June 23 – Little did we know what was in store for us on our 10th day. We awoke to another sunny day with a likelihood of waist-deep river crossings coupled with hair-raising currents and a chance of snow travel at high altitude. The high mileage day (spurred by the prospects of good camping with a bear bagging set up) wasn’t planned.
The day started nice and easy with good talks of childhood memories over pleasantly shaded forest. As we drew near lunch we met with 4 more thru-hikers to exchange strategies over the looming, double, waist-deep, freezing river ford. Thank goodness for the Kiwi, Rolling Thunder, who had a wad of good techniques up his sleeve….
The first time we attempted the Kiwi Krossing strategy Dan lost his trekking pole down the swift current of the Two Medicine River, but this time we were better prepared and linked in a chain with our arms clasping each others backs/packs we forged through the raging waters without incident.
We continued through the Bob Marshall Wilderness area often hiking the “Continental Divide Creek” since the trail ranged from a slushy snow pile to a sticky mud pit to a swiftly flowing river. We made our way up to a snowy plateau with the Trilobite Mountains arching above us and then, guided by Yas’ superb navigation skills and Nina’s powerful snow-steps, we made our way up to Switchback Pass. Then came the switchbacks….never-ending as we let gravity compel us onward. Finally, around 10pm we finished our 32.5 mile day at a scenic campground by the Pentagon Ranger Station.
Exhausted, elated, asleep!
6/19 – The weather took a turn for the best, and as a result we were rewarded with one of our best days in the mountains. Lots of snow, lots of kicking steps, but boy, what a difference when the sun is high in the sky warming your back and turning your arms rosy! This day will remain etched in our memories. Pictures don’t do it justice but here they will do more than words:
Sometimes you just have to face the mountains naked (with yer gaiters on) to fully take them in!
6/18 – We awoke to a cloudy but dry day. We crossed our fingers, packed up our tent and vowed to stick together as we gained altitude on our way to Triple Divide Pass. The pass boasts a three way split of water ways- one to the Hudson, the next to the Atlantic and the last to the Pacific. As we huffed up hill we had mountain goats showing off their effortless climbing capabilities on the mountains surrounding us. They never ceased to suprise us with their impossible purches on cliffed rocky slopes. The snow started to gust as we neared the pass, but luckily we all pulled out some good technical skills from our woolly hats and started cutting in to the snowpack. In turn the weather trumped us with a total whiteout at the top. We answered back with technological skills this time (GPS) to locate the trail, and off we went down over the other edge. The next comeback from the weather gods was avalanches… but not to worry they were all on the slopes adjacent to us. We had our final say with careful and slowly calculated stepckicking traverses across ten or so, avalanche prone ice shoots. One at a time from “safe zone” to “safe zone” inbetween the shoots and a glissade or two later we were safely in camp and the Mountains rewarded us with sunshine and a close up encounter with a moose buck- with his head in the clouds he came to his regular pond to munch on the delectable pond weed, once a few feet away he noticed we were there too munching on our dried goodies, he looked up (a little miffed) and off he went. Perfect.
Sometimes I think we are totally nuts!
Anna and I are almost done packaging food that we will mail to 12 different locations just off the Continental Divide Trail for our thru hike attempt this summer. Every week or so we will cross a road/hike on a side trail to a road to then hitch to a nearby town to resupply. That includes picking up these tasty packages, taking a shower and putting our feet up for a little break before heading back to the Rocky Mountains. It’s quite surreal to seal a box of food and imagine opening it up 5 months later, somewhere in New Mexico.
So what does each box contain?
Lots of high calorie, freeze dried, dehydrated goodies including: carbs, veg, fruit, nuts, seeds, lots of granola/protein bars, candy bars, sweets, and sometimes an item or two of gear, etc.
Can you send us treats to add to the mix?
ABSOLUTELY!! We will soon post the addresses of post offices we will swing by and we will welcome a postcard (preferably one made of chocolate or sweets) anywhere along the way!
Its time for UK elections. Glad this guy didn’t stop me.
Convenience and low price may allow us to get a bigger telly and have more time vegging in front of it (pun intended)… but is it really worth it?
- Is it comfort or laziness we are seeking?
- Do we want more nutritious food? Or or just lots of flavor, with no or little regard for nutrition?
- Are the man-made food-like substances with all the calculated nutrients really matching up to the whole foods that come with no nutrition label?
- Has food science got a one-up on the nature?
I have an inkling that marketers and the government shun aside morals as they fool us in to thinking that they have it figured out, and they know best.
Looking at the health of the west (and in particular the US) should we trust what the government (USDA and FDA) is saying about nutrition?
I don’t think so. But at least those lovely pharmaceutical companies have our best interest at heart by providing us with lots of pills to treat all the western diseases (yeah, right!).
I wonder, if we changed our approach to eating, would we need them?
Many cultures that have not been infected with the western diet show us convincing proof that we would not. Western diseases are absent without the western diet. Not to mention better individual health and the health of the community. Meds are a good tool that can be used in treatment of disease, but it seems we could avoid many diseases with preventative methods. A healthier diet.
It’s true that the west is spending less of their earnings on food, but the lesser known fact is that the money we are saving is going to pay for our medical bills, which often come as a direct result of our poor diet.
Simpler food chain:
Sun → greens → little bit of animal → nutritious food
Complex, and ironically cheaper food chain (due to government subsidies and the power of industrial/intensive agriculture):
Sun+chemicals+antibiotics → corn/soy→ fuel for transport → processing plant → more fuel → breeding lot → fuel → feeding lot → fuel → processing plant → fuel → packaging plant → fuel → super market → food void of nutrition but with very colorful and deceptive health benefit label
Is organic better?
Not necessarily. Take a look at a possible organic food chain:
Sun→corn/soy→fuel for transport→processing plant→fuel→breeding lot→fuel→feeding lot→fuel→processing plant→fuel→packaging plant→fuel→super market→food void of nutrition but with very colorful and deceptive organic health benefit label
The simpler food chain that goes beyond organic is undeniably better for our health, our communities health and the health of the earth. I could go on, but I’ll give you a few resources that I have found very helpful (see end).
Better than just filling up with good facts, why not give a simple, sustainable, seasonal and local diet a go?
Will the benefits speak for themselves?
If you are not convinced by the facts, I’m confident you will find the proof of the pudding in the action of eating it (pun intended).
I have spent the last 6 months incessantly researching, reading etc… but I admit I have only had one foot in taking part in the matter. I am excited to jump in head first to this life style–and watch a steady, holistic transformation.
The farmers markets start next week and I’ve a few locally run eco-friendly grocery stores to try out, up my sleeve. I would be excited to hear some stories, tips from others who are taking a step towards a simpler and more eco-friendly lifestyle or who have been living it for a while.
I know that it will take good planning and some sacrifices (time, money) to make the change initially. However, I am confident, that as the change becomes routine the physical, emotional, relational, environmental and spiritual payoff will far outweigh the cost.
Some good resources:
Killer at Large, Food Inc., No Impact Man, Botany of Desire, Life off the Grid, King Korn.
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, Eating Animals by Johnathan Safran-Foyer, The End of Over-Eating by David Kessler, The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, The Necessary Revolution by Peter Senge, The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert and Five Acres and Independence by M.G. Kains
… and for those of you who might be a bit miffed about it, before you start quoting isolated passages from an ancient text, have a look at this… brilliant!
Great fast-forward action on the Continental Divide trail!
They say if you move too fast you can’t stop and smell the roses. Thing is, moving this fast would actually mean we could take more breaks and have more time for sniffin’!
Walking is a pretty slow business. To complete the entire trail in one season means putting one foot infront of the other from dawn ’till dusk. Breaks are too often a short luxury. That’s why its a good idea to go ultralight. A light backpack equals a more enjoyable time on the move. And if the majority of our five months on trail are going to be spent on our feet, making slow but steady progress towards Mexico, counting ounces and reducing our gear is imperative. Or we could find a way to move this quick. Anyone out there figured out how?