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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

May 16 – Powered by Pancakes

After another fabulous stay in Rancho Cucamonga we headed out for the trail. Powered by Charlie’s banana pancakes, turkey bacon (andj ust what part of the bird do they get bacon from?), coffee and juice we started our climb up and out of Cajon pass. Its a long steady tedious climb, gaining over 5,200 feet in elevation in just over 16 miles. And its dry too. No natural water for over 22 miles. But the transition is rewarding. Beginning in a barren landscape, showing all the signs of an industrialized transportation corridor, then passing through rocks formations shaped and twisted by strong geologic forces, the path winds it way in and out of endless gullys and ridges dominated by chapparel and eventually climbs up the spine of the blue ridge overlooking the San Andreas fault as it reaches back into Ponderosa pine forest.

There were two water caches put out by trail angels. We carried enough water that we did not need to rely on them. At the first one we stopped only for some candy that was also there as well as to look at the logbook. At the second water cache we still had enough water have gone on if we had to, but were glad to be able to consume a couple quarts.

10 years ago, the climb was different. For oe thing there were ticks galore. Being about three weekss earlier in the season it had rained several days earlier and the tall grass was green and infested with wood ticks. In one stretch I stopped every 200 yards and picked off a dozen or more each time. Today with drier and hotter weather and far less grass, there were no ticks.

The other big difference was packweight. In ’94 I went into Wrightwood from Cajon pass to resupply. So coming back out I was loaded with food for 6 days and water for 22 miles, on top of “dry” weight (gear only with no food, water or fuel) of about 33 pounds. In all I was probably carrying between 55 and 60 pounds to start.

Today we were about half that. With a base pack weight right now of 18 pounds we do not qualify as ultralight, but we are on the lightweight side. And this includes some luxuries such as a digital camera, battery charger, pocketmail device and small radio. And we have chosen to resupply at highway 2 on the crest, so we are carrying one day less and water. All told probably about 31 to 32 pounds or half of the weight in ’94.

This difference in weight is noticable and tends to remove much of the grimace from the uphills. The biggest overall effect is that my legs feel as strong or stonger than ever.

The pace is the same, about 3mph. But the recovery time is less and the enjoyment factor greater. Its easier to get up in the morning and hike and the number and duration of breaks during the day is less now. His translates into more miles per day. And even though 2 or 3 “extra” miles may not seem like much, over the course of the hike it significant enough to reduce the time needed to complete the trail from just under 6 months to just over 5 months and all the while feel physically better. So today was an easier (if i can be permitted to use that word when talking of hiking 22 miles) and more enjoyable day.

We reached Guffy campground after 22 miles and setup the tent amid a growing fog and wind. We briefly saw Dirty Harry before he dove into his tent. We made dinner and then hunkered down into the tent to eat and get out of the wind.

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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

CDT2010_TheTrailCDT20101_NMWCWMCDT2010_NMWC-1Cliff Dwelling SignCarrot PausesHiker TanCarrot Stream Crossing # 2,115Carrot takes a PhotoCarrot on the TrailCarrot Stream Crossing #5.875Carrot takes a Trail BathCarrot on the Trail still

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