Thursday, June 14, 2012

7 Day Countdown - PCT Trail Update

 The Barracuda & Sparrow working on their tans in the desert.

Please forgive the time it has taken to get a post update on the Sparrow and the Barracuda’s PCT thru-hike.  The end of the school year, packaging mail drops, and completing projects around our little cabin has been occupying a lot of my time.  Because of the rustic, simple life we are fortunate to live, items like putting back a year’s supply of wood for the coming winter is crucial before I can feel good leaving to hike for the summer.  One of our neighbors, who lives in an expansive house up the road, once commented that we are “camping out” in our cabin.  As I was chopping this year’s wood, I couldn’t help but think that our humble little cabin and the voluntary simplicity that we practice has likely made the Barracuda’s transition to hiking easier for him than it might be for other adults and kids alike.  The Barracuda is comfortable being outside.  Heck, we have a healthy population of bears, cougars, and bobcats that roam the woods our home is surrounded by.  On the trail, the Barracuda has impressed other hikers by making the campfire, but it must seem so common to him due to our lifestyle a home.  I’m glad he is comfortable camping out, because it allows him to focus on the physical challenge of hiking and to appreciate the things around him. 

 "Camping out" at the cabin last winter

Since the last post, the Sparrow and the Barracuda have walked through the Mojave Desert section of the PCT.  In addition to the heat, they had 50-60 mile an hour winds during the evenings.  As a result of this wind, they had difficulties keeping their TarpTent erect in powdery soft sand that refused to hold stakes, and this caused a few sleepless evenings for the Sparrow as she struggled to brace the tent.  They have hiked approximately 630 miles and should be reaching Kennedy Meadows sometime tomorrow.  I say approximate because our phone provider has zero coverage in the area they are currently traveling through, and there were 5 days with no contact from them.  The first 3 days were easy, but the over protective husband and father started to worry after day 4.  So I was thrilled to get a call from Brynn the other night from a borrowed cell phone.  They are in great spirits and just as determined as ever.  Their pace and confidence is up. 

From where they are currently, they are beginning their climb up into the mountains.  While this means they have some serious elevation to climb, it also means cooler temperature, real trees for shade, and a greater abundance of water.  After their hike through the desert, they will happily take the elevation change for these benefits.  By the time I connect with them, in 7 days, they will have climbed to almost 11,000 feet.  From Independence, CA I will be hiking with them throughout the summer with the goal of reaching the Oregon/Washington border before I have to return for the 2013 school year.  I simply can’t wait to be with them on the trail.  I’m so very proud of both of them, but I’m eager to take some of the physical and emotional weight off of Brynn’s shoulders.  She’s carried a lot these past 630 miles.

I can’t wait to be a complete family, including our crazy dog, moving nomadically up the PCT.  It has been 11 years since I’ve hiked a long distance trail, and I’m looking forward to the peace and serenity such a journey leaves one with.  To be able to share that experience with my wife and son makes me feel like the richest man alive.      

5 thoughts:

Eazy E. said...

I'm so proud of them for doing this challenege as well. I've always loved being outside, but this is something I don't feel as though I'd be able to do. It is emotionally and physically draining. The three of you though, could do it. I can't wait for you to be back with the rest of your family because I know you miss them and it will make you whole again. I'd love to do some "small" hiking with your family. I think it would be a lot of fun. Now, I put "small" like that because my distance and difficulty of hiking is a lot different than yours. That's alright. I wish you, Brynn, and Dae an amazing trip. I'll miss you guys.
Don't forget you have a lot of people back here thinking about all three of you and how much we love and care. (:

Jules said...

Thanks Eazy E. I'm simply looking forward to being with the family. We'll take you up on the day hike sometime also, and thanks for all your family's thoughts and concerns. We'll be near Cascade Locks in 2 months if all goes as planned.

Mel said...

Sounds like things are going well on the trail. As a vicarious hiker, I am super excited for the Sierra section. I was a Wilderness Ranger on the Inyo NF and would run into PCT and John Muir Trail hikers and wish I could keep walking with them. It's so beautiful. Happy trails!

Anonymous said...

Grammy and Grampy have made reservations for Rancheria RV from July 23-28 in hopes of meeting up with you at Burne Falls SP. Current schedule shows you at the mail drop July 25.
I helped my nephew drive a truck/trailer home from LA June 8-9 and we had to detour through Auga Dulce Friday evening due to a fire that closed I-5 North. It was really windy through the dessert stretch between Agua Dulce and Tehachap! I was thinkin' of them the whole time and hoping they were in a protected area.
See you soon!

Granola Girl said...

We made it through the gale force winds (75+ miles an hour) and slept tied into a tree. Other than fire ants attacking my feet all night, we came out of it just fine. It was highly crazy though! It took about 5 of us inching, crawling, being blown over, and occasionally having to lay on top of The Barracuda, but we all made it though.


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