Day 53 (Tape)

Friday June 7th, early in the morning. I’m walkin along the San Joaquin River. Very low elevation. We dipped below 8000 feet here, just barely. At the bottom of this ah, descent. And I find myself, I mean, the walking is easy, the environment is nice. The trail has not even a hint of snow. I find myself almost unable to enjoy it because I’m dreading going back up high into the snow. This hasn’t happened at all yet, I mean, I almost thought we’d be spending these whole 9 days in the snow. And that’s not going to be the case. And in fact, we don’t even go over 11,000 feet again. So the amount of snow that we’re gonna see is probably gonna be minimal. But I can’t get my mind off of it. Yesterday was just so hard, that ah, snow in my mind has become synonymous with evil. And I just don’t want to plunge through any more.

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I made an entry earlier today about the snow. And of course, it wasn’t bad at all. It was fun. We did the whole pass in our running shoes. They really got wet, but it was just an entertaining amount of snow. Pass was 10,900, same height as the pass we do tomorrow. Our eighth pass on our eighth day. And ah, it was just entertaining, as was the rest of the day, which I’ll relate later. I just thought I’d let you that it was on my mind. Also just that our days are incredibly full here. We, we work, we get and do what we do, from before sunrise to after sundown. We’re just working on the project, which is this trip. And it requires a ton of energy, but I’ve found recently it’s just been totally fulfilling. And I think, I’m, I remember how hard I used to work at other stuff. But never all day long, as long as the sun was shining. And of course we break for meals. But that’s also part of it when you’re out here. It’s just, it’s not really a break at all, it’s just a continuation. And so I feel like as, I don’t know, we’re in the late afternoon, the evening hours of another 14 or 15 hour day, I just feel happy about it. I feel happy about all we’ve done.

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Okay, it’s still Saturday, June 8th. The end of a very very long day. Um, but I promised that I’d fill you in at some point on the missing part of yesterday. Which ah, was our adventure between, let’s see, Seldon Pass, and, Bear Creek. And it started in ah, the foreshadowing started way back in the San Gabriels when we met, ah, Carl, the same night we met ah Brad and Betsy and Bernard who gave us the gorp. We also met Carl and Gretchen. And ah, we were starving at that point. And Carl ah went off to get some sqeeze butter for us, our first experience with squeeze butter. And when Carl came back he caught me alone, getting ready for bed. And he gave me the sqeeze butter and, and the one piece of advice that he chose to give me was – watch out for the crossing at Bear Creek, on the other side of Seldon Pass. That’s the roughest one. And he proceeded to give me all sorts of techniques he had come up with for roping it up, safety procautions, and this and that. And, really made it sound like a nasty ford.

So ah, that’s what I was thinking about as we were coming down Seldon Pass. And I’d actually been thinking about it the day before. And looking on the map, we see that ah Bear Creek actually is the summation of three separate creeks. And we had been coming down I guess what would be the east one. So there was an east and a middle and a west fork. And ah, the trail… we were coming down on the inside of the fork on the east leg. And the trail crossed to the outside and then forded Bear Creek after all three had come together to form one huge raging river. Well that didn’t look like it made much sense. So we decided that instead of fording to the outside of the fork, we would go right through the middle. And try to cross the three separate branches before they became one big raging torrent. And it all made lots of sense, of course, and…. except for the possibility that maybe we would get stuck in between two rivers, neither of which we could cross. And we would have to climb up and try to ah get across some other way. But it didn’t seem like too much of a risk, so rebel-rousers that we are we took off across ah traversing the landscape without a trail. And traversed through, awhile, and here and there… it was mostly snowy slope. This was coming down from Seldon Pass. And here and there we saw signs or a trail, or a cairn, or something. It was encouraging, like ah, we’re not the only ones who have had this thought. So, soon, sooner or later we come around to one very large, big creek. And ah, we pretty much just right away found a way across it. And ah, I think it was a log crossing. And that was encouraging. So we went traversing along some more, and up over a hump, and down into the next drainage. And we come to an even bigger creek. And this one there’s no immediate obvious way across. But ah, we walked downstream a ways and it divided up. And we found a way across via a couple different logs over the divide. And so on the other side there was a trail that went and met up with the original trail, or the Pacific Crest Trail, later on. And so we headed down it full of joy that we had been the rebel early season hikers and had found our own way to cross and didn’t have to do the Bear Creek cross.

And ah, as we made our way down we kept looking for the spot where the actual trail forded it. And we may or may not have seen it, I don’t know, it wasn’t marked. But anyway, once those three came together the river was big. The guidebook said it was a very difficult and dangerous ford. So I think, I trust that we did the right and ah, got across the easiest way that day.

And, let’s see, I think that was the last ford we had to do yesterday. Yup, we went down Bear Creek and up to Bear Ridge and camped there. And so this morning… oh, man, the reason I didn’t record a journal entry for this last night is that when we got up on Bear Ridge and got ready to go to bed the air was just alive with mosquitos. And, all I could think to do was get away from them. They were so irritating and so annoying, I just ah put on all my heavy clothes, got in my mummy bag, drew it up really tight, put a sweater over my head so the mosquitos couldn’t bite my face through the hole, the breathing hole in the mummy bag. And ah, stayed that way until I fell asleep. Ah, it was, it was just eerie. I could see through the sweater a little bit, and I could see the mosquitos just crawling on top of it, and flying all about. And it was really just distressing. And I was happy when I finally fell asleep.

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