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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 30th – Walking Carrot’s Birthday

First, a tribute to the Carrot. She is one of the most “stoic” hikers/people I have known. Never complaining, always willing to tolerate whatever conditions she finds herself facing. She is unwavering in support and positive attitude and in her willingness to be flexible in all matters. A perfect hiking companion. Here’s to the Carrot – “Happy Birthday!”

We have a tight schedule today. In order to make it into town in time for a celebration of the Carrot’s birthday we must try to cover 23.4 miles by 5pm. So we are up and on trail at 6:50pm. “Happy Birthday Carrot”, now get up and get moving…and, please, feet don’t fail me now…..

Today the scenery continues to become more stunning, taller peak rise above us, in the distance some are covered in snow. Granite walls explode onto the scene. We walk above deep canyons carved by glaciers. This is scenery that invites comparisons to the Sierras, and does not come up lacking. But with this scenery comes a price – tougher trail. The climbs are longer and steeper. And there are more of them. The “roller coaster” just got more exciting. Our schedule demands we cut breaks sort and push the legs onward anyway, even when they want to rest more than ever. But, if the Carrot wants a milkshake on her birthday this is what we must do.

And the air is heavier with humidity and thicker with smoke. Definitely wildfires burning somewhere and winds drifting the smoke our way.

Clouds build all day and start to rumble around 3pm. Rain falls in the distance. Shimmering white sheets falling from dark clouds across the valley to our north and east. A few drops spit on our path as we race across an open bluff and down an exposed ridge to the comfort of trees. We continue hiking in a light rain to the pass, arriving at about 10 minutes past five. We have managed to do the 100 miles from Dunsmuir to Etna in 4 days, making up a little bit on the schedule.

There are three cars parked at the pass, their passengers are all outside engaged in various conversations. We chat up one of them hoping for a ride to town. But they all have other plans, hoping the rain will clear soon enough to hike in themselves, or they are heading the other way. We watch one car, a fully loaded pickup truck cruise by with no room. Twenty minutes pass with no traffic in our direction. Rain starts to fall more earnestly, enough to dig out rain gear.

Just as the clouds start to really let loose in a serious downpour Jim, a UPS driver, stops in his big brown truck. Out the door he announces: “I really shouldn’t do this, but hop in the truck.” I take the fold down passenger seat next to the open door, while the Carrot sits securely on the floor among backpacks and packages. As we drove/floated down the road from the top of the mountain pass the rain poured down even harder. A gully on the side of the road flooded over top, washing debris across the road surface. Several deer, includng a young buck, were “flushed” from the brush by the rain.

We arrived in Etna to sunny skies with no trace of the torrent occurring farther up the hillside. The famed Alderbrook Manor is in escrow, but their “hiker hut” providing hostel accommodations is still in service. However all 4 bunks were taken. There was room on the floor, but for the Carrot’s birthday we wanted something more. We checked out the motel – full. Things were looking grim.

Then we ran into Trainwreck, Strut and Tigger. Hey had just left “Father Surges” where there was no space inside, only room on his lawn to camp. They had heard about “California Campus” so that is where we all headed.

Tomas, the director of CCTG showed us around and could not have possible been more hospitable. They gave us a room with five beds, let us take showers, do laundry, use their computer room for internet and invited us to join the for meals and their weekend program. Simply amazing. Their group has a very interesting mission of education and aid, far too much to go into detail here. In brief, they train volunteers from around the world to direct developmental and educational projects in Africa and Central America. A very diverse and interesting group of faculty, staff and students. I highly recommend checking out their website: www.cctg.org and learning more about them. For us, it was enough to know that they live and espouse all their ideals and are very friendly to hikers.

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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

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Scenic Shots

CDT2010_yellowflowersCDT2010-valleyCliff Dwelling Carrot on the Trail 3ScenicPotty BreakScenicStream Distant HillsCactus & HillsPrickly PearJeep Road

Flora & Fauna

CDT2010_treesCDT2010_yellowflowersCDT2010-purpleflowersFloraButterfly 2BeaverFloraFlora 3Angry MarmotButterfly