Sunday, July 6, 2008

On the road in 12 hours

The car is ready. With some help from Chris up the street, I took out the back bench seat of the Camry and folded the back seat down so there is an opening into the trunk. I got some big pillows at a thrift store and made a nice bed with my legs into the trunk – at 6’ I can stretch all the way out. Years ago I came into a roll of mosquito net – enough that back then I could drape the VW van in it. Now I have 4 sections of net ready, one for each door so the windows are covered and I can raise or lower them as needed. Got an ice chest full of coffee, water, and snacks. So my little RV is ready for some napping along the road.

Now is like several other times these past few months – surreal. I’m going calmly (sometimes calmly) about getting my gear squared away, food prepared and dehydrated, my other stuff packed, and so on and I’m feeling immense excitement and some apprehension – the latter mainly about leaving Leslie for so long. It was a challenging spring, with all the changes of retirement and stopping clinic involvement (except for seeing patients and a very little writing). We’ve worked it out and though in most ways my leaving is not the ideal thing for Leslie, she has been very supportive and helpful.

You know how sometimes people will go along with something, but send little negative or sacrificing hints or messages? There’s been none of that. Wow! She has again given me this gift of – I don’t even know what to call it … same as sending David, Jeff, and me off to Southeast Asia for 2 months in 2005. It’s a gift of self in the gift and the way it’s given. I know that. Sweet little Leslie, thank you. I love you.

Updated plan: I’ll drive close to straight through and on the interstates most of the time. The goal is to get to altitude as quickly as possible for maximum adjustment time before starting to trek.
35E north to Denton
380 west to Decatur
287 northwest to Wichita Falls, Vernon, Childress, Amarillo, then 287 north to Dumas
87/385 to Dalhart and into NM (now Highway 64/87) on to Raton
25 north to Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Denver
36 to Boulder and through to Estes Park

Probably I’ll go through Boulder and into Rocky Mountain National Park by the morning of the 8th. I’ll do a day hike and the next day head to Loveland to meet John (from backpacker forum) and his friend and then to the Rawah Wilderness. We’ll camp close to the trailhead and be on the trail the 10th. The first couple of days will be a challenge for me, no doubt! We’ll spend 6 days on the trail, then I’ll head to Boulder to rest for a couple of days, then to the Maroon Bells to hike the 4 pass loop. Rest for a day and drive back to Dallas about the time David gets back. We’ll hang out for a few days and he’ll be off to Berkeley. I’ll work at la clinica for 3 weeks, then back to Colorado and into Wyoming from mid-August until mid-September.

This from email from John: (be at trailhead) about 0800 on the 10th. First night stay at Carey Lake and hike up to Island Lake if not too tired. On the 11th stay and Twin Crater Lakes and hike up the Continental Divide if not too tired. On the 12th stay at Rawah Lake #3 and hike up to Rawah Lake #4 if not too tired. On the 13th stay at Upper Twin or Iceberg Lake and climb to the Divide again if not too tired. On the 14th, I am open. We can either hike out and stay at Lost lake then hike out the next day to Rawah TH or, hike down and stay at Upper Camp Lake and hike out the next day to WB TH.

The menu for the first 6 days on the trail (all freezer bag, cat food can stove):
Oatmeal with fruit & pecans, coffee; energy bar (homemade); spaghetti, cheese, olive oil, hamburger gravel, tortilla
Oatmeal with fruit & pecans, coffee; Ebar; mash potato, ham, cheese, tortilla
Oatmeal with fruit & pecans, coffee; Ebar; pasta parmesan, salmon, tortilla
Eggs with ham & peppers, coffee; Ebar; chili mac, hb gravel, cheese
Oatmeal with fruit & pecans, coffee; Ebar; pasta alfredo, chicken, peanuts
Oatmeal with fruit & pecans, coffee; Ebar; mash potato, salmon, cheese

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