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The plan today is to hike up Chips Creek Canyon to Williams Cabin, a distance of some 6.5 miles. Starting at 2,300 feet, we are on the trail early. Gotta get the miles in before the temperature approaches the century mark.
The PCT is one of America longest hiking trails, 2,650 miles from the Mexican border along the crest of the Sierras and the Cascades, ending in Canada.
We hike along the Feather Nike Vapormax Blue Navy River for a while, climbing all the way. Then we make the big turn up Chips Creek Canyon. It looks impossibly long. And steep.
After about a mile of climbing, I hear my wife holler from down trail. She got our barefoot, sleepy grandchild in pajamas in tow. I have the car keys in my pocket! I walk down with my backpack on, hand the keys to my annoyed spouse and then realize I have to carry the damned 40 pound pack back up the hill.
are Jason, a therapist who has visited Tibet; Joshua, a self proclaimed of a Lutheran intentional community in Paradise; and yours truly, a psychiatric nurse.
On all the long trails in the United States it is customary to have a de trail. Your hiking name. Your identity for the duration of your (sometimes) five month trip. Tradition states that another Thru Hiker must give you your name. The graying, grizzled, somewhat portly Thru Hiker we meet at Myrtle Flat explains this to us after introducing himself as School. got my name because of the old, outdated equipment I used to hike with. Old School is a college music professor. Veteran of the Nike Vapormax Price
So here we are, on mile one of our 48 mile walkathon.
We share our hooch and try out various trail Nike Air Vapormax Plus Sunset
Not just my three acres in Concow. No, I wanted to see the thousands of acres of national forest Nike Vapormax Violet Dust
For food, The Abbot has brought only trail mix and a huge bottle of Bacardi 151. The Therapist has more connoisseur tastes. He packs gourmet salami, natural peanut butter, caf bagels and a half liter of Jack Daniels.
I wasn expecting much. This section is not on anyone list. It is reported to be ugly, dry, logged over and with less than impressive views. Hiking books about the PCT state that you should go fast through this section because it is boring, shadeless, somewhat dangerous and dry. That what I told my trail mates, who were brave enough to go with me despite the hike bad reputation.
That isn what we are experiencing! The trail winds up the canyon with 1,000 foot granite walls on both sides. Chips Creek is raging whitewater. Beautiful!
I packed my sleeping bag, two gallons of Gatorade, backpack stove, too much food, hiking stick, topo maps, rope, long underwear, penicillin, Vicodin, Imodium, Benadryl (I am an RN, after all!), new water filter and a fifth of Scotch. I forgotten my copy of Walden.
aren mosquitoes. They California miniature humming birds, say I.
At one stream crossing a sign says: Rattlesnake Springs. The guidebook states that rattlers are very common along Chips Creek. It also says this portion of the trail is uninteresting.
Neither of the other guys has ever backpacked before, but they are young (at 30 years of age), enthusiastic and full of testosterone.
I am nearly 50 years of age years my two comrades senior. I am also out of shape, roly poly, 60 pounds heavier than The Abbot. I give him the two gallons of Gatorade to carry. Consider it his 16 pound handicap.
promised no mosquitoes, says The Abbott.
My wife transports us 29 miles up Highway 70 to the Belden rest stop in the Feather River Canyon. Our goal is to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from Belden to the St. Bernard Lodge on Highway 36. We penciled in five days of our lives for this endeavor.
After a few hours of constant climbing, we come to the Williams Cabin. But it not there! I promised my buddies an evening of bacchanalian frolicking at the cabin. Evidently, sometime after the guidebook was published, the cabin burned down.
people yard our foothills home. Specifically, I wanted to hike the nearly 50 mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail that wanders through Butte and Plumas counties.
We turn in. camping no tent. Nothing between us and the full moon. Except mosquitoes. I fall asleep listening to mutters, curses and slapping sounds from my companions.
At the trailhead, one last visit to the men room, a struggle heaving the 40 pound pack onto my back, a kiss for my wife we are on our way.
Unhappy with the cabin less campsite, we trundle on to Myrtle Flat, another mile up the trail. Someone is already there. A Thru Hiker. Taking off our heavy packs that feel like crosses on our backs, we relax. Make introductions. I bring out my Scotch.
names for ourselves. Abbot is an obvious choice. The Therapist doesn particularly care for the title of Cosmo (because he is drinking 151 with pink lemonade). My wife has already given me a hiking nickname: Biscuit. A couple more Thru Hikers join us as we cook our suppers and enjoy a buzz.
When I arrive, my buddies comment on my lack of intellectual acumen in hiking the hill twice wearing a backpack. I can see a glint of doubt in their eyes. Some leader! Perhaps going on this journey might be a mistake.
bugs and noises in the night
The next morning, we make coffee, pack and head out. Today we climb up, up, up of the canyon and onto the crest of the Sierras, 2,600 feet to struggle up in 13 miles.
The Abbot has our hike programmed into his iPhone GPS. Move five feet to your left and the little blue dot that announces your position actually moves on the little screen. Fool proof hiking! No way to get lost!
Dusk. The mosquitoes come out. The Abbot hates bugs. All bugs. Despises mosquitoes. Can stand them. Before the hike I had assured him there would be few mosquitoes.
Appalachian Trail, now completing his last section of the PCT. He is funny. Kind. And well versed in hiker lore.
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