We are currently on another long distance hike, and the third leg of our "triple crown", the Continental Divide Trail (the "CDT"). Come along with us if you can - if not in person then by following our grand adventure via our "posts from the trail".  Check out our Flickr Photos, which we'll update periodically, and see it through our eyes!

Our Credo...

"Success: To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!" ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

July 10th

After a huge breakfast of Coffee, Orange Juice, Pancakes, Cheesy Eggs, and Fruit, Bill drove us back to the trailhead.

The 4 miles from “Old” Highway 40 at Donner Pass to Interstate Highway 80 at Donner Summit are a twisting trail through a torturous rock landscape. The convoluted upheaval of boulders and jagged rocks suggests the violent nature of the volcanic forces working away just below the surface. It is a confusing, tangled array, an imposing presence. It is more clear now why progress may have stopped at the idyllic looking lake below.

But it’s more than magma that has mangled the land. Man’s hand on the landscape here has been heavy also, with somewhat depressing results: several ski areas scar the hillsides, the two major highways cut across the crest, bringing a barrage of fast machines, making animal movements across the concrete ribbons all but impossible, and creating noise pollution which must also be disruptive, several small, fenced off, resevoirs are barricaded against encroachment and powerlines further divide the land and sky. Not long after the Donner party, trains with their tracks and tunnels tamed this pass. The wolf’s cry, the call of the wild, was replaced by the locomotive’s whistle, the sound of encroaching civilization. The train’s route is carved out of the rock walls and then, in places, covered over with concrete to protect against avalanches.

Crossing I-80 is a milestone, the first interstate we have seen in a little over 800 miles. Time enough to have forgotten how imposing they can be. We hear the whirr of the trucks 4 or 5 miles before crossing under the road in a hiker/horse tunnel.

We stop at the rest area for water. It’s sheer culture shock. People pulling in and out so fast; barely stopping much lest resting. The loud sounds and dazzling sensation of speed, after experiencing life at a walking pace, is amazing. Its hard to imagine where so may people are going so fast. And it’s easy to see all that they must be missing. Probably very few notice the enormous old growth trees in the picnic area, the ones that remained after the rest where cut down to create the rest area. Even fewer stop to look at the pond behind the building, or the wildflowers growing nearby. They just buzzz on by. Memories of living life in this sort of fast lane are becoming more distant and less discernible.

We spotted several deer, does with fawns, all very cautious. But the terrain is the big news. The route north is beginning to flatten out. From a couple of ridges today we could see ahead and Sierra Buttes rises like a pyramid, the only prominent peak to break through the surrounding ridges and plateaus.

Sure there are still plenty of mountains, but most of the peaks are only just a little over 8,000 feet. Just a few weeks ago most of the valley bottoms we walked through were at least that high and the peaks were 6,000 feet higher.

And there are ups and downs; today there were several 4 to 5 hundred foot climbs. Now we count the 500-foot climbs as significant, where recently they would have been lost between the ascents of several thousand feet. All this means we can put down some miles and today we did 25 without any real extra effort.

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Clicking on any of these photos will take you to that specific photo on our Flickr Stream, where you can view these and many, many more photos from our latest adventure....or use this shortcut to all photos.....we hope you enjoy them!

People Shots

CDT20101_NMWCWMCDT2010_TheTrailCDT2010_NMWC-1Carrot After a Trail BathCarrot Stream Crossing #3,768Carrot on the Trail stillCarrot takes a Trail BathCarrot Stream Crossing #5.875Carrot on the TrailCliff Dwelling SignCarrot takes a PhotoCarrot Stream Crossing # 2,115

Scenic Shots

CDT2010-valleyCDT2010_yellowflowersCarrot on the Trail 3ScenicPotty BreakScenicCliff Dwelling Stream Vast DesertPrickly Pear 2Prickly PearPlateau at Sunset

Flora & Fauna

CDT2010_treesCDT2010_yellowflowersCDT2010-purpleflowersAngry MarmotFlora 3FloraBeaverButterfly 2FloraButterfly