A Day of Old and New Friends

Day 133 – 8/22/15
Indian Springs Campground
Miles – 20.9
Total Miles – 2196.5 (PCT 2125.1)

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We woke to smoke and a lot of it!  In fact we could hardly see the surrounding mountains. We headed up the trail and quickly found that Bling’s leg was no better. With him unable to walk at his normal speed we knew that this would be a slow day. Over the course of the day we had to stop 10 times to rub his leg. He would feel better for awhile but then it would get worst and worst until we would have to stop and rub it out again. He was good for about 2 miles per a rubbing. Rabbit, Sky Pilot and Canyon got too far ahead of us to catch up with Bling’s bad leg. For the short period of time we hiked with them, we enjoyed their company. Little Crow especially was having fun with Rabbit who is a really fast hiker! The two of them would take the lead and fly down the trail together. It was a good experience for Little Crow. She discovered she could go fast even though she is so short. Thank you Rabbit!! When we got to Lolo Pass we stopped to rub Bling’s leg when some people drove up. There were Tammy, Steve and Ted. They were out for a Sunday drive from Portland. We started to talk with them and we soon found out that Tammy knew holistic message therapy so she took a look at Bling’s leg. She put pressure on the main knot trying to get it to loosen. She rubbed it in a different way than Mama Raven or I did. She showed us how to and the goal is to “reset the muscles”. All and all, she was very helpful and it did help Bling for a while. Will was able to hike more than two miles after her message. Steve wanted the kids to have a treat so he asked if he could give the kids some money to get ice cream at the next town. Awkwardly we said yes. At the time, Mama Raven and I assumed that Bling and Little Crow got a couple of dollars each. Later that day Bling asked, “Do you know how much money Steve gave us?” We replied no. Bling responded with twenty dollars each. Wow, that will be alot of ice cream! Bling suggested that at the end of our hike we go back to Timberline Lodge and have another breakfast with the money. I said there is enough money for that plus a little extra for ice cream at Cascade Locks. As we said our good byes to them we informed them they had just become trail angels. They liked their new job title. We had several good sized ups, but other than that the hiking was not hard. We moved a long the best we could considering Bling’s leg. Getting to Indian Springs was our main goal. If we could have gotten down to Eagle Creek that would have been even better.
It was getting late when we got to Indian Springs Campground, the sun was about gone, there was a cold, strong wind blowing, we were hungry and we just wanted to eat and go to bed. When we came off the trail and into the old abandoned campground we see Dundee. Mama Raven and Little Crow arrived first, and when Little Crow heard Bling and I coming down the trail she ran up to us yelling, “Dundee! Dundee! Dundee is here.” We have not seen him since Sierra City. We all were excited to see him again. A friend of his had met him and bought a bunch of trail magic. The Ravens ate and cleaned him out. There was chips and salsa, macaroni salad, green salad, shredded turkey, elk stakes, huckleberries, orange slices, and cheese. We ate until we were full. It was great! As it was getting dark. we set up our tents and got ready for bed. Bling worked on his leg in the hopes that it will be better tomorrow. We have 15.4 miles to Cascade Locks tomorrow. The day was very frustrating because how slow we went and all the very thick smoke we were in. Despite our disappointments of the day,  actually the day was a pretty good one because of all the good people along the way!

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Arrow and Dundee

Arrow and Dundee

Cope

Cope

Trail Bride

Trail Bride

Cosmic Bubble

Cosmic Bubble

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Tammy working on Bling

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Tammy, Steve, Ted, and The Ravens

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A little trail magic

Day 82 – 7/2/15
Paradise Lake Trail
Miles – 19.8
Total Miles – 1215.2 (PCT 1164.7)DSC08057-7-2-15

We woke up our normal time and packed up. The hike to the top of Tinkers Knob was not long or hard. We quickly reached its shoulder and were rewarded with beautiful views of Lake Tahoe. Looking north we could see the country we will be hiking into. It was much flatter with very few high mountains than what we have been hiking in. We walked down ridges and through Sugar Bowl ski resort before we came to Hwy 40, the old highway over Donner Pass. We are often stopped by people out on day hikes that are absolutely amazed Will and Little Crow are hiking the whole PCT. Twice in this area, two separate families have asked if the kids could have their pictures taken along with their families. We saw no harm, so we said yes. Next for our hike, came 3.5 miles of small climbs and drops crossing over to Hwy 80. A lot of this section was in the sun and it became very hot. We past by a large youth group that was learning how to rock climb on the rock cliffs. All and all we did not like this stretch. We past under Hwy 80 and took what was suppose to be a short stop to the highway’s rest stop where there was water to fill our bottles, tables, and flush toilets. . . a real luxurious item! Etch-a-sketch and DNA were all ready there so we sat with them in the shade. Soon we saw Flaco. Last we heard he had been hiking with Over Easy. We quickly ran over to him to find out about our old friends, the Eggs. It turned out both, Over Easy and Sunny Side Up, were here! Several minutes later we were all reunited. Sunny Side Up is off the trail as we mentioned in an earlier blog but we did not know exactly why. Sadly she has a stress fracture in the leg bone above her ankle. We talked for a little while catching up. Over Easy was taking today off in Truckee with Sunny Side Up. They offered to get us some drinks but we told them that is unnecessary. Soon they left to Truckee. We had our snack and were cleaning out the trash from our packs when Over Easy and Sunny Side Up drove up with an assortment of sodas and Gatorade. We excepted them eagerly. At home we do not drink sodas, but out here on the trail, they are worth their weight in gold!  Again, we said good bye and thank you to the Eggs with lots of sadness. Our favorite hiking duo was no more. Later, as we washed out our socks, a man named Dave asked if we were The Ravens. He knew about us from the PCT Journals. He came up from Reno to offer trail magic to the hikers. He gave drinks to all the hikers. Others had arrived since we got to the rest stop. Then, as we are getting ready to leave, he brings out a stove and starts to cook hot dogs. Well, we can not miss out on hot dogs so we stayed a little longer. Some of the other hikers that were there were Wendy Bird, Milkshake and Stickybunz, and Gene the Machine. We stayed a lot longer than we should have, but it was a good stop and well worth the time. We hiked away from the Hwy rest stop and climbed to the top of Castle Pass, and then down to Peter Grub Hut. It is one of the few shelter’s on the whole PCT. We stopped to look inside and found Lord Logan. The last time we saw him was in the hut on Muir Pass in the Sierras. It was good to see him. The hut was very roomy and warm however we did not stay long. We still want to make a 20 mile day, so off we went. The trail climbs up a ridge and into Paradise Valley. As we came to the top the hill, a thunderstorm started to rumble. It was directly over us and then the dark clouds let go of the water they were holding. Not hard at first, but enough to have us take out our umbrellas. Then it really started to rain hard. We were up on a exposed hillside and we quickly hiked down so we could find a thickit of trees. We saw flashes of lightening right above us. Little Crow became scared. Adventually, we came upon a dry area under some trees and we stopped to repack the packs for rain. By this time, the thunderstorm ended but another one started off to the north. We hiked to the bottom of Paradise Valley and found a dry place to camp. We are hoping the clouds break up tonight. We do not want rain tomorrow, but it is sprinkling right now.DSC08035-7-2-15
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Stickybunz

Stickybunz

Windy Bird

Windy Bird

Trail Magic at Walker Pass

Day 45 – 5/27/15
Near Joshua Tree Spring
Miles – 19.1
Total Miles – 688.7 (PCT 664.1)DSC03352-5-27-15It was a clear night with very little wind nonetheless we got soaked through the night. We had condensation on both the insides and the outsides of both tents. All our sleeping bags were wet. The sun hit the tent early and instead of packing up we dried everything. We had sleeping bags hanging from trees and tents over down logs. It took about 45 minutes so we had a late start. At one point Mama Raven took her new prescription glasses off to apply sun tan lotion and left them on a rock. She did not notice that they were missing until we had hiked seven miles, all down hill. She is mad at herself.  She said we are going camping here next fall and we are  going to hike the seven miles to find them on the rock were she left them.
Today the trail was a primer for the high Sierras. First we drop 1700′ to Walker Pass, then we go up 2000′ around Mt. Jenkins, next we drop 1500′ down to Joshua Tree Springs, and then we go up again. The high Sierras well be like this but with altitude changes of 2000′ to 4000′.
Once we got out of camp our drop down to Walker Pass went by quickly. When we got to the Walker Pass campground we found somebody that was doing trail magic. They feed us bananas, watermelon, and oranges. We had soft drinks, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and chips and dip. We soaked our feet in tubs of soapy water, charged some  of our electronic equipment, and washed our socks. We also filled up on water. It was trail magic at its finest. The gentleman and his wife, Chief and Chiefs Wife, who were responsible for the special trail magic hiked the trail in 2013. Mama Ravens favorite part of the Chiefs magic was their brand new Airstream they had. We got to go inside and I admit it really was nice. Will and Little Crow did a lot of oohing and aahing too. I will be hearing from here on out how we need to get one. It was a great break from a normal trail routine and  we stayed much longer then we meant to.
Once we were back on the trail we climbed up and around Mt. Jenkins. This took most of the day. It did give us great views of the south end of Owens Valley and Ridgecrest. With only a few hours of daylight left, we headed down toward Joshua Tree Spring. We got there with only an hour of light left and we decided we have enough water for the next 6 miles so we bypassed it and headed down the valley looking for a place to camp. We found a spot off the trail under some trees. Hopefully we will not have any condensation tonight.

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Sunny Side Up

Sunnyside Up

Over Easy and The Ravens

Over Easy and The Ravens

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Trail Angels

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Rattlesnakes

Day 15 – 4/27/15
Just beyond Hwy 10
Miles – 20.0
Total Miles – 226.9 (PCT 210.5)

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During the night the wind came up and it blow strong. When we finally got out of the tents we had on all our warm clothes just because the wind was so cold. After doing part of the decent yesterday, we still had 6000′ to drop in 15 miles; it will be a lot warmer when we get down into the desert.
Hours and hours of hiking down, really starts to hurt after a while; mainly the bottoms of our feet, our ankles, and knees. A little Morton helps a lot. At the bottom of the drop is a water fountain, the first water for the last 20 miles. It is rather peculiar to see, in the middle of the desert, with no buildings in site, a water fountain. Mama Raven and Will got there first and joined the 14 other thru-hikers sitting around the fountain. Joon and I came in 30 minutes later. Just before Joon and I got to the bottom, we saw our first rattlesnake of the trip. Joon was walking in front. All of a sudden she stopped and started to back up. She was hyperventilating and pointing. Seven feet in front of us was a 3′ Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. It was stretched across the trail and not moving. I told Joon to take a few deep breaths and calm down, the snake was not going to attack us. I took a few pictures of it. The snake never moved as we climbed up around it.  When we took one last glimpse of it, the snake turned around and went back into the bushes.
After coming in with completely no water, we filled all of our water bags. We had heard that there was a cache of soft drinks under Hwy 10 for PCT hikers.  That was just three miles away.  We decided to have dinner there. So off we went. Within minutes of leaving, we saw another rattlesnake. This one was on the side of the road and it quickly slid into a big bush and rattled at us. We let it be and hiked on. When we got to Hwy 10 bridge, we disappointingly discovered no cache of cold sodas. A big note on a wall said that it had been stolen. We were all disappointed. We ate dinner under the bridge and hiked on. It was getting dark however we did not want to camp underneath a major freeway. It was too noisy. I am listening to my words I just wrote . . . sleeping underneath freeways . . . it sounds a lot like we are homeless. We certainly are starting to look like it since we are so dirty!
As we hiked away from the highway, we past near a paved road. There was a little yellow car sitting there. The lady in the car called out to Mama Raven, “Do you want a soft drink?” She hands Mama Raven an ice cold orange soda and she tells Mama Raven that she had been sitting there waiting for a thru-hiker to come by to give them something to drink. She then drove off. We all shared it and Mama Raven said trail magic happens!
We have been on the trail for two weeks now, we have seen much, met many good people, and have worked hard.  Our bodies are tired and our feet our sore.  It actually feels like we have been hiking for weeks and weeks instead of just two. All of are endurance has improved since we began our trip, but we still need to get stronger. We will get there!

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