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.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Heading North from Tuolumne

Late start. Amtrak and I led off and left the rest camping. We waited up for the others as we chatted to a hiker called Brian.

We eventually caught up the delightful Happy Feet and Tumbleweed at a lake (they had just got dressed following some skinny dipping so we timed it well). It got a bit cloudy and cold so there was not a huge incentive to swim but Bull and I waded in. A ranger came by whilst we were at the 'beach'. She quickly identified us as thru hikers (perhaps the smell) and immediately imparted a couple of bits of information to us. Firstly that she was married ??! And secondly that she had a gun.

We showed our permits and then concocted some unlikely stories for why we were 2 bear canisters short on our hike north. Bull's story, made up on the spot, was the most incredulous. He just said Happy Feet and Tumbleweed has all his food. Well, they are a couple and Bull is about 6ft 5 and 270lbs! I'm sure they couldn't carry enough food for him but the ranger has to catch you up to no good (ie hanging food from a tree or sleeping with it before they can fine you).

Anyway, a nice time at the beach. We had one pass to do and so pushed on. Towards the end of the day our guidebook implied a nice stroll around a lakeside which turned out to be a hideous rocky steep scramble up and then down for a couple of miles only to find very average camping spots in the dark. By the time we got there Basil was ahead and I was with him but Amtrak and Bull were nowhere to be seen so I assumed they camped earlier - in the end they arrived.

Bull offered to run back to the stream to get some water but came back empty handed because something big with white eyes was taking a drink from the water. I half expected a fun evening and diligently set about assembling a pile of munitions (rocks) outside my tent just in case of bear encounter before climbing into my tent with my bear spear (trekking pole). I had hung my food up reasonably well but realized that if a bear cub was sent up to get it I probably wouldn't know until morning. I resolved to buy a bear bell to tie to my food sack.


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