August 5

Got up this morning at 5:30 for another hike in Sisar Canyon.

The plan today is to hike to the waterfall and take a break – 2.5 mi – then to White Camp and take a break – 5 mi – go another 2 miles, take a short break and head back down. That will give us around 14 mile round-trip.

We are currently at the waterfall. Sherman’s wondered around sniffing, taken a few drinks of water so I’m sure his tummy is full and chewed on a couple sticks. I’ve had some water and 2 oranges.

Sherman saw a squirrel run up this tree and he took off after it. Right about here he’s realizing that he’s about 15 feet off the ground and the squirrel has already gotten to the top and is out of sight. He tentatively turns around and trots down. Very happy with himself!

I’m in the planning and strengthening face before another hike. This year Sherman and I are I hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail. About 180 miles following the mountains around Lake Tahoe.

A little hiking food sidebar here…On a multi-day backpacking track are usually have snack size ziplock of homemade trail mix, 4 figs, 4-5 squares of dark chocolate from Trader Joe’s 1 pound chocolate bars, 2 Lara bars and 2 Cliff bars. It’s about 2000 cal. My breakfast and and dinner about another 2000 cal. And I know I’m burning more than that. There’s an experience called hikers hunger that sets in about 10 days into a strenuous hike. It’s the bodies message that the calorie intake has been consistently lower than the calorie output. On trails it’s a common sight to see hikers at restaurants consuming a lot of high caloric food. Pizza, hamburgers or other high fat meat, ice cream, bags of M&Ms, etc.

I need to start buying and ordering my ingredients, making food and snacks. I need them on these training hikes as well as the actual hike.

Note just before we left: Sherman and I hiked about 40 miles a week from early August until Sept 9th. For the last two weeks he also started carrying his saddlebags backpack with slowly increasing weight. And, I got ingredients from Amazon, Trader Joe’s, Rainbow Bridge and other local venders. I think it took me about a whole day to mix my hiking blends and pack them up into snack size ziplocks.

It takes me about a month to finalize the planing. I read and listen to other hikers experience. Talk with people at the Trail Organization. Gathering tips wherever I can. Each trail has it’s own unique difficulties. I want to know what the agreed upon ones are before I get there.

A big chunk of my time is organizing the hike on a map. Below is the finished map. It has flags that mark water sources, trailheads, guesstimated camping places, food drops, and other misc stuff. This general plan is of course altered by the actual events on the ground.

As the start day gets closer the anxiety starts to change from the “did I forget something” kind, to knowing there will me moments when every cell in the mind and body will be saying (softly or loudly) “I can’t do this!”. Sometimes this certainty is gone in a flash. Sometimes it really grips the whole body/mind, stops the hike, and demands a solution.

So far none of those moments have resolved themselves into leaving the trail. They have resolved themselves in moments of deep insight about the fears, beliefs, and knowings that permeate my life and sometimes all of life.

I go knowing that my intention is to compete the loop around Lake Tahoe. And my commitment is to be sure that I and Sherman are healthy and safe. That if there is an indication that the correct thing to do for either of our health and well-being is to end the hike before the circle is completed, to follow that knowing.