Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 5 Pt. 2... Bear Concerns on a clear starry night

Me no like lava rock
Heading on 96 was not the most glorious trail but it had nice views compared to the road. It was a non-standard trail with all the ankle busting lava rock I could find. It really started with a tremendous hill but after that had some tricky moments on the first half. All those training trips from Sentential Peak to Tumamoc Hill seemed to prepare me nicely for lava rock. In case you haven't picked up on it... I hate lava rocks as they seem to slide, break and never ever have the ability to stay stable in the ground.

About 4 miles into the journey things level off and I see a very nice view of the lake Robert's. Its a good time just to look around and take in the views of what I've just sped past. So many times I'm rushing or focused on attacking a hill that I loose track of the views. I try and stop often but mainly that is because I'm a solo hiker and worry about mountain lions etc... There are many things I wanted out of this journey. To try and slow down was one of them, so far I have not done a good job of it. However I was proud of myself that I even noticed the lake below :-)

Coming upon evening very fast and wishing to set up camp at the half way point. A huge cairn greets me there; the only one on the entire trail. This will be my first bear bag hanging in a long long time. It took me a bit of time but was able to make it work before dark. It reminds me that just one hungry bear encounter that I'm not prepared for could ruin my entire trip. Just thinking about having to go back the way I came for a re-supply makes me feel very uneasy about the way I'm doing it. Still I'll take my chances and continue to improve my technique.

After setting up camp away from the bag I have general concerns. There is really nothing but lava rocks so will my bivy tear? Is the bear bag hung correctly enough? How cold will it be up here? These concerns are really just minor because being on the trail is just plain fun. Plus I am prepared for every thing that comes my way not only from my years as a boy scout (Thanks to scoutmaster Kris Fimbres) but in general via home testing equipment, reading and experience on shorter outings. Still until you actually can be out here doing it over and over again, you become a little concerned.

BTW...I refuse myself a campfire this entire trip because everything like in Arizona it is so damn dry and always windy. One of the benefits to that is stars look terrific up here; I spend hours watching them. The moon not near as powerful when my journey started; still rises with strong intentions of filling the sky with its light. It is only then I sleep in earnest, no longer mesmerized by the details of the Milky Way.

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