The High Sierra

Jack here. Coming through loud and clear I hope. Sorry for not updating frequently but as should be expected, hiking hundreds of miles doesn’t involve using a computer. But! Here, I am, updating from an internet cafe in Bishop, CA (where one of my friends is the bartista). It’s odd I guess that my first computer comes in the middle of the longest stretch of wilderness in the lower 48.

So, what has this adventurer been up to? Well, walking primarily. I’ve gone eight hundred miles. I’m feeling strong and my feet are doing well. But to back track, here are some highlights:

After Hiker Heaven, the trail angeling continued. Hit the Anderson’s “Lunatic Lounge” a half day later by way of a fluke and unconventional hitch. That experience is best described as a hippy crash pad with rolicking hospitality and generous nudity. Hiking on, passed more socal mountains and then dove down to the Mojave. At the start of which was Hiker Town, a well placed, wind and heat insulated, eclectic hollywood set of a desert outpost/residence.

Thankfully, Hiker Town’s refuge was used my me more for the wind than the heat because next up was the aqueduct section. For a day I walked along with the LA aqueduct rushing underground beneath my feet. The next day I met perhaps the most unique character of the trip so far. Cuervo lives on the trail, practicing the life of a vagabond. His world for the past six years has been a blast from the past. His old fashioned traveling style involved donkeys, cookfires and ratty dogs as entourage.

Right after, we hit windmills which bracket the road out to Mojave. Mojave, the worst town I’ve visited yet was only notable because I was offered money by a man who I’m not sure knew that I was a hiker. I declined but it sure put a smile on my bearded face.

Out of Mojave and into the last section before the Sierra, I carried the heaviest pack of the trip so far. As if to toment us, we hiked through the driest stretches right before hitting the overly wet Sierra. The weight broke my pack, then I broke my tent and then a couple of other pieces of gear within a few days (luckily, pack and tent have been replaced my manufacturers). My luck with equipment earned me the trail name “One Strap”, which while better than my previous “Polygamy Jack” is still too long.

Speaking of trail names, I swung into Onyx for some food and was trail angeled by a very nice local couple who were helping out three other hikers. All of whom has gender mixed names. Hot Sister (guy), Lady Friend (guy) and Cucumber Boy (girl) were a little too much for that rural community. There are some really funny names out here.

Anyways, Onyx was good. I slept on the baseball diamond and was helped by said couple all day for my town chores. It took all day because while their generosity was exceptional, it was also exceptionally rurally paced. Funny to think that a month and a half on the trail doesn’t slow one down like 60 years on the range does.

Out of Onyx, I picked up the PCT flag from Hot Sister. I’m now carrying an entirely useless orange safety flag for the next couple of hundred mountainous miles. Tradition. At least I have an funny story related to said flag..

Kennedy Meadows! The Sierra! Here I am! It’s so incredibly beautiful out here that it almost feels as if the first 700 miles were just paying our dues. The Kennedy town stop is centered at a remote mountain store where you eat, sleep, wash, recieve packages and ready for the mountains. It’s great not having to deal with real town hassels.

This past section, the start of the “real” Sierra and the High Sierra was stunning. The beauty far eclipses the increasing challenges. I’m traveling as a tight group of four now with Luigi, Pepi and Sackett. We’re together mainly because the high streams and snow travel demand group safety. It’s also a lot more fun. Summited Whitney a few days ago. Did Forester Pass the day after. Both were much feared but totally OK. Forester, the highest pass on the trail is steep, very steep and mostly snow covered. While I used crampons and ice axe, some others did not. On the most exposed section the switchbacks were clear for all but ten feet in the main chute. Glissading and stomping across the three miles of snow on the north side was good fun as well.

Anyways, this is getting long and I need to be relaxing. Town’s are stressful with all of these tasks. Heading back into the High Sierra tomorrow. I’m ready to get out of the oppressive Bishop/Independence heat and into the cool mountains. Sorry but I won’t be updating my journal for another long period I suspect.

One last thing. I LOVE the wide open Sierran forests. Oh, and the dramatic snow-capped peaks as well.

Much love to all out on the trail and all back at home!

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