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The High Sierras: Day 1

September 13, 2013
Our trip began in luxury.  Tired from caving, we opted to sleep in a motel.  I adore motels.  I woke up in a comfortable bed.  I also had the joy of unwrapping one of those tiny squares of soap to clean up with before the trip.  It was lovely.
 I made a waffle from the machine out front.  But before I knew it, we finished with breakfast. That meant we were on our way.  We picked up our wilderness permit and drove to the trailhead.  My brother chose to visit high school friends and meet up with us Day 2.  My vote had been for my parents & me to wait and all start together.  But I was voted down.  This meant I was entering the woods with a certain amount of anxiety & irritation to begin with.  I don’t like splitting up groups in the woods.  It feels too horror-genre-esque.  My brother will always be my baby brother even if he has taken wilderness survival classes and survived a tour of duty in the military.

It was afternoon by the time our feet hit trail.  It started out steep, stark, and rocky.  The trail eventually turned into a segment of the trail I nicknamed ” the time loop.” It was very dusty and full of clumps of tiny evergreen trees.  It felt as if we were eternally leaving the same clump walking towards another.  The dust got into our eyes and ears & mouths.  I couldn’t help almost feeling a sense of hostility from the forest itself.  As real & pervasive as the dust, a series of self-doubts and fears began sort of spinning a web around me.  I feared for my career as I have made some risky moves lately and I don’t really know how it will play out.  I felt afraid for my brother and if he would meet us.  I also feared failure on the trip.  I had trained but this was still going to be the most challenging hike we had done and I was afraid I didn’t have it in me to actually do it.

We opted to eat dinner at one of the many creeks that intersected the trail.  Due to fires in the Yosemite area, we thought the bear population might be increased where we were.  So we were doing what my dad called “the Pacific-Crest Trail” method where we eat, then hike as far as we can before camping so that the food smell would not be in the camp as much.  We also hung our food up high in trees & away from camp using the counter-weight technique. At this point, I added bears to my web of anxieties.

For the first night, we calculated that we’d hiked around 4 miles.  I set up my little one man tent in the dark.  It was a clear, cool night.  I left the fly off the tent so I could do some star gazing.  The trail was supposed to get less dusty & the views open up from the dense trees the next day.  So I looked forward to that and to my brother catching up with us. Snuggled warm in my tent, with my face in the stars, I felt optimism buoying me out of the doubts that had plagued me.

From → Hiking, Travel

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