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.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Beer and friends

Hey thanks for coming out for a swift last minute beer in the Haymakers you lot! Nice one! Thanks to you all - Steve & Ange, Paula and Paul, Judith and Hannah, Adam and Ivan. You remind me how much I miss cambridge!

See you soon! All the best to you all with what's up next.

Support Team in Training

Originally uploaded by jfdervin
Here is Sienna on a climbing route up Whitney from this past weekend. Excellent support team training!!!!!!

Here is Scott too...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

More photos - shots from Oregon added

OK I'm uploading a few more photos. When it's done you should see a better slideshow here.

Hope you like 'em.

Arrived at the Oregon/Washington Border - Cascade Locks

Since Mt Hood the weather has been a bit wet. We had about 10 hikers between 2 rooms at the Timberline year-round ski resort on Mt Hood. I was there first and had all my stuff dry so said I'd head out and leave a bit more space for the others (3 pints of beer led to that stupidity!).

I hiked about 4 miles that night and camped very carefully. The previous time I camped I got a bit of rain in my tent. Being more careful paid off and the rain stayed on the outside of the tent. The next morning though I waited in bed a while hoping for things to dry. They did not and the weather did not relent. I made a very careful plan for packing my stuff to keep as much of it dry as possible. The tent, however, was soaked.

All day it rained. The advertised views of Mt Rainer and Mt Hood were hidden in cloud. It was a very wet day. Undergrowth encroaching the trail ensured my shorts and feet stayed wet. I used my umbrella all day! This was quite a good thing since I have carried it for more than 1,000 miles now. Whilst it kept me out of the rain, the low cloud ensured everything was soaked.

My friend RocketCop makes his best miles in the rain since he doesn't stop. I tried that but had to give up and rest for lunch. I propped my umbrella in a tree and found a corner of my groundsheet that looked dry and pretended it was dry whilst I ate my lunch, supplemented by a half eaten jar of peanut butter someone had left along the trail (nice stuff!). I had a slow morning involving fording 2 difficult rivers, rather, the same river twice. The rain made the fording all the more difficult and the second one, on a recently downed tree, was particularly dodgy.

Mentally that day was tough since I knew I would have to camp with a lot of wet gear and I may struggle to get warm. I hiked on until 7pm and then started to get cold. I cursed the undergrowth that KEPT keeping my legs and shorts wet and shouted for it to relent and give me a campsite. Suddenly, at the side of the trail was a perfect patch of dirt and a fire circle. I wasted no time and put my plans, formulated during the day in my head, into action. I got the tent up and dried it out with my towel (which turned black). My thermarest was wet and hard to dry and my sleeping bag, although it had been inside a stuff sack, a garbage bag, a backpack and a pack cover - was STILL wet! I put a few damp items in the sleeping bag to dry and ate most of my remaining food (apart from the oatmeal - I always have too much of that). My shirt dried enough for me to wear it in bed, so with all my (mostly) dry clothes on I was warm enough. Even though my sleeping bag was a bit wet, I managed to get warm enough and have a good night's sleep.

After being mostly wet for 2 days, with feet like prunes, yesterday I saw the sun again and sat on a pile of warm rocks and had my lunch and read a book. After a while a few day hikers came by to see the amazing waterfalls on the Eagle Creek Trail. Then, after an hour Rocket Cop showed up! I couldn't believe it! He left a long while after me and had hiked all day without stopping. Incredible.

We were glad to get to Cascade Locks, get a room at the Best Western and hang up all of our wet gear. Of course we then went to eat, drink beer (by the Stein), buy some donughts and cookies and more beer and then pass out. Goodness me it is warm when you sleep indoors!

Sadly I have to leave the trail for a few days now to return to the UK to get my Visa renewed. It's a pain but it'll be nice to get back too and drink lots of tea. I get home on 26th August and get back to Portland on 30th August. I think I shall buy some books and read the paper!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sisters, OR

Just a quick note to say we're in Sisters. Have been travelling with new buddies Rocket Cop and Speed Stick for a while and doing a few more miles a day (25+).

I think I'm about 900+ by now.

I'm going to be in Portland by 23rd and then fly home to the UK for a week on 25th and then, hopefully, return to hike across washington.

All very well! A little sad to leave Deschutes county (because of the Black Butte beer!).

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

jumping up to oregon

We're in Reno right now ar Fish's house. He's a very decent "trail angel" who helps out PCT hikers a whole lot. He picked us up from the trail, an hour away, and let 7 of us stay at his house (me, Amtrak, Basil, Berta, Breeze, Potential 178 and Java), use the showers, do laundry, borrow his car and even showed us the best places to hang out in Reno. It will sure be hard to leave here!

Last night I had considerable luxury as I stayed at Dave and Kathy's in their RV parked at the side of their house. It has a new bed, excellent sheets, toilet, hot water, DVD player and TV. I could've stayed a very long time!!! Great to see Dave and Kathy and Bob and Chris too. Chris gave me a ride to Minden from Reno and Dave dropped me back today.

Chris is doing ever more excellent graphic design work and is now combining photography with it too. At the age of 19 he seems like a genius. I reckon he has more talent in his little finger than I have in my whole being. He is quite exceptional, I wonder where he will end up. He showed me a cover design he had done which looked like an album cover you would buy from a store, and an excellent one at that. Quite something.

Steve, from Cooper, was in Minden last night so we ate out with him too. A super nice guy and very good to catch up with him. Great fun, and food at Chilli's was excellent too.

Today, Amtrak and I are skipping ahead to Ashland in Oregon to skip this next part of northern california. It's pretty hot and treeless over the next section of California and I'm happy to leave it for another day, though skipping sections of trail doesn't completely suit me. Sadly I couldn't extend my Visa so I will now fly home around August 26th and hopefully return a few days later to get back and have a crack at hiking through Washington.

The trail gets even more remote from here north with fewer towns and stores so I am not sure when I will get email or phone service again.