Tuesday, October 18, 2005


backpackalooza/death march 2005, #2

A few weeks ago my sweetie and I went on a 7 day backpacking trip in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. The longest backpacking trip I had been on before that was this January when we were in Costa Rica (6 days), but that was pretty cushy because every other day we camped at big ranger stations that had running water and toilets and cold showers (it was a million degrees with 99.99999% humidity most of the time, so cold showers were actually quite heavenly). This trip was definitely not cushy.

Our original route was almost 100 miles and included the Rae Lakes loop in Kings Canyon for the last 2 days, which is supposed to be really beautiful. But it rained most of the day on our third day, so we just waited in our (teeeeny) tent until it stopped, and because of that we had to cut out the pretty Rae Lakes at the end and we only went 85 miles. Only, hahahaha. We left our car in Sequoia at Crescent Meadow, and Bryan's parents picked us up at Road's End in Kings Canyon and drove us back to our car. Here is the route we took (you can click on it for a bigger picture). The orange line is our route and the little green triangles are supposed to be tents and mark where we camped.

We had an amazing time. Bryan has done most of the John Muir Trail through the Sierras, but I have only really been to Yosemite a few times. It was more beautiful than I could have imagined. Forrester Pass was my favorite part. It was really hard to see where the pass was going to be, and then all of a sudden you go almost straight up (more than 700 feet in 0.3 miles). Very dramatic. Bryan's pictures are much better than mine, you can see them here.

I thought with all my marathon training I would be breezing along, but my calculations did not take into account the crazy high altitude, our extremely heavy backpacks (around 40 pounds most of the time - 7 days of food weighs a lot!), strange intestinal distress that plagued me the whole time, or spraining my ankle almost exactly halfway through. And oh yes, uphillness and the gravity that hates me. I only fell once, which is far below my average of klutzy, and I only had one screaming crazy lady freakout (relating to the chance of lightning and crossing very high exposed passes). I didn't take very many pictures, but here are my favorites:

I loved this face that moss made on a big boulder. I thought it was so funny, but Bryan couldn't even see it. How can you not see that?

Here is some of the alpine glow that Bryan was trying so hard to capture the whole time. I had just got to the top of Kaweah Gap and was waiting for Bryan to catch up to me . He takes so many pictures that he is almost always behind me even though I am very very slow. The climb up to the gap was reeeeeally hard. I had my heart rate monitor on during most of the days while backpacking, and that day it told me I burned 9000 calories. That is insane. I was angry at that bitchy tall mountain as I was dragging my tired ass up it. When I got to the gap I peed on it, just to show it who was boss. Take that, Kaweah Gap.

I saw this doe on the fourth day. I was so close to her, and 2 of her deer friends ran away when I came around the corner, but she just sat there and stared at me. Maybe she could sense my peaceful nature.

This is Junction Meadow. It was our last day, and we were having fun going slow and finding things for Bryan to take pictures of. I'm good at spotting things for him. I found what looked like two dragonflies mating flying around, and Bryan tried to take pictures of them for a while, and then he realized that it was only one dragonfly and it was molting so its whole old exoskeleton was hanging from its head. It was flying around all crazy trying to get it to come off. It finally did, in a pile of old horse poop, and that's what Bryan is looking for in this picture.

We did not find it, but we did find a ladybug. Pretty ladybug.

We hiked along Bubb's Creek for most of the last day. Here is my sweetie putting on dry socks. Ah, what a nice vacation we had. Now I'm almost ready for the next one in Ireland on Monday.


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