Thursday, September 10, 2009

Perseid Meteor Shower

One of the great things about backpacking long distances is the sense of community that can develop amongst fellow hikers. I was fortunate to meet quite a few interesting people. I met doctors, teachers, college professors, students, war vets, computer technicians, foreigners (Irish, English, Australian), and former park rangers. Often times, someone would pass me during the day, and I'd see them later in the evening. Sometimes a few of us would camp together for the night. Sometimes I would meet someone, and then cross paths a couple of days later. There were a handful of us who would "leapfrog" each other the entire trip. There were a few spots on the trail when a full fledged party would materialize. One such place was Muir Trail Ranch. This was where most of us had sent our 5 gallon bucket to resupply. The ranch is run by a tough little old lady. After picking up our buckets, a small group of us set up camp in a nearby campground. The mood quickly became festive as many familiar faces continued to arrive throughout the afternoon and evening. After an evening soak in the hot springs located across the river, several other hikers started a small bonfire in the fire ring located in the campground. Since this was a resupply point, many of us had sent more food than was necessary to ourselves. As a result, a small banquet ensued followed by lively conversation, stories, and jokes around the campfire. Even more enjoyable, this just happened to be the peak night for the Perseid meteor shower. Before retiring to our tents for the evening, we were able to witness a fantastic display of meteors burning up in the atmosphere above the Sierras, as they streaked across the Milky Way glowing above us. First thing that came to mind was John Denver's explanation of "Rocky Mountain High!" (Check at the 3:20 mark!)

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