I’m on vacation this week and next, when we do Zion, Bryce and the North Rim
all in one week (realizing that a month could be consumed in each of these locales.
Well, that’s what the future’s for). Till then posting could be a bit light
in these parts, but there’s nothing in particular on today’s schedule, so I
might as well do a blogroll:

The Sacramento Bee’s John Muir Trail adventure is complete. From
a wrap-up by Emily Franciskovich
, who with partner Jim Hurley hiked the
whole trail in 28 days. The Bee sent newsroom staffers along two at a time for
a week at a time.

One thing about backpacking is certain — the core of your trail mates comes
out in a hurry. Good manners, ruggedness, patience, calm, generosity and flexibility
all matter in a big way. While hiking the Muir Trail, one cannot hide behind
a fancy car, a stylish suit or a nice house on the hill. Make no mistake,
there are no US or People magazines to confuse reality in the backcountry.
In fact, it is my opinion that there is something fiercely equalizing about
taking backcountry journeys like the Muir Trail. At the end of the day, everyone
looks a bit dirty, smells somewhat ripe and feels pretty hungry. In the backcountry
it is all about good old fashioned human interaction. It is this element,
this element of rawness that makes backpacking so special.

Jim Hurley’s wrap-up:

Unlike on other hikes, trekkers on the JMT do not limit themselves to the
obligatory “hello” and “good-bye” but pause long enough to share personal
backgrounds, trail stories, and their inspirations for hiking the JMT. For
most of the journey, Emily and I leap-frogged over 200 miles with several
different groups. There was the charming middle-aged couple who displayed
their mutual love by playfully tossing snowballs or flirting openly, he displaying
flexed muscles and she striking a coy pose. Two old friends from New Mexico
and Marin County greeted all passers with a quick joke or a song to serenade,
but also managed to negotiate with me the sale of a $20 imaginary cheeseburger.
But the trail experience would not be complete without the sprinkling of foreigners,
mostly Europeans. Two brothers from Germany reminded us at each meeting that
the 60 year old dragged his 50 year old brother across the world only to carry
the heavy load. Such is life on the JMT: cultivating relationships out of
shared experiences, old and new.

Pictures from the Bee’s JMT project are here.

Speaking of thru-hiking,
Dirt Diva is in Maine
and planning to finish the Appalachian Trail near
the end of this month.

Been moving through Maine at lightning speed. First it was to outrun the
dreaded rains from Hurricane Ernesto (or was it a tropical storm?). Now it
is because we are so close to Mt. Katahdin, we can smell it. Maybe we can’t
really smell the mountain, but there are some changes in the air. Fall has
arrived. The trees first started changing a few days ago, and now each day
the colors are more vibrant. The panoramic views from Saddleback Mt and Horn
Mt have been quite rewarding. Maine is such a great place to hike with all
of its ponds and bogs. If you can get past the part where you have to hop
through and around all of the mud holes, it is just downright beautiful.

Speaking of thru-hiking, part II:
Haiku’s Pacific Crest Trail photo album
has many excellent pix.

Speaking of day-hiking, we can now officially suspend sympathy for John Fedak’s
broken ankle. He climbed
Mount Tallac in Yosemite over the weekend.

Speaking of day-hiking, part II: HikingLA
visited what could be the most massive tree on earth.