Installment #15 - June 11, 1999 - Rested and Ready Again

[This report was filed via email from Allen, luxuriating in his home in Mountain View.]

This report will be brief, as there is a lot to do before I return to the trail, and not much time to do it.  I've packed my food for the remainder of California; enough to cover me until my next return home the first week of August for Aruna Yasmeen's wedding.  I'm still getting my gear together, and taking care of personal business.  I leave tomorrow (Saturday) morning at 7AM

The next trail section runs from Kennedy Meadows to Echo Summit.  I had planned to cover that distance (422 miles) in two sections with only one resupply.  That required carrying a lot of food (11 or 12 days per section).  But I talked with Dave Porter who suggested breaking it into smaller pieces by using stashes, and he volunteered to help me place the stashes.  So now that distance will be broken into five pieces, and he and I will place two two-gallon paint cans and a bear canister this weekend.   Dave will deliver me back to the trail, and on the way we will place the paint cans near the highway at Tuolumne Meadows and Sonora pass.  The bear canister will need to be taken up and over Kersage Pass, and that will involve a grueling hike (we will probably just get it as close to the PCT as the available time allows, and I will hike out from the PCT to retrieve it).  Dave Porter has been a great source of PCT information over the last few months, and certainly qualifies as one of my trail angels.

I will start hiking from Kennedy Meadows on Monday, and expect to report next from the Vermilion Valley resort on Lake Edison about 25 June.

About 75 miles past Kennedy Meadows is the highest point of the trip - Forester Pass at 13,200 feet (I am planning to skip the side trip to Mt. Whitney as I have climbed it before, and time is getting short to make Canada before winter sets in in the Washington mountains).  There will be significant amounts of snow in the Sierra, and I will be carrying an ice axe, snow gaiters, and boots to help deal with it.  Two other challenges will be stream crossings, and bears after my food.

The Sierra should be the most beautiful part of the trip, and I'm looking forward to it, but as usual, I'm nervous about the new challenges and will be carrying more gear as a result.

I hope to complete this section and meet Rita in South Lake Tahoe (near Echo Summit) on Thursday, 8 July.


The fourth set of slides arrived since the last report!  They've been linked back in with the Installments where they were taken, as usual, but if you just want to see the pretty pictures, here they are:

Added from scans of Allen's slides on June 11:
Route 138 looking toward the Summit Valley Country Store
Silverwood Lake
The two horsemen
Railroad Tracks at Cajon Pass
Cajon Pass
Typical trail shot showing steep banks
Sheep Mountain
Snow blocking the trail
The reason it's called Pacific CREST Trail
Atop Mount Baden Powell
Clouds BELOW the trail
PCT sign pointing the way to Canada

Several people have asked me questions like: "Well, why aren't you going along with him?".  So I composed the:

Top Ten Reasons I'm Not Hiking With Allen

10 I've got tickets for the Red Sox on August 3rd,
and wouldn't want to miss the game.
9 I'm not sure, but I think I'm allergic to
rattlesnake bites.
8 My spouse refuses to mow the lawn while I'm gone.
7 The thought of eating the same food that Allen
likes for six months.
6 I doubt I could go that long without driving an
Alfa Romeo.
5 You've seen one breathtaking mountain vista,
you've seen 'em all.
4 Bears and I have never really hit it off.
3 I get nosebleeds at elevations above 17,000 feet.
2 The devastating impact on my sex life.
1 Where the hell would I get beer?

(I had a tough time ranking numbers 1 and 2.)

In compliance with federal equal time regulations, I have solicited Allen's response.  He promises to give it some thought during all those lonely hours out on the trail and respond when appropriate.

Well, your Great Allen Downs Pacific Crest Trail Adventure webmaster is leaving town again tomorrow, so you'll have to find another way to waste your time for the next ten or twelve days.  Allen will shortly be up in the High Sierras, so it may take that long for him to find a phone anyway.


Added from Dave Porter's digital camera shots on July 9:
Allen and Meadow Ed at Kennedy Meadows
Allen leaving Kennedy Meadows

Added from scans of Allen's slides on July 16:
Allen at home, dining on real food
Allen at home, sleeping in a real bed
Laying out the contents of the resupply packages
Another portrait of our hero

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