Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Old Station

Hello Everyone! Greetings from Old Station, California. The last few days have been a lot of fun. I made it from Chester to Drakesbad and then to Old Station. The area near Drakesbad is in the Lassen Volcanic National Park. The terrain included boiling lakes, geysers, hot springs, and Mars-like terrain. The Drakesbad campground has a swimming pool that is filled with water piped in from a hot spring near by. The group I'm hiking with spent the better part of the day swimming in the pool while we were there. I've been hiking with quite a group and I'm sure you'd enjoy their trail names:
Jammer, WingIt, Dr McDreamy, Roller Girl, Coyote, Ratatouille, Wild Child, Marty McFly, Smooth, Jester, Breezeway, Jeremy, and DyNO-mite. These are people from all over the country, from all different types of backgrounds. It is a beautiful thing that on the trail we are united by our lofty goal of hiking from Mexico to Canada on what most call the greatest hiking trail in the world. Everyone sticks together offering encouragement, inspiration, food, and advice to those in need. It has proven to be a great opportunity to set a Christian example on the trail. Many people group Christians in to an extreme right wing category or even in to a wacky extreme leftest religous stereotype. It is very rewarding to show those on the trail that the bulk of us Christians out there are more like themselves than they realize. The Pacific Crest Trail may only be a couple of feet wide, but it is 2650 miles long and a lot can happen in between. I am certain I would not have been able to finish this journey alone, so a special thanks to those both on and off the trail that have carried me through the first 1378 miles of this journey.....only 1272 miles to go!
Have a peaceful day!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Made It Through Another Fire

I made it through another fire today....I hiked in to Quincy Laporte Road and then a hiker named "Chuck Norris" picked up about 6 of us and gave us rides in to Quincy around a trail closure. We hiked around an area by Tahoe and then another 38 miles from Sierra City. The landscape is starting to change in to more forested areas with a lot more shade and hardly any snow because we are at lower elevations. I will be hitch hiking up to Chester and getting back on the trail there after the fire closure. The next 10 days has me on and off the trail a few times to get around other fires, but I am only about 11 days away from being able to do the pancake challenge in Seiad Valley! I should be in Oregon in 12 days and finally out of smoke filled California. Thanks to all of you that have been supporting me with food drops! I couldn't have made it this far without you. My funds are running very low so if there is anyone else interested in sending me a food drop send me an email at hemmingwayjones@gmail.com and I will give you info on how to help.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Time Off In Tahoe

Hello again! I made it to South Lake Tahoe. What a beautiful place. The lake is spectacular and the whole area is a huge tourist destination. There are casinos around the lake, but I will be skipping those.....no reason to donate money to them! The people in Tahoe have given me a bad taste though....they cater to the ultra wealthy so us hikers get treated pretty poorly....I went to church this morning and I thought the paster was actually going to ask me to leave...They made me go in a private bathroom, wash off in the sink, put on a t-shirt they gave me, and then he asked me to hang out in the bathroom until the service was about to start....WOW!!! I don't know about you, but the Jesus I read about in the bible would have FREAKED OUT about the way they treated me! The good news is that this is the first city on my trip where the locals have been so crass. After Lake Tahoe there is a large section of the trail that is closed because of forest fires. I will be skipping ahead to an area past the fires, but I wont know where until tomorrow.....Until then

Have a peaceful day,

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hello Again!

Good Morning! Sorry it has been so long since my last post....the High Sierra's are a very remote area and there are no computers and no cell phone coverage for most of the journey....I am now at about mile 1025 of my journey. It was a great feeling walking past the 1,000 mile marker on the trail! I have a lot of catching up to do since my last post so here we go:
1. The Sierras are probably in the top 5 of most beautiful places on Earth. There are hundreds of waterfalls, snow capped mountains of every shape and size, creeks, streams, cascading rivers, deer, bears, marmots, fox, and every kind of squirrel you can imagine. The stars are brighter, the air is more pure, and there is a sparkling spring around every corner. Emotion is our guide in life. Events happen around us and they cause emotion that becomes our gauge of the experience. The Sierras were very confusing for me because there is no emotion that captures the full range of the magnitude the experience provides.
2. Climbing Mt Whitney was everything I had hoped for. I summited the mountain with a guy named "Jammer" from Alabama. We climbed the last 4000 feet at 2am so that we could watch the sunrise from 14491 ft. It was the experience of a lifetime but it was sooooooooooo cold! I started getting a little light headed and queasy at about 14000 ft because of the lack of oxygen, but I will never forget the way the sun looked as it began its wondrous climb in to the horizon. There was a back drop of 12K to 13K foot snow covered peaks all around us. The valley in between were filled with glaciated lakes and streams. The universe became still the instant the sky turned orange with the beginning of a new day.
3. Mirrored lakes......there are countless surprise lakes hiding up at 11K, 12K and 13K feet.....the lakes are formed by snow and ice melt....many of them have waterfalls pouring in to them from high atop the mountain's peak. The water is more crystal clear than you can buy in the store. I took a picture of the bottom of one of the lakes and it just looks like a picture of the ground...you can't even tell there is water there. I found a hidden lake one night right before sunrise. Because of the wild fires there is some smoke and haze in the air. The sunset was a spectacular purple pink orange and red light show that reflected perfectly off the mirrored lake. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
3. Jane Fonda has nothing on this workout! The Sierras are a grueling test of strength, endurance, and mental toughness. The trail has as much as 25,000 ft of elevation change in a single day of hiking. We hike through snow, ice, rocks, and ford streams. I am now eating 4K to 5K calories a day and still my body is getting leaner. I even ate 10K calories at a stop in Yosemite Valley. But not to worry....they highest elevation is now behind me. I am in Bridgeport California and from here on out the trail doesn't go back over 10K feet.
6. John Muir was the man responsible for the founding of the national park system in the United States. Yosemite Valley was his inspiration. I understand why....there is half dome and el capitan.....they are large granite domes formed by ice ages 13000 years ago.....there are dramatic waterfalls complete with their own intricate system of rainbows, and there is an abundance of peaceful energy that seems to attract man and wildlife alike. One of the most beautiful places on Earth...a must see for anyone!
7. I am currently staying at a trail angel's house. Steve and Mollie Nugent live here in Brigdeport and work on mission trips during the cold months of the year. The have spent a lot of time working at an orphanage in Mexico. They have been a great inspiration to me since meeting them. It doesn't hurt that the view from the back of there house is the Eastern Sierras. Matterhorn peak is just over 12K ft and it is calling my name. I am going to stay here in town for a few days so I am going to climb that peak tomorrow. The world is such a different place from up there. Perspective is one of the most important things in life. Is the glass half full or waiting for some more sparkling spring water?
8. Showers.....ewww....I set my record on this stretch and went 14 days without a shower....do you have any idea how bad I smelled. Really....I walked by a meadow with flowers in it and they all wilted when I walked by! Good thing the Nugents have a shower!
9. What is next? After Brideport I will hike up to Echo Lake and South Lake Tahoe. I will hike around the west side of Lake Tahoe and then up the California plateau in to Northern California. The days will get easier for elevation change so I am going to step up the miles and go for a 50 mile day and then a 60 mile day. I hope my feet hold up! The have already swollen up two full sizes.

Hopefully it wont be so long until my next post. I really appreciate the words of encouragement that some of you have sent me by email. The trip has really become more of a psychological challenge than physical......I am learning a lot about perseverance and strength of character on this journey. I hope that you all have a peaceful day.