Monday, July 31, 2000

Not much sleep, unfortunately. and when I did sleep, I dreamed I was having difficulty sleeping. and then I had a weird dream about some guy who had made it his life's work to bug me.

I'm writing this at the turn of yet another L O N G switchback on the way to the top of New Army Pass. I'd forgotten, of course, how long of a climb this thing is. Still far preferable to Trail Crest at Whitney, at least as far as altitude goes.


I'm just yards shy of the crest now, but I've paused to wait for Mom. She can be the first over the pass today. The view from here is incredible, though, as Mom said earlier, "This is an ugly basin!" Indeed, there's more rock here than I've seen anywhere in a long time. Most of it's worn down to sand and rubble, lending the place its particularly intense wasteland attitude. Long Lake sparkles far below, and I'd like to comment on its breathtaking beauty and the sheer amount of space between it and ourselves, but I'm thinking about the carrot cake Clif Bar that's in my pack. Difficult to concentrate.

Here comes Mom..

We left camp at 8:10. From then till 10 was hard work. The last bit, up over a bit of snow to the top of New Army Pass, left me winded and weak. I am now resting at the top now (10:10), eating and drinking. I should have tortilla with peanut butter before a pass not after!

Looking passward

A vast rockybasin


Still Far from the Top


A dramatic pause


The Hilary Step

Will on New Army

Will on the Pass

Into the unknown

View West

Getting over that last lip of the ascent proved to be a little tricky and resulted in my getting a little snow in my shoe and Mom's sudden hyperventilation, which lasted a good ten minutes or so. But we chilled for a bit atop New Army pass and twenty minutes later, were on the trail again.

The drop into the basin behind the pass was grueling. It was a sandy, hot, exposed drop down into a ravine, which we negotiated with next to zero conversation. I, alas, had one particular song by Liz Phair in my head that absolutely refused to leave no matter what YES opus, RUSH song, SPACEHOG ditty or LOW-FIDELITY ALL STARS jam I heaved into my consciousness to replace it. I have a pretty musical memory and if I want to call up a song, can usually do so, and play it from beginning to end. And I have thousands of songs at my disposal, so I don't usually have much of a problem with repetition. Why then, was this particular song cycling on perpetual repeat??

Of course, now that I'm sitting here, writing about this, and all a sudden I can't think of that song anymore. I've got a SPACEHOG song on endless repeat! Oh yeah, it's the one that goes, "I can hear the Russian army comin' through my head/blah, blah, blah.../she's a psychosomatic sister runnin' 'round without a leash/blah, blah, blah.../I won't leave your mystery unfurled..."

Anyway, we dropped into lush meadowlands at last and came upon two breathtaking vistas, the likes of which one might have guessed existed below the cracked haunches of Langley Peak.

Noon- We ate lunch on a large flat rock in the shade in trees by a stream. It took 1 hours to come down a dry, hot basin. I just made Gatorade and soaked my feet. It's now 12:30- we'll get going soon.

Looking North

A Beautiful Meadow


Checkin' da View

Way above Rock Creek

Wide Open Space

At this moment I'm cleaned up, dried off, hydrated and slightly sunburned. I'm sitting on a rock above Lower Rock Creek. I'm either too hot or too cold, depending on whether the sun has been tackled by a cloud or not, and there are an awful lot of them up there. Terrible sentence. Much worse than I'd imagined it, so I'm going to take a break and see about dinner.
5:30- After lunch, we went down down down. Some very pretty meadows along Rock Creek. We passed by our original destination lake- complete with bench and campsite-but it was early and we wanted to cover as much ground as we could. We crossed the creek and started looking and found a likely campsite- grassy, flat, near water, but we went on to another. I had my shoes off and was looking for water when Wm came back and said it was too far away and boggy. So, back on with the boots. Soon we met the PCT and hiked the 1.1 miles to Lower Rock Creek Ford. I saw a coyote on the way. This campsite is in the woods, near water, private but with people nearby. I took a cold shower and Will bathed in the tent. My shoulders are very sore now so I just took 2 Aleve. My feet were starting to feel like hamburger- but no blisters yet. Pea soup for dinner tonight. Hope I sleep well- last night I didn't sleep much. It was a hard day today. long, plus the pass.

Bad journal entry

Writing in the journal

Tent shot

Tent at Rock Creek

Campsite Shot


Dinner: pea soup with rehydrated Canadian bacon. And somehow, that filled me up.

Do you wanna be a polyester bride...?

Liz Phair