Monday, October 13, 2014

Day Two to Grasshopper Pass

I have yet another hiking convert to my name. This was Leigh's first time on a backpacking trip; in fact, it was one of the few times she had even spent the night in a tent. Being with her was like being at Disneyland with a kid who's never been; she was so giddy it was contagious. 

Does somebody look a little excited?
It's a wondrous thing, watching someone "get it". Especially if you judged them a little as someone who wouldn't be into it. (Sorry Leigh, but you have to admit you don't come across as very outdoorsy. I mean, you did bring never should have told me that :))
I guess I can't really say for sure what she "got", except I felt that excitement coming from her that I also always feel. It's a sort of freedom, for lack of a better word, where you realize you don't have to fit in any sort of box, except the "human" one. A telltale sign is she didn't use her mascara...I don't think she even thought about it. And she said she couldn't wait to backpack again.
Leigh has found her inner hunter/gather
She had so many questions; and treated both Melodie and I as if we were Sherpas. (I know she occasionally reads my blog, so she should know better!) Though, we did run across some REAL experts on the way back to our camp from Windy Pass. 

I was hoping to see some thru hikers on this trip; I figured it was the right time for them to be finishing up their six month trek. (starting at the Mexican border and finishing in Canada) I'm pretty sure one passed us right after we started; Melodie commented once he flew by, "boy, he was ripe!" (the smell lingered for some time) That was when I remembered, "oh yeah, the thru hikers!"; and so I was sure to ask the next bushy man we met. It wasn't long before a bearded guy with a young woman came along, and they were way too cute and happy looking to have been hiking for six months. We were so mad we didn't take our picture with them (they really do feel like celebrities to me; what an amazing feat!) but I did ask if either had a blog. Here is a link to his: it's pretty cool.
Melodie's picture. She's a great photographer.
Like I mentioned last time, we had a leisurely morning and took our time getting back to the car. (I thought I was someone who took a lot of pictures, but Melodie has me beat!) Because it was a bit late in the day, I was so thankful for the ride to Meadow's campground to save me some mileage. The girls made sure I was all watered up and going the right direction, and then we said our good-byes. I could tell they were both emotional and worried for me; it was incredibly sweet.

Then Melodie said, "You're my hero" as I walked away. I thought about that the rest of the day. Hero? Because I get to go play hooky for a week? Because I'm escaping the day to day grind? No...that didn't feel right at all. Every mother or father getting their kid off to school and paying the bills and buying the groceries is the hero. But, if you're going to call a hiker a hero, then I believe the next woman I passed would qualify. 
Setting out on my own for a few days
She was the only one to announce to me without my asking that she was a thru hiker. You could tell she was proud of herself; and she should be! Turning 62 in a few days, and 30 pounds lighter than she started, you could tell that the poor thing had been through the ringer. I told her that her shoes looked like they were ready to be done (they seemed about to fall off) to which she replied, "you have no idea". 
Wish I remembered her trail name. I'll just call her wonder woman!
One of the bushy ones. He said his
trail name was Papa Bear
The PCT is a long, tough trail
And as long as we are on the subject of women hero's, I think I should mention Anish, the current record holder for the fastest thru hike of the PCT. (Not the women's record, but THE record. Boom.) Though, I loved what she said about her accomplishment; "My motivation was not coming from a competitive place. I just wanted to see what I could do for myself. I wanted to see what was possible". Here's the article if you'd like to read it. (sorry about having to copy and paste. I don't know what's up with that.)

I love trail art
So all that to say, it was hard to feel like much of a bad ass on this trip. Though, I felt grateful to be out there, enjoying it all the same.
Looking a little like a bad ass with Tatie Peak and Melodie's
loaner sunglasses on. I lost them on day 3. Sheesh.
I made it in plenty of time to the Grasshopper Pass camp and settled in for the night. I have to admit, I guess I was expecting these "sites" to be marked somehow; so I was glad I did my research to know where they were, because I easily could have missed this one. I'm SO glad I noticed it, because it was one of the most beautiful places to set camp ever.
See the water? That's where I'm headed

At least I thought so until I got to Snowy Lakes. Y'all can see those photos next time.

Part three:

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