Saturday, August 31, 2013

Driving, Driving and some more Driving

On the Oregon coast
After our last post Sara and I went on a road trip to try and get our heads right for a glorious re-entry into society.  After getting a diagnosis of severe over training from the cardiologist, we set off towards Oregon to visit Sara's sister and find my brother on the PCT.  About the time we hit Barstow we got an update on some other tests I did and it turns out I also had giardia. Apparently I had had the lovely bug for almost two months and displayed none of the symptoms, but it did not allow me to recover at night like I should have been, which kept my heart racing, etc.  So we found a Walgreens and Starbucks that night in Sacramento so I could get my metranidazole fix and Sara could get caffeine.

We camped (possibly legally) just north of Redding on some pullout off some road where we could still hear the logging trucks fly by at three in the morning.  Fortunately the ripe blackberries in the morning made up for the few hours of sleep.  That morning, as we realized we left our camera at home, we made it to Crater Lake, the first park on our National Parkish tour.  Like much of the rest of the trip, smoke from forest fires blurred the view, but it was still spectacular.  We did a short hike, my first activity, down to the water's edge where we wimped out on swimming in the chilly water.

From Crater Lake we went up to Bend and stayed with our friend Amy (my girlfriend in-law) in her new apartment.  The next morning we ran along the Deschutes River, where Black Butte Porter flows at 200cfs into the Mirror Pond Pale Ale.  It was a great place for a first run for me, although Amy and Sara tried to hammer me, because it was flat and relatively lower altitude.  More on the Deschutes below.

Our next step was to try and find Gavin (my brother, Amy's boyfriend, Sara's boyfriend in-law) on the Pacific Crest Trail.  We knew he was supposed to be resupplying at Timberline Lodge near Mt. Hood in the next day or so, so our plan was just to hang out until we found him. A few miles before the turn to the lodge the PCT crossed the highway so we slammed on the brakes, pulled into the parking lot and asked another thru-hiker if he knew Gavin.  With over 1,000 hikers on the PCT why wouldn't he know Gavin?  Turns out this guy had been hiking with G-man and Gavin was only 20 minutes back.  Once again the Boughner's impeccable timing strikes.  We were able to spend the night with him along a branch of the Zig-Zag river before he resumed hiking.  It was wonderful to see him in his bearded glory and hear stories from his hike.  Apparently his hike involved many more shenanigans than ours.
Bumpass Hell

After a frustratingly fun two days trying to navigate back to Bend on roads not shown on our Atlas, we arrived at Sara's sister's place.  We had a great visit with Megan as well (where we got our last resupply box from my mom, the camera).  Megan showed us more of downtown Bend and borrowed some inner tubes for us to float on the Deschutes.  The four of us (Amy included again) spent a lazy
hour or so basking in the warm late summer sun of Central Oregon while freezing our butts off in the cold glacier fed river.  Once our feet, butts and hands thawed, Sara and I decided we would really like to have a river flowing through where we live.

Sara and El Capitan, Yosemite
From Bend we made our way to the Oregon coast, with a delicious stop at the Tillamook Factory, where we traveled south.  We spent a morning in the Redwoods, the tallest trees in the world, where we ran into a bear cub during a short run.  We also decided we need to go back and hike more in the park.  That afternoon we ventured to Lassen Volcanic National Park and hiked down to Bumpass Hell (appropriately named for the unfortunate Mr. Bumpass who, while demonstrating the possibility of bringing tourists into the boiling, sulfuric ponds, fell in and lost a leg), which was a rotten egg smelling vale full of multicolored rock and volcanicy stuff.  We decided we need to go back and hike more in the park.

That night we drove most of the way to Yosemite.  The latter portion of the drive (11:00pm-2:00am) was through incredibly smoky areas South of Reno, NV where ash was actually falling.  We managed to find another semi-legal pullout on a road on which to camp before venturing to Yosemite that next morning.  In Yosemite we drove through and did all the touristy stuff (saw Half Dome and El Capitan) and reaffirmed we need to go back and hike more of the park. 

In a Sequoia
Our next stop was at the southern end of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks with Sara's good friend Brie.  Brie is working in the park and so was able to give us an insiders view to the park.  We went for an awesome run in King's Canyon, swam in the King's river, and couldn't go in the cave because of a rock fall. 

We left the National Park tour for a bit and went to the people-infested place that is the Los Angeles megatropolis.  We were able to stay with some of Sara's friends and she showed me some of the great places to eat, and get ice cream.  We also got a tour of the space shuttle Endeavour, which after a multi-day journey through the streets of LA ended up at the Museum of Science.

Tortoise in Joshua Tree
Our last stop of the trip was Joshua Tree National Park.  Here we saw our first desert tortoise, Sara's first tarantula, and a coyote howling.  Neither of us had seen one actually howling.  We went for a short run up Ryan Mountain in the morning then hiked to the 49 Palms Oasis in the middle of a dry canyon.

After that we made our way back to Flagstaff.  Arriving in town this time was much better than a few weeks ago.  Aside from being very ready to get out of the car, both of us feel more ready to get back into the world of society.  I will resume work at Run Flagstaff, which has been very good to us while gone, and Sara will find a job that will tide her over until we resume hiking next summer and continue her commissioned art work.

Thus endeth the road trip.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

CDT: Part 1, Done.

Getting back on w/ Addie
This is the hardest post to write.  After taking two weeks off in Lander and attempting to get back on the trail, we were forced again to get off after a few days in the Wind Rivers due to my continued elevated pulse.  We have decided to leave the trail for this year and will resume our journey to Canada next summer. 

Our Lander host, Alice Brew, dropped off Sara and our friend Addie and me at the trail head after it seemed I had recovered.  We made decent time and thought all was great as we passed the spot where we had to turn around two weeks earlier.  As we entered the trees (finally, trees!) and started to climb, however, my heart rate shot up.  The slightest incline shot it over 140.  We managed the rest of the day and after passing signs to watch for grizzlies tearing apart a previously buried carcass we camped in a beautiful meadow. 

Beaver dam flooded this bridge
I had hoped that my heart rate was high due to just being out of shape from being off trail for so long, since we both had extra aches and pains, but by the afternoon of the second day it was clear that things were not normal.  The scenery was beautiful though.  It was great to get back into the mountains and camped on an unnamed lake at the base of a huge craggy mountain face. 

The next day we had lunch on a lake at the base of Temple and East Temple mountains before heading over the pass to Temple Lake.  Here, we saw the remnants of a glacier; a stark reminder that our world is changing.  The valley down to Big Sandy lake was gorgeous.  East Temple Peak provided a 2,000' backdrop as we lake hopped down the sheer glacial valley.  It took us all day to do 8 miles since we frequently stopped to allow my heart rate to drop back below 100.  It was not a bad place to need to stop though.  We could spend weeks in that valley.

Lunch spot
Temple Lake
After camping in the Big Sandy area we got out to the Big Sandy trailhead and managed to find a ride.  We were hoping to get a ride at least close to Lander, but the guy was heading to Salt Lake and for some reason went through Pinedale.  If you look at a map you will see that Pinedale is not at all on the way to Salt Lake, much less Lander.  We ended up renting a car so we could drive up to Brooks Lake and retrieve Addie's car.  Turns out we would have been forced around the Winds anyway due to fires that broke out in front of us.  Timing is everything. 

After driving back through the smoke-hazy Tetons, we took a few days to get back to Flagstaff and managed to see one of my old friends in the Rifle, CO area (Ryan Glassman) before staying with one of Addie's friends in Aspen.  We then drove over Independence Pass, had an awesome lunch in Salida (totally recommend the bakery/deli there) and camped just south of Durango.  Watching the mountains fly by as we traveled south through Colorado was depressing.  We spent a long time trying to get north through there and it was all undone in a few hours. 

There should be a glacier, instead it is a snowfield.
I managed to get into a doctor on Monday who ruled out heat exhaustion, so we were back to square one.  Since my resting heart rate never got below 78 on the trail those few days (typically in the 40's within minutes of stopping) and still remains in the high 60's, she thinks something else ails me.  She ordered numerous tests and referred me to a cardiologist, so we are still trying to figure things out.  

As we pulled into Flagstaff, both of us really just wanted to turn around and head back north.  Mentally, neither of us are prepared or capable of being home right now.  It was such an abrupt end to our journey for this year that it is hard to comprehend that last week we were still heading north, on foot.  We saw a few friends in town, but that was about all we can handle. As soon as we know what is wrong with me we are getting out of town to try and figure out how to re-enter society. We are hoping a road trip up to see Sara's sister in Bend, OR
and find my brother on the PCT will help.  All-in-all we would much rather be hiking. 

At this point we would like to thank everyone who supported and followed us through the hike this year.  It would have been much more difficult without the help of our friends and families.  We are going to keep occasionally updating the blog with our adventures and will definitely resume the blog with part 2 of our hike July 1, next year. 

Happy Trails!

-Track and Field

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Hiccup: Held Up and Holed Up in Lander, Wyoming

A watercolor thank you card for Alice
When we left off from our last post, we were getting back on the trail from South Pass, near Lander, WY. Unfortunately, when we got started Forrest wasn't feeling well, and as we hiked the first seven miles his condition escalated. His heart was racing, he was overheating, and he was nauseous. At one point, I looked over at him and he was stumbling along with his eyes closed. By that time, it became quite apparent that we needed to turn around. We hitched a ride back to Lander, and after a visit to a doctor and the hospital he was diagnosed with severe heat exhaustion. His symptoms had been building for a couple of weeks, so his recovery time was going to be lengthy.

We have been back in Lander for almost two weeks now, and Forrest has finally started to feel better. Incredibly, we have family friends here who have given us wonderful company, a place to stay, and food to eat. We could not ask for a better situation during this rough patch.

Forrest on top of Bridger Peak, just past the WY state line
In the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness
The generosity of our family and friends during this time has been remarkable. We have received care packages from our people in Flagstaff (thank you to Addie, Annie, Chloe, Jacque, Tati, and our parents), and hospitality from Alice, Aileen, and Amber. We cannot thank all of you enough for your support.

Needless to say, it has been difficult to be thrown so far off course. For a moment we were not sure that we were going to be able to continue on. We are now far behind our original schedule, and we have deemed ourselves the NOBO Sweep Team. I have experienced some times of great disappointment while waiting for Forrest to get better, but I keep going back to the first piece of advice we were given about this journey: be flexible.

Thankfully, we will be getting back on the trail within the next couple of days. Our good friend Addie will be joining us for this next section, and we cannot wait to visit with her. We are looking forward to finally going through the Winds, and sleeping outside once more. This next section will be taken one step at a time, with hope that Forrest will continue to feel strong.

Next stop, Brooks Lake Lodge.
-Track & Field

Forrest and I as we crossed the Wyoming/Colorado state line