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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 14th – The Walk Within

We need another big day to get to Beldon at a reasonable hour on Thursday. But, we are tired from the miles and post dark arrival last night. The body simply demands a certain amount of sleep, of recovery time. So we don’t set out as early as planned, yet we are hiking before 7am, so we are not in too bad shape.

The trail continues to be a walk surrounded by trees, punctuated by only occasional, and very limited, views. From these few vantage points there is not much but a sea of green ridges and trees falling away in endless waves to an indefinite horizon. The vastness is impressive. And despite all the scars from old logging operations, there are surprisingly few clearcuts in sight.

With trees surrounding the trail and views limited the walk turned inward; Into the forest and into our selves and our souls. Time for closer inspection of the details of the trail, the tread, the plants, the wildflowers. Time for introspection, deep soul searching, quiet contemplation and light fantasies of food and off trail endeavors.

This is where some hikers lose their focus and drive, where the trail gets mentally tough to continue. It’s been over 1,200 miles and over 2 months and we still are in California, the same state we staretd in. And we have 500 more California miles to go… These are the miles where many start to question their commitment to the trail. For us there is no doubt that we will continue, but here are daydreams of the days that lie ahead.

These are forgotten miles. I don’t remember much about this section from ’94, but then I doubt we will remember much about this section even next week.

In the meantime we focus on the new kinds of wildflowers that we are seeing. And enjoy the first ripened Thimbleberries. A squirrel carrying a young one in its mouth is a visual curiosity. White capped woodpeckers of some species we have not before seen flit among the trees. A quail crosses the trail with chicks.

How does a bird that barely flies survive a mountain winter? There’s now way it could migrate very far south – too awkward flying and too far for walking. And I try to imagine it walking in the snow. I’m sure that they have worked it out, but it does seem like the evolutionary “short shift”.

The gentle appearing plateau is deceiving. It masks the harsher conditions that await the would be cross country traveler. The even plane of the crest is punctuated by a deep, steep and rugged canyon, through which the Middle Fork of the Feather River runs. It’s a 3,000- foot climb in and the same coming out, nearly as much as most of the high Sierra passes. Only there are no scenic vistas along the way to reward the effort or to measure progress. In the canyon we lose all radio reception, removing us even further inside ourselves as well as inside this canyon.

We stop for a long break and a swim at Bear Creek, to cool and to clean and to wait for the afternoon heat to cool off before tackling the climb back up.

An angry and aggressive Goshawk rumored to be in this area never shows himself to us. But we do see many loud Stellar Jays and find feathers on the trail suggestion an active bird of prey somewhere nearby.

The day is remarkable for the fact we see no other thr hikers. In fact, except for two day hikers, we have the woods to ourselves.

As we push at the end of the day towards a destination that looked like a possible camp, we have trouble finding water. First, one source suggested by the guidebook turns out to be more marsh than creek, then its farther to the next streams than indicated. Hiking on we traverse a steep slope and finally find a small spring around 9pm. Flat space is the challenge. We end up kicking out a part of the hillside next to the trail to create a space just large enough to sleep.

On the trail nearby we cook a dinner of cheesy broccoli rice, miso soup and green tea. We drift off asleep listening to every noise for signs of animals using the nearby trail to get to the water.

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Flora & Fauna

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