If you haven’t seen Will YouTube Ever Run Out Of Video IDs?, it’s worth a watch, not only because Tom Scott recorded the 5-minute video in a single take, but also because in the middle of it he managed to recite seventy-three quintillion, seven hundred eighty-six quadrillion, nine hundred seventy-six trillion, two hundred ninety-four billion, eight hundred thirty-eight million, two hundred six thousand, four hundred sixty-four from memory.
There’s only one problem: he recited the wrong number.
Actually, there are a few problems*, but first, let me provide some background.
Last week, my Grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Barnette (née Lasher) passed away, just 5 days shy of her 94th birthday. For much of my life I knew her formally as Mary Elizabeth Myers (that’s how we addressed our Christmas and birthday thank-you notes), using the last name she acquired from a short second marriage. When my mother and her sisters moved her to an assisted-living facility several years ago, she surprised them by asking to revert to her married name from their father, Kenneth Ashel Barnette, who had passed away when my mother was still in high school. It was something they’d hoped she’d have done decades earlier, but it was all the more touching for her to do so at the outset of her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Friends and family affectionately knew her “Mary Lib”, but to her six grandchildren she was Grandmommy.
I cook with whatever I have on hand, so when I make an omelet, I fill it with whatever I have on hand. Sometimes my omelets are just “ok”. And sometimes I have bacon, green onions, sauteed mushrooms, and fresh goat cheese. Sometimes I have fresh thyme that I whisk in with the eggs. I will continue to fill my omelets with whatever I have on hand, as long as I have bacon, green onions, sauteed mushrooms, and fresh goat cheese.
Unfortunately I didn’t practice very good poison oak hygiene last weekend (I wore shorts and didn’t shower immediately upon returning home), and now I’m suffering from a few small spots on both legs and a swath on my left arm—my worst exposure since my first. Lesson re-learned.
I can say with confidence that it’s possible to hike the Skyline-to-the-Sea trail in a single day, if one were so inclined. A month ago Stephanie dropped me off at the Saratoga Gap trailhead just after 8 in the morning, snapped a few photos (to help search-and-rescue identify my body), and then drove off in the direction of Pescadero to spend the day studying.
Nine hours later I emerged from the wilderness, on a bluff facing the Pacific just before sunset. Stephanie met me at the end with a sandwich and bubbly water. The signs say the trail is 29.5 miles long, but common wisdom (and recent GPS data) suggests it’s closer to 25. Given my usual pace of 3 miles per hour, plus a short break for lunch and an unanticipated ford of Waddell Creek, 25 miles seems reasonable.
Which makes this trek the farthest I’ve hiked in a single day, eclipsing the two days in a row that I hiked close to 23 miles on the PCT (over 11 hours carrying a 30-pound pack). To day hike any farther, I’m going to need longer days (and longer trails).