Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lake Morena 4/27

I certainly had a busy day today, for not doing much. Stacey schlepped me all the way down here and then hung out for most of the day while I gear shopped. I did pick up a ULA pack and was able to get a good fitting. I hated to buy a commercial pack, even though my homemade pack clearly wasn't going to cut it. The weight difference is substantial, at least double the weight. Still the new pack weighs less than three pounds. Oh well.

I also have also chosen another tent for myself. Tarptents is the name of the company and the shelter I chose is a double wall tent, weighing in at 26 ounces. Not too bad I guess. The big thing I liked was I can set up the net portion of the package without the cover when the bugs are bad but the weather is clear. I think it's a good choice.

It's 8pm on Friday night and I am sending my spot message, rambling on here and listening to the first speakers of the night over at the stage. I think I will stay here in my campsite, crawl into my bag and listen to the speakers from the warmth of my bag.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Off to the Kick Off

I am leaving Idyllwild and my friends house early tomorrow morning for Lake Morena and ADZPCTKO, aka "the kick off". I have had an extraordinary break these last two days, with a gift of a two hour massage from Stacey and a party today for me with friends from all over the area coming over for a tostada bar. Yummm. I am rested and ready to head out back to hiker environs with trail hiking beginning again on Sunday.

Tomorrow I will be checking out a new pack and possible new tent to use until I get back to hammocking, whenever that be. I will have quite the opportunity as most of the truly lightweight gear vendors will be there. All the innovators from the last decade will be in attendance and I will be able to geek out in perfect harmony with my fellow gear geeks, also known as gram weenies.

I will be sad to send my pack home, but not sad enough to keep wearing it from here to Canada. Say bye bye.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Trail names

For those of you who don't know about this phenomena, hikers often take, or are given, names which are different than their daily wear and tear names. Sometimes they are based on screw ups folks have made, sometimes they're based on personality type or style. Some folks decide for themselves and others wait for one to be bestowed upon them. I wanted my name to come to me naturally, over time.

Way back in San Diego at the trail angels house, I was showing some folks my pack, with the uh, interesting hip belt pouches. They laughed with me and some possible trail names were bantered about. Pouches and Upside Down were the top choices at that time. Since I have been traveling alone a lot, I haven't had the opportunity to gather another name so I have decided to go with Upside Down as my trail name. I like it, it makes me cheerful and makes light of a mistake I made, rather than getting all worked up about it.

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mile 109

Many milestones these past few days. Firstly, I walked past the spot where I fell and broke my finger last year, without doing it again. I was pleased with this. Secondly, I walked past a spot on the trail where someone had placed rocks on the trail indicating that we had walked 100 miles. How cool is that? And thirdly, I made it through the first really hot section, without dying.

So, after 14 miles I walked into Warner Springs and waited for my intrepid trail angel Stacey to arrive and sweep me off in a vehicle up to Idyllwild for a couple of days. A much needed rest. And washing, though Stacey has been very kind to allow me inside her car, with the windows closed.

Day 9

4:41am and I decide to get an early start on the day. A nice cup of coffee and breakfast in my pocket (jerky and a Payday bar), I'll be off at first light. My only water source is a long 11 miles farther along.

I did my first 11 by 11. Eleven miles by 11 o'clock. I was aided by lower temps, a very early start and the fear there wouldn't be water at the third gate cache. Had this been true I would have had to continue on another ten miles-a 21 mile day to Barrel Springs. I did not want to do that. Fortunately the Third Gate Cache Angels were here recently and dropped off 91 gallons of water. Bless them! So we will see how I recover in the shade for a couple of hours then I'll make the decision about how much farther to go today.

Four hours recovering in the shade of a juniper bush and the plan is to continue on four more miles till I get to a campsite at mile 95. Fourteen miles is enough for one day.

Evening- I guess I went about four miles this afternoon. As I left third gate I could see clouds coming in over the hill tops and as the day progressed it got foggier and even more foggy than that. I was hiking like a mad woman, trying to find a sheltered spot. I had hoped to avoid using my tarp since
It is huge, meant for stringing between trees and not meant for the kind of small spaces around here. By the time I found a spot I was soaked with sweat and rushing about trying to fit a large tarp into a small space. I've got it up but it is wonky and I hope it holds in the winds. Just one adventure after another around here!

The San Felipe Hills are a hard place to travel. Twenty-three waterless miles, hot and clear skies one day and socked in with wind and fog the next. Ya just gotta be prepared for any eventuality, or so it seems. It's been a slice but I don't have the need to return to these hills any time soon. Just sayin.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Day 8

Wow. What a day. Temps in the high 90's, no wind to speak of and full sun hiking. I double timed it the 8.5 miles to Scissors Crossing, mostly so I could get the bulk of my hiking done early in the day. I arrived at S1 right around 11:30, not ten minutes before my friend Stacey who rescuing me for fun with food in town. It was great fun eating in town and watching an old western skit put on by local actors. Stacey dropped me back off at the same spot nearing 4:30, just in time for me to tackle my last three miles of the day.

The San Felipe Hills - words that have struck fear and anxiety in me every since I first heard of them. Twenty-three hot, waterless, rocky miles. The word relentless comes to mind. I knew all along I would want to do the beginning portion as late in the day as possible so off I went, climbing from 2,276 feet to 3,046 feet in just a couple of miles. I don't know what I expected from my campsite but I am thrilled by my home for the night. Just off the trail there is sandy grotto under what was an old waterfall. The evening birds are calling out to one another, the rocks are warm at my back and all is right with the world.

Today's images are first of Stacey then of my cozy home for the night.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Southern California heat

Well, it finally started up and today has been an umbrella day from 8am on. I'm currently eight miles into my day and hunkered down in the only bit of shade here in Chariot Canyon. From my spot I've been watching line after line of four wheel drive vehicles slowly make their way down canyon, pass me and continue on. It looks like we have ourselves a convoy! Too bad they didn't stop and offer me something refreshing from their ice chests. I would have liked that.

It's just 1pm now and while I only have four miles to go, those miles are in the full sun, and climbing miles. I think I'll eat my dinner meal here and rest until the sun loses some of it's bite. My next water source is a fire water tank, four miles on. Sure hope there's water in it as I'll arrive with less than a liter.

I met a guy (named Special Delivery) this afternoon who shared my shade for an hour or so. He lives locally and his opinion is that it was in the 90's today. Whatever he says. It sure felt that way to me. Anyway, it was a tough last four miles but I made it and have even taken some time to try and get some of the salt off my person. Feels pretty good to be here. Not the least because my friend Stacey is going to meet me at Scissors Crossing tomorrow afternoon and take me to Julian for an early, fresh food dinner. Yum, I see a salad in my future.

The hunkered down spot.