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Mr Mountaingoat - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2010

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Mr Mountaingoat
City: Brisbane
Country: Australia
Begins: Apr 25, 2010
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Sun, Jul 4th, 2010
Trip Distance: 233.8

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 718
Journal Visits: 45,555
Guestbook Views: 4,949
Guestbook Entrys: 116

Gear list

Pacific Crest Trail Map

Parting Ways with Mr Muir

When I was in my late twenties I read John Muir's 'My First Summer in
the Sierra'. At that time I was getting into permaculture and read
everything I could get my hands on about the relationship between
humans and the natural world. I remember underlining passages in the
book where Muir would rhapsodise about the glories of the Sierra and
its peaks and valleys and wildlife and rivers. There was a bit too
much God in there for my tastes but he seemed very much ahead of his
time in highlighting the interconnectedness of every element of the
natural world, and the necessity of preserving what remained of the
wilderness.

I was a long way from being a hiker back then but I've made up for
lost time in recent years. And yesterday I achieved something I'm very
proud of, in completing the trail constructed and named in Muir's
memory. I had about 22 miles left to do to the northern terminus, and
as my recent PCT compadres moved on down that trail, I was left by
myself to take the JMT diversion.

I was relieved to find when I woke that my back ailment had subsided
and I didn't have to bend forward like a Japanese obaasan under a sack
of firewood. The walk began with a steady climb into forest and the
standard snowdrifts under the trees, but the path was clear and I met
several JMT-ers coming my way. It felt good to be hiking alone again,
at my own pace and with no obligations to any group members. But I
still moved fast as I had to get to the Yosemite Valley floor in time
to catch the only afternoon bus back to Tuolumne at 5:00. Essentially
that meant that on any flat bits or descents I ran - or more
accurately, trotted. I call it the flop-trot, where you let gravity
tug you downhill and your knees are spared the grinding pressure of
having to brake constantly.

Cathedral Pass was mercifully easy and gratifyingly beautiful, a
wide, flat meadow. I sat on the side of the pass for my only break,
eating chocolate (thanks, Sarah) as I gazed at the jagged spire of
Cathedral Peak, which Muir himself had once scaled. Most of the rest
of the way was downhill and I ate up those miles without tiring or
even stopping to drink. As I approached the Valley, the tourists
increased in number and I got to add to the complexity of my game as I
dodged and swerved around them. A number were evidently going to try
Half Dome; many looked exhausted before they even reached the side-
trail. Some were already taking short-cuts between switchbacks, the
lazy, ignorant sods. I got to the point where Nevada Falls plummets
over the rocks and the Independence Day-trippers had reached horde
proportions. Racing down the Panorama Trail, I noted that 90% of the
tourists were Asian or Indian, another mystery of multi-cultural
America.

The end of the trail was rather anti-climatic, with no obvious sign or
monument that I saw. Happy Isles was a zoo and I shoved my way onto
the sardine-can shuttle bus like an animal. I figured I'd earned a
space, making my 22 miles by 3:00pm. It was a shock, being jammed so
close to so many over-perfumed civilians, and so keenly aware of my
own trail stink. In the Valley, I went straight to the grill and
downed a burger, fries and several Pepsis. The bus back up here to
Tuolumne was luxurious; I don't remember ever feeling so comfortable.
The views were amazing and I met a former climber who had done local
routes with the famous Royal Robbins in the 70s. He pointed out his
former playgrounds as we cruised back. I slept for half an hour
feeling utterly content.

Back at my picnic table I drank a longneck of Mammoth pilsener to
celebrate and worked out my food supplies for the next week to South
Lake Tahoe. I can't wait till Sonora Pass where I can finally ditch
crampons, axe and bear cannister.

Back on the PCT after I post this. A cruisy 1,705 or so miles to
Canada. And completely alone again. Or...


And that's all the Goat wrote

Entry 48 of 64
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Journal Photo

From The Digital Fountains To The Analogue Mountains

~ And that's all the Goat wrote

 

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