Yes! I am back on the trail and I can see it for more than 5 minutes of the day!(it's not fully covered in snow) I love it. I've gone over 9,000 feet for the last time on the PCT and sadly... it doesn't sadden me in the least. The ice axe was sent to it's rightful owner in Lawrenceville, the bear can was sent home along with more pictures from Bridgeport. My pack dropped about 5-6 pounds getting rid of just those two items. I've kept the Microspikes just to calm any last minute worries I have over the next two hundred miles that are still scattered with snow and ice.
To give you an update on fellow hikers... Mike and I stopped walking together as of Echo Lake or I-50.... or Safeway where his mother kindly dropped me off.
I spoke with SlimJim a few days ago and he should be getting back on the trail at Toulome Meadows. I warned him about the river crossings and the places I was lost for the longest. The trail/conditions change so dramatically and everyone's perception of "dangerous" is significantly different. What I think is passable many consider pulling the ice axe out or vice versa. Mango is somewhere behind me and hopefully doing well.
Walking into Echo Lake Mike and I ran into two other thru hikers, Yurtman and Bump. I find them some of the most interesting and enjoyable fellow hikers I have run across in quite sometime. I stayed at an amazing camp, "Berkley Echo Camp" with Yurtman, Bump, and Damien. Everyone else there belonged to a large family and tons of kids. I set my tent up near Yurtman and Bump's and enjoyed listening to the food bell(all you can eat) and kids playing basketball or learning guitar. It was an amazing break and the fireworks from the top deck on the fourth reminded me of how different city life is from my own. From far above Damien and I looked over busy South Lake Tahoe, amidst three sets of fireworks and millions of people along beaches. If we were down there... we probably would go insane with the people, noise, and general over stimulus. It's interesting how that life, that city people life can be a vortex. Here I am, everyday surrounded by the most beautiful country I've ever seen and it is my life and there are people far below me who have been waiting for the fireworks all day, and have been camped out for hours with their perfect spot. What a comparison.
I've stopped at a trail angel with a lake home named Pooh's Corner. I'm sitting in a living room with a rock wall covering the fireplace. I just returned from a late night(9pm here) canoe across Donner Lake with another hiker, Wyoming. She was one of the female hikers who shaved her head at kickoff back at the end of April. She's nice with a very calm quietness to her that I find enjoyable. It's so different than the male hikers. Pooh's Corner is absolutely amazing and the view of the lake is relaxing every minute I see it. He/Pooh cooks amazing food! I had the salmon I've been dreaming of and he HAD 6 gallons of ice cream in the freezer when I got here! Damien and I went through a gallon within the first hour of arriving. It's been a good stop and the unexpected timing will allow me to hike straight to Belden without stopping in the small city of Sierra City. I'll continue on to Burney, CA then to Mt. Shasta.
Have you ever sat in front of a live orchestra and goose bumps crawl up your arms at the magic of the music? The past few days from Echo Lake have been filled with that feeling. The wildness of walking on a open ridge line with miles of gorgeous views on both your left and right side while stepping between bushes of vibrant yellow sunflowers and purple flowers.... volcanic rock rising in the far distance. Nothing compares to reaching the highest point along the whole ridge and yelling out. Wicked wild freedom. It's a great feeling. Every step has been worth it just for that yell on top of that open ridge that continued for 10 miles. Camping on the last saddle before Mt. Lincoln overlooking Donner Lake was the best night's sleep I've had in months. The sunrise was bright red with the bare glints of a true purple. It was too good for a camera.
I'm doing well and miss everyone. I'm staying safe and causing only slight trouble everywhere... :)
- Golden Child!