Bronze's Expedition Log

Expedition Log

Expedition Embarking Tomorrow

June 19th, 2009

My stay in Oregon has been productive and most pleasant, allowing sufficient time to complete my remaining tasks, develop a solid resupply strategy, and enjoy the hospitality and warmth of family and friends.  Tomorrow at dawn I will depart for the PCT trailhead just east of Hoodoo Mountain along Highway 20.  Heading south, I will begin at a conservative pace, aiming for merely 2 or 3 miles to start.  A successful day and night on the trail will be considered a great victory, on which I can build to 2 nights, then a week.  Should I prosecute a successful 2 weeks of travel, without major mishap or calamity, I will have done much to bring the ultimate goal of reaching Big Bear Lake out of the realm of mind and paper and into a feasible reality.  

From this point forward expedition updates will no longer be posted in the Sutler’s Journal.  Photos, videos, and journal pages, will be posted in the Expedition Log at roughly two week intervals.  Please check back at that time–I hope to relate tales of triumph and success over these first two uncertain weeks on the trail!  Thank you for your interest, your support, and your well-wishes.  See you in November!

Final California Dispatch

June 8th, 2009

My affairs are sufficiently in order–5 months of bills, insurance payments, assorted registrations and fees have been attended to.  My supplies are neatly stowed in my Jeep, for departure at first light.  My mule awaits in Oregon, no doubt enjoying the rich grasses of the Willamette Valley, and the freedom to jog about and frolic that she could not enjoy in her small corral in Los Angeles.  I have a month’s quantity of food and supplies awaiting whomever will resupply me during the southern portion of the expedition.  It appears that all is in order.

At present I feel neither excitement, nor a particular sense of trepidation at the coming journey, but rather a sense of inevitability which likely is the product of so many hours spent in preparation and contemplation.  The expedition, at this point, being merely the logical extension of my labors heretofore.  I hope to be able to muster such equanimity in the face of hardships to come!

I will take the coastal route north, stopping for a day in Half Moon Bay, where I will drop another month’s worth of supplies for my Central Californian section.  From there I will continue up the coast to Oregon, hopefully to arrive in Corvallis no later than Friday.  Further journal entries will resume at that time, as I make my final preparations in Oregon.

Phase One

June 1st, 2009

At the time of this penning Bootsie is en route to Oregon.  Traveling along with her is several days worth of hay, my riding saddle, pack saddle, panniers, assorted ropes and halters, and the accouterments of her care such as brushes, hoof picks, fly spray etc…  I hope to be reunited with her by June 15. Read the rest of this entry »


May 27th, 2009

I have but a week left until my last day of work. I find that my to-do list is much reduced, to the point that I often find myself racking my brain for some form of industry or preparation to set upon. Surely there must be some small task or activity that, one month into the expedition, I will curse myself for not having had the foresight to complete. It is an unsettling feeling to have spent the last 15 months in near constant preparation only to now find myself with a surfeit of leisure time.

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One Month Left

May 3rd, 2009

I now have a mere 30 days until I take leave of my vocation and head up to Oregon to complete the final stages of provisioning.  At present I am feeling quite comfortable with the level of preparation to date, there being but few necessities left to acquire or craft.  Indeed, my typically lengthy to-do list has dwindled to a few small tasks per day, and is easily completed.

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Managing Expectations

April 27th, 2009

My mule being of the utmost importance to the successful persecution of the expedition, I have resolved to spend at least some small portion of each day with her, from now until our departure.  She has demonstrated her capacity for bearing and conveying my panniers, for standing quietly for grooming and body work, for generally obeying my commands and directions.  Likewise, I have come to a basic understanding of her handling, her care, and the usage of her attending equipment.  All of this knowledge will however want for employment should we lack that basic level of trust and camaraderie which will keep us working towards the same goal harmoniously. Read the rest of this entry »


April 22nd, 2009

My water gourds being deemed too fragile and canteens deemed too bulky, I decided some form of waterskin as the most effective means of transporting liquid.  Thusly equipped I would be carrying only a few extra ounces of gear, and said gear would collapse or expand to take up exactly the amount of volume required to complete its assignment. Read the rest of this entry »

Sutter’s Fort Mountain Man Traders Faire

April 19th, 2009

I spent the weekend in Sacramento where I attended the above event to acquire some missing elements of my equipage.  Purchased were the following items: Read the rest of this entry »

Evaluating Preparations

April 15th, 2009

Only 6 weeks remain until I pack my panniers for Oregon, where my expedition will begin.  I’ve been grappling lately with my level of preparation–at times I feel pretty on top of things, other times woefully unprepared.  It is generally difficult to assess my preparedness since what I am attempting is largely unexplored territory to me.  I imagine the first week on the trail will reveal the extent of my readiness.  Until then I can only lie in bed rehearsing a day on the trail ad nauseum. Read the rest of this entry »

Pemmican Production

April 5th, 2009

After much pondering and lively debate (internal or otherwise) I produced a 12lb batch of pemmican this weekend.  The main contentious issue was storage.  Do I make individual portions wrapped in wax paper?  Do I put a day’s supply in tins?  Do I follow the plains Indian’s example and pour 2 weeks worth into a rawhide bag and seal it with melted fat or beeswax?  Yesterday I settled on a bit of a hybrid approach. Read the rest of this entry »