Concert View

It has been more than a bit crazy here lately, hence the infrequent posts.  We certainly did not need any distractions.

So we got one and took advantage of it.

Over the last weekend, we put 1,800 miles on the car making a quick run down to California to visit a dear friend, spend the weekend watching bands, back to Ashland to quickly take care of some unfinished business after leaving there in June, saw a few friends there (but not enough), then beat feet back home.

Although it was long hours in the car once again, it was a trip good for the soul.  Not only was it two solid days of auditory overload, but fantastic scenery and great friends.  Plus, I was finally able to collect the rest of my memory cards that had been in safekeeping since April.  Perhaps I can get to the pictures that I took from last October through April and post a few here.

So what is with the title?  It is the typical concert view anymore.  At the first flash of light, the first beat of the drum, the first strum of a guitar, all of the damned phones go up.  I can’t see squat and I’m 6-feet tall.  My poor Goddess, who is nowhere near 6-feet tall, just gives up.

aftershock-phones

And before someone cracks wise about me taking this picture with my phone, there wasn’t anyone behind me other than the guys at the sound boards.  And they were on a platform about 3 feet off the ground.

But other than that, we had a great weekend.  Hopefully you did too and that you are about to enjoy another.

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My Sunshine

A throwback to last April, watching the showers, hoping for some lightning or other exciting action.

Which may not have been smart, since we were on the highest point for several miles around.

But that’s what we do.

She’s looking at the last bit of last winter’s snow on Mount Ashland.  They’ve already received their first snowfall.  Here’s hoping that they have another great year.  They really need it.

Final Stretch

It has been a crazy week since we’ve moved out of the house. But it has all been good.

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In a nutshell, we tied up a few loose ends in Oregon and headed south. 

We spent the weekend with our resupply goddess getting a late delivery of food put together;

We drove south through California’s central valley.  We were planning on taking a couple of days to get to San Diego, but got word that there were just a handful of spaces left at our planned auto storage facility that were first-come, first-served, so we pushed hard to get there and get our spot.  We did;

Then it was last-minute chores of sending out resupply boxes and getting everything ready. But since San Diego is my old stomping grounds as a teenager and Jennifer has never been here, there was food to be enjoyed and places to see.

We will catch a breather before we hit the trail.

I hope.

Packing

The packing continues.

We got the entire house packed, cleaned and handed over the other day. We wanted to spend yesterday napping, but there is still plenty to do.

It doesn’t help that, thanks to a shipping snafu, that we are still waiting on delivery of about 120 meals worth of dehydrated vegetables and protein.

Here’s our hotel room right now. I suspect the housekeeping staff is shaking their heads every time they walk past the open door.

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It’s a last minute sanity check, as we have realized that some important items are now somewhere in the storage unit. No show-stoppers, but things we will need to find (not likely right now) or replace.

Once this is done, on to the last minute packing of meals as tracking tells us that the food shipment is in town as of yesterday, but apparently too far from the mailbox to pick up.

The adventure begins and continues.

Whale Shark

Our home for the summer received a quality control shakedown after being created this week.

Gen Shimizu, the genius behind Yama Mountain Gear, posted a pic and asked if it looked like a shark.

It does.  A Whale Shark.

At 36.5oz actual weight, I’ll barely notice it in my pack.  But we will both enjoy this Yama Mountain Gear Swiftline 2-person tent on those wet and windy nights.

 

Jammin’

Wow, has it really been two weeks since the last post?

In the immortal words of Bob Marley, we’re jammin’.

We spent a week in Kansas experiencing what we’ve been missing here – winter.  A nice bout of snowfall and single-digit temperatures, made all the more enjoyable by spending the time with very dear friends.

Plus, they gave me the opportunity to shoot “baby bump” pictures for them as they’re just a couple of weeks from having their first child.  I’ve never had experience and it was nothing short of amazing.

Once we got back, we had to hit the slopes.  It’s late-spring conditions here, with the nights on the mountain not getting below freezing.  So we had a day of pushing slush and skipping rocks, but it was a great time.

Then a full weekend of trail-related activities.

Friday night had us at a local screening of a movie called “Only the Essential“, a documentary of a couple of hikers on their thru-hike of the PCT back in 2013.  It was a heck of a lot of fun to see the spots through someone else’s vision.

The best part was the Q&A session afterwards, when an audience member asked the producers what the most eye-opening moment was for them during the hike.  Colin Arisman responded, relaying the moment when he realized that he truly was house-less.   The look on Goddess’ face was priceless.

That part is really sinking in.

The rest of the weekend was trail work with the Siskiyou Mountain Club, building rock steps, build drains, clearing brush, clearing fallen trees and rehabilitating old, faded trail tread.

Misery WhipTaking a break.

Bean Meadow SunriseWatching sunrise on a morning when people were fretting over whether their clock was telling them the right time or not.  Sunrise is sunrise.

Boccard Point ViewView from Boccard Point in the Soda Mountain Wilderness.  That’s Pilot Rock to the left, Mount Ashland in the distance, just right of frame center.

We worked the majority of the trail from Pilot Rock to this viewpoint, skipping just a couple of miles of deadfall trees because it was late Saturday afternoon and we needed to set up camp before sunset.

Those will be taken care of next weekend.

 

PCT – Trail Maintenance

In case you weren’t out traveling earlier this month and missed getting a copy of USA Today slid under your room door, there was an interesting article on the state of the National Forest Trail system, which is pretty dismal.

Here’s the article.

One thing you’ll notice in the article is the increasing reliance on volunteers to maintain the trails.

We’re eager volunteers.  Personally, I enjoy the excuse to get out into the wilderness and do some work.  The crew members are great and everyone’s excited to be there to work.

Plus, for me it’s a chance to see new areas and scout out where I’d like to return to shoot photos.  Like this one.

For me, it’s a win-win.

As much as we’d like for the work to get done on its own, just through the love and dedication of the volunteers, it can’t.  For many of the volunteers, they sure wish it could, but it can’t.

So please consider donating to the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA), the non-profit organization responsible for the trail-work coordination and execution, as well as the protection of the trail corridor.

The PCTA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, meaning that your donation may be tax deductible on your taxes next year (sorry, if you were looking for an angle on the forms you’re doing now, that ship sailed two months ago).

We are 1/4th of the way to our goal!  Would you please help maintain the trail that Jennifer and I will be walking this year?  Your help will ensure that the trail is available for hikers in the future too.

Please click on the picture of Jennifer and Skinny on the PCT below to lend a hand.

Thank you,

Bill & Jennifer Anders

Jen n Skinny Deadfall

 

 

 

PCT – Permits

Hello everyone.  It has been a while.  My semi-regular posting schedule has been much more semi than regular lately.

Things are rolling quickly.  In just over a month we hand the keys to the house back and we’re effectively homeless.

Not long after that, we’re walking.

Did you catch that? In just over a month…

I’ll let that sink in.

Mostly for us.


Permits

A trek like this isn’t possible without permits.  We cross a lot of public land that is protected for one reason or another, not to mention several National Forests and National Parks.  Each requires a permit.

PCT:  For the purposes of a long-distance hike on the PCT that is longer than 500 miles, the PCTA manages an interagency permit system that covers the myriad permits along the way.  That’s much easier and more efficient than  trying to coordinate with all of the different agencies.

Especially to summit Mount Whitney.

Due to the increasing popularity of the trail, they’ve had to institute a 50-hiker/day start schedule.  That move caused a lot of consternation amongst many hikers, folks who by their very nature are easy-going and just go with the flow.  The new quota meant that we hikers had to pick a date and stick to it.  For those that didn’t jump on the registration site right after it opened, their preferred date might not have been available.

That’s a bit problematic for folks that had already bought airline tickets.  The system is even getting press in The Smithsonian.

But it’s working out.  After the initial consternation, most folks are realizing that the system is the only way to minimize impact on the trail.  Our start date is already full, at the beginning of a stretch of two weeks where every day is fully permitted.  So we’ll see a lot of folks on the trail in those first few weeks.

Campfire: Since we’ll be camping mostly outside of established campgrounds in California, we are required to obtain a campfire permit.  It’s a simple system consisting of watching/reading a short fire prevention presentation, then taking a test.  A successful test completion means a permit.  Done.

Canada: Yep, we need a permit for Canada.  Why?  The final 9-mile stretch of the trail is in British Columbia, finishing in Manning Park.  But there isn’t an official border crossing there, so they need to know we are coming.  Plus, we need the official stamps to show that we aren’t in Canada illegally.

That makes sense.  Otherwise, I might take away someone else’s job at a Tim Hortons.*

Mind you, we don’t have to go into Canada to complete the PCT.  We could stop at the monument right at the US/Canadian border, take our pics and not enter Canada.  But that means a 30-mile hike back to the first US town south.

Since we don’t have anything keeping us from entering Canada (e.g., criminal record), we’re going to keep walking.

The added advantage of going into Canada is that a very good friend lives nearby.  It will be good to finally meet him on his home turf, as we’ve only been able to get together in Germany and here in the US.


That’s it for permits.  It doesn’t seem like much, but the PCT and Canada permits add a bit of stress to the process, as they don’t open for application until so late in the planning.  But it has worked out.  We’re fully permitted.


*Tim Hortons – my only experience with a Tim Hortons has been their furthest east franchise, a lovely garden spot known as Kandahar, Afghanistan.  I must say that they make a fine doughnut.  Hopefully I can get another one at the end of the hike and see if it tastes just as good.

Workin’

Yep, we’ve been workin’.  Quite a bit.

But throwing in quite a bit of fun while we’re at it.

Yesterday we got on a rare mid-week trail work crew in a local Wilderness (yep, that’s a Capital-W Wilderness, which is different from your every day run-of-the-mill wilderness).  The specific one is the Soda Mountain Wilderness, just a short 20-minutes or so from town.

The event was held by the Siskiyou Mountain Club, one of many environmental stewardship organizations in the area.  The trail we were working on was the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), so there was also representation from the PCTA.

There were six volunteers and we quickly split into two groups.  My group included Goddess and the PCTA rep.

Our first blow-down tree turned out to be the only one that our group of three got to tackle.  It was a tough tree, fighting us until the very end.  After two-and-a-half hours, of fighting with it, we had to call the other group back for reinforcements.  It still took another 30-45 minutes to finish the cut and get it off the trail.

It was an interesting oblong-shaped Douglas Fir, measuring approximately 34″ horizontally and 24″ vertically (as it lay on the slope) with well over 100 rings in it.  The first taps sounded like it was pretty rotten, but turned out to not be true.  There was nothing rotten in that tree.  It was a very solid specimen.

Too bad the soil couldn’t support it through the torrential rains and hurricane-strength winds the area received last week.

But why did it take so long for us to clear the tree from the trail?  We were in big-W Wilderness, which means that no mechanized means could be used to clear the tree.  So it was the old-fashioned 2-person crosscut saw.  Or, as we learned recently, a “misery whip”.

Although I actually love to use it.

Here I am with Ian Nelson, the PCTA Big Bend Regional Representative, starting the first cut on the uphill side of the trail.

Crosscut Saw Tree Clearing on the Pacific Crest TrailA few hours and a few broken felling wedges later, the trail was accessible.

Here is Goddess standing on the newly cleared trail.

Crosscut clearing of the Pacific Crest TrailFor those keeping track, it’s at approximately mile 1,732 using Halfmile’s 2014 track.  Or about 1/2 mile past the Pilot Rock Trail junction if you’re heading north.


As you may be aware, as Goddess and I are hiking the PCT this year and are being sponsored by Yama Mountain Gear.  Through that sponsorship, we are asking for donations to the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA).  As a non-profit organization responsible for maintaining and protecting the PCT, they need our help to fund activities such as this.

Even with volunteers, the crew work does cost money, even if it’s just simple logistics and tool care/replacement (remember, we broke 3 felling wedges that will need to be replaced).

So if you are a trail user or just like the idea that organizations like the PCTA exist to protect this National Scenic Trail, please consider donating even just $10 by clicking on the photo below.  If you donate $35, you will become a member of the PCTA, which includes goodies for you (details at the link).

The best part?  Well, besides folks being able to get out and maintain the trails?  Your donation may be tax-deductible!

Thanks to those of you who have already donated.  We’re at 16% of our goal for the year already!

Bill and Jennifer Anders, Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and raising funds for the Pacific Crest Trail Association

Thank you.

Bill & Jennifer Anders

Lunch Interrupted

Midday Sunday.  We were making lunch before we ran out the door to take care of some errands.

I was pulling the vegetables out of the drawer for a salad when I became distracted.

For the next couple of hours.

It’s a good thing that Goddess is patient.  She took advantage of the time to not only finish preparing lunch, but to eat it and take a nap.

That was time well spent.

The subject of my distraction was a pair of lovely carrots that we received from one of our local farmers in our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.

Aren’t they lovely?

You’d never find these in a store.  Honestly, I don’t know why.  It’s not like they are less nutritious.  The human mind is odd.

Truth be told, mine is too.

Watching these carrots suspended in space in my makeshift studio (the hallway) for a while gave rise to many different stories in my mind.

Which stories can you come up with?


Later this week will be our last delivery for this winter through our CSA.  This is the second winter that we’ve received bountiful baskets full of in-season vegetables from Barking Moon Farm.  Thanks for the flavors and the exploration, Melissa and Josh!