“Hello! I am sitting on a ridge about 2 miles above Big Bear City, having finally got out of town last night and walked about 12 trail miles to get here. So, go figure. Even after a full half day on the trail I still can't escape this place.
Actually, yesterday was kind of interesting, because rather than sit around waiting for the bus from the same bus system that abandoned me in the middle of downtown the night before, I tried hitchhiking around town. And I managed to catch a ride down by the stores and the laundromat that I needed to hit, after about half an hour, with a lovely woman whose name I don't immediately have, but I wrote it down and so I'll add it to this post later. [That would have been Shilene. -B] Did everything I needed to do, ate a nice huge lunch of meatloaf which caused me to hike most of my yesterday miles in a food coma, then tried hitchhiking out of town. And let me tell you, if my experiences here are any indication, hitchhiking is not easy. I actually sat there for probably about an hour straight, with my thumb out and a little sign thing: "HIKER TO TRAIL", and not a single person was stopping, although there was one woman who read my sign, and I could see her talking to her husband in the driver's seat, and just by reading lips [I could tell] she said, "What does 'hiker to trail' mean?" and I couldn't quite make out his reply, which was amusing but didn't get me a ride.
So after that, I just sort of retreated in defeat to the bus stop, and I used the bus to get as far to the edge of town as I could, and from there I tried my luck at hitchhiking again, and ultimately, the people who pulled over were the people who stocked the hiker cache over at the Highway 18 intersection with the Pacific Crest Trail. Their names were Nitro and Heinz (like the ketchup), and I caught a ride out with them, and so... yeah, if it hadn't been for them I probably would have been trying to hitchhike another couple of hours and then giving up in defeat and walking several road miles back out to the trail, so it's like [singing] "Welcome to the Hotel Big Bear City. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave."
But, all that adventure behind me, I did get out last night. I hiked about eight miles, some of which was night hiking, which is actually quite lovely. I'd prefer to do it when there was a nice moon out so I don't have to rely completely on my flashlight, but the trail here is pretty well marked and pretty well graded, and I didn't have to worry about stumbling over rocks in the flashlight or anything.
So it's been a nice afternoon and it's now cool and cloudy and I got another 15 or so trail miles ahead of me before I'm going to stop for the day and just keep on going and keep hiking through this week, stop about Wednesday or Thursday, head up to BayCon from which I will make a whole mess of posts about how the hiking has actually been, realizing I have not actually done yet.
One more voice post to make about a totally different subject entirely, and then I'm going to head back out on the trail, so I hope you're all havin' fun and it's been a pleasant hike out here.”
“Hello, this is Redtail again, and the other thing that I wanted to talk about is that I have a couple of needs, artistic and otherwise, out here on the trail that I can't really do on my own, and I would like to propose a deal: That if you can do any of the following things for me, I would be more than happy to send you a nice lovely little trail souvenir from out here -- either from the trail, or one of my town stops.
The first is that I would like a Livejournal icon -- and you all know, I'm sure, the badger song ("Badger, badger, badger ...") I would like to have a little animated icon made that says, "Blister, blister, blister, blister, ... MOLE-skin, MOLE-skin ... TAAAAPE, it's duc-TAAAAAAPE!" I just think that would be a kick for some of my posts, especially concerning the inevitable foot problems I've got out here.
Number two, is that I would like any of you wonderful furry artists out there to draw a picture of a red-tail hawk gryphon. I haven't really gotten any more specific in my mind than that, but I just think it would be neat to have a new sort of self-mascot for this trip. I'm getting into the Redtail thing; might as well make the most of it. So anyone who can come up with a character sketch for me and give it to me to use, I would be more than happy to send a trip souvenir over in return.
For both of those, if you want to just post it to the journal -- possibly as a reply to this post -- send me your mailing address by e-mail at baxildragon (at) gmail. com, and I will take care of that as soon as I'm able.
The third thing worth a trail souvenir is actually a lot easier. If anyone just wanrs to send me a postcard, to give me a little morale boost and something to read out on the trail. Rather than send it out here to me directly, the easiest thing would be to send it to my home, where kadyg is being my resupply and logistics person. She can include those in whatever box is going to my next destination, since I get regular packages of food and little items and whatever.
Send it to: Redtail c/o Tad Ramspott, 1451-B E Main Street, Grass Valley CA 95945. If you can get me a postcard, I will be quite happy to send one back from out on the trail somewhere.
Number four -- and this is a more ambitious task -- I've been taking a lot of photos that have been basically panoramas. Right now, they''re just individual pictures that need to be stitched together in much the same way as the one that I took on my snow camping clinic. Which I had to do by hand. But I understand that there is commercially available software -- for a PC, which I do not have -- and I believe it was fairly cheap, in the two-digits range rather than the three-digits. So if one of you wants to research that, and if you want to get that software for your PC, if you are willing to commit to stitch together all my panorama photos with it, I will reimburse you for the software as well as go ahead and send you a very nice trail souvenir, one of the nicer ones that I can find. I will warn you, though, that this is probably going to be a fairly extensive amount of work over the entire course of the trip.
Anyway, I will probably add to this list later as I think of more things, but right now those are things that I would really like to have, and if you can help me out with them, I would be more than happy -- as I said -- to send souvenirs.”
“Also, just one helpful little hint for would-be transcribers of my voice post messages: Rather than clicking on the play button, you might want to actually download it. And then you can just play it in WinAmp or Itunes or your MP3 player of choice. Where you can actually fast forward, rewind, stop and pause rather than having to go back to the beginning each time you need to catch up with my voice. OK!”