Bubble in the desert

A blog I started whilst on a GE "Bubble" assignment in Nevada. I'm back in Cambridge (UK) now but still miss the desert and my friends out there.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A difficult day? Not so much - an absolute hoot! Met a bigger runner than Catra!!!

Basil and Bull had stuck their noses into the guidebook early and warned that it would be a difficult day starting with a big climb and then with more climbing to follow. HOWEVER, at the end of the first climb we found the swimming lake promised in the guidebook - wind protected, clean, clear, warm and with a rock about 8ft from the lake which you could jump off.

When I arrived Bull and Basil were sitting on this 8ft bolder staring into the water, trying to decide if it was deep enough to dive in to. I arrived and took off all my clothes and climbed in to much abuse from B&B for not using the diving route, which, after 45 minutes of looking at it they still had not dared to try. Amid the abuse they asked me to swim under the rock to see if it were deep enough. It turns out it was very deep, though did look shallow from above. Only after my checking for them did they dive in but the abuse from my not using the diving platform did not abate for some hours.

Pretty soon Heather showed up so Basil did the only reasonable thing, for an infant, and ran off with my shorts. I eventually retrieved them in my, just more than a fig leaf sized towel. Nudity when you are really dirty and sticky seems to be much less of an issue out here but Heather is quite religious and I thought she might be offended. I could clobber Basil sometimes.

Anyway, we did have an AWESOME time at the swimming hole. Amtrak and Heather and Happy Feet and Tumbleweed eventually showed up and some Southbound (SoBo) JMT hikers joined us too (Corn Dawg and Spork). We helped Corn Dawg with her feet since she was having a bit of blistering trouble and Happy Feet did some work on Basil's feet, since she is into Reflexology. Interestingly Basil never complained about his feet after this so perhaps she did fix them.

We decided Heather should be called The Navigator since she knew the area so well and was always pretty handy with knowing where she was on the map, much better than the rest of us.

It seems hard to believe but I met a bigger runner than Catra. Tumbleweed has a life time achievement of 60,000 running miles and, like Catra has run a number of 100 mile races (10 of them to Catra's 49). Pretty impressive. At the age of 66 he has had to retire from running so went for a 2,600 mile hike instead. Tumbleweed is a very typical long distance runner, interesting, tough as nails and modest. He told me he used to run 26 miles before work and 20 after work every day. He was not boasting, more just explaining how it was. Great people and he has the same birthday as me too.

Heather saw a Mummy bear and 2 cubs today. At first she thought there was only one cub and then heard a noise only to realize she was between Mum and cub. She hurried onwards out of the way but later observed that animals in Yosemite are weird. They are very used to people and so don't behave normally at all. Mum bear wasn't aggressive towards her or apparently worried about the cub, which is very odd. We see deer behaving oddly too. They come very close to us without fear.

Happy Feet also saw a big ol' bear today. An almost blonde one on the other side of a lake. She is so good at spotting them I thought I would hike with them for a while but I was a bit too different in my pace to make it work. Amtrak was waiting ahead at one point and was sitting by a river as a large sauntered past him, not noticing him, to get a drink. Yes, there are lots of bears around here.

We found a decent campsite for the night, big and flat, but low down, near a river and undergrowth so there were some biting insects out, though they were not too bad.

Lots of us camped together, Heather, me, Happy Feet and Tumbleweed, Amtrak and Basil.


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