Friday, July 17, 2009

Away to Oregon

Well my friends, it is only after extensive thought that I address you with this blog. Over the past few days while taking time off with friends I have constalty been asking myself "should I stay should I stay or.should I go." Stay being Bridgeport,CA or go being a skip up to Sisters,OR from where I can hopefully finish the trail. It has by no means been an easy decision and was a hard one to make. From the very beginning when I faced heat exhaustion and an eye infection I knew right away that the trip was jeapoardized (it's full completion). Hoewever, After my first few days off due to eye infection I met back up with the guys I started with, Tom & Kobie. I then continued with them through the desert and the high and low sierra's. Although few following my blog will ever meet them, Tom and Kobie have become truly great friends during this journey. I can only believe that if Steve were here with me that he would enjoy the same friendships that I have made. It is not easy to move on without them, but they understand. School is not a burden that I frown upon, but it surely has not offered me the challenges I've faced on both the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. That is why I feel so lucky and fortunate that God has given me the opportunity to be out here.
Recently I talked to Ben about our AT hike, and we often refer to a visit of the resupply in Unionville, NY. There, we were taken in by the now former Mayor of Unionville turned trail angel and he remembers our story to this day. I couldn't help but break into a smile when Bandana told me this (Ben has a friend who is completing a long section hike of the AT from Damascus,VA to Katahdin, hulkhikesat.blogspot.com, ). Appearantly the mayor of Unionville has been telling our story to hundreds upon hundreds of hikers who pass through his home on the AT. It is hard to put in a reasonbly lengthy blog post the inspiration we have imposed upon other hikers and former mayor Dick Ludwig. Steve's spirit, I am confident, will live forever on the AT and I will do my best to instill it upon those I hike with and meet on the PCT.
Now, as i find it harder and harder to type, I announce that I am skipping up to mile 1989.5 Sisters, OR from Bridgeport, Ca mile 1018. I am neither proud of this jump nor ashamed. It is just the best decision in my situation before I complete my final year of architecture school at UNCC. As this midnight train rolls on I feel confident that getting to Canada is the right decision. I look forward to keeping up with friends made thus far and future friends to come. Afterall, that's what it's all about, as the father of the AT Benton Mackaye said " to walk and see and see what you see.". So that's exacly on what I intend to do.
I have been followed by and independent documentary film crew through most of my hike and will be filmed by them druring my finish of the northern terminus of my hike. It is hard to fully explain why I am out here to a complete stranger, but those who have the time and interest hear about a friend who never got this opportunity that I have recieved. There is plenty more I would like to say, but Hell maybe there will be book some day. Thanks for everyone's love and support, this trip couldn't be possible without you!

SIncerely,
Spencer

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A little time off

Well I headed out of Mammoth Lakes, CA and said my goodbyes to Tom and Kobie, only to take a wrong turn a mile ahead of them and proceed to go the wrong way for a brief amount of time. In that time Tom and Kobie passed me and I caught back up with them while they were taking their first break of the day. So we did our goodbyes all over again, it's basically been the goodbye that never ends. With a semi-late start of about 10:00 am I was able to get in about 25 miles and over the final difficult pass of the trail Donahue Pass. I camped just below the pass to avoid getting too low in elevation and mosquito territory. The next morning was my birthday, and as I was packing up and putting my rain jacket in my pack (which I also use as a my pillow) I felt something in the pocket, T & K had put some salami and a pack of twizzlers in the pocket with a little birthday note, so it was a good start to the day. From where I camped it was downhill to Tuolomne Meadows of Yosemite National Park. There, I enjoyed a birthday double cheeseburger and met up with Ryan, who I had hiked Mt. Whitney with. I took about a two hour break from there and headed on another 15 miles. I camped right by a creek in Virginia Canyon and had a nice little birthday dinner in the wilderness. The rest of the terrain through Yosemite was a lot of up and down in and out of canyons and the elevation gain/loss was reminiscent of that of the Appalachian Trail. The mozzies were absolutely terrible, I nearly used an entire bottle of Deet in one day and hiking with a mosquito net on your head is frustrating to say the least. I met a wonderful group of section hikers when I camped just about 14 miles south of Sonora Pass which is a highway that leads into Bridgeport, CA. They invited me to come down to where they were camping and we talked all about the trail (which they had section hiked up to where we were over the past few years in 100 mile increments). It was nice to chat with some other people since before then I had seen very few people the past few days. Allen, Larry, Trevor and Alissa (spelling?) offered me a ride into Bridgeport, CA and I couldn't resist. Once I got to Bridgeport I decided to go ahead and just get a ride to Tahoe from Stacie and Christa (two documentary film crew members that have been supporting another hiker who is just behind me). While waiting for a ride from Stacie and Christa I was walking down the street and passed the Jolly Cone ice cream joint where Gary, Jan, and Bob bought me a glorious chocolate cone that hit the spot on a summer day. It was certainly a nice dose of trail magic. From there Paul Mobley (a fellow Sanderson Spartan) picked me up and took me to his and his wife's, Megan, home. We caught up and I hung out with them until yesterday afternoon where another friend of mine who lives in San Rafael, CA (Collin Noble and his Mom) picked me up. Now I am currently deciding whether I should indeed skip a section to get to Canada or to just continue hiking, most likely with Tom and Kobie, until its time for this hiker to come home. I'm currently adding pictures and am accepting suggestions on whether to skip a section or to just keep going. Sorry its been so long since an update. Thanks for keeping up.

Spencer

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Trip 4 Steve

Ascending Mt. Whitney was one of Stephen's dreams. Although he wasn't able to physically summit the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states, his presence was definitely felt throughout the day and the trip in general. I spread a decent amount of his ashes that I have been carrying on top and the rest will be traveling with me to Canada. Kobie was kind enough to film the ceremony from two cameras, here is one of those clips. We all certainly miss his smile, laugh and great sense of adventure.

Spencer




video

pics

new pics are up!

Sierra's Part Two/Mammoth Lakes, CA

Hello all,

I am now in Mammoth Lakes, CA, 906.2 miles in. The last six days have consisted of ascending and descending pass after pass (a pass is the high point between two peaks). The lowest passes have been at 10,900' while the highest of this section have topped out at 11.978'. I have continued to carry both the ice axe and bear vault. Tom, Kobie and I have averaged about 20 miles a day which is hard work in the Sierra's after ascending 3,000'-4,000'/day and then descending it. I did have a bit of a string of bad luck this stretch. Friday, as we took a break at a bridge my sunglasses were sitting on top of my hat, as I took my hat off to scratch my head and swat some mosquitoes aka mozzzies, my sunglasses went "tink" hit the rail of the bridge and quickly swept away by the rapidly flowing stream below. Losing sunglasses when you're about to cross a snow field in a cloudless sky is not exactly what you want to do. Then as we descended down John Muir Pass (the snowiest pass of all) I lost my DEET bug spray which was a big mistake because the mozzies have been so bad. Seriously, if you stop hiking, they swarm you and cover your legs. They are especially bad towards the end of the day and are frantically trying to set up camp and get in your tent before they eat you alive. Saturday morning, I woke up, packed everything up as quickly as possibly because the mozzies were already bad, then had a stream ford within the first 20' of my day. With my ipod in my shirt pocket and my camera in my hip belt pocket of my pack I took my first step to cross the swift moving stream. Being as we cross around ten streams a day shoes on and all, I didn't think much of it. So I stepped on a rock with some shallow water flowing over it, what slipped my mind was the speed of which the water was flowing over it and leading into a bigger outlet creek just 15' away. As I took this step, my footing went out from under me and plop, I was fully emerged in ice cold snow melt water, camera, ipod, and all. Fortunately, I landed on my back (onto my pack) and as curse words didn't seem to get me out any quicker, I frantically found my footing and got back up before I was swept out to the bigger outlet creek. My next thoughts went straight to the condition of both my camera and ipod. I didn't want to check their status right then and there first thing in the morning, so I let them dry out. As I continued through the day when I got to camp last night and set up my tent it was time for the moment of faith. So, I turned on my camera, full of pics of this entire section. Everything was FINE. Then, turned on the ipod, a rush of relief came over me as it turned on and played perfectly. Crisis averted! I took a series of buses to get into town, including one in which the bus driver was a former DJ at Raleigh's own K97.5. We had a good chat and eventually hopped two other buses to get into town, I went straight to the Von's (the west coast equivalent to Harris Teeter) and bought one of those Rotisserie Chickens and 2 liter of Pepsi. I sat outside the store and polished off the chicken in minutes. I am now checked in at the Motel6, my home away from the trail, away from home. Stacie, one of the crew members of a Film Documentary crew is also in town and was nice enough to allow me to use her computer for an update. I hope everyone had a wonderful fourth of July and I look forward to reviving my packages n' such from the post office tomorrow from Momma, Lauren, Collin, Cassie, Murph, and Todd.

Warp on,
Spencer