Day 16. Macintosh

10:33 am

I’m hiking for two people today! My good buddy Adam Taylor and my tiny friend Mandii Bisnauth. Also, congrats to my Tae Kwon Do teach Terri Himelick for finally having her first baby. I know her and her husband Phil have been trying for years to have one and she finally has one! Atta boy Phil! šŸ˜€

Ive know Adam for what seems like forever! We started in Tae Kwon Do ehhhhh 10 years ago..? I’m not good with time. We started off at Hoffman Karate and made the move to All Star Martial Arts. We were on the demo team together and did most of our routines together. Sword fights, board breaking, weapons routines. Always a good guy. We actually did our Tae Kwon Do demo at Terri’s wedding too! He has grown up so fast and I have seen him turn into a responsible adult before my eyes. He is a manager at 5 Guys Burgers in Fort Wayne, Indiana and is heading 3 hours away to open another 5 Guys in Indianapolis, IN. You’re doing well my friend. Today he requested that I hike for his grandfather, Lewis Taylor. He passed July 22nd, 1999 from Acute Leukemia. He was a firefight in Swanson, Ohio for 53 years! He served as fire chief for 38 years and was also in the Navy. He had quite a life of serving others! I know Adam misses him dearly as I miss my Grandfather as well. Here’s to Lewis!

Mandiiiii, aka Tiny. Today is her Birthday! While working at Stereo D, there was a small bar where all the Stereo employees liked to hang out. It was called, The Joker. Anna (the owner) and Mandii (the unofficial bar tender but knew how to to make all the drinks) basically ran the entire bar. Tiny was ALWAYS there. Lol. So we got to know each other. She has a very good heart and cares about others more than many know. She was a dealt a poor hand to start in life as I was, but she is confidently climbing out of that hole. The hardest thing to do in life is to heal our wounds of the past. Sometimes it takes years.. Just when we think we have it all worked out and are pushing forward, life knocks us down again. She gets back up every time and dusts herself off again. We hung out a couple times outside of the Joker as she really loves to watch scary movies. She loves cats and is a total book nerd. šŸ™‚ Small but mighty, she will triumph! Miss ya Tiny!

Bloggin!

I woke up this morning kind of in a rush? I had to collect all my things and pack them again. It seems the longer I stay in one place the more things I pull out to use. I moleskinned up my feet and even though checkout was at 10 I think I finally left at 11:30?

I was incredibly happy to see the sun again.

Today was really hard..

I did have the breakfast of champions to start the day off though..

I packed everything all away, ate breakfast and lifted my beast of a backpack onto my back. Ive been told by every single person that I’m carrying too much or “what do you have in there..rocks??” I tell each person what I have and that I need technology to capture what I’m doing. Like yesterday and today there are huts on the middle and top of the mountain. One is pay $5 and has 5 bunk beds and the other is first come first serve. Sooo I almost have to take my tent, sleeping, bag, air mattress and pillow. I never know for CERTAIN if I have to set my my tent or not…soo its better to have it than not. Even though I have to take many more breaks and I’m sure with less weight my poor feet would be doing much better.

I walked a ways down the road to get to the entrance to this trail up the Macintosh Loop.

Any takers?

It takes about an hour and a half before I get to the entrance. I’m already pretty sweaty and it must be nice to have a car and just drive places and hike. Sometimes I feel like that’s cheating..? I dunno.

My aim was for the McIntyre Hut, only a measly 3-4 hour hike. Those are kiwi times with barely anything on their back. I believe it took me an extra hour and a half with all my breaks. So I left camp about 11:30am and got to the hut about. 6pm? You guys can do math. I decided to do the Macintosh loop backwards. So I started on the Judah track (a walking trek) and it has a point where it connects to the Mac loop (a tramping path). The walking paths are like a steady maximum incline on any treadmill…forever.

Like so. Also. I saw a small squiggly trail going up that mountain ahead and I made a video… ” Pleeease don’t let that be the trail I need to go up…” heh..

It seems the mountains have 3 sections to them.. (I saw a picture somewhere that explained them, don’t think it took a photo) the bottom section is usually a lovely yellow, like wheat and tall grass area. The middle is more rock and small shrubs and much less wheat looking grass. The tops usually have snow and just rocks and patches of grass. (Like sub-alpine, alpine..?) There were people I saw getting out of their cars at the bottom and as I was almost past the bottom part of the hill, I sat down and took off my boots. Need to air out them feet more often. Moisture is bad news. Had a snack as a few people walked by. Back up and put the boots back on and like to rest the pack on things so I can just lean against it and strap it on, rather than have to hold it up to put it on. Up up up.. Finally it comes to a point on my gps where it shows two trails, one towards the Macintosh loop and the other walking path that continue up the hill. I know these paths are supposed to be well marked, but would the intersection be marked? I saw a path where people walked that way before. Why not. I walk on it for about 30 minutes as the path gets smaller and smaller…like more and more people have turned back..? More and more shrubs, and as the snow melts at the top there are sometimes clumps of grass I have to jump from to avoid large pockets of mud. Most of the ground is pretty squishy. It’s ok, I’ve tramped through worse.. More and more bushes right in the middle of the path that I have to squeeze and scrape through. Some of them are those bushes with about 1in thorns? Lucky I have poles and my braid rimmed hat on. I put my head down and push through. It doesn’t really save my arms though. Some bloody scratches. This tends to happen more and more…at some points I need to crawl to get through to the path on the other side.

I could see on the gps I was getting close to probably the actual path down to meet up with the Mac loop. Guess I took a wrong turn.. Like many others. It alwayys gets harder before it gets easier. I had one more obstacle before hitting the ‘real’ trail.

Screen shot from a video where I had to try to avoid all these mini daggers and get through for about 10ft and up on a ledge to the other side. I tried to figure out the easiest way for about 10 minutes. There wasn’t one. So I just pushed through as the small hooks grabbed not only some skin but felt like they were trying to hold onto my backpack and I painfully muscled through. MADE IT. Whew….

Backup one second…picture of how hard it was..before the thorns.

There were also abandoned mine shafts around and signs told us to make sure we stayed on the path.

(Self timer tripod action)

Back to the main event..

I come to what is supposed to be the main trail on my gps.. I see a solid rusted steel cable attached to the mountain side and it goes down the mountain. Puzzled. I see it also has some large metal tray..? That has a bunch of rocks on it. Ooook. So this was used at back when to take rocks from the middle of the mountain to the bottom I guess? I HOPE this was not what I came here for.. I see a small path that winds up beside it and head up there. NICE the large path that goes up higher to the right and heads down to the left. Whew! I feel like I have a technique now for going downhill that doesn’t rely on only my knees. If I keep straight up and push my I hips a little forward and still use my poles on the ground to keep from slipping, not only does that push the main belt buckle of my backpack forward…also kind of sticking out my bum, it lifts the weight off my shoulders of the backpack, and uses more of my thighs on the way down. Nice eh? Anywho.

Follow the trail down down down…I can tell we have to go all the way down to the river because the hill and the mountain don’t even connect / overlap. I run across a love stream going down to meet the river at the bottom. I take a break there and relax. I’m told all this water is suitable from drinking because it’s from glacier (they say glass-e-eh) and snow melt. WHICH makes the water extremely cold.

Ah yes, this entire time I’ve been listening to the book, ‘Mere Christianity’ by C.S. Lewis. Ive heard TONS of good things about his books, but this will be my first one. I’m very surprised at how good it is. He is narrating his own book and sounds really smart. He might have been a scientist at some point? He was also an Atheist and spend the book explaining how scientifically he set out to prove there was no God…but came up the fact that there had to be one. He goes into some complex situations but always gives you example that you can understand.

One example: If a person doesn’t understand how God can listen to every single person’s prayers at the same time he explains.. “It’s like if you and I are writing a novel…and we are writing about a person in the book. We could take a 3 hour break and come back to writing about them, or 5 minutes or a day. Each person essentially get their own unlimited amount of time with the writer at any given second.”

Another one: Our timeline is past, present, future. Linear. One way. Time is how we record events, so we have a history. Events come, are present, then go into history. This, then this, then this. He is outside of time and doesn’t ever have a history. He can see the entire timeline as if it happens right now. So anything you did in your past, or present, or future, he can see all of them as if you were doing them RIGHT NOW. Confusing isnt it, but it makes sense. He can see the entire timeline.

We were created with free will, just as a teacher would instruct her students to be tidy, and cleanup after themselves and to be good students. One the teacher leaves, she gives the students free will and would hope they would cleanup after themselves and be tidy, but many don’t. Love is giving the person free will and understanding that many wont do as they were taught..

anyway..I don’t think I got that last one right but its from an Atheist point of view to how he proves there is a God. You should really check it out..or just the audiobook if you don’t like to read.

Back to the hiking.

I get to the bottom and the rive is moving pretty fast. I sit down and take of my boots again to air them out and to eyeball how the best way to cross is. I guess I only took videos because I only have a few pictures of my feet. Lol

I probably spend 30 minutes eyeballing… The river / stream / creak is actually flowing pretty fast as the ice and snow melts from the top of the mountain. Hmm first time doing this. I make sure all of my electronics are in zip log bags, take off my shoes and socks and attach them to my backpack, then put on my water shoes and roll up my pants.

Grab my trekking poles and find the most rocks / slowest moving water/ and will only place my feet where I can see bottom. SUPER carefully I start to take steps in this ice cold water. I make sure I understand the consequences of falling in. Not that I would get washed down the river, just that everything I own would get soaked. Like my boots. You cant really hike with wet boots or socks as blisters would be imminent. All that is going through my head as I make my way across. Slowly and carefully sometimes the water goes up to my knee in the non fast moving parts. Buuuut I make it!

You can see a bit more of the creek there.

Sit down. Make sure to dry off my feet REALLY well and pick off some of the pebbles that got inside the water shoes…

You can also see a bit of the pending blister I have and what ‘moleskin’ is. I put my socks and boots back on to start the major tramping portion of the hike. MUCH steeper than the pretty incline I had before. It zigs and zags its way up the mountain and I have to stop and take a breather at each zig and zag.

You can see the tiny trail going up and the left side of the picture where I was a while ago on the pretty walking trail.

FINALLY, after sweating my shirt through, and feeling the greasy salt on my face I make it to the hut on my map. First thing I do…

Amazing view! I’m beat. I’m panting and sniffling in the videos I make. Not sure if I’m still sniffling from the cold or when your body is in overtime your nose runs. Anyone else?

This hut has 5 bunk beds and at least is out of the weather. It has a huge container that catches the rain water, and a sign says you can boil if you wish. Oh, Ill boil. The sun as just set over the mountains as I’m assuming I have the entire hut to myself.

Nope. Two couples arrive to stay with night. Most speaking French and one guy I talk to who is from Canada but moved to NZ about 4 months ago? I hand him my card and we talk a bit. I had already claimed two bunks with all of my stuff so I have to quickly shift it to one. It ok I spose. As I’m cleaning another girl shows up and I found sitting outside making dinner. She is young and says she worked 8 hours today then decided to make this little climb and did it in two hours! Yeeea…..umm. I don’t mention how long it took me and I didnt have to work today at all. I say, ‘You aren’t planning on sleeping outside are you?” She said she isnt sure yet. She will find a place on the gravel floor of the hut to stretch out her sleeping bag. Welllll most of you who know me..can’t allow that. I have everything with me. Including my blow up mattress. I quickly go inside and pull the stuff off my bunk, blow up the mattress and put my pillow on the sleeping bag on the gravel floor so she can’t say no. She is pleasantly happy and appreciates it. She “needed to get good sleep tonight anyway, because she has to work at 6pm the next day”. Lolll. Nice little jog I guess… As most of them set around the picnic table I just laid in my sleeping bag. Not feeling super extroverted tonight I guess? Everyone goes to sleep soon after and twice I wake up and try to turn over and hit my head underneath the bunk bed. How did I slide over to here??

This morning..most made food and left. I might see the 2 couples at the next hut at the peak.

Morning coffee with a view..

I think ill start putting in a section of ‘too much info’ into my blogs..

By far the best view I’ve had on the throne.. lolllllll heh..eh…yea..

Thoughts:

As I trudged up the mountain, I thought this was the same kind of idea for life. It’s an up hill climb everyday. Some choose to stop and take breaks frequently, some see the entire mountain and feel immediate stress and just want to stay comfortable. Some rise to the top as if its nothing. MOST of us…find it incredibly challenging, and some of us take it bit by bit, one small step at a time looking at your feet, and every so often glancing up to know you’re on the right path and you’re still aiming at your goal.

In C.S. Lewis’ book he talks about the fuel needed for life. I would like to think that my faith fuels these long strenuous days. With that kind of fuel, you can go much further than most because you aren’t focusing on your pain or well being, but constantly thinking about the main idea / knowing things will be ok / staying positive for others. Understanding someone is always watching whether you think they are or not.

12:55pm

I’ve been trying to upload this blog and all it’s pictures for 45 minutes. Such poor signal. I’ll have to link the pictures later.. sadly.

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