Monday, June 29, 2009

Sierra Nevada Pics/Bishop, CA

Today has been a wonderful zero day here in Bishop. I got frustrated in the library earlier due to the fact that I was uploading pictures and nearly had them all uploaded and then Internet Explorer quit on me. My thirty minute time slot was up in the library and apparently everyone in Bishop is using the Library's computers today. So I cooled off, did some laundry, made some phone calls, bought food for the next 120 mile section and then decided to come back and give it another shot. Although I did make one tiny mistake, I added the newest pics to the wrong Picasa web album account. Click here and the new pictures will be able to be viewed, I couldn't add all of them because the web was super slow, I will fix it when I get to Mammoth Lakes, CA in 6 days from today when I will be able to use Kobie's computer that he has been mailing himself to every other town.
Since I left Kennedy Meadows, the beginning of the Sierra Nevada's I was in the Southern California section of the PCT. I am now in the Central California section and the difference is astonishing. I only have to carry a couple liters of water at a time because it is so plentiful, and not to mention ice cold mountain streams and snow melts. There are a couple of new challenges that I have been facing which include colder temperatures, bear prevention (I am now carrying a BearVault, which is a hard plastic cylinder that bears apparently are unable to open. One attempts to cram all of their food into this contraption, but the only thing it is really good for is a stool, and maybe a bongo. I am carrying the smaller one in the photo.) and another challenge is hiking in snow. It's called post-holing. Its when you're hiking over snow field at elevation (depth of the snow if not clear) and if it is late enough in the day and the sun has made the snow a little soft, any step could end up sinking you up in snow up to your waist. If you're unlucky enough, both feet will go through the snow and you'll have to take a few minutes to dig yourself out. It can be quite humorous, until it happens to you. You've got to just laugh it off though. Unfortunately, there are often rocks and even snow melt stream running under the snow fields and you don't even know it so you can get cut up and get your feet iccccceeee cold wet.
The conditions up Mt. Whitney were absolutely perfect, it was a beautiful day without a cloud in the sky. I spread ed some of Stephen's ashes at the top, and it was an emotional day to say the least. I knew he was watching over us the entire time, and I could feel him there with me. There's a good chance I'll never be that high on foot ever again, it was an amazing experience. When we descended we looked back up the climb and were just astonished that we had just climbed up the tallest peak in the contiguous 48 states. The next day we went over Forrester Pass, the tallest point on the PCT at 13,200 feet. That descent was sketchy and covered in snow, and we post-holed most of the way down. There was one point where we were able to sled on our butts about 50 vertical feet, that was fun! We've got a hell of a climb to get back up into the Sierra's tomorrow, but once we get up it will be crossing up and down snow covered pass after snow covered pass. I am looking forward to getting back on the trail, and getting some awesome pics for everyone burning up in the summer heat!

Thanks for everyone's love and support!


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sierra's part one

The first half of the Sierra Nevada's are complete. This includes summiting Mt Whitney, forrester pass, and numerous other highlights that will be elaborated upon in another post. For my birthday I will be in Mammoth Lakes, CA. A lot of people have been asking me so of you want to send something please address it accordingly.

Spencer McKay
c/o General Delivery
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546

Here's a little eye candy for now

-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Entering the Sierras

Talked to Spence on the phone via a calling card tonight. His cell phone is getting no signal in the particular town (Inyokern, CA) so a blog from the iPhone isn't happening.

He sounds great and has been doing well on his hike as he has finished the desert. That's right, finished the DESERT!

Warpzilla has hiked 702.8 miles thus far and is looking to hit Mt. Whitney in 3 days.

All for now,
Bandanna Ben

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mojave, CA

Taking a day off in Mojave (mow-ha-vee), CA with Tom and Kobie. After leaving the Saufley's, hiker heaven, the unseasonably cool weather continued over the next few days. This area of trail is suppose to be one of the hottest, waterless stretches of the trail, but was not so for us. We headed to the Anderson's, another trail angel family that hosts hikers and places water caches along a section of trail. Their I piled high with every addition possible. I even got to play disc golf with Joe Anderson which was truly a treat, I typically play multiple times a week at school with Quint, Murph, Joyner, Collin and others. My game wasn't quite up to par, but certainly was nice to play after a 24 mile day. We headed from there it was another 26 miles to the road to town. Cleaned up and showered once again, I am refueled and have had enough town for a while. This last portion of trail consisted of heavy winds, (hence the wind farms) beautiful Joshua Trees, some previously fire-burned trail, a decent amount of switch backs. I am now adding pictures of the last section and look forward to your comments. I hope everything is well in the real world. Thanks to everyone keeping me in your thoughts and prayers.

All for now,

Monday, June 8, 2009

Agua Dulce Zero Day

Warpzilla turned up yesterday at mid-day, as planned at Hiker Heaven (mile 454). The dogs, Pudd & Roxie were happy to meet him and enjoy the enjoy the smell--pronounced "stench"--of the trail all over Spence and his pack. Pudd might have lifted his leg on the pack, but it will go unnoticed... After a couple of beers and a long hot shower, it was time to eat something. Salami, crackers, cheese, peanuts, steaks, potatoes, salad, another beer and he's full. After a good night's sleep in a real bed, bacon, eggs, toast, burritos, chips & salsa and he's recharged! We did a low pass through REI for just a couple of things, refilled and shipped the bounce box and returned Warzilla to Hiker Heaven to be ready for an early assault tomorrow. He looks good. Bright eyed, tan but not burned, 224.4 pounds and eager to get through the remainder of the desert.

It was a pleasure to have him here and I'm glad we were able to connect. I'm making a small garden with the dirt he washed off. California real estate isn't cheap! Go forth Warzilla! We're watching you....

Flyin B
Ben's Fa

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Agua Dulce, CA

Since I left Big Bear City, CA, the weather has been absolutely crazy. The day before getting into Wrightwood, CA I hit a McDonalds as I crossed under Interstate 15. I got there just before breakfast and waited for the lunch menu to switch over and I took full advantage of that. From McDonald's it was a 22 mile 6,000' climb into the San Gabriel Mountains. I camped trailside that night with just 11 miles to the Acorn Trail which would take me into town. I woke up at 3 AM with rain hitting me in the face and a clap of thunder, then a flash of lightening. With all of my gear spread out around me I frantically gathered it all up and got my rain cover on my pack. I then realized it was no longer raining so slid my pad and bag under some low brush and went back to sleep. an hour later Kobie and Tom came walking by; they had packed everything up and started hiking already. I knew now they would beat me into town. I started hiking at my usual 6:00 AM. An hour after hiking and getting closer and closer to the dark clouds ahead, it finally started hailing. The special thing about this hail was that with wind gusts of 40-50mph, it was sideways hail. It became so violent along with the thunder and lightening that I set up my tent as fast as I could and waited the storm out. I finally got started again and hiked through the eary silence of dark clouds above all the way to the side trail, then I began to feel more precipitation and thought "oh no its raining now", but not to worry it was just snow flurries. I finally got to the acorn trail, down it, and in to Wrightwood, CA alast at 3:00PM. It was an adventure indeed. I resupplied in Wrightwood, which was a nice town and shared a room with Tom and Kobie there. We headed out of town the next morning and climbed up and over Mt. Baden-Powell (Robert Baden-Powell is the founding father of the Boy Scouts of America), then finally began to descend. The next two days were spent hiking amongst clouds that constantly misted on you and I saw the sun for a total of 3-4 hours until this afternoon when I was hiking into Agua Dulce. Mr. Burchardi, Bandanna Ben's Dad, was waiting for me the second I got into town and I am spending the night at his house in Simi Valley, CA which is a quick 40 minute drive from Agua Dulce and the trail. I am uploading some pictures right now and should have them up within the next half hour.

Warpzilla Over

Monday, June 1, 2009

On the phone with THE MAN right now

Well, I'm on the phone with Spence right now...

He says, "I swear I feel Jesus' hands sometimes on my shoulder, my right shoulder, and I turn around and he ain't there. And I feel it on the left shoulder, and he ain't there either. You know that game? Yeah, I feel that"

Sounds like all the prayers and encouragement have been helping out!

He's camping tonight in a recreation area and has hiked 326 miles so far on the PCT. In about 1 week, he'll reach Agua Dulce and meet up with my Dad and hopefully get to rest his piggies for a 0-day.

Thanks for following!

-Bandanna Ben