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

Saturday May 8 – Fire and Rain

The wonderful hospitality offered by our friends Randi and Charlie continued with a big breakfast of French Toast, fresh strawberries, turkey “bacon”, juice and coffee.

After breakfast we acted like Vikings, raiding and plundering their pantry to assist our resupply, eventually ransacking enough food that all we needed to buy from the store was gatorade, cookies and moleskin. Before hitting the trail we also stopped made a contribution to the local economy by stopping at local outdoor store for a few odds and ends.

Driving back to the trailhead we passed the tall tower which during yesterday’s descent looked like a cement factory. It turns out to be a 32 story casino being built in Cabazon.

Back at the trailhead we waved good bye, for now, to Randi and Charlie and started north. After about a mile we came to the so called “Pink Motel,” which in neither a motel nor really pink. Some kind trail angels offer hikers the use of an old derelict trailer and an associated ramshackle building, a place to crash out of the sun, cook food, sleep or just relax in the shade. They also supply water and hold packages. For most it is a much needed respite in the middle of the otherwise hot, dry and desolate San Gorgonio Pass.

Having just been brought back to the trail, we were not in need of anything, but we stopped anyway to check out these legendary accomodations. There were a few hikers lounging around – Squeek and Megham who were recovering from some pretty bad dehydration from yesterday and several hikers who has just arrived and decided to stay out of the mid day sun.

We pressed on and started hiking in earnest finally at about 12:15pm. An odd time to start this section. Most hikers pasing through will descend to San Gorgonio pass, stay at the Pink Motel and get on the trail early in the day. Some will wait until much later and only hike a few miles. We were out of cycle, so we had the trail all to ourselves today. We did not see another hiker while we were hiking, a first on this trip.

Although hot, a steady breeze and an hour long break at 2pm under a Juniper tree made it bearable. The scenery was geologically very interesting, with many types of rock layers and formations. My memory of this section, from 94, was very fragmentary, so we were ecountering places both familiar as well as new; in some ways it was like experiencing it again for the first time.

We walked through an area that yesterday had burned. A small fire of a coule dozen acres. Yesterday we could see the smoke. The rumor is that the forest service determined it was started by a hiker burning toilet paper. I don’t even want to think about what evidence didn’t burn and led them to that conclusion.

As fires go, it looked pretty minor, in many places the fire was a ground fire only of such low intensity that the 22 inch wide trail tread was an effective fire break stopping its advance. And many plants and shrubs were virtually untouched even though the surrounding grass was charred.

From the next ridge, looking back, the burned area was clearly two distinct patches. In one, the ground was the typical black and white residue. In the second the ground was tainted orange where it apeared that some kind of fire suppresent or retardant had been dropped. It seems to me very possible that the chemicals could be worse than the fire; but,I suppose, its easy to second guess things.

After about 16 miles we came to a year-round stream, the east fork of Mission Creek, our destination for the day. Already encamped was Charlie, a friend joining him for a couple weeks by the name of Trish, and One Braid. They had all arrived much earlier. One Braid had a problem with severe kidney pain a couple miles before camp and was helped here by Supertramp, Sidetrack and Allen, who have all moved on. He seems to be recovering well.

With the moon risng later now, the night is somewhat starry. And its warm enough to stay out and watch, so we initially decided to forgo the tent and sleep on the ground. But these conditions have also attracted a number of moths and flying insects. Buggy enough to put up the tent and retreat inside. In fact there are enough bugs attracted by the light and flying into the tent that it almost sounds like rain. Well, time to let the gurgling creek and the “rain of bugs” lull us to sleep…

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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