Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday, July 18 - Happy Birthday David Bolhorst!

Welcome to being 29, David. If your year is like mine, you'll drop down to what you weighed at 17. That isn't very pretty for either of us :)

Today, we have done virtually nothing except write a whole bunch of blog posts, have a water heater repairman show Tony and I up, and lose a small amount of money at the craps table.

The soon-to-be restaurant owner, Tony, will be cooking us dinner tonight. Yay!

For David's birthday, and everyone else's edification, here are a few pictures we're really proud of...

Thursday, July 17 - Goofing Off

Before the Tony & Laura pick-up, Pat made us fantastic banana pancakes while we made Mike talk so much his sore throat worsened. The pancakes powered us through a day with Tony & Laura which included a raft ride down the Truckee river (nobody fell out this time around), a shopping spree at Miller's Outpost (pinnacle of world fashion), and a few epic games of Yahtzee and Boggle.

Perhaps the most fun we had all day however was when raiding the closet of Tony's family's cabin. Who knew 30 year-olds could still have fun playing dress up! Tony's family has owned this place for 30+ years and while the decor hasn't changed since they bought the place, you can tell by the pictures that the closets contain clothing far ahead of today's short-sighted designers. We shot this picture for Boggle's new box design.

It is such fun to get to hang out with our good friends and we will be very sad to say goodbye to them tomorrow when we get back on the trail. After this rest, we won't be taking many more zeros for the remainder of the trip. We still have more than half the trail to hike and less than half of the time to hike it. Kicking it up several notches is now a requirement.

Wednesday, July 16 - Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday Patty Fainer! For your birthday, we thought you'd appreciate us having some very nice friends pick us up from the trail and take care of us. What mother with sons as thoughtlessly selfish as this one expects tangible presents, anyway?

By 10 a.m. we reached Donner Pass at Hwy 40 and Jane made good on a promise made to one Alec Flatness during the junior high ski trip earlier this year. When we had driven past where the PCT crosses the road, she told Alec she would yell his nickname when we got there, and that's what she did. She's been waiting over three months to make it the 1,154 miles just to yell HOOTS!

We are very lucky to know such loving and giving people from PCLG, and we owe a huge THANK YOU to Mike & Pat Moore. Your hospitality, company and cabin was just tremendous. We enjoyed meeting Helen, Javier, Clara, Alex, Yvonne, and Blake and loved eating all your food. For those of you who don't know Mike & Pat, they are just about the nicest people in our church community, and they wanted to entertain us!

Mike, even though he was fighting a wicked cold, picked us up at Highway 80 at 11:30 am and him and Pat showered us with stories and kindness for 24 hours until Tony & Laura fetched us from Truckee and brought us to South Lake Tahoe.

Tuesday, July 15 - The Curse is Lifted

There's a thousand foot climb to the ridge below Tinker Knob towards the end of this section that resulted in a curse last summer. It is a sun-exposed, steep affair and at the top last summer, Jane cursed me and my mother for ever giving birth to me. Jane was not happy that I had the idea to go hike. Well, as you can imagine, I was wondering how she'd react this year to the same climb.

Her words at the top this year, "I'm sweaty, but that really wasn't that bad." What a relief! It was my mom's birthday the next day and I didn't want her to have to live under that curse anymore.

Monday, July 14 - A Cranial Collision

Desolation Wilderness is famous for its lakes, but hundreds of ponds and lakes create a romantic haven for mosquitos. We donned anti-bug head nets to keep the little buggers out of our faces and walked as fast as we could to get out of the shady, boggy areas.

Since the wide brims of our hats make it difficult to see what's coming ahead of us if we're paying attention to our feet, walking fast is not always the best plan. Jane walked her head into a tree, and fell backward slightly stunned. Then the mosquito swarm caught up to us and life was just miserable. That moment was so bad actually, I couldn't help but laugh. What else can you do?

We ended our second day at the campsite it took three days to get to last year... and we were there by five o'clock. Unfortunately, there isn't a good campsite for another ten miles so we called it a day. I went to bed at 7:30.

Sunday, July 13 - Bye, Bye Placerville, Hello smokiness.

It's important to start the first day out of town with a big breakfast, thus we all enjoyed the generous portions at Apple Cafe before the Bolhorsts got us back to the trail just before noon.

Ann desired very much to walk about 10 yards of the trail once we got back to Echo Lake, so Roy and Erin were coerced into hiking the PCT as well. She wanted to be able to say she had "hiked the PCT."

As some of you may remember, we hiked from Echo Lake to Donner Pass last August as our trial run, so this stretch was familiar and a great benchmark in the progress we've made as hikers. After 1,100 miles, it is safe to say we have improved greatly. What once took us five agonizing days and four chilly nights can now be completed in 72 hours. And we took two-hour lunch breaks and finished early two out of the three nights. It's a good thing I chose this as our trial hike instead of one of the earlier Sierra sections, because it really was pretty easy after everything else we've done - so if the terrain had been harder last summer, we might not be doing this at all!

The end of Sunday saw us taking the wrong trail at a junction and having to camp in a mosquito lair before we reunited with the PCT a half-hour into the next morning.