Archive | July, 2012

Lush’s Sierra Mash-Up

16 Jul

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The Sierras have been physically and mentally grueling, but they also have been some of the most rewarding hiking we have ever done. The scenery, the wildlife, the friends, and the trail magic have all made the last 300 miles amazing.

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Right around mile 700 we reached Kennedy Meadows. For PCT hikers, Kennedy Meadows marks the end of the desert and the beginning of the mountains. It is located on the last road the trail will cross for 200 miles. It has the last on-trail ice cream, showers, post office, and beer for 200 miles. As you can imagine, we stuffed ourselves stupid with food and drink, and stocked up for the long haul.

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We also picked up our bear canisters at Kennedy Meadows. These canisters are required for about 300 miles of the trail. They are meant to protect bears from acquring a taste for human food, and to protect humans from losing their food to bears.

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As you can see, Manparty had his own uses for the bear canisters.

Each canister weighs about 2.5 pounds empty. As you can see, they are a bit bulky and unweildy. However, after some trial and errorĀ  we were both able to fit them comfortably in our packs.

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We didn’t see any bears in the Sierras until our last day in Yosemite. However, we did see plenty of shameless marmots, squirrels, and chipmunks.

One morning as we were eating breakast, a chipmunk was hovering around us hoping for some poptart crumbs. Chippy didn’t take his eyes off us the entire time. He even dug a hole and pooped in it while never taking his beedy little eyes off us.

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These cute little pikas would never be as crass as those chipmunks.

These adorable little creatures lived in the rocks above 10,000 feet. We often saw them eating the small grasses and plants. We had to watch closely for these guys because they blended in with the rocks incredibly well. Unlike the marmots and the chipmunks they weren’t interested in us.

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It wasn’t unusual to see pikas and marmots scurrying around at the top of passes like this one- Muir Pass.

We crossed many, many passes, in the Sierras. Each time we found ourselves climbing anywhere from 1500 to 2500 feet over several miles. Sometimes the climbs were gradual and other times they were incredibly steep.

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No matter what the climb was like, there were always beautiful views on the way up, at the top, and on the way back down. It felt as though there were endless numbers of crystal clear ponds, sparkling waterfalls, and endless views of valleys and mountains stretching into the distance.

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And, we have covered quite a bit of distance in our time in the Sierras. We’ve passed the 800, 900, and 1000 mile markers. And, we are over 1/3 of the way through with the trail.

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