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 18 – Platypus Envy

As we were falling asleep the clouds which filled the LA basin rose up and over Islip gap, their progress accelerated by gusty winds. We briefly debated the wisdom of sleeping out under the stars and considered setting up the tent, but fell asleep before the debate was concluded.

Around midnight 2 coyotes visited our makeshift camp. None of the others even stirred. Something alerted me to their presence, I’m not sure what. It wasn’t a sound, but more of a sense. When I looked around I saw them moving across in front of us and then leave, so I started back to sleep. A few minutes later they were back and sniffing around the bushes about 40 feet away where I had peed before going to bed. I assumed they were checking on who was marking their territory. When I shined the headlamp on them they took off into the night, for good, or at least they didn’t wake me again. In the morning I found one of our alcohol fuel containers (a 20 ounce plastic soda bottle) near where the coyotes had been sniffing. Not sure if they dragged it there from the pile of gear a few feet from our sleeping bag, or if the wind blew it there and they were checking it out.

The day started with a steady climb of about 1.5 miles and 1,200 feet and proceeded up and down along the crest, through a couple of canyons and several times crossing the deserted highway 2. Some stunning views of the cloud filled canyons and basins to our south.

On the “Rattlesnake Trail” we came across one of the namesake critters. Short but with a set of several rattles and judging from the round buldge in his middle, recently well fed.

Took lunch beside a delightful stream, too cold in the shade, but too hot in the sun. Too nice to pass up even though it was early for lunch.

Since Cajon Pass I have tried, for the first time, hiking with a hydration system. A Platypus bladder and drinking tube. The Carrot got one in Idyllwild and really liked it, leaving me with a bad case of “Platypus Envy.” (I wonder what Freud would have to say aout that?) So, while we were in Ranch Cucamonga, consumer capitol of the universe, I went to the Sports Chalet and bought one. So far I like the convenience of water without stopping. And keeping the container inside the pack (feeding the tube through a “hydration port”) keeps the water a lot cooler, a definite bonus.

During today’s walk there was lots of lupine, which we have been seeing frequently. Today they dominated the landscape.

Highway 2 as been a constant companion these last two days. Ecauseit is still closed for the season from Vincent Gap to Islip Saddle the traffic is very light. Still crossing it nine times in two day was remininiscent of the Appalachian trail’s sojourn alongside the Blue Ridge parkway in Shenandoah, only Highway2 lacks the freqent food stands and tourists along the AT.

The last two days have also been difficult hiking. Frequent ups and downs with some steep grades. I know that this has made us slow dow, but even when we are “on pace” the miles come slower. I would like to think that for once the guide book authors have estimated the milage as shorter than what it really is on the ground.

Arriving at Sulpher Springs Trail camp, after almost 19 miles we felt like we had covered 22 or more. Originally we had itended to go further, but with daylight and the legs fading and hunger setting in we decided to stay. Here we met David and Arlene, the “Rider Hikers” who are horsepacking the entire PCT. We had tea with them and talked about their unique challanges and experiences.

Outside of our morning and evening camps we only saw one other hiker all day, “Mystic” who passed us during our lunch and whom we passed once again later. Otherwise the woods are deserted, not a soul stirring, which is hard to image considering that we are in the mountains borderng LA.

During dinner a young coyote was singing solo not far away…with fog rolling in and humidity rising its a dap and cool evening, likely to get an overnight dew.

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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