After much delay, here’s the latest and some. Last post was from Lone Pine but here I am in Tahoe just days away from celebrating the Fourth of July! Unbelievable! So allow me to bring you up to speed. First off there hasn’t been much available wifi and almost the same for cellular service as other hikers have mentioned to me. With out cell service I’ve noticed some hikers are completely “cut off” for the first time. It’s rough on some and other immediately embrace it. As for me, I enjoy the silence and take in the surroundings more so. I’m so very grateful for this life I have and have vowed not to take it for granted.
After Lone pine there was Bishop, after Bishop there was Mammoth, after Mammoth there was Tuolomne Meadows, after Tuolomne Meadows there is South Lake Tahoe. The towns are usually small and limited to tourist quick stops. Post cards, chips and soda, bug spray and beer. Bug spray leads me to me Deet accident. I am so NOT a Deet user for obvious reasons. It’s poisonous! However in the sierras with all the melting snow there are countless small ponds and drying lakes that the bugs, particularly kamikaze mosquitoes, live breed and return to the earth, by the billions and promote the use of Deet While they thrive. At first just like anyone else I tell myself I’m quicker than they are, then I convinced myself a few bites aren’t so bad but then, after swarms literarily throw themselves into your eyes, mouth, ears and that soft tender skin behind your knee, I then thought Deet might actually help. It does. At a cost. I developed the worst rash on both legs that scared the (explanative) out of me! Both legs were beet red with bumps every where! So my tip for you, spray only two small squirts of Deet into your palms and rub your hands together. Then SLIGHTLY rub your hands quickly over any exposed area of your skin. DO NOT spray Deet directly on your skin! Trust me on this. With out Deet consider the bug bites as a toll to be paid, in full, in blood!
As for my body, I’m strong, stronger then ever as far as my hiking legs. Some minor ankle and knee irritations but mostly I feel like a machine able to climb steadily uphill with out stopping for an hour easily while climbing 3000 feet. Sure I’ve lost almost 20lbs and can’t get enough calories in me no matter what I do, but I can out hike all day hikers, all section hikers and most PCT’ers. I feel confident I will make it to Canada.
Gear is a concern but I’m learning how to make things last even longer. My pack has been replaced along with shoes, socks, sleep pad and a few smaller things. The new sleep pad has a slow leak just like the last one. The seams seem to give way after a short time so I’m hoping to make this one last until I can replace it with the Nero Air small that all the other hikers have already switched over to, It’s much lighter as well. Fingers crossed. The new socks are already getting holes even while stopping to empty out any rocks. The new pack is holding up well with the ‘improvements’ and with out the bear canister which I mailed home. Stove, fuel bag, pot, sleep clothes, iPad sleeping bag, water filter and rain gear are all in perfect condition.
Now let’s talk about the trail and the amazing views! Almost every water source is great tasting water! I only filter water below 10,000 feet and only swim in water below 9,000. By swim I really mean bathe. I have almost no upper arm strength anymore so I may need to start doing push ups. The trail has kind of mellowed out a bit as far as all the ups and downs. The previous sections included passes that could be a 3,000 foot climb in 2 short miles followed by a 2,000 foot decline into a valley where the trail might turn right only to climb again 3,000 feet just to go up and over and back down again another 3,000 feet and up again! It was hard work for the knees and ankles. Now that the Southern AND Central sections of Ca. are down the ups and downs are more gradual and we hikers are all much stronger. The views have gone from dramatic valleys and mountains to more meadows and hills. Less water up ahead but with stronger legs and more determination the days should turn out to be more big mile days. 20 miles, no prob. 25, ok I can do that. 30 miles in a day? Going to get up early again like the desert sections I think. I will hike later into the days because it will be warmer after the sun goes down and I think I won’t have to hide from the cold or the bugs. The wild flowers are every where! The half way mark is close. Then we will look forward to crossing the Oregon border. Hey Susan, you going to be around? Does Good2Go have a hiker box? I should try to time it right for taco Tuesday! Yum!
Ok folks it’s getting late here for me but I want to say thank you for being patient with my inconsistent posts and all of your support. A special thank you to the Hermitage family for your calls and emails, it really means so much to me when I leave towns and get to re-read some of these great kind words.
It may be awhile until my next post so go outside, enjoy your summer, take a hike to some where beautiful and take a friend. I encourage you to live a little and brave the elements. Just put one foot in front of the other.
Soooo very glad to hear from you, see a post, and feel the smile on your face. You are doing it, kiddo! I am proud of you!
Hey brother B,
Been thinking of you and praying for you. Glad to hear of your journey and that you’re getting stronger. Thanks so much for the postcard
You really are a Rock Star!!
Love and Light, Mdp
Michael DiPietro (415) 264-3040
Nice to hear from you Brendon. I was sitting in the car in the Freddy’s parking lot listening to Van Morrison’s “Enlightenment” while I read your post. It was cool. I could hear your patience. Stay safe and strong. Endure!
Great meeting you in the desolation wilderness!
All the best to you in your journey…
Looking forward to seeing you! Keep me posted on your arrival and departure dates and I’ll be sure to have a bed, a shower, and fridge full of groceries for you!
Brendon, my Big Sur brother, you doing your dream, with aches and awe, inspires us with pride and joy in the adventure.