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Friday, July 30, 2010

Mile 1202ish: Sierra City, music, and bear safety

This morning, I set out with two goals: get to Sierra City, and drain my iPod battery while listening to music. I haven't listened to music in so long because I stepped on my earphones a long time ago, and when I finally replaced them I forgot to turn it off or at least to "Airplane Mode," so I'd been conserving battery ever since. Music is awesome! It makes me feel so good (or at least so much, I've been known to listen to sad songs every once in a while)! 'Kids' by MGMT has a perfect beat for hiking.

In Sierra City, a spit-on-the-road town with folks even nicer and more generous than those in Wrightwood, we ate breakfast, resupplied, ate lunch, and loitered until 6 hours after our departure goal. It was ok, I ordered a replacement hat for the stupid visor that I thought I had been lucky enough to finally lose, and Uri and Barack (the Israeli Gears?) taught me how to say "I love you" and "I love food" in Hebrew.

The general store had a t-shirt about bears, the general gist was:
"Both black bears and brown bears are known to frequent this area. Outdoorsman are advised to carry annoying little bears and pepper spray. It is also important to be able to tell the difference between black bear shi and brown bear shit. Black bear shit is dark with twigs and berries, while brown bear shit has little bells in it and smells like pepper."

Awaiting us after our resupply was seven miles of hot climbing, switchback city. Stoked that I had a full battery and warned about bears in the brushy upcoming terrain, I decided to take a new tack on bear safety. Bears can hear me better than I can hear them, right? I listened to music while I hiked, but made sure I was singing/humming/beatboxing along to it, at least every few gasps of air. As I huffed and puffed and tunelessly sung along, I wondered which was more annoying: those little bells, or off-key, off-time me, yelling out random snippets of song but not all the words in between. "Summer....cleavage!"

I of course was doing this when I was by myself, and conversed while I was with Micro and 16. Only once on the switchbacks did they hear me singing. It reminded me of when I thought I was going to learn the harmonica and bring it along, I told my Danish friend "I'm going to bring a harmonica to play on the trail," meaning "at campsites along the long-ass PCT, but he said, "That sounds fun, but don't you think the other people hiking will want to hike in silence sometimes?" That, too, reminds me of when Microburst and I would joke about wheezing up the hills with harmonicas clamped between our lips. "Maybe every switchback or so, we'll move our mouths to another hole so we can play two new notes with each inhale and exhale!"

- Typoed on my iPhone

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