Saturday, April 25, 2015

Inconvenience? Set-back? Opportunity?

I am presently located very conveniently, across the street from the city library in Bishop - with time on my hands and the opportunity to post a few photos.  Although I must confess that my enthusiasm for the task has suffered a little.

The walk is proceeding at little more then a crawl just now!  New boots arrived at the Post Office in Lone Pine, and within a few miles I found myself noticing several problems that worsened over the following days.  The foot issues don't bear too much description, and I haven't the heart for it anyway.  But I have been stalled once again, with some wounds that needed healing, and the on-going quandary of what to do about footwear!  Luckily there is a good hostel here (Hostel California!), and plenty of outdoor gear/sporting goods stores that service the many Eastern Sierra hikers and climbers.  The scenery is still breath-taking - mountains to the east and the west.  Yesterday I was treated (by fellow hostelers with a car!) to a day of sight-seeing/walking on some gorgeous hiking trails in the vicinity.  Tried out a pair of running shoes without further damaging repercussions...

One very interesting and worthwhile detour between Lone Pine and Independence was a stop at the former Japanese internment camp at Manzanar.  The site is extensive and very evocative, and the Nat'l Park Service has done a great job of putting together the museum and introductory video.  I spent a couple of hours there and could have stayed longer.

Bishop represents another turning point; in just a couple of miles I'll be on U.S. Route 6 - a route I could conceivably follow all the way to New England!  The Nevada state line is about three days walk from here (at my speed and inclination!), and in Nevada there will be great stretches of lonely highway, devoid of services, or so I hear...  Maybe I do need extra time in Bishop just to breathe slowly and deeply, and take that in!  A very great blessing and comfort is that I will have some vehicular support for a few days starting in Tonopah, NV.  Have also been in touch with a Nevada resident I will be visiting next month, in the middle of the longest stretch between towns.

The Hostel California

Manzanar Museum


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Lone Pine, and some photo 'catch-up'...

Here I am in the town of Lone Pine, patiently awaiting delivery of a new pair of boots.  It seems unbelievable to have completely worn down the heels of my almost new Keens in a matter of weeks! Nice town to be exploring while I wait, quite conducive to patience...  Beautiful countryside around here at the base of Mt. Whitney.

Also unbelievable -- very high winds the other night, and fact that my tent was not flattened.  Spent a good part of yesterday cleaning up the grit that got into all of my gear!

Today, thanks to some very serendipitous rides to and from the trailhead, I got a hike up to Lone Pine Lake, on the trail to the Mt. Whitney summit.  The elevation at the lake is almost 10,000' (I was surprised to discover.) It was a toss-up as to whether I stopped so often to take photos due to a need to catch my breath, or from sheer amazement at the breath-taking views.  Serious mountains up here!



Sunday, April 12, 2015

Turning the corner!

Learning about love and attachments, resistance and denial. Always about gratitude.  And the practice of recognizing the relationship between values and judgments. So far my instincts/intuition have proved to be reliable. And sometimes a little bit painful!

Arrived yesterday in the town of Inyokern, where I will change directions for the next few weeks, heading north on Rt. 395  (which is also 'Historic Rt. 6) until they diverge north of Bishop. Had a lovely time in Kernville, with a generous host who, along with her dog and cat companions, made me feel like family. Kernville hadn't been on my route originally, but for several favorable recommendations and a convergence of circumstances!

Came over Walker Pass and camped at the campground there, which intersects with the Pacific Crest Trail. PCT season doesn't officially start for another few weeks, but I was blessed to find that the 'trail angels' were out already! Great thanks to more Bodhisattvas of the road!

Still have intermittent cell service; they say it will be spotty up Rt. 395. Boot heel treads totally gone after this first 3 weeks!! Will be looking for a delivery of some new (and, I hope, more durable ones) in Lone Pine.

More photos to follow; so amazing that I cannot get them attached, after more than an hour of trying!

Friday, April 3, 2015

First leg -- Arriving in Bakersfield.

A moment of flagging courage:  waking up in such a sprawling and relentlessly commercial town, without a car.  But a morning coffee and a chat with someone familiar did wonders toward restoring the old morale.  And a couple of days of regrouping, supported by the help of several lovely, generous people, have made me feel much more 'at home'!

I do not know exactly how many miles (100+) I have walked now, at the beginning of this rather audacious venture.  But I do know that whatever 'rules' I have set for myself are subject to constant adjustment!  This is about rising to the immediate occasion, learning to trust, pray/meditate, offer up the many blessings that have come my way already, with a grateful and humble spirit -- and trying not to lapse into crabbiness in moments of panic!

My appearance is unusual, to say the least, walking along with a trailer.  Many conversations have ensued and again I find myself wondering about the goals and ideals of this business (beyond my own personal 'calling' to get out here on foot).  How would I ever make an impact on anyone's orientation around environment and lifestyle, in the space of a brief conversation?  As I've resolved to do, I can only express my concerns and opinions to those who ask about my purpose.  And realize (as I enjoy so many kindnesses from others), my own part in the consumption of those resources I'm concerned about!

Many thanks are in order, to the Bodhisattvas of the road! (These are sort of like Buddhist angels or saints, in case anyone's wondering...) I have been offered (among other things) accommodations in Santa Margarita and Buttonwillow, meals on the Carrizo Plain and in McKittrick.  Many good wishes have been extended and I have felt overwhelmingly supported by people along the way.

Thoughts on one contrast between the east and west sides of the Temblor range (so called because it runs along the San Andreas fault line) that borders the Carrizo Plains National Monument and divides San Luis Obispo and Kern counties. The land on the Plains side looks fairly unspoiled for the most part (being part of a national monument).  But as a prominent feature there are two massive solar farms -- controversial but apparently serving the area well.  By contrast, after descending the rolling and wildflower-covered hills on the east side, one drops into a smoggy valley of oil fields and pipeline.  Gradually this gives way to agriculture.  And this is where I refrain from expressing any opinions on the politics of water and who/what controls the vital information about future prognosis for agriculture and water usage! Suffice it say that both crisis denial and anger toward government are running rampant.

From this point on Internet and phone access may be quite limited.  Good luck to me - and to us all!