The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

day 27

Mile 856 to Mile 873.5
Wednesday 27 June (0715-1400; 1530-1715)
Distance: 17.5 miles
Number of food fantasy incidents: 9

Within yards of leaving our campsite this morning, we left Kings
Canyon National Park (no apostrophe, apparently). That seemed odd, as
I'm sure we've been in that park for ages, and yet left it within a
few miles of entering Kings Canyon.

We soon veered away from the Canyon ourselves, as we started our long
ascent up to Selden Pass - which is only 11000', but today we'd
started at 8000', so the lack of height didn't give us much advantage.

The initial climb through forest was unremarkable save for the size of
some of the trees, and the ease of passage along a nice smooth dirt
path. Having been spoilt by the scenery of the last few days, it was
all a bit ordinary.

Spectacularity (what do you mean that's not a word?!) was reinstated
as we reached some lakes below the pass, one of which (imaginatively
called 'Heart Lake'), was heart shaped.

We were in no rush, but I had it in mind that I'd like to be at the
top of the pass by noon. Even so, with 500' of ascent left (and still
a good mile of trail), I had to call an unscheduled snack break. I'm
not sure if it was the food fantasies causing the hunger or vice
versa, but I was so hungry that I doubted that I would make the pass
if I didn't eat.

That was the point at which we decided that we would be able to make
the morning ferry tomorrow, and hence we finally felt able to dig into
tomorrow's food.

The lakes coming down the other side of the pass we stunning, but all
too soon we were beyond them and descending into a mossie-fest. People
coming the other way were walking in their head-nets (as continued to
be the case all day), and we were being bothered even on the move.

They reached their peak in the area just after we crossed Bear Creek,
which is the joint contender (along with yesterday's Evolution Creek)
for the title of 'most difficult ford'. Once again, we didn't
experience the chest-high, fast moving conditions. I took the stepping
stones, and didn't go in above my ankle bone. Mick took the deep route
and didn't get wet above his knees. And so the filthy trousers remain

With lunchtime upon us and the mossies continuing to be a nightmare, I
did something I had hoped not to have to do. We've carried
top-strength DEET with us since Kennedy Meadows, but until now I've
preferred to do a lot of swatting and put up with the handful of
bites. Today there was no question. As soon as my pack was off my back
I dived in for that double-bagged bottle (nasty stuff is DEET), and
after a few squirts it was like a miracle. The mossies hated me!

We put the tent up anyway, so that they weren't even flying around us
as we ate, and a decent lunchbreak was had.

Over lunch the map was considered. We had wanted to walk on to mile
875 or 876 today, which would set us up nicely for the ferry at 9.30
tomorrow morning (the turn is at 878.8 and it's a 1.5 mile side-trail
to the landing). However, the lie of the land beyond the campsite at
873.5 didn't suggest that there would be flat spots available until
the ferry turn, and I didn't fancy a day that long. So we resigned
ourselves to a short afternoon and an early start in the morning.

When we started climbing steeply (or at least the trail started gently
climbing a steep slope) just about the time and altitude when we
expected to find the campsite, we began to fear that we must have
overshot. Continuing upwards we thought that if it didn't show itself
in the next couple of minutes then we would be walking to the ferry
turn after all. Neither of us was that bothered at the prospect, other
than at the thought of it being too late to have a proper meal once we
got there. It wasn't to be; a couple of switch-backs later a flat spot
appeared with the tell-tale fire-ring and a small stream running past.

It wasn't until I moved a way away from the tent to cook tea that I
had to have another rant. Just up hill from the creek there's a tree
behind which there are several piles of toilet paper, some sticking
out from rocks, some out in the open. What are the ignorami thinking?
Do they not realise that they're polluting the very water sources from
which they're drinking? I hope that they come down with a nasty case
of Giardiasis, each and every one of them (and equally, I hope that
our filter is doing its job effectively).

1 comment:

  1. All good stuff - keep 'em coming.

    Just looking at your blog page, and I reckon you will need to add a USA map to your map of the UK when you get back.