Hi All, The only pictures for today are from the laundry. The shot of Steve in the laundromat, stripped down to trunks, was too good to resist. None of us had done laundry at the campsite, except maybe efficient Diana, since before the Lost Coast backpack; so we all had lots to do.
Last evening I had a short interview with a news woman from KMUD in Garberville. It made the 6 PM news. After dinner, I was so happy to get into a shower at last that I spent 50 extra cents for a glorious total of 10 minutes of hot water. What simple pleasures move us!
Yesterday's 17.3 miles of walking were the longest yet, but we did it. The day before we did 16-plus miles led by a hike leader used to doing miles of timber cruising and not used to short legged women, I guess. We were wiped out and asked him to slow his pace; we are very good at slow and steady. We still arrived at camp 1 1/2 hours before he thought we would! So yesterday he slowed down, and while the miles were long, they weren't as exhausting. We can't believe we hike these many miles day after day. Road walking is tiring because one has to stay very focused on the white line at one's feet, since for the most part Mendocino has no road shoulders on this narrow, winding, 2-lane highway. We looked longingly at miles of fields on either side of the highway, wishing for the owners to grant an easement for a narrow path -- or for Caltrans to simply mow the weeds for us where there are shoulders.
As we go, we ask hike leaders and locals what it will take to get a continuous trail in this county. Many miles of fields are owned by large offshore companies, holding companies holding out for big bucks. Smaller landowners, of course, don't wish to grant a narrow easement beside the highway through their parcels.
Having been here 3 years ago to look at OTD's (offers to dedicate), I wonder if some landowners could be persuaded to trade an OTD that is in front of their houses for an easement beside the road? Probably the trail won't be completed in my lifetime, but wouldn't it be wonderful to have a narrow ribbon of safe trail for bicycles and hikers along the highway?
The Lost Coast was marvelous, and for me, scary. I was somewhat afraid on the narrow mountain-goat switchbacks with crumbling edges. But it is the most beautiful country. Saw no bear, but saw some scat. Roosevelt elk were far away, but we saw some.
I backpacked lighter this year than last. Can you imagine how delicious Top Ramen is for supper along with a little dried fruit and an energy bar, when the alternative is something heavier? I tried to keep my pack to about 22 pounds, carrying a bivy sack instead of a tent, one change of underwear and no rain gear. Iodine tablets and neutralizers, shared a stove with other people, one cup, one spoon, one pot and one little pan to eat from. And my digital camera on my belt loop.
I am still getting acquainted with the digital camera. Once in a while I get a great shot of the lens cap. At least I can delete it.
For breakfast we light up the 3 burners on the chuck wagon. (One is the big turkey cooker that Dave [Hanes] bought for Thanksgiving.) It couldn't be serving a better function!) We make coffee, hot water, oatmeal, and offer cereals and fruit. We pack our lunch each day with the offerings purchased by Mel, our driver: sandwiches, cookies, chips, gorp, Clif Bars donated by the Clif company (try them, they are delicious), fruit, dried fruit, and other goodies.
Dinners have mostly been brought in by wonderful volunteers. We aren't big drinkers, but do often end a long trail day with a beer. That's the most refreshing time to have one!
The weather all along has been fantastic! We can't believe we haven't had any rain, hardly any fog, and very few dew-covered tents. Imagine what the backpack would have been if there had been rain! And it's a warm, wonderful day in Ft. Bragg!
Thanks to all of you who have sent best wishes.
(photos, Linda Hanes. Above, Steve Jones; below left; Diana and Mel Savage; below right, Linda Hanes).