Sunday, May 26, 2013

Trekking: Skyline to the Sea Day 2

What the Peacock?!

It’s finally day 2. A lot has happened since day 1... not to me, but for others a lot has happened I’m sure. I was just being lazy and not wanting to write anything. But here we go, anyway.

Look at us, we made it through the night! I'm just as shocked as you are!

And yet, we never made it to our pre-designed camp. We only made it to Jay Camp at Big Basin Headquarters. We broke camp at Waterman Gap and were on the trail by 8:30-9:00am. A lot of this was uphill. Chaos, who’s name is now Hot Topic (not after the store in the mall, just wait, you’ll see), said it was hot. It was not hot, maybe got up to 73? Maybe.

Both of us were already sore. Hot Topic’s calves and for me it was my shoulders and upper back. Repacking the backpack seemed to help. But only for the first 2 hours or so. I thought we could make it to Big Basin Headquarters by noon. That was a somewhat miscalculation. Then we recalculated once we realized how far we had actually not gone by our first break to 2 pm. We hobbled in at 2:30pm. And I mean hobbled. Backpacks went onto a picnic table and we hobbled into the camp store for its-it’s and drinks. But in between the its-it’s and breaking camp, Hot Topic got a blister. Complained about the heat. Thought that we must have gone miles when in fact we had only gone 0.8 miles. We got eaten by mosquitoes. Went over a giant sandstone batholith. Hot Topic said it was hot again. While on the batholith, she kept saying she was going to push me over the edge.

She's smiling, but what she is really saying is, "I hate you right now, and I am so throwing you over the edge!"

I kept telling her, she volunteered for this and that once we get to Headquarters, there’s ice cream. ICE CREAM!! She was dragging and hurting. I was a bit too, but I kept thinking we’d make it to Sunset Camp and I didn’t want to admit failure. A few hours before hitting Big Basin Headquarters, Hot Topic informed me, she would not be able to do another 5 miles to Sunset Camp. Quitter! Ok, not really, because, honestly, I wouldn't have made it either, or I would have and have turned into a swearing angry cranky worse than PMS woman child by the end and left Hot Topic on the trail to fend for herself. We'll not go there, okay?

We had caught up with Little IT Guy about 3 miles outside of Big Basin Headquarters. We walked with him for a while. We stopped so I could get a water bottle out of my pack and so Hot Topic could pee about 1.3 miles from Headquarters. We were soooooooo close!! But there was a park bench!! During this time Little IT Guy passed us. He was staying at Jay Camp in Big Basin Headquarters.

So, when we hobbled into Headquarters who did we see eating an ice cream cone? Little IT Guy of course. He had said he had checked in with the ranger and said that there was room at Jay Camp. So after our its-it’s, Hot Topic laid down on the picnic table and I hobbled over the the Ranger Station. I asked if we could stay at Jay Camp instead of Sunset Camp, because we were not going to make it. The Ranger said no problem. I gave her our permit and I asked if we could pay here. She said, “You didn’t pay already?” Nope. Sorry. I didn’t know we were suppose to pay our camp fees at Castle Rock Headquarters before we began the adventure the day before. That was 3 miles in the other direction of where we were dropped off. I didn’t know. But I do now. The Ranger was cool about it, and I told her I now do not feel any guilt about not paying yet.

We did 10.5 miles today. And because we didn’t make it to Sunset Camp, tomorrow will now be close to 13 miles. Sure hope it will be easier and that Hot Topic will be okay. (She informed me that she took 3 vicadin and 2 aleves today)

We put the packs back on for the last time... today and hobbled over to Jay Camp. Oooh actual flush toilets and sinks and showers! Big Basin Headquarters is awesome.

I was shocked and slightly amused by the fact that although Hot Topic has lived in Santa Cruz her entire life, she has never been to Big Basin before. I came here almost every summer with my dad and brother when I was a kid. Creek walking, jiffy pop, campfire with the rangers, and roasting marshmallows, hiking with dad, scary showers with the spiders, some of my fondest memories of my childhood are here. So anyway, we set up camp, said hi to Little IT Guy, and set off on the Redwood Trail to introduce Hot Topic to the wonders of Big Basin and Mother and Father of the Forest. We also stopped in at the Sempervirens Room and the Nature Museum. Walking without the packs was nice. And Hot Topic loved seeing the trees. Not that we didn’t see trees all day, but she kept saying “look how big this one is”, and I kept saying, “there are bigger ones, just wait”.

Tomorrow we will need to get up early so that we can actually get some beach time! We saw several banana slugs and three deer and only four day hikers on the trail before we got near Headquarters. I asked Hot Topic if she wanted to add anything: It was cool going in and out of different vegetation zones all day (Chapperal/ redwood forest/ oak woodland), and although the sandstone batholith was hot, it was cool. Did I mention it was hot? And the penis and vagina tree were really cool (aka Father and Mother of the forest). Here is her proof:

In Mother of the Forests vagina

pointing out Father of the Forest's penis

Oh and we only almost got lost twice. I’d say Day 3 will come shortly, but since it took me over a week to get to day 2, who really knows.
I'm just going to look up this tree for a while
 Click here for Day 1               Click here for Day 3

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Trekking: Skyline to the Sea Day 1

a three day backpacking adventure of about 30 miles through Castle Rock and Big Basin State Parks
Day 1:

Saratoga Gap (the intersection of hwy 9 and hwy 35 in Saratoga California) to Waterman Gap trail camp. Total of 6.4 miles. 7 for us because we started on the wrong trail. D’oh! Face palm!

I got to My life is Chaos’ house in Santa Cruz around 9:30am. Her husband and wild child dropped us off at the wrong trail head, which I thought was the right trail head by 11:00-11:30am. After of course we had to first go to New Leaf market (super hippy grocery store that you only find in places like Santa Cruz) because she hadn’t had breakfast yet and husband needed coffee and she had eaten the chocolate for the trail already. Then after wild child's second coconut water, realized she had forgotten to pack the apples and carrots for the trail. So back to the house of chaos. Finally on the road, up hwy 9.

Got to the intersection of hwy 9 and 35 and thought there would be some sign or obvious trail head at the obvious parking lot, but nooooooooo. Chaos’ husband needed a cigarette by then, so parked there and let us loose. So here is us at the wrong trail head. See how happy and clueless we are?

After a bit down the wrong trail, Chaos needed to pee and kept saying “this doesn’t feel right, I think we are going the wrong way”. Fine. After her first squat in the woods I got the map out and sure enough... wrong trail. Went back up the trail and back out to the parking lot, crossed hwy 35 and started walking down hwy 9 and saw the right trail head sign. Here we are at the right one. Yay!

Almost the entire first day was next to hwy 9 and crossed it several times. Only saw two day hikers. We stopped for lunch at the Sempervirens (have you googled this yet, Chaos?) Point lookout. Which was not quite our first day halfway point. A lady came by and asked us where the entrance to Castle Rock State Park was (we were in Castle Rock) and I felt really proud of myself when I busted out the map and knew where we were and where she needed to go. Boo-yeah.
getting lunch out

our view during lunch

back on the trail

Made it into Waterman Gap Trail Camp by 2pm.

There was only one other person there. Ms. Chaos said we should go talk to him in case he was a serial killer. Because apparently if you talk to a serial killer, he is less likely to serial kill you. Ok. He told us there was a camp site down the hill if we wanted. We went down there and saw this:

Chaos decided it was made by meth cookers and that she will not sleep anywhere near it. So back up the hill to where we initially decided to set up camp. Our potential serial killer was listening to the Giants game on his radio. After talking with him, we decided he was not a serial killer and just a short, retired IT guy who loves gadgets and gizmos. He is training for a 21 day backpacking adventure with his daughter on the John Muir portion of the Pacific Crest Trail. He is out “testing” his equipment. You go, little IT guy!

We set up the tent, no problem. Got the cook stove out and hooked up the little propane tank and got dinner started. Gourmet dinner of ramen noodles! I bumped the stove and spilled all the ramen and water out. Oops. Luckily, Chaos had packed extra. So started over with new water and ramen noodles. After dinner, little IT guy came over and showed us his cooking equipment and what he had for dinner and told us about the raccoons. I knew that raccoons would get into our food if we didn’t properly store it. He suggested that we put it in the bathroom. It was the cleanest bathroom ever, just didn’t have any toilet paper. (Chaos brought a role though, so all was right with the world) So we did. He also put his bear box in there too. He said he didn’t want to hear the raccoons scratching at it all night. He has a gadget to repel raccoons, by the way. Ok.

By 6pm, the mosquitoes were so bad that we retreated to the tent. The Deet was not working. Not knowing what to do with ourselves at 6pm inside our tent, we were both close to sleep by 7pm. How sad is that? Not even dark, and Chaos is snoring.

The first day wasn’t too bad. Our backs were sore from the packs, but my feet and legs felt good. Saw two banana slugs, heard the raccoons and some deer once it got dark. I would sleep for maybe an hour or two and then wake up, re-adjust, and sleep another few hours and wake up again. I did not get cold though. I always get cold when camping. That was the one thing I was most paranoid about this entire trip, was being cold at night. But it was all good. Even after I had to break out of the cocoon in the middle of the night to go relieve the bowels. Yay!

Day 2 coming soon: where Chaos gets a name change and tries to throw me off a cliff.

Click here for Day 2                  Click here for Day 3

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

I'm so sorry

My sincere apologies... to all 20 of you who actually read this. For? Writing on and on about my exercise routines and workout progress. I don’t care about yours, so why would you care about mine? I don’t care that you did yoga today at the beach or ran your fastest 5k or that you’re training for your next marathon. That’s great and all, and more power to you, but still, I don’t care that you can do 200 squats or that you rode your bike 30 miles, and I certainly don’t need to see it.

So why in the world would you be even the slightest bit interested that I can now run a 5k and still breathe normally? You’re not, are you? I didn’t think so. So I promise from now on I won’t write about it. Unless it’s funny. Like today, I almost inhaled a bee and almost tripped over grass. But that’s not entertaining enough. So you won’t hear about me running or anything else unless I do actually inhale a bee and get stung on my tongue or trip over grass and do a face plant into dog shit. Or get chased by a rabid chihuahua and run smack into stop sign. That’s funny. And trust me, all of these scenarios are likely in my future... trust me.

So again, I’m sorry for torturing you. Now on with the drivel about other stuff and such.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

thinking positive

I woke up this morning and told myself, "It is going to be a good day". I said that several times to myself while forcing myself out of bed.

And it turned out to be a good day. Who knew. Why?

1.) My favorite show is on tonight *fangirling

2.) Fun stuff was on twitter and tumblr today *made me lol and lmao literally

3.) Perhaps most importantly, but still #3 on my list is I got a job today.

It's just part time, minimum wage-ish (slightly higher, I hope) at a coffee shop. But it will help pay the mortgage, get me out of the house, and give me barista skills (read latte artist) for when I get my shop going.

So yay for positive thinking in the mornings. Maybe I should do this every day.