The Big Day
Forces & Sources
Cows & Canyons
Too Many Cows
For Granite
Ain't no time to hate
The Ugly American
Rambling Girl
Dances With Dirt
End of Begging/Beginning

The Adventures of Cathy - Chapter 7 - Take it for Granite

Welcome back to the, "Adventures of Cathy". This episode Cathy travels. Something new and different.

Joshua Tree was/is a really neat park too. The temperature was 109. I opted for viewing via car. Joshua Trees are very funky looking. I got to know them pretty well and by the end of the park I just called them Josh Trees.

We headed into L.A. and I stayed with an aunt that I have not seen for 8 years. One of my cousins and her daughter came by both nights too. This cousin I hadn't seen since I was two. Her daughter who is five was a lot of fun to be around. I was needing a child fix since I have not been with the Boyd Children for over a month now. After spewing out some of my stock puns my uncle groaned and said, "Ug she is a Cutler, this is her fathers fault." My aunt said, "I think it is genetic in their family, they all do it." I just beamed with smug pride.

I had zero interest in seeing anything in L.A. and since no optometrist in the area carried my brand of contact seeing was not something I could do well. I do have my nerd glasses. I have rapidly tiered of looking like Velma from Scooby Do. All I did was eat fresh veggies, no dehydrated pasta or rice dishes, and sleep in a real bed with lots of pillows. It was really nice to see them again. She is one of my two favorite aunts.

Yosemite, the mother of parks. We decided on a fifty mile backpacking trip. Once again we piddled around getting ready and didn't start the trail until after dark. The first mile was spent with me tripping over rocks and blaming Andrew for most all ills that befall the world. He was, of course, solely responsible for our late start. I'd never goof off and have to rush at anything. What we could see was huge granite domes and massive pine trees. We ended up on my insistence pitching camp about 4 feet from the edge of a cliff. The morning brought a great view of Illouette falls, lots of trees and granite rock formations. We needed to make up some mileage and trekked off doing 12 miles, mostly uphill, the second day. As we climbed up out of the valley we had a beautiful overlook of granite and trees. That day we crossed rivers. streams, and or creeks over 20 times. On one crossing I did my best Chevy Chase impersonation. A log about 1 foot in diameter was placed about 5 feet over the river. For some reason at the elevation of 9000ft the mosquitoes are horrible. They attacked you like a million Jerry Fallwells at a Teletubbie convention and I was Tinky Winky. I had never seen them this bad. My arms were flailing and I did the whooooo ahhhhh whooo ikes whooaaa back and forth on the log. I luckily didn't fall and made it to the other side dry. This was fortunate, most of the time I either fell off the log or slipped on the rocks and my boots would be soaked. The next day a big whine baby woke up in my place so we only made it 3 miles, but it was an amazing 3 miles with lots of granite and trees. We camped at Ottoway lakes. This was my first sight of lakes that were natural (undamed). You could see the bottom and they were almost a sky blue color. Cold too, very cold, but I was happy to pollute the lake by washing what I could of my nasty self in it. We headed up Red Peak Pass that topped off at 11,180 feet. All we hiked across here was granite, but below we could see pine trees. I have found a new way to be drunk. Hike up that high with 45 pounds on your back. I got light headed and stumbled quite often. On the way down the other side of the mountain we had to cross several snow fields. As I posed for my picture to be taken my feet went out from under me and I feel flat on my round patootie. I didn't slide very far at all. Trees and Granite would have stopped me anyway. They have quite a bit of press about bears and the damage they can do to your car/tent, etc. We didn't encounter any, but there were wonderful overlooks and views of granite and trees. The last day we managed to hike 15 miles through pine trees and granite to get out. The last mile was so very long and never ending. To help me get up the descents I had a few songs run repeatedly through my head. "The bear went over the mountain", "watershed" - Indigo Girls..."when you are learning to face the path at your pace", "Hurt" -Nine Inch Nails ....I hurt myself today. to see if I still feel, I focus on the pain, the only thing thats real." Trent Reznor should try hiking instead of heroin.

Yosemite had a very good feel to it and the tourists all seemed happy to be there, unlike the dessert parks. This Park has jumped to the #1 spot on place to return to and experience more of. Everywhere you look there are waterfalls that are so big and drop from so far up. I was slack jawed most of the time. All in all it was a great hike. I would do it again in a jiffy. It is easier for me to take to little annoyances and put them to words than to express the thoughts, feeling and scenery adequately. Don't be mislead by my sarcastic take on everything.

We trotted off to visit an old college roommate of Andrew', Chris and Leanne, in Boulder Creek, Ca, this is near San Jose. I must say that area of CA was tres cool. Hippie Yuppie's and their puppies. We were taken to a brew pub that was had great food and played Bob Dylan and Bonnie Raitt. Leanne was very cool, she collects stuff with the intentions of using for furniture or making something out of it too. We talked about the excitement of receiving power tools for gifts. She also laughed and got most of my stupid jokes. The next day I spent in splendor sleeping while the boys played who could be the biggest computer geek. That evening we hit a German restaurant that was very cool and authentic. I had the farfeghouvin. I also got treated to the South Park movie. Brutally funny if you like toilet humor, and I love toilet humor.

We drove up highway 1 to San Francisco, I was sure to wear some flowers in my hair. This is a drive to not be missed. I think it was my first encounter directly with the Pacific ocean. Crossed the Golden Gate and went to Muir Woods that boasts huge redwoods and toots the horn of the great naturalist, preservationist of the times. We almost had to turn around and go back to San Francisco. I had left my heart there. I wasn't using it, so it was on to wine country.

Napa valley. It is really pretty and less snobby than I expected. We went to 3 vineyards/wineries and had 2 tastings. I was drunk off of 2 glasses of wine. I had a grape time, it was a barrel of fun. Just shows what stopping drinking for the most part and exercise can do to you. Since I landed myself in happyville by noon I fell asleep and didn't wake up until we hit MT. Shasta. I would have liked to summit this peak, but you need special gear like ice axes and crampons for your boots. None of which I have nor can run off and purchase.

Carter Lake was yet another wonderful sight. The water was this color of blue that was thick, round and deep. We took a boat tour that dropped us off at an island we could do a short hike on and see a crater at the top where lava once spewed. I sacrificed myself to the lave gods, but they spit me back out. We had a four hour wait for the boat to pick us back up. That time was spent making snowballs and playing baseball with them.

After miles and miles of no services we came across a town called Oakridge, OR. I pulled into the local grocery so we could get fresh fruit for the next few days. I looked to my right and in her bright red Ford Escort a woman sat. Cigarette dangling and pink foam curlers in her hair. I pointed and giggled. My laughter was soon hushed when a man carrying only a 12 pack of Coors strutted to the car. He had on a greasy baseball cap with some fishing logo and his Dunlap's disease (his belly dun lapped over his belt)was a prominent feature. Now I was just scared. I looked to my left and a man in a tank undershirt, the kind my dad wears, sat doing his nails with a four inch long knife. His plump and in spandex mate (fries with that shake ma'am) approached the car with a carton of cigs and a bottle of Boones Farm wine. Ahhhhh, love in the Pacific Northwest.

Signs of the times

1. A sign asking for "clean dirt" - What?

2. Upon entering Oregon a sign saying "Keep Oregon Green" the next sign saying "logging operations next 10 miles" - what?

I have to finish. I got a scolding from someone who read my opening paragraph on too many cows. I have put her response on the end of this for those who wish to see it. I had to write her back and fess up to my hypocrisy on cows and their products. I like leather and cheese, but still, there are an awful lot of cows in this world. I don't see how we possibly can use that much cow products. Oh well.

Take Care each and every one of you,


">Okay, but reading your comments about cows, I just couldn't help myself.
>I had to email you! I myself don't eat much beef, but I do love dairy
>products and like my leather hiking boots, etc. So anyway, I couldn't
>resist jumping up on a soapbox. The fact remains that most of us consume
>a good bit of beef, buy lots of leather products, and consume
>milk/cheese/etc. Without our country's beef supply (as well as other
>meats, but beef is the cheapest per pound), we wouldn't have enough SPACE
>to grow enough crops to feed our country. Cows have a unique physiology
>in that they can convert a food supply that is essentially UNUSABLE and
>UNDIGESTABLE for our bodies to a very high-quality protein source. (And
>as Andrew may have told you, I'm in vet school, so I can tell ya all
>about the ruminant physiology.) You just can't match the protein, iron,
>and nutrient content for the cost and space of raising a cow. There's
>also the land use aspect. Cows do impact the environment, yes - but if
>enough pasture is allowed per cow, the impact is not so great. It's when
>pastures are overcrowded and overgrazed that the damage occurs, and we are
>constantly educating farmers about that sort of stuff. The other side of
>the land use issue is - if it's not pasture, what is it? I'll tell you
>what it will become strip malls, shopping centers,
>super-@$#@!-walmarts. So, let the farmers make some money off their
>land so they don't end up selling out to Kroger just to make ends meet.
>And if you want to compare all the growth hormones, antibiotics, and
>potential pathogens in different meats, beef and pork are much safer than
>poultry will ever be. (Did you know that one of the final phases in a
>chicken processing plant is a soak in a dilute BLEACH solution? Yum.)
>Okay, lest you become a vegetarian, I'll shut up... Not that being vegan
>is bad (my best friend is one), but it's just really hard to do it and do
>it right - ie get enough calcium, iron, balanced nutrients, etc. Most
>people don't do it right and would be better off eating meat. " 
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Copyright (C) 1998-2008 Cathy Cutler