|Susan & I say emotional goodbyes at Campo|
|If you think I'll get in ... says Jimmy|
, round pink fat things they call pigs, little creatures with bones on their heads they call goats and nice looking transparent wheels with eyes all over they call peacocks. I'm not forgetting the bunnys, those furry balls and of course the dozens of horses and ridiculous little donkeys, at least that's what they said they were, but compared to us they are more like undegrown midgets.
There are always people here, some regulars feed us, the others just pick up our poop … everyday we have a clean stall or play area. Our bearded owner, I guess he owns us, at least that's what he believes grooms us each day so he brushes the dust & dirt off of us and even combs my forelocks. I like that, and he is delicate with my more sensitive areas. Then he has this thing about picking up our feet, one after the other and scratching the bottom of our soles. It doesn't tickle so envenif I don’t really like it I let him, it seems to please him.
has been rasping my hoofs, it's like being at the manicure … Then
we get to go on a walk. Stupid guy he often takes the same
trail that we already know. So we stop to let him know he is just
being stupid. We'd rather go to a new place rather than those dry
river beds and clutsy side roads. Sometimes he takes us through the
desert land but there we have to be careful with funny round tree
like pricklies, small prickly bushes that if you get close, grasp you
and it's almost impossible to get away, apparently that's how they
reproduce and spread themselves. The nice
thing is that it's spring and there are flowers everywhere. I just
wish I could pick them and make myself a crown … difficult with
hooves though. My little brother Jimmy doesn't care one bit. He just
munches everything he can find and decides whether it's good to eat
|Unloading at Campo|
|Susan & Aimie who accompanied us to Campo|
|I can't even roll in the sand and take my bath!|
Oh Jimmy, quit reading over my shoulder and telling me I'm being a bit hard on the guy. He deserves it, look at all the change we have lived in the last month! It would drive any middle class house-donkey crazy! And I thought I was going to live the life of ease in a “rescue” ranch! No way! This bearded frenchman with scars on his forehead (he is always hitting himself, so much that his son offered him for Xmas a helmet!), is always disturbing us. One day though, we went on a hike and he had the stupid idea of tying us to the water cans. So as he was adjusting Jimmy's pack, I played a trick on him, started my water can dragging on the road, this terrified Jimmy who broke out in a gallop to head back to the ranch. You should have seen the scene!
I of course
galloped after Jimmy, the bearded guy got caught in my water can and
I dragged him at least 20 yards before he got himself loose. Scrapped
on legs and arm I made sure he did not get one of my hooves in the
face. Nice of me, NO? Well we got the ropes caught in our legs and
poor Jimmy had rope burns for at least a week! He should be more
careful with his ropes.
|First mile on the PCT ! we're on the trail|
We climbed into the van one saturday morning and once in he fixed me to the bar inside (no not the drinking bar, the rod that fixes you inside dummy. Jimmy who had a foot still in the hinge of the ramp, made hell for them at least for an hour, you should have seen them trying to push his big ass inside, Susan was bravely behind so he made sure to behave, but the bearded guy, his name is Pascal so I'll call him that, kept trying to entice Jimmy with feed and carrots and he would have NONE of it. That's my brother! A stupid brave ass for sure!
|You think I'm going to cross this road and go back on the trail? you got one coming!|
DAISY – He always has to say something even if he has nothing to say … carrying a brother can be heavy at times!
So where was I? Oh yes, in the van we were and then they proceeded to close the dam thing so we only had air through the side windows … the front ones shut with the rolling of the truck. You should have seen how filled up the back of the pick up was! Oh I hope I don't have to carry all that stuff!
|Lake Moreno, here we come ...|
So this is to say that after 10 hours (with stops) of torture having to anticipate breaking, turns, accelerations … we finally got to this terrible place with a metal fence wall (recuperations from some sort of railroad roofing) and NO good grass. Desert shit country if you want my down deep english description of it. All of these boarder patrols, they take up half the road and disturb the dust I'd love to roll in. Well we did take a walk to the totem poles that mark the start of the Pacific Crest Trail … and took pictures of course! Me coming out of a day's ride … I did not even have a brushing to make me look ok.
someone would have thought of this, but of course, they are too
primitive to think we donkeys have to keep our image … dumb people!
Think of the thousands of persons who might see me in such a state! I
hope no donkeys are going to see this! My reputation would be shot
forever. And I mean really forever, I could never forget it!
|Our first creek crossing ... took 2+ hours|
|All right! enough! This is where we camp for the night ... said Jimmy|
So we camped in Campo just next to the border and the memorial to the boarder guard that got shot no far away. Pascal just layedall his stuff on the grass and we were hobbled so that we could be together but not cross our ropes. Every shift change lots of cars came through and 4 wheelers making horrible noises. Pascal would get up and talk to them and finally they put it on the switch-board so that at each shift people would be able to expect donkeys. We all slept poorly.
|Sometimes it's narrow ...|
Well the start was lovely, high bushes and a soft meandering path that avoided the road while immersing us into the landscape. Loved that first 2 miles until we crossed the road with a high edge and I REFUSED to climb it. After 15 minutes of vain efforts Pascal finally took my dumb brother and having tied me to my brother's packsaddle I was dragged to follow Jimmy through a side access where the ledge was low.
When will Jimmy understand that
I am leading him through life and he should never go against me. I
had Pascal just where I wanted him, stuck and incapable to find a
solution … the pretext was great! No I will not jump 30 inches to
get back on the trail, it's not within my realm of dignity!
|And this is what happens on rough granite|
So Jimmy lead us on and we crossed the village and headed up the hillsides. We must have walked a couple of hours and Jimmy got tired of it so he stopped. Of course with his hulk and mass, Pascal was incapable of getting to go on. I let them play with this a while and finally came forward so Pascal put me in front and I dragged Jimmy into forward motion. He'll follow wherever I go. I'm the Big Sister after-all. Then we came to a wooden bridge. No way was I going to cross that! So Pascal tied us up in the shade, un saddled us and we ate good grass while he was taking a pause. Then he tried to get me to go forward and near the bridge but I WOULD NOT! Darn him, he did not give up and then tied a rope to the other side on a tree and each time I moved forward a foot, he would wind the rope on a stick and thus
This time Jimmy led and we went though nice rocky hillsides (Jimmy loves to tear the Panniers on the granite rocks) and even over a railway. Jimmy did not panic as he usually does, possibly he was already halfway through before he was aware of the rails. At one point the trail was really narrow and turned so we could only see the steep downside. Jimmy froze, the tried to turn around while I desperately backed up but being tied to his packsaddle it was difficult. Anyhow we finally did it and Pascal did not fall into the ravine as I expected from such a fool, and so we re-organized, and finally with much scratching and tearing of the panniers we got through. You should see the panniers, lots of work to repair once in Lake Morena where the needles and repair canvas is. At one of the rocks, the pannier started dripping, Jimmy had managed to pierce the water container inside and we lost all the water in that 6 gallon (half full) container. I laughtat the time, but later regretted as I wanted more water and he rationed it for us.
|Special stove, burns everything and little fire risk ...|
|First camp under the stars ... on sheep skins|
Well then, he even had a little wine from left overs in New River … that put him to sleep alright. Chilly night and I was glad when he woke up and that we left a little after dawn. He is so slow in packing … but it gets better each time. I just have to wait and see him fuddle with the ropes, the filling of the panniers … just wasted time if you ask me.
We walked well for about 3 miles, it was cool and really the country side with cacti in flowers and vistas over valleys as we climb and descend or go around … a delight. Then we stopped at a sweet little micro valley where a dirt road joined the trail and there we were unpacked and allowed to taste that sweet green grass. Jimmy the pig just gobbled it up, but you know me, with my dainty approach I almost did not have enough when 30 minutes later he got eager to go. Of course I would not walk to my packsaddle, so he had to carry the panniers and the gear to me … ha! Ha! That will teach him to have too much stuff. Just to indicate my frustration on not having enough time I refused to start walking. After half an hour he finally put Jimmy in front and that dumb ass just got going. But then a mile later Jimmy stopped and refused to walk. So I got pity of him and I took the lead.
|Camp at lake Morena ... good grass, quiet corner and lovely spot for 4 days|
Finally at the bottom of a hill where there was a good spread of grass he stopped, unloaded us and set up camp. It was only 2pm but we had been walking since morning with just a few breaks. And at 5 miles from lake Morena, we could easily do that in the morning. He shared what was left of the water between Jimmy & I, we only got about 2 gallons each and after such a walk and the heat I could have drunk twice as much. There was just a little left but he would not give it to us. Meanwhile he prepared himself again a great diner of Kinoa, spices and before eating hot he drank a little wine that was left with trail mix … looked good to me, poor donkey who only has harsh grass to eat. True there was better stuff a little further but I could not leave him in case he decided to give us more water. I know that Jimmy would have drunk it all.
Hikers would come in, see us nicely camped and be jealous of our comfortable set up. Pascal as usual was laid out on his mattress, back against a packsaddle and our sheep skins on the soft side making it so he was in a nest. There he plays fingers on this grey window carrying thing and looks at us thoughtfully once in a while … I wonder what he is really doing? Planning to be mean to us tomorrow? Maybe not, after all he seems to know where we are going … maybe I should trust him more. Oh but really, we carry all that stuff and he just takes advantage of us to have a good life. I tell you, this donkey stuff is for the birds. Next time I'll be reborn as a nasty old lady with a stick to beat up on these bearded hippies that think life is made for pleasure.
Jimmy & I liked each other to see if we were all ok, and even my ass did not feel sore, so I guess it's ok and I'll be able to forgive him. You should see us, we look so cute when we groom each other … I wish he'd pay attention sometimes! Of course I love him, how can you not like a fellow that's so dumb that he carries water up a hill for us, waits patiently for us to decide to move on … well most of the time … and even makes us taste what he thinks would be good to eat for us … too bad he doesn't understand donkey taste. It's always too green, too much of a funny taste … just not good hay as we are used to. Wymme would not approve of his feeding us strange stuff. At least with Wymme we got good doses and this regularly. I hope he's back taking care of our friends because when we left, some awful persons were trying to sell some of us off for MEAT! Think of that, as if donkeys were not full beings with feelings and the right to live. Maybe if I learned to write I could write to the president of the US and claim a donkey amendment to the constitution.
OK, back to that starry night in the valley and our waking up at dawn. Once again he groomed us, went through his pick at our feet routine and then he loaded us. It was nice, the load was much easier since we had no water and Jimmy could carry half my load. So we started off with Jimmy taking the lead … well that did not last long, he stopped half way up the first climb and refused to move … I could only agree, climbing on a thirsty breakfast is no way to start the day. Pascal did give us the left over water, but of course that was too little for our real needs. I could have drunk a couple of gallons. Not the half gallon each we got. But you know what he did? He put me in front and told me that if I did not walk he'd use the stick on me again. I couldn't believe it! He was getting serious about this thing of my moving when he said so. I guess I can't play that game anymore. Now what will I do when there is really a reason not to move. I'd better think this through, meanwhile I'll walk, it's a pleasant morning and though the hill is steep, sometimes rocky, it's early and cool. We finally got to the top and he stopped in a meadow to let us eat a bit. We tasted the grass but really were too thirsty to really eat much. So he set us up to go, and though I tried not to move, he quickly reverted to his stick threat so I just gave in and walked. Once on top of the hill the bushes were high and sometimes we could not see above them. It seemed like walking in a labyrinth … kinda fun with good smells from the different essences. We walked at a good pace and then came down on the lake for a mile or so. He took a shortcut that was steep on a rock and I found it easy to follow him. Hooves are great on granite. Then he wanted us to walk on the road to the ranger station. NO WAY … but of course he now has that famous argument, so I immediately got going again. On the way he stopped by a water faucet and filled the canteen 3 times for each of us. Wow were we thirsty! It felt really good to drink our full. If a canteen is 1 ½ gallon, I guess we drank 4 ½ gallons! He tied us up to the pipe ramp at the station and got his equipment he'd left behind (more things to carry!) . Then he took us down to the lake, not officially allowed but he got a special permission from the ranger. Mamamia! I'd never seen such a lot of water. I know it's water because he scooped up some in our water container ( a cooking pan) and gave us some to drink. Bah! Not as good as piped water. Stinks of fish and mud. We did get a chew on some alfalfa growing near the water. It tasted bitter, but we did enjoy the savoury greenness of it.
Then we got back to camp and after a pit stop at the water faucet, we drank another gallon or two, we headed to camp where we had previously dropped off our stuff (did I forget that part?) and there we had some delicious hay that Susan thoughtfully had brought and dropped off. Now there is a woman after my own heart! Donkeys first! Always Donkeys first! You can tell she must have been a donkey in one of her past life-times. She is always attentive to our smallest needs. Not like that brute who guides us … more on that later.
Meanwhile, with a field of grass, long hobble lines, hay in profusion and water always filled, life is looking better. I believe we're here for 4 full days before leaving again. He has so much repair work to do and there is that “kick off” meeting of the PCT. Already an elderly couple came around to take our pictures. I'm sure we're going to be famous, I'll be the star of course and Jimmy by my side to make me look better. This could become fun.
Alright. I'll let you rest from my jabber. Just have a kind thought for the miserable donkey that I am and in a few days I'll let you know what happens.
As I hike, I meet a lot of people who often ask me this question “ are you doing this journey alone?” my answer now typically is “if I was really good you'd think a woman would have found out by now”. This basically says that I feel as if I've given 2/3 of my income to women, I've really tried to share myself and whom I am, I've insured security & safety, and yet the woman I met with whom I had children has not chosen to live “my life”. I can't blame her, my life is a crazy permanent life style where all is possible and I am immersed in the “here & now”. So that's not very secure, and on top of that I'm sensual, I love to make love, make the other go beyond know pleasures … just being a full being, sensual, emotional, intellectual, worldly, … I guess it's just not in the cards that I should share this. So I sit on the side of the trail, a diner of Kinoa with Tuna fish & spices, a desert of dried fruits & nuts and a little wine left to accompany this. Life is difficult … on the trail. I love it even is I can only share with Daisy & Jimmy my trusty companions.