretty cool. He wanted to get a "workout" at altitude because he plans to summit Whitney in July. Had dinner with Kraig and Gina and my parents at a nice place, the food didn't taste as great as it looked but it was good enough. We left Max in the condo and he continued to prove himself as he refrained from annihilating anything while we were out. I forgot to mention earlier that my parents came up with Max so he could get on the trail with Kraig and Gina. Only problem is he was on a high powered food and without 20 miles a day Max became obese since Kraig has been gone. So they will definitely have to take it easy when they get back on trail tomorrow and see how Max gets along. Watched a movie and had fruit and popcorn tonight which was nice. But it happened to make it a late night again so i gotta enjoy this bed right now and knock out. But before i do, i want to wish my godson Roman a happy 1st birthday, you only turn one once, live it up buddy. Thought for the day; I am proud to be born(almost) and raised in Long Beach. Song of the day; none that i can remember. Cravings of the day; nope, allll good.

JWC on the PCT

Celebrate--good times

Day 59, Mile 906.6--Welcome back to society, well, mammoth anyway. We hiked only til about 9:55 and we were already at Reds Meadow. I originally told my Dad it would be a half day for us and to expect us around noon. He planned on meeting us up there and looking around a bit etc.(anyone who knows my Dad knows what I'm talking about). Anyway the short version is we caught a shuttle bus down to the Mammoth Mtn ski area and met them there. I was very glad to see my parents and Kraig was glad to see Max(the dog my parents were watching). After a joyous and a little over the top energetic exchange between everybody, dog included, we made our way back to the condo. A cinnamon pull apart bread was waiting for us in the car, the last piece was eaten as we pulled into the driveway 15 minutes later. We sat around for a bit telling some stories and then the showers commenced. Kraig, Gina, and Max got dropped off at the campground after, and i went about making myself presentable again. One clipper attachment later and most hairs on my head and face matched in length. My Mom took a picture of me before i got in the shower, i looked like i was at the weigh-in for a bantam or fly weight fight, so small, so bad. The parentos and I then went shopping for groceries which was rough at times with so many people. Its a little bit of a sensory overload, not to mention the forced air immediately dried out my eyes and everything got blurry, which was odd. My Dad would suggest things to eat and i would just say "yes", because i wanted it all. We had a glorious dinner, and i stopped eating not when i got full(i didn't) but when it seemed logical to stop for fear of later intestinal distress. After we celebrated my Dads birthday(happy birthday Dad) and then watched my pictures and videos on the TV from the Saufleys to here. Some of the sierra pictures came out pretty good i will get them up here soon. We were up til 1230ish and i tried to write this then but i crashed. So i am writing this the following morning because i woke up at 6:20 after i "slept in". It was amazing to sleep in a bed, i don't think i moved the whole night. This whole place is comfortable actually. I am really grateful to my parents to provide all of this for me, i am sure it wasn't cheap, but i appreciate it very much. I am currently starving though, so i am going to go make a sweet breakfast(one i have been looking forward to for a while). Thought of the day; i am one lucky guy. Song of the day; this Robin Thicke song i cant remember the name but its hilarious. Craving of the day; none... what a good feeling.

JWC on the PCT