Archive for 2016 July

Trump + Mussolini: Trussolini?

Countless commentators, from a Congressman in Utah, to the President of Mexico, editors and Twitter wizards like Marlow Stern to famous comedians like Bill Mahrer to the most admired of our publications have pointed to the frighteningly fascistic tendencies of Donald Trump and specifically his alarming similarity to Benito Mussolini, in looks and in language.

But the intentionality, Trump’s part in this similarity, did not become fully evident to me until his horrific acceptance speech, in which he referred obliquely to the most famous promise of Mussolini, that he would make the trains run on time.

Trump said — although really it was more of a battle cry, in his customary language, broad to the point of meaninglessness.

We will fix TSA at the airport, which is a disaster.

To me this is a “tell” — another indication that he’s consciously playing the Fascist card.

Am I wrong? Over-reacting? Making stuff up?

You may call me alarmist, but I’m not the only one…

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PCT section L: Paradise Lake to Sierra City

Think this might be the shortest and possibly the easiest section on the entire 2663-mile PCT. That’s based on a personal knowledge of two-thirds of the trail in California. That’s all I know, admittedly, with some reading and searching, for instance such as Jeffrey Schaffer’s venerable and helpful set of guides on Wilderness Press.

Still. Turns out the section is but 38 miles long — something a experienced thruhiker can possibly do on a very good day or a day and a half, with fitness and luck. So says Schaffer and I agree (Birdman above was on that kind of schedule, having spent the night at the Sierra Club’s Peter Grubb hut, just five miles from Donner Pass).

Plus, it finishes in Sierra City, an altitude of about 5400 feet, well below the trail at the starting point of the section, at Donner Pass, which is about 7200. And the trail flows up from there to a high ridge of about 8,000 feet, following the crest as much as best as possible across the fields of so-called mules ears flowering out in the bright sunshine. Intoxicating with their beauty.

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Of course a true thruhiker will not deviate from the trail without a fight, but nonetheless a night at Paradise Lake about a mile or a mile and a half down Paradise Valle, proved hard to resist. Would have been great stay — and it’s super popular — except the mosquitoes were pretty fierce.

Why in the world, may I ask, have we no measure whatsoever of the mosquito menace? Drives me crazy. We have indexes for everything else, from solar radiation to flower displays — why not mosquitoes? Something we could do towards solving a problem.

But still Paradise Lake lived up to its moniker — would like to see this lake on a chilly morning before the pests hatch out, maybe in June, with a warm sun but some snow still too. Has such a quiet beauty. .

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That’ll give you some idea of the first day or two methinks — that and a mention of the fact that (at least around July 4th) this area is absolutely thronged with people. It’s still gorgeous, and it’s easy to find privacy, but know that you won’t be “alone alone” as we say today.

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People of the PCT: Birdman

Met Birdman a day or maybe two south of Sierra City, in Section L, north of Donner Pass. He’s a true thruhiker: “flip-flopped” the AT last year (meaning he went up and back down).

“And I’ll tell you, it’s a lot more dramatic finishing up at Mt. Katahdin than it is in Springer, Georgia!” he said. Think he has the right to say such a thing, given that he hails from Georgia.

Birdman (from Georgia)

Birdman (from Georgia)

 

Birdman was making what I would consider excellent time — 25+ miles a day — but complained of a knee that was giving him trouble, and was trying not to give up on the trail at the halfway point, just a few days ahead.

“Never quit on a bad day!”

 

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Forget Me Not PCT (from section M)

Back to the PCT, after seven months absence. These from section L, still very much in the Sierras, north of Donner Pass. Area is lower and less spectacular than Yosemite or the Minarets or comparable high mountain ranges, around 8,000 feet, but still has the beauty particular to these mountains, of granite, clear water, pines and snow — and in the summer, flowers, flower, flowers.

Here’s some forget-me-nots, if memory serves. Never seen so many as I have seen this summer on the trail.

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