Welcome!

Linda JeffersIn a world of so many great photographers and writers, I am venturing into some unknown territories, leaving comfort zones, finally very willing to practice the art of seeing. By maintaining the practice of posting daily photos, I hope to continue learning about the possibilities that I trust are out there for the taking.

Come join me on my journey!

Off to Aldhawest, a long distance backpacking weekend in Big Bear.

Looking forward to seeing friends:

Andrea - Just Sit and Yogi

JJ and Donna

Katy goslowgofar

Billy Goat and Meadow Ed

Monte

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400 blog entries since my first blog Wednesday, September 26, 2007.

Well, the 400 blog entries don’t work out to be a photo a day but I am impressed I have been as committed to blogging as I have been.

Ray is away in Santa Barbara for the weekend. He left me a loving surprise card in the coffee cupboard. Thanks Babe. I recently bought an internet card which I gave Ray to use with his computer while he’s away.

Our home is inundated with crickets. They are crawling everywhere even though we have a pest control man come once a month to spray inside and out.

Prodeal and I were at the computer from around 10am until 8:30pm. As usual, there were glitches which kept us in a stall pattern for a while. The In and Out burger and fries took away the frustration though.

Here’s Prodeal. He is a backpacking friend who, like Cupcake, has many of the same interests as I do which makes working on my folders and photos fun. Hopefully tomorrow we will make a bit more progress on making sense of a year’s worth of chaos.

My pack is packed and I’m off tomorrow morning.

I picked my friend Be Hope up under the I-10 freeway at 4 pm today. He hiked from Anza over the San Jacinto Mountains and on down to the pass at the I-10.

Yesterday I bought a new Osprey EOS backpack. Today it is packed with 3 days’ of food. Tomorrow, I’m joining Be Hope as he hikes the 54 miles to Big Bear.

See ya.

Be Hope, having just crossed the 3 miles of desert from Snow Creek, arriving at the I-10 underpass today.


Me trying to get a photo of my new pack without using a flash. Impossible.

Into self and out of self…in one day!

On my 6 am walk this morning, I found myself powerless over focusing on my shadow.


At 11:30am I picked up Be Hope at the Palm Springs airport (a current year PCT hiker who was getting back on the trail.) After lunch, after organizing and mailing off a Big Bear resupply box, and buying trail food and having a deli sandwich made (big enough to last for 2 dinners!), I drove Be Hope to the trailhead he had exited from when he had to go home and resume teaching his classes. Be Hope had started the PCT on March 11th. Personal matters will probably call him off the trail again, but hopefully not before reaching Kennedy Meadows.

Be Hope was filled with excitement. His excitement is contagious. I’d only met Be Hope a couple of months ago hiking into Warner Springs. I’d given him my card in case he needed help while on the trail nearby the Palm Springs area. Well, he called when he was ready and knew the date he wanted to get back on the trail. I offered to drive him back to the trailhead near the town of Anza.

He cached water on Hwy 74 and bought and left extra water for hikers where he got back on the trail at the Hiker’s Oasis in Anza.

He was going to carry food from Anza to Big Bear. I suggested he let me pick him up at the I-10 frwy to spend the night, shower, clean his clothes and pick up the remaining food for Big Bear he left here once he knew he had me for his own personal trail angel.

Ray met Be Hope and was very impressed with what a nice man he was. I agree.

Happy Hiking Be Hope. You sure do know how to enjoy yourself.

I’m thinking of trying this pack out. Tailwinds used it and loved it. It’s the Osprey Exos or something like that. I told Ray I wanted it and he said he’d buy it for me for our 19th wedding anniversary May 31st (Cupcake’s birthday!).
There were 369 hiker’s names listed so far for 2009.
Hiker’s Oasis still has about 5 – 7 2.5 gallon containers of water plus 4 or 5 more gallons Be Hope left.
The smile on Be Hope’s face made me smile. This man is happy to be back on the trail.

Be Hope is a trail name. It just dawned on me his trail name came from his real name…..Barney Hope.

CDT section hike – April 28, 2009

I had blogged on my phone from the trail while on a CDT hike a couple of weeks ago but the blog entry wouldn’t go through. Now home, I am trouble-shooting why my phone wouldn’t send these phone trail blogs. After lots of failed troubleshooting, I just took the battery out of the phone and then put it back in again. I tested sending the blog entry and what do you know!!! – here is what I’d intended to send from the trail.

I will be posting this entry and and maybe one or two more here on my blog as I typed the first few entries on my phone and I don’t know how to get the entries off my phone without posting them here. But I intend to post the 5 or 6 trail journal entries on my website under my CDT 2008 Adventure.

Tailwind before we hit the trail inside my jam packed car with all our gear.

Day 1 on the CDT with Tailwinds

Tailwinds graciously offered to backpack the 91 miles from Snow Lake to Pie Town I skipped last year when I was backpacking the state of New Mexico. Once I backpack these miles I will have backpacked all of New Mexico.

Yesterday, all day, was spent dropping off Tailwinds’ car at Snow Lake. This was not an easy feat and because it was so time consuming. I hope I remember in the future that I don't want to skip sections on a long backpack again.

We also cached food and water for ourselves. Water is scarce on the trail in NM. Why we cached food rather than carry it for 6 days is simple….because we could.

Tailwinds and I left the Toaster House at 6:40am after having spent the night with Mrs. Gorp, Stumpknocker, Mike and Andy (north bound CDT hikers). Don and Nita, Pie Town residents, keep this second home of theirs for any and all hikers and bikers to stay in while on their adventures. The Toaster house is right on the CDT. Old toasters hang in front ot their home.

Neither Tailwinds and I are trained to do long miles carrying our heavy packs so we were overjoyed that our bodies held up today for the 16.4 miles we hiked. Now at our campsite (by 3:30pm!) we can barely walk without looking like we are terribly injured, but we are proud of the miles we did never-the-less. Our tents went up, dinner prepared even though it was only 4pm, and are now off our poor feet inside our caves for the night. I can tell Tailwind is already asleep. I'll close my eyes once I finish typing this journal entry.

Road walking is hard on the body. That was our trail today, a dirt backcountry road.

The weather was perfect, often overcast and breezy.

A highlight of the day was meeting a thru hiker named John. When I introduced myself by my trail name Gottago, John excitedly told me that my husband had given him a PCT bandana in Wrightwood in 2007. There are only a very few (maybe 30 or 40) CDT hikers who backpack the trail each year compared to the how many hike the AT and the PCT. What a coincidence to have run into John.
It's time for me to crash now.

Gottago

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

My friend and backpacking partner has written on our New Mexico trip.

Ok, I’m cheating… Because I have not had the time/made the time to type up my journal entries I am posting my trail partner, Tailwinds’, journal entry I’ve copied and pasted below from her trailjournals.com journal. Check back over the summer to read some more of Tailwinds’ journal writing. Tailwinds is a wonderful writer.

Forgive me Tailwinds for letting you do all the work.
Here is the summary from Tailwinds’ journal:
New Mexico is a special place for me. I spent one summer there in the 1980s and later bought 7 acres of rocks and cactus near Abiquiu just because I fell in love with the land.

So when Gottago invited me to hike 92 miles of the Continental Divide Trail with her from Pie Town to Snow Lake in central New Mexico, I jumped at the chance. I do not plan to thru-hike or section hike the CDT but this was an opportunity to get some on-trail pre-hike training for the PCT this summer and spend time with Gottago. It was also a chance to get back to New Mexico.

Gottago and I met at ADZPCTKO last year and hit it off immediately. She has thru-hiked the PCT and is currently section hiking the CDT. Through emails and phone calls, our friendship deepened and grew. Through the shared experience of hiking, the bond has strengthened.

The short version of my recently completed (April 28 – May 3) CDT section hike with Gottago:

Miles: 92

Trail tread: Roads, cow trails, cross country, rocks, blowdowns (Wagontongue Mountain)

Terrain: Grasslands, mountains, rocks, canyons, dry stream beds

Weather: Ideal for hiking. Low 30s at night (final morning was 32 degrees).

Animals: Turkeys (heard gobbling, saw giant turkey tracks), mountain lions (prints), bears (prints),coyotes, elk, deer, no rattlesnakes seen or heard, one Mexican grey wolf who played with us for about half an hour the last day

Other hikers: At the Toaster House in Pie Town we arrived the night before starting our hike to find Stumpknocker, Mrs. Gorp, Mike and Andy. Andy was from Holland, MI – just about half an hour from my home in Grand Rapids. On the trail we met John, northbound.

People encountered on the road: Don “Those Maps are No Good, You’ll Never Get to Snow Lake Using Those” – a local rancher who offered to put us up one night when it looked like thunderstorms were moving in; Marvin who gave us Gatorade; turkey hunters who gave us good water information; Barbara from Quemado; Peter and Jean Ossorio from mexicanwolves.org who offered help and information about wolves.

Best Thing That Happened: On our last day, Gottago and I woke up to hear a wolf howling in the early morning. The wolf tone is lower than that of a coyote with no yipping. We hiked off the divide where we had camped and into the grasslands leading to T-Bar Canyon. This route is recommended by Jim Wolf (no relation) for the scenery and is an area into which endangered Mexican grey wolves have been introduced.

We were looking at animal, people and tire prints in the dirt tracks when Gottago pointed to a lone grey wolf who was watching us. Curious, he watched as we approached, then he loped off to our right. A little later he crossed the tracks in front of us and disappeared into a draw to our left. An elk then ran from the area into the trees but the wolf didn’t bother pursuing it. For the next half hour the wolf played with us – crossing in front of us, once coming towards us, but never very close. Finally he tired of the game (those darned two-legged animals are so slow!) and we didn’t see him again. Last year I spent every day compiling Gratitude Checks for the goodness that came my way. Gratitude is too small a word for this event.

Worse Moment: Doing a face plant and spurting blood from a newly created hole in my nose.

Why I Love Gottago: Generous, giving, easy to be with, fun, disciplined, great energy, inspiring in every way, and best of all – always learning and growing.

Gear Review to follow.

-Tailwinds

I will be posting photos and posting journal entries at some point. Really.
Linda

Heading back to New Mexico for a 91 make-up mile backpack with my friend, Tailwinds.

Last year I backpacked all of NM except for the 91 miles I skipped from Snow Lake to Pie Town.

I will drive back to NM straight from the annual ADZPCTKO weekend I attend each year. I leave for the KO on Thursday morning. I haven’t decided if I’ll drive to NM Saturday night or Sunday morning early. Sunday I meet my friend and backpacking partner Tailwinds in Quemado, NM. We’ll spend Monday driving to drop one of our cars off at the Snow Lake Campground and then driving back to Pie Town to the start of our southbound hike back to Snow Lake.

I’m not very well trained, but neither is Tailwinds. Tailwinds is a very special lady I met online. We’ve become good friends, mostly over the phone, so I am really looking forward to spending face to face time together.

Tailwinds is Suzanne Finney’s trailname. She hiked most of the PCT last year and will be finishing up the remaining miles later this summer. She is an exceptional writer and is well into the process of writing a book of her PCT adventure.
Here is a link to her journal:
http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=212970

If I have reception in NM while on the trail I’ll post some photos. Otherwise I’ll update my trail journal from last year after I get home.

I’ll be back home on or before May 7th. I’m leaving just in time. The temperatures are rising here in the desert.

The PCT Class of 2009 bandana.

Every year following our Pacific Crest Trail 2002 through hike, three of us 2002 hikers representing the Class of 2002, Cupcake, Yogi and I have provided the current year PCT hikers a free bandana at the ADZPCTKO weekend the last weekend in April. This photo shows the bandana I just ordered for the PCT Class of 2009.


Here is a link, if you are interested in how this tradition of making the bandanas started and what role each of us hikers (Cupcake, Yogi and I) play in the gift of giving back with a bandana.(The new Class year yellow bandana has not been uploaded to the ADZ website Carl maintains yet.)

This year we changed from using three colors to two colors on the bandana. In previous years’ bandanas we had filled the 3 states in with white. The bandana looked pretty that way as the states really stood out but Cupcake heard from a through hiker last year that the white color filling the states prevented one of the handy purposes of the multi-purpose bandana….to absorb the condensation water from inside the hiker’s tents.

We had no idea when we first made the bandana this PCT Class bandana would become such a tradition. Every hiker is excited about getting their bandana. I noticed on the online PCT L digest forum there was discussion about what the color of the bandana might be.

I made up 708 bandanas (59 dozen). I decreased the number I’d previously made since this year Yogi, Katy and the other registration desk helpers are going to be vigilant about only giving out free bandanas to the 2009 hikers, ADZ organizers and trail angels. All others will pay $5.

PCT Hiker sightings at Warner Springs!

At 7am this morning, Heidi and I drove through Anza Borrego State Park on a wildflower search. We drove south down past the Salton Sea but returned via S-22 to S-2 to 79 on past the PCT at Barrel Springs and Warner Springs.

On S-2 a few miles before heading north on 79 (which connects up with 371 and 74) I couldn’t help but pull over and check out the PCT trail that goes by Barrel Spring, a welcome water source for PCT hikers. I’ve camped at Barrel Spring and have incredibly fond memories of this spot. Heidi and I walked over to the spring. Water was slowly dripping from the pipe into the trough, unlike the strong flow of water I’d remembered. But there was water and bees!

Back in our car and having driven about 7 miles, I spotted my first PCT 2009 hiker 500 feet before Warner Springs Resort. I was thrilled and quite jealous at the same time. I introduced myself and Barney (trail name – Be Hope) said, “I know of you Gottago. I’m pleased to meet you.” My friend Heidi was quite surprised I’m sure that a fellow hiking along the road knew me. Be Hope left on his PCT hike at the US/Mexico border, March 11th, Wednesday night, and hiked a few miles before camping. He’d been leap frogging off and on with another young, fast, PCT thru hiker named Alex who was a bit ahead of him.

I gave Be Hope my card in case he needed to call for anything. Tonight, seven hours later, I heard from him. He requested I post to the online backpacking forum a question about snow conditions north of Warner Springs and higher up in the San Jacinto mountains, as well as the San Bernadino mountains.

Here is a photo I took of Be Hope that I’m posting (with his permission).

Having left Be Hope, I drove 500 feet before another PCT hiker sighting. Kamlin, a young boy, was waiting outside the Warner Springs Resort. I made a U turn, parked and went over to say hi, when his father came out of the Resort and said, “Hi Linda!” I was surprised. Kevin reminded me we’d met about 2 years ago when I was speaking at a meeting. What a small world.

Kamlin, and his dad, Kevin are out section hiking the PCT for a couple of weeks. They both look pretty happy. Again, I’m jealous. I miss the PCT.

Leaving Warner Springs, heading north, I spotted smoke in the distance. Hopefully, this is a prescribed burn as it seems way too close to the PCT.

Vern Clevenger, Photographer (click Vern’s name to go to his website)

Sunday Ray and I went to the Southwest Art Festival in Indio. I was so happy to see Vern Clevenger there selling his photos. I went over to talk to him. I reminded him of how I met him nine years ago in the Sierra. After we talked and I had walked away, I went back to Vern’s photo stall and asked if I could have my photo taken with him.

Anyone who has been to our home recognizes the photo behind me of the Sierra cottonwoods in fall color. I have this print taken by the photographer, Vern Clevenger, the man on my left.

I came to meet Vern while Tina and I were backpacking in 2000. Tina and I had just arrived at our night’s campsite – Guitar Lake – stragically positioned to camp there for our early morning Mt Whitney summit at 4am in the morning.

Not long after we arrived at this campsite I noticed a family of four hiking up the trail towards us. The man, Vern, looked like he’d been in the back country for years. Vern was carrying a massive backpack. As I recall he responded, after being asked, that he was carrying around 70 lbs. That’s a lot and it’s really a lot at the 11,000 foot elevation of Guitar Lake. Behind Vern, was his 9 year old son carrying a small backpack the size of a day pack. Vern’s wife came into view next carrying a child carrier backpack that was empty. The child was out of the backpack, behind Mom, running up the trail in her cute but very dirty dress and bare feet. The family of four was doing the JMT (John Muir Trail – 220 miles in the most beautiful section of the Sierra).

Long story short….
The kids were ecstatic when Tina and I unloaded some of our extra candy and offered it to the kids. What I didn’t know until the next morning was the family was not only out of candy for the kids but were mostly out of food.

We met the Clevenger family at the top of Mt Whitney the next morning and chatted some more. It was during this talk that I found out Vern had no food. I couldn’t believe he was carrying that heavy backpack up another 3000 feet with no food for energy. I’d left my backpack at Trail Pass for the summit of Mt Whitney and was only carrying a large fanny pack. I felt so sorry for Vern I gave him the food I had packed in my fanny pack to eat while luxuriating after having reached the summit.

Vern was so grateful. He took my snail mail address and not long after I arrived home I found a package delivered from Vern. He sent me a signed copy of one of his beautiful Sierra photos. Previously I had not known he was a photographer.
When Vern had a showing of his photographs in Beverly Hills a year or two later, I went and bought another 5 photos of his. That’s when I bought the large photo of the cottonwoods in full fall color.

More shadow photos of me and Stacy behind while on the Bump and Grind months ago.

Me, Ray and Stacy.