Wildlife (Posted 12 May 2012, 12:17am)
33.7444, -116.7102

A lizzard enjoying the sun.

Considering how dry and inhospitable the landscape has seemed so far we have seen a surprising amount of wildlife. Most of it is fast moving and hard to photograph.

There are frequent rustles in the bushes which at first I imagined might be snakes but now know are almost always lizards. The snakes make much less noise! There are also various birds (including the striking blue jay), jack rabbits, chipmunks and squirrels.

There seem to be two types of snakes. The garden snake is thinner and not deadly. We have seen about 5 of these slithering silently off the trail so far, ranging from about 30cm to a metre. The other kind of snake is of course the dreaded rattle snake!

The rattle snake count is now up to 4 although a couple of them we only heard rattling at us. I had a full view of one a couple of days ago when I walked around a corner on the trail. It was late afternoon and there glowing in the orange light was a massive rattle snake! It would have made a great photo but my body was already in reverse. The snake slowly retreated into the rocks, loudly rattling even after I was back around the corner. When Marcus joined me we carefully walked past, setting off the rattling again.

If bitten by a rattle snake the consensus seems to be to try and remain calm. This is because a high blood pressure would speed the spread of venom through the body. That sounds easier said than done though! Whoever was not bitten would then run for help/cell phone reception and call in the helicopter. Luckily the snakes rattle before striking and you would need to be aggressive or extremely unlucky to actually get bitten.

As the terrain changes so will the wildlife, and soon bears will be a reality and we will need to hang our food in the trees...

'Just' a garden snake.

View/Post Comments

People on the trail: Sunset (Posted 10 May 2012, 09:29pm)
33.7444, -116.7102

Marcus and Sunset

We are meeting lots of interesting people along the trail. It is nice getting to know them and then like meeting a long lost friend when they reappear a few days later.

One such person is "Sunset". His trail name is where he is from - Sunset, South Carolina. When we first met him he joked that he was from New Jersey in the thickest Southern accent I have ever heard.

It emerged that he is "triple crowned" which means he has walked the three major walks in America - the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail and the Continental Divide Trail - around 7400 miles in total. He has walked the AT twice and this is his second time on the PCT so if he walks the CDT again he will be double-triple crowned! He is a mine of information about hiking and it is always a delight to run into him on the trail. Long may it continue!

His legend only grew recently when he told us he flicks rattle snakes off the trail using his hiking pole...

A sunset for Sunset.

View/Post Comments

Eagle Rock (Posted 5 May 2012, 02:28pm)
Warner Springs

Eagle rock.

We passed the 100 mile mark yesterday - our first major milestone. It feels good to be making progress but we are well aware that it is just a fraction of the total distance. We are currently in Warner Springs which once had hot springs but unfortunately they are closed. It would have been the perfect place for tired feet but the stream will have to do.

We have been starting to walk earlier in the mornings before it gets too hot. We even took a siesta yesterday afternoon to avoid the worst of the heat. We had an early dinner and then night hiked to Eagle Rock where we spent the night with some other walkers. The moon is nearly full at the moment and makes night hiking quite easy.

Camp at Eagle Rock

View/Post Comments

Hiker discount: 100% (Posted 3 May 2012, 01:50pm)
33.0781, -116.6022

Cherry pie.

We were a bit short on food so headed off trail into Julian to resupply. We are now sitting in Mom's Pie House. The owner of Mom's is also a hiker and offers free sandwiches and pie for hikers. Amazing! I have just enjoyed a tuna sandwich and cherry pie with ice cream.

Our bodies are getting stronger and yesterday we walked 21.5 miles - our first 20 mile day. Loving this walk and the American hospitality.

View/Post Comments

The beginning (Posted 30 April 2012, 10:09pm)
32.8585, -116.4166

I woke up yesterday feeling like I had been beaten with a stick. It was much the same this morning. The start of this walk has been hard!

We were dropped off at the start of the the trail by Marcus' uncle Johnny and his girlfriend on Saturday 28 April. There is a huge solid metal fence along the border so there was no chance of a hanging a token toe into Mexico. We walked the first mile of the trail into Campo where our priority was posting our 'bounce box' with resupply items ahead of us to Warner Springs. Free of the cardboard box we brought more water at the trading post and then headed out.

The has been very little shade and almost no clouds in the sky. I have been stuggling with the heat but I will no doubt adjust in time. It seems to get into the high 30s (celcius) between 11am and 3pm. It is a very inhositible environment and thoughts of families trying to cross the border on foot have been in my mind. We saw various signs of immigrants - a tarp, rope, a editable plants book, discarded clothing - and helecopers flying overhead near the border.

The views have been stunning and we have been taking lots of photos. We saw our first rattle snake yesterday - close to the trail. Thankfully another hiker stopped to warn us about it. We skirted around it. It was apparently medium sized but it looked plenty big enough to me! We left a note for hikers after us. The other main hazard is Poison Oak which is prominent but so far avoided and at least not deadily!

The camping has been great. We wild camped by a river last night where we were able to swim and cook by the river. The frogs have been loud and night. There are frequent noises in the bushes but these are mostly caused by various types of lizzards rather than snakes.

Three blisters and sore shoulders are the current complaints but they are far outweighed by the regular delights and the overwheming feeling of being alive in the fullest sense.

View/Post Comments

Final preparation (Posted 25 April 2012, 05:03pm)
Sunny California

Surley we don't need all of this stuff?

It has been a busy few days since I arrived in the United States! I was relieved to be granted a 6 month stay at immigration. There was a bit of confusion when the official thought I was "working" rather than "walking" for 5 and a half months but once we sorted that out it was fine. Marcus and Yvonne picked me up in San Fransisco and we spent the day there. It is a beautiful city and the weather was stunning but the streets were very busy. All of the hustle and bustle only increased my desire to be on the trail. The following day we drove south to where Marcus and Yvonne live. We have spent the last few days doing last minute preparations. Yvonne had Marcus have been a great help - being local they know all the right places to shop and visit. I now have an American sim card for my phone and even an American bank account!

I have been spending money like it is going out of fashion which has been quite a shock after saving everything for the past year. The shopping centres here are quite an experience - huge buildings with everything imaginable. We have finally got everything we need and will catch the train south to San Diego tomorrow. We hope to start walking on Friday morning...

We visited Trader Joes...

View/Post Comments

<< Older posts      Newer posts >>

Trail Mail

Enter your email address below to be notified when this blog is updated:
Receive notifications for:

Map (View larger)

Recent Check-ins (View all)

21 I made it.
15 About to catch the last bus for the season out of Stehekin and planning to walk out of America in four days time on the last day of my visa...
09 It looks like some bad weather is finally on the way. My rain gear might actually get some use! Tough climbs ahead but getting closer to Canada each day and with great group of fellow stragglers.

22 Quick stop in Cascade Locks to shower, do laundry, resupply, eat and 'rest'. Across the Bridge of the Gods, over the mighty Columbia river, into Washington today - the first day of autumn.
13 Resupply for Washington all sorted with some help from Mum, who is visiting on her way home from Europe. Now it is time to escape Bend and resume the race to Canada.

Photos (View all)

Blog Archive

30 True to the thru (Part 4 of 4)
30 The waiting game (Part 3 of 4)
30 Something was wrong (Part 2 of 4)
30 A story that needs to be told (Part 1 of 4)
21 "I knew Typo would make it" (Part 6 of 6)
19 Throwing the Hail Mary (Part 5 of 6)
10 Up and down, but not out (Part 4 of 6)
06 Crossing Cutthroat Pass (Part 3 of 6)
03 Warming up in Winthrop (Part 2 of 6)

30 We're sleeping in a toilet (Part 1 of 6)
25 Another radio interview (Audio)
21 I made it
04 Nearly there

29 Trail Magic
19 Walking with Mum

28 Cold food
28 Hello Oregon!
20 40 miles in one day
08 Official trail name: Typo
06 (Humbolt) Summit Fever
06 Road walking around a wildfire

30 Two trail birthdays
18 A picture is worth...
10 Pain and gain in the Sierra

28 Hiker hunger
27 The inquisitive marmot
19 Stage one survived
05 Live from the Mojave (Updated)
04 I just walked 500 miles...

31 Current nemesis: Poodle dog bush
23 Mexico to McDonald's
23 Gear review: Sleeping pad
18 Hot and getting even hotter
12 Videos
12 Wildlife
10 People on the trail: Sunset
05 Eagle Rock
03 Hiker discount: 100%

30 The beginning
25 Final preparation
17 Blogging along the way
16 No publicity is bad publicity
08 Walking before the walk
08 Maps for the trail