Friday: “Let’s go backpacking.” “Ok.” I set up the tent in the living room to make sure I knew how to do it, and I lit the stove outside on the porch to make sure I hadn’t forgotten how to do that. I let too much fuel go into the priming cup and didn’t turn the fuel off before lighting it, which is very bad. But nothing burned down. Went to sleep at 3am. “But where should we go?” “Um… I dunno”
Saturday: Late start–12:45pm or so? Decided half-heartedly to go to the Big Sur area. R bought a book and picked a hike. “The book says that this one’s easy,” he said. When I read the book, it said ” Drove for many hours, the last hour of which was on a dirt road, and the middle hours of which were strewn with needing gas but being forced to go past gas stations on the other side of the street and left turns that actually turned out to be freeway entrances thus delaying the getting of gas even more. Parked at China camp, plan = hike from trailhead near China camp to Pine Valley camp, 5.5 miles one-way. Saw two other guys with packs wandering around China camp, thought they must be ending their day. Began hiking because we were there and it took many hours to get there, in spite of it being 5:45pm. Wildflowers are pretty: lots of small thin purple ones, slightly larger orange ones, very tiny pink ones. I wish I brought my camera. Saw a giant stalk coming out of a small cactus or aloe-like leaf-bush and marvelled at it, went a few paces further and saw a flowering one: very tall, twice my height, with huge white flowers coming out evenly all over the stalk. How can I possibly find out what this plant is called? Maybe when Ryan gets out of work he can post some pictures. Anyway, we trudged on, the sun went lower and lower, the shadows got longer, horse poo was smelly, and a few hikers and two equestrians + mule passed us going the other way (when the couple on horses passed by, we were on a part of the trail that cut around the side of a pretty steep hill. The horses were HUGE. Also, I wouldn’t like the mule’s job–it was strapped so that its head was right at the ass of the horse in front of it). There wasn’t any water until after the “2 miles left” mark. As it got dark and we were stopped to filter water, the two guys we saw at the “parking lot” caught up to us. “We were hoping we’d get there before dark,” the one without glasses said. “I used to hike these mountains all the time 30 years ago,” the one with glasses said. “But I’ve been sitting behind a desk ever since.” Felt better because R and I weren’t the only crazy people who set out so late. Got out tiny purple flashlight. Felt pathetic because flashlight was so useless. Got dark. Talked to some other people with a bunch of dogs who said the campsites further down were probably all taken. Staked campsite as ours at 9:30pm or so. Shared it with the two guys; non-glasses pitched a tent and got in while the other just slept outside on a tarp in a sleeping bag, as far as I could tell. Lit stove on first try with no mishaps or fireballs, made food (lasagna-in-bag, delicious), roasted vegan marshmallows over stove (also very delicious), too dark and tired to go traipsing out to find a peeing spot or brush teeth, listened to guy in tent nearby snore. Couldn’t sleep, looked at watch once at 1:30am. Sore, and also on incline, and also cold despite mumminess of sleeping bag because R didn’t want me to pitch the fly, because then you could see the stars through the “windows.” Next time I’m putting the fly up because we can’t see the flipping stars without our glasses anyway.
Sunday: Got up at 9:30 to find that the two guys were long gone. Slid down slight hill to creek, whose water was very nice. R said “There are tiny fishes here that leap up out of the water to eat insects!!!” but I didn’t see any. Finally found peeing spot. Many, many flies, and many, many mosquitos. Began hiking back at 10:45am. Didn’t refill water at the place we knew was the last place there was any water because we thought it’d only be two more hours. Got very hot. Thought I was going to die (as I lolled around collapsed in the dirt R would say that it was actually hard for him to go this slow, but refused to just go to the car because he was afraid I’d pass out due to heatstroke). Running out of water is not fun. Etc. Saw a guy pass us going the same way who said his group had come the other way to Pine Valley camp from Big Sur (19 miles away, good LORD) and they were staying at Pine Valley for the night and he was just day-hiking out to China camp and back to call someone to pick them up tomorrow. He went really, really fast. Many hours passed, during which I continued to collapse and loll about every 15 feet or so. It was really bad. Long uphill, downhill, uphill + where we passed the equestrians, short downhill. Saw the day-hiking-to-call-someone guy coming back the other way, who reassured us that the top of the last hill was near. Got to car at… um… I’m not sure… 4pm? So going in took 3.5 hours, but going out took 6… and it was the same trail. Ryan said, “I have never been so happy to see this car in my life.” Drove to small village, ate at Goose ___ Cafe (Goose Valley Cafe?), bought two gigantic bottles of crystal geyser water and amazon tea fruit juice (I got watermelon, it tastes just like an otter pop). Got home at … oh… I don’t know… 8? It was still light outside.
Monday: Got up at around noon. Entertained idea of going to Berkeley Marina for the fourth of july festival. Decided that what I really wanted to do was fly a kite. Went to Safeway to get blueberries, milk, lactose-free milk, pie crust mix, and a kite, but they did not have pie crust mix or kites, so went to Andronico’s, who also did not have a kite. Decided we didn’t have time to go to the marina or look for kites. Baked blueberry pie. I have discovered that I have a talent for crust-making. It must be because I like making even, geometric patterns. Went to San Mateo, played Loot (arrrr), forgot Vegi Stix in apartment, drove to Safeway parking lot, got Safeway sandwiches from extremely harried workers, staked out spot on lawn next to drunk/high/cigarette-smoking people who said things like “don’t say that, there are fucking children here!” and “if it isn’t the travman! crackin’ like pistachios!” (we weren’t quite in agreement about “crackin” but what else could it have been? I am sure about the “like pistachios” part). Fireworks were pretty. Guy kept saying “WHAT” and “OKAY” at every explosion, which amused Georb to no end. Very slow getting out of parking lot. Played “Things in a box” which was similar and slightly inferior to our favorite of games “Wise and Otherwise,” and found out that we were all too tired to remember 5 entries every round, especially when they were all “appendices.”
[below added at 5:37pm]
The aftermath of all of this, plus other things I have to do, is as follows:
- I must clean backpacking things. Nobody wants to unroll a tent in the field and find old bits of grass and mud and dead bees inside their temporary safe haven. The dirt at the bottom of my jeans is unbelievable. Brush off thermarest, shake out sleeping bag, and SO … MUCH … LAUNDRY…
- I must buy more backpacking things. All the pants I have (which are all jeans) are completely unacceptable for backpacking, as they do not move with my body and fall down because their waists are not elastic, leaving my middle COMPLETELY EXPOSED TO THE ELEMENTS DAMN YOU WHITE MAN FOR KEEPING ME DOWN. Also, I desire a “hydration system” aka a pouch with a tube that I can suck on in small sips. More fuel. A better jacket (light, warm, packable, not ugly). More Clif bars, they are yummy, I want to go to Price Club… er… Costco… and buy a 50-pack, but R says “but it’s so hard to go to price club and only get one thing.” At least my sleeping bag and tent and backpack are all very satisfactory.
- The toilet is broken.
- I must make things out of the beautiful half-spheres of plastic I got. I keep putting it off.
- At some point I should decide if I want to change my major.
- Arrange Harbor again.
- You know, etc