900 Miles Comes in With a Thunderous Storm! (T-Fox)

 

Hit 900 miles on June 11th!

Hit 900 miles on June 11th!

June 4: 2.5 miles back towards PCT (Kearsarge Pass)
June 5: 5 miles back to PCT and Miles 787 to 800 (18 miles)
June 6: 800 to 815 (15 miles)
June 7: 815 to 835 (20 miles)
June 8: 835 to 856 (21 miles)
June 9: 856 to 879 (23 miles)
June 10: 879 to 898 (19 miles)
June 11: 898 to 907 (9 miles) – to Mammoth Lakes, CA

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First off, I have to apologize that it is I, T-Fox who is blogging once again. This blog is meant to be a joint sharing opportunity for both Lorax and myself, but he has been incredibly busy working on sorting out our impending future and his grad studies. He is schmoozing professors at the moment, and has landed some video interviews, which sadly resulted in him having to shave his hiker beard. He has been offered funding for U-Vic, so looks like we may be residing in Victoria when we finish! WE. ARE. STOKED.

Ok. So 8 days of epic back-packing to blog about in one post is just plain ridiculous! Let’s just say that we are still having fun (most of the time), and we are embracing our daily routine of eat, walk, eat, walk, eat, and finally…sleep. Here’s some pictures with some hi-lited moments in words…

Our cheese supply...for seven days - 3 pounds!

Our cheese supply…for seven days – 3 pounds!

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June 7th we had a serious lesson in our differed ability out here. I always knew that Lorax was a pro at hiking and all it’s ins and outs. He is incredibly optimistic in the wilderness, and he always seems to keep a great attitude. He’s won two “adventure wilderness challenges” in Montana by sticking with it, and stretching his limits, and at times, his comfort zone.

I, on the other hand, love my comfort zone and feel completely out of sorts when I’m not within it. This morning, we pushed over Mather Pass. We were beginning the descent by 7:30am, which means HARD, HORRIBLY CRUSTED snow – also referred to as ice. We knew that doing the pass early would mean ice, but we heard there wasn’t much on this particular pass, and we also knew that the angle wasn’t too steep.

I was a mess.

Cried off and on the entire time, equating the slightest slip of the foot to sudden death. Lorax assured me that I was doing great, and to just focus on one foot placement at a time. All I could see (with my perception at the time) was a sheer slide of never ending snow that was sure to take me to my Maker. Not to mention that once we had completed the ice fields, we found ourselves scrambling down loose shale rock at fairly steep angles. Talk about a comfort zone stretcher!!

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Sketch-ville...

Sketch-ville…

Here’s what we learned: T-Fox learned that things go much easier if she faces her fears with the clarity of a determined mind, as opposed to a frazzled, dooms-day kind of mind. Lorax learned that while something may seem like a walk-in-the-park to him, the more patient he is with his struggling wife, the smoother things go.

We are a work in progress folks…but we are better for our struggles.

The rest of the day was incredible. We descended down from the pass for 10 miles. It felt nice to feel hot again for a change, but it got almost too hot! Lorax even swears he smelled BBQ’d Fox…

After the descent, we had another pass ascent (are you noticing a pattern here?). The views were TO DIE FOR. Did I die…am I in heaven…?

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June 8th we went over Muir Pass, which was FULL of snow. We hit her early as well, and found that due to the hotter than usual overnight temps, the snow was very soft by 9am…we just can’t win with the snow right?! We were post-holing (where your legs penetrate the snow down to one’s crotch with every step), but we managed to get off the pass without our morale being completely shot.

6:30 am river crossing...

6:30 am river crossing…

Lorax leading the way up to Muir Pass

Lorax leading the way up to Muir Pass

Early enough in the morning that the snow was still firm.

Early enough in the morning that the snow was still firm.

Chilly dip in Evolution Creeek! Brrr...

Chilly dip in Evolution Creeek! Brrr…

June 9th took us over Selden Pass – “the easiest pass” as quoted by Yogi (who is a PCT veteran and legend…she knows it all). It was nice to have next to no snow on a mountain pass for once…we needed that! The bugs have started to come out now though, but not with a vengeance…yet…

Being as we are on the John Muir Trail at this point, we come across a fair amount of hikers on any given day. One hiker today asked me if I was a day hiker. I wasn’t sure if I should take that as a compliment or an insult! Compliment meaning I have far too small a pack for someone covering distance, as well as I look cleaner than my five days without a shower should warrant…insult meaning I look like a wimp and incapable of hiking for 12 plus hours day after day. I’m gonna go with the former…

We were HUMMING down the trail in the afternoon. I was starting to feel the joints cease-up and the legs were voicing some protest, so I did what I always do when my body tries to stop me before my destination – put on awesome music, down a chocolate protein shake with instant coffee, and keep moving! Those last 7 miles of the day were sponsored by such great artists like The Fleet Foxes, Timid the Brave, and Band of Horses (thanks to my cool sisters Becki and Tricia for the music suggestions!) Music is fuel to the soul…and apparently the body! Our bodies are feeling slightly rickety for the pounding we put them through. As Lorax just put it, “My knees have about 4-degrees of motion.”

A five minute fishing session before the bugs got us! No fish this time...

A five minute fishing session before the bugs got us! No fish this time…

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The following day was…well…hmm…rough…? T-Fox was in slow motion. We ended up ascending a total of 5000 feet, with some wicked gnarly descents as well, and my knees were pounded. To top the day off, and to add to my frustration and stress level, we had a hefty thunderous storm, complete with hail, rain, lightning and echoing thunder. Luckily we were able to set up our tent in decent time and my racing heart could relax…a little…

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Steep switchbacks in the HOT afternoon sun

Steep switchbacks in the HOT afternoon sun

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The storm's a brewin!

The storm’s a brewin!

Safe from the storm in our home...sigh.

Safe from the storm in our home…sigh.

And now we are in Mammoth CA! What an awesome town! We are in the nicest Motel 6 I have ever seen (clean and modern) and I just emerged from a glorious afternoon fox-nap. As emerging from the bed, I exclaimed to Lorax, “Isn’t this just wonderful?” Now it’s off to wander the coffee shops and health food store! I know…I am such a geek.

Thanks for following…walk on…

T-Fox

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4 Responses to 900 Miles Comes in With a Thunderous Storm! (T-Fox)

  1. Kirk Durston says:

    Everytime I look at the new photos you’ve posted I’m just plain envious! That is fantastic news about the U of Victoria!!

    Poppa Lorax (P.S. planted yet another tree this week, as is fitting for a Poppa Lorax)

  2. Mother Hen says:

    Thank you for sharing your incredible journey! Stay well!

  3. Momma Lorax says:

    My knees were aching along with yours as I read your blog Tara. So glad you stuck it out. I so appreciate your attitude and all that you are learning as you embrace this adventure. What great life lessons. Know that you are loved and missed. Be wise and safe!
    – I’m so excited about your news about U of VIC!!

  4. kirsten206 says:

    Hi! I’ve been following your blog form my office! Love your photos – keep them coming! It’s amazing that you are able to get through the Sierras so early. I kept reading about how intense and snowy they are until mid-late June. Is this global warming in effect? Bad for the planet and CA water supply, but good for thru-hikers?
    I hiked WA state, my home, 24 years ago and dream now of returning to do the whole thing with my husband when our son goes to college in another 5 years. He laughs when I tell him of this dream – well, I will just have to show my son that mom can do anything!
    Thanks for sharing – I am loving your posts. the Sierras look stunningly beautiful. Thanks for those amazing photos. .

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