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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

June 18th – Day of the Deer

We camped last night at the edge of the south fork Kings River, waiting until morning to cross, hoping that overnight the cool air would calm the gnarly water, making it a bit less dangerous. This ford was our most difficult yet. Despite the Carrot teetering a bit on uncertain legs, we crossed with no major problems other than wet and cold feet. Not a great way to start the day, but soon enough anyway they would have been wet and cold from more fords and more snow.

There are several fording techniques, each with their advantages and disadvantages. Some hikers stop and take off socks using shoes only, change into different shoes, use socks only, or flip flops, insoles or sandals. Some hikers, like us, just forge through the fords with what we are wearing. The attraction to this method is the traction and security on slippery rocks that our hiking shoes provide, as well as not having any delays.

Our climb to Mather Pass is a more gentle climb and includes several more fords. We catch up quickly to Steady and John who left camp well before us but who have to stop at each crossing to change footwear.

Below Mather Pass we cross a big basin, with the pass dead ahead in sight the entire way. We know where we are going and look all around enjoying the beautiful peaks without worry over which one we will cross. It trite, but true – pictures cannot do it justice. A camera can only capture a few degrees on the panorama. We try anyway to capture what we can on the digital memory card and burn into our head’s own memory the rest of the scene missing from each shot.

A huge boulder slide across the final switchbacks barely slows us down. The snowfield near the top is short, steep and soft, easy to kick steps into. In all its is a dramatic but a relatively easy climb.

By lunchtime we are over the pass and basking in the sun on a warm rock by a rushing stream, drying socks, shoes and feet after the most recent ford.

Water is increasingly a larger part of our trip. We are deeper into the mountains and on the west side of the creast; a boring way to say there is more snow. This means more melt, more creeks, more crossings with stronger current, and more wet cold feet.

We come to the “Golden Staircase” the last part of the John Muir trail to be built, blasted out of bedrock by the CCC during the great depression. These cliffs would be a dangerous descent without these switch-backing steps.

At the bottom we enter Mosquito Hell, which I think was Dante’s lowest level the “use deet all ye who enter here”. Even walking at a brisk pace the mossies attack us and attach themselves for a meal.

The valley walk is forested, with ferns and aspens for the first time. We see several southbound and other section hikers out for the days or a week. Their easy to spot with clean gear and usually too much of it.

As we reach the river’ confluence and start up Le Conte Canyon we see the first of several deer. Although it is getting late, we climb up canyon to Little Pete’s Meadow, to set ourselves up for Muir Pass. An Idyllic spot, with a trout filled stream meandering through lush green grass. Towering granite walls above and a slice of clear sky.

We are camped again with Steady and John in this bit of Sierra paradise. As we finish dinner in the dark, a pair of eyes shines the headlamp’s light back at us. A deer is foraging at the edge of our camp, less than 20 yards away. As we retire to the tent and read about the trail ahead from guidebook we are reassured by the soft sounds of the same deer casually walking around and nibbling on the tender shoots of the meadow.

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People Shots

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Flora & Fauna

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