Wingman from the Roadside:
That tracker is a curse and a blessing. It utilizes four very reliable Lithium Ion batteries and Runningbird does carry a spare set. When I woke this morning there was no new track. Where was the last place I had a track? Mile 731, Death Canyon Creek! Geez. Okay, say a prayer and chill. Then I immediately put my backpack in the truck and headed up the windy road to Horseshoe Meadow. About halfway up the mountain my cellphone rang, I pulled over to answer and was Peggy. “What’s up”? Oh, um nothing, just getting an early start to come pick you up, beautiful day!
It’s about the fourth or fifth time that tracker has thrown me way off base. Delayed track signals, phantom tracks that had me driving miles off the path just to realize I had just missed Runningbird right where I had been. It takes me a while to learn things.
Now we had agreed we would meet at Horseshoe Meadows Trailhead and …. well here’s the short version – I went out to meet her using the wrong spur trail, or so I thought. I ended up running for about a mile, got myself where I figured I needed to be and settled into a pleasant hike through some magnificent scenery. We met up about four more miles down the trail and enjoyed a nice hike together back into where the truck was parked for our designated resupply. Runningbird was obviously fine although visibly exhausted from the steep hike and increase in elevation. Walker Pass was at 6,000 feet and we were now at 10,600 feet.
Some of the great information the Forestry Service woman (Leslie) had given me was to tell Runningbird she should not expect to continue the kind of daily mileage she had been doing while here in the Sierras. It just isn’t possible. The elevation and added weight from the additional gear she would need to carry from now on (bear canister, ice ace, micro spikes) would only make going more difficult. Another thing was for her to be sure to treat her water or she would get sick. The large volume of pack animals and section or day hikers that frequent the area contaminate the water supply (and this was evident as we hiked). There would be river crossings that would add mileage and time to her transit. She lastly suggested I (the roadside guy) hike into the PCT through Kearsarge Pass to add a resupply to her already long section up to the Mammoth Lakes area so she would not have to carry the full two weeks of food she would otherwise need to carry.
Runningbird and I discussed this information as we hiked back toward the truck and decided it was prudent to take the rest of the day to adjust our plan for this next section, completely empty her backpack and discard weight anywhere we could, and redistribute her food supply. On the way back we stopped in town of Lone Pine for a few supplies and headed to the campsite. Once back at the trailer Runningbird took off her shoes and immediately fell hard asleep on the bed.