(Almost) Out of Touch

Just a quick note to readers: I’m at Vermillion Valley Resort, deep in the Sierra, and Internet access here is incredibly limited to the point where I can’t really post pictures (and hence no blog posts, because who wants blog posts without the pictures?). (For technical folks, this is a satellite system with crazy latency and a 100Kbps speed cap, at $8/hour.)

It may be as long as two more weeks before I manage to post again, from South Lake Tahoe — hopefully not that long, but who knows? I just wanted to put this point online so that everybody knows I’m OK, and that all is well here.

We’ve been seeing some truly incredible stuff and I have many tales to tell…stay tuned!

Day 19: Sunshine and Desert Canyons

Oh, what a joy it was to look outside our door this morning and see blue skies! After getting rained out all day yesterday, the sun looked so, so good. When we returned to Ziggy and the Bear’s place, it was completely unrecognizable from just twelve hours before: sunshine everywhere, the carpets were all drying, and almost not a hiker in sight — they’d all left for the trail! And, so, with nothing more than a brief farewell, we did, too.

One of the cooler things we’ve gotten to do this trip:

Day 17: Descent to the Desert

Our descent down Fuller Ridge was both brutal and incredible. Brutal because we spent eighteen miles going down the side of a mountain; incredible because the views you get from a trip like that are just spectacular. We woke up this morning at 8,800′ with 31° chill in our tent and ice in our water; we’re falling asleep this evening at 1,700′ and a balmy 61°.

We had it all laid out before us today:

Day 14: It’s Finally Cold! (Just in Time For Us to Be Indoors)

Our hike this morning was the strangest yet for this trip: it was cold! It’s the first morning yet that I actually wanted to leave my hoody on for a while after I started hiking, and, even hiking up hills with a big pack, there were times I was a little too chilly. It was wonderful.

Not only that, but the world was beautiful in a completely different way than it has been, too:

Day 9: Technology and the Trail, Part 1

Three days ago, my backpack tore itself apart. Or, at least, tried to: the long metal “stay” running up and down the spine broke free of its enclosure, and punched a hole through the bottom of the bag. It wasn’t trip-ending, but it was concerning: not only did I not have the support I needed from the stay, but, well, holes in the bottom of the bag containing all the possessions you need to survive are generally frowned upon.

So, I did what any enterprising through-hiker these days would do: I hiked about ten minutes up the trail, pulled out my

Day 7: Parting’s Sweet Sorrow

As I lie down beneath the stars tonight, I’m filled with a kind of sadness — because I’ve already felt such friendship with so many fellow hikers out here, and because it’s obvious that some of those connections will be lost soon enough.

It started this morning in Julian, when, after showering (again, just because we could!) and a two-course breakfast (waffles, mmm!), Clare and I went out to sit on the front porch of the hotel…and suddenly found

Day 1: A Very First Day on the Trail

A 5:15 AM alarm at Girlscout’s house began our first day on the trail. After months and months of preparation (and literally years of thinking about it), it’s kind of crazy to suddenly have it be here like that. We dressed (in hiking clothes, of course), put our all-too-heavy packs into the back of his car, and off we went. The night faded into the grey of dawn as we drove…I don’t honestly remember the conversation much, because