- April 2012 (10)
- April 2013 (2)
- August 2011 (9)
- August 2012 (4)
- December 2011 (4)
- February 2012 (4)
- February 2013 (1)
- Gear (7)
- Gowns & Alterations – kinda stuff (16)
- January 2012 (4)
- January 2013 (6)
- July 2011 (2)
- July 2012 (6)
- June 2011 (4)
- June 2012 (9)
- March 2012 (1)
- March 2013 (4)
- May 2011 (1)
- May 2012 (16)
- November 2011 (5)
- October 2011 (4)
- Photography & Art – kinda stuff (2)
- September 2012 (1)
- Training & Hiking – kinda stuff (8)
- Uncategorized (55)
- What's goin' on in my life-kinda stuff (15)
- You might wanna read this – kinda stuff (10)
Hiking26 on Twitter
Category Archives: Training & Hiking – kinda stuff
Hey Howdy from Oregon ! I had no idea that waking up in OR yesterday, Monday, would feel so amazing. What’s different? the ground is still hard dirt. The water is still clean and clear. The skies are still blue. The skyline is ….oh, that’s the difference, most of the mountains are gone out of the skyline…. It’s a welcome change. Many people are doing the ‘Oregon Challenge, hiking the 457 miles of the state in 2 weeks or less, which breaks down to 32 mile days without a break. I’m not sure why anyone would want to rush through such a beautiful place, but I suppose it’d be great to look back and brag about it. I have many friends in OR that I hope to see, or at least wave to as I pass on by.
It took me 16 weeks, 3 pair of shoes, 15 lbs, 17 wedding gowns, and countless gear replacements to get here. And I feel fantastic about it !!
Finances are squeezed, so I’m GREATLY appreciative of the contributions I’ve received as of late. Right down to all of the messages of encouragement that pop up weekly.
What’s next? Two states and less than 1000 miles left to go. I’m already starting to fret about where my life is going after this. Will my job still be waiting for me? Will I live in Newport or Portland or Metaline Falls? I dream of backwoods and big cities. It’s all so wide open, much like the trail I follow every day, at least it has a definite direction though…. I try not to think about it… but it’s darn difficult.
For now though… I”m back on the trail tomorrow…. And Washington bound. Nice…. and …. slow. =-)
It seems like so much has happened in the last two weeks that I don’t know where to begin or what’s most important to share. How about some random thoughts, those are always fun… (and I’m so good at random!)
- Just outside of Burney Falls State Park, I woke up to find ants in my tent. LOTS of ants. It seems they summited my tent, chewed their way through the nylon and marched on in. More than 30 holes, some that are going to be difficult to patch, and this leaves me a bit worried about the wet weather ahead in OR and WA…. I may have to carry my two man tent, which weighs twice what I have now.
-More wonderful people on the trail. Eric a section hiker from Seattle. ‘Sister Sue’ from Portland and her two beautiful daughters K8 and Lori, we not only enjoyed a nice day of hiking together, we all camped on a shelf with a KILLER view of Castle Crags after a bit of a rough hot climb. Two beautiful and wonderful women from Mt.Shasta and Portland, that gave ‘Frost’ and I cookies and water on the trail. The people out here are such a delight. Oh, yeah… RANGER REX ! I don’t know who you are, but I’ve met people on the trail that said you told them about me…. Thanks man !
-The gown I wore last is probably the first one that I’ve let drag through the dirt for the entire section. Most of the trains pick up so much crap I usually get tired of it and pull them up. This one worked out well, and kept me cooler by doing so. It rained for an hour the other day, seemingly trashing the train, but by the time the sun returned and the gown dried, it didn’t look so bad…. what’s up with that? I can’t get these gowns dirty enough!
-Poison Oak ! I’ve managed to avoid it for the most part. A few bumps here and there. But it’s everywhere on the trails of northern California, and boy-o-boy do I have it !!! Ankles, knees, waist, stomach, wrists, elbows, arm pits – all places I have it. Add to that 5 days of an upset stomach and it’s amazing I”m still having fun out here. There’s a clinic here in Etna, so I popped in for a pricey visit, and I’m hitting the trail with drugs, glorious drugs… The doc there thinks I have giardia, but I’d argue that point. This next section will tell… hopefully when I arrive in Ashland OREGON !!! I’ll be in better shape.
-Northern California continues to amaze me. The other day I hiked quite a long day mainly because I didn’t want to stop at a southbound section of trail. I refused to wake up and hike south on my Northbound journey… silly I suppose. The next morning I pulled out my maps and realized I had pages and pages of southbound… This was time for ‘mind over matter’ – remembering that I’m still knocking miles off of my 2660 mile journey. All of this southbound, I assume, was to get give us more amazing views, so it suddenly seemed worth it. The Trinity Alps and Russian Wilderness were stunning !!! STUNNING ! I was a little upset the trail wound away from Mt.Shasta, where Black Butte stood nearby… It’s a geological wonder and I’d hoped to see more of…. I suppose I’ll just have to return someday.
- I hiked a FOURTY ONE mile day ! It was a first and likely last, but I did it. Coming out of Castella I hiked a 15, 41, 22, and 22… the last two 22′s were rough, but with my new shoes, my feet are happy.
-Jingle cows? the day I hiked the 41 I thought i was loosing my mind or fatigue was setting in… I heard dull wind chimes a half mile prior to running into a herd of cows… all with bells. They weren’t too bright as they ran down the trial in front of me. I obviously scared the crap out of them, as they fouled up the trail, and I played hop-scotch around their messes.
That’s all for now I suppose. I leave Etna today and hope to get to Ashland by Monday – 125 miles away. (25 miles a day to get me there), where I’ll be taking a zero to spend time with friends. California has been wonderful and diverse, but it’s still 1700 miles long and I’m ready to get into another state… There’s a 4500 ft elevation gain over a hot 8 mile stretch, that’s nearly a mile to climb, ugh, we’re not looking forward to it…. But that’s 55 miles away, and i’ll try not to think about it… we’ve done it before, just not in this heat and lower, hotter, elevations.
Thanks again for the support from everyone !
Hey Howdy. I have some catching up to do, as I always do, but as I hit South Lake Tahoe, a ten mile hitch from PCT Mile 1094 (that’s right – I passed the 1000 mile mark !!!) I found 70+ facebook birthday messages, a lot of wonderful donations, and before I forget, I want to tell you about my birthday on the trail …
The day prior I ended up hiking with a group of people including an Israeli guy named Udi. We all celebrated the 1000 mile mark, left Yosemite, and set our goal for camp that evening. With Kennedy Meadows Resort planned for Friday, we wanted to get as far as possible to get us to town faster Friday. Sonora Pass we understood to be the last of the big climbs before the trail gets a bit easier. The granite mountains turned to beautiful red/brown volcanic beauties. In just two hours time, I was shocked at the complete change in scenery, which reminded me much of my pre-PCT hike around Mt. Saint Helen in 2011. We turned up a canyon, passed through the last of the trees for ten miles, and fought strong winds as we climbed up, and up, and UP switchbacks to what must have been the best view I’ve seen on the PCT.
Udi suggested we stop and camp here on the saddle, where the others – Memphis, Nightengale, Knut (from Norway), Opus (from Seattle), and Castle slowly arrived tired, yet invigorated by the vista. The rock fragments proved to be too difficult to sink tent stakes, so cowboy camping it was. A rock circle, likely erected long ago, served as a one man wind shield so we could cook dinner. After eating, our sleeping bags all in a line, facing south, we stared at the majestic Sierra Nevada mountain peaks that we just climbed out of. Within an hour, we all turned around out sleeping bags and watched the sun set over the hills behind us. It was stunning.
The night proved to be difficult. The cold wind howled over the saddle and pushed it’s way through all of our sleeping bags. Knut relocated to a spot behind a rock formation. By 2 a.m. I had pulled out my pack cover and wrapped my feet in it, then pulled my rain skirt and put it on to keep the wind from my legs (I was already encased in my thermal underwear, puffy coat, rain coat, gloves…..) and when that proved to STILL be cold, I pulled the big ol’ wedding gown from under the rocks I had piled on it, and stuffed it in my sleeping bag. Finally I could get some sleep.
We all woke before 5 a.m. to see the sunrise and Nightengale led everyone in a ‘Happy Birthday’ tune. The view all so grand that I think we’d all lose sleep again to experience a night like that. Opus shared with us all the temperature – 34* and risiing. Slowly we trickled from camp, over crazy rock chipped mountain sides, over more snow than I expected to see on June 22, pelted by blustery cold winds, and again the landscape changed. Purples, Blues, Greens, Browns, Greys… all part of the volcanic rocks that we traversed…. And then – THE ROAD ! It’s always invigorating and exciting to see the road that will take a weary hiker to FOOD! (and takes 3 times longer than you expect it will)
A trail angel was set up at the trailhead with Cake, Cookies, Coke, Beer, Strawberries, and other big wonderful bowls of fruit. We spent an hour eating and chatting. ‘Speed-Stick’ , a tripple crown hiker was there to see her boyfriend off on the PCT, and offered to mail off my bear-canister and wedding gown. She gave us a ride to Kennedy Meadows Resort where we planned on staying for the night, and where my trekking poles and food resupply waited.
This is where things went wrong. But just in going through my journal and notes, I realize that I’ve let a few silly things ruin my thoughts of what really was a stunning beautiful day. The back-woods resort had nowhere for us to stay, so we settled on the back porch of the store and restaurant and sorted through our resupply. My sister sent 7 days of food for 75 miles (3 days more than i really needed) and another wonderful birthday surprise, so I wasn’t sure what to do with it all. Since my family knows I usually travel in a pack when it comes to resupply, my FANTASTIC Sister included an entire party pack for my birthday. I’m a big kid, so this may seem strange to you, but it came complete with balloons, party hats, Compass rings, horns and a Tiara LOL. Yeah… big kid fun !!! But by the time I left Kennedy Meadows, there were little girls running around with these trinkets. The weight was too much to take on the trail, and no room in my pack with the extra food. My mom sent a HUGE Gooey Butter Cake, which I took back to the trailhead and was happy to be able to share with 8 other hikers that were sitting around with the Trail Angel, who was still set up and serving.
My trekking pole parts arrived as well, and when I opened up the box, I didn’t find a few parts, I found two brand new Carbon Fiber trekking poles. Josh from www.rutalocura.com took great care of me. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I may be sponsored by rutalocura, but I LOVE my YANA trekking poles.
From the trailhead I was able to get in 8 more miles. So I still pulled off a birthday resupply, and 16 miles on the PCT. I’ve been stewing over my experience at K/M Resort, but glad I took the time to share this, because between the scenery, and the love and support of my family and friends, it really was a fantastic day. =-)
Since leaving Kennedy Meadows it seems I’m on an entirely different hike. Not only the scenery – which is beyond anything I could ever have imagined, but my pace, my ability, my confidence… It’s all changed.
Day one out of K/M we had the great fortune to slack pack 14 or more miles. Tom of Tom’s Internet Cafe in Kennedy Meadows took several hikers out fishing to one of his favorite spots on the trail. In his truck, he took most of our heavy gear. So, we had it pretty easy. The terrain wasn’t too bad, and I enjoyed the company of ‘Memphis’ and ‘No Amp’ who both hiked the AT a few years back. We took our time and missed everyone fishing, but ‘Coop’ and ‘Alex’ from New York were there with our packs. It took us a while to find our way back to the trail, where we worked uphill to a stream-side camp spot. My ability to move fast up hill seemed short of what it normally is. I like to power up hill but trying to do so really wore me down. I chalked it up to a few days off at K/M. But I was wrong.
The following two days, trying to catch up with ‘Chief and Cookie’ from Wenatchee WA was a rough and difficult task. Mental break downs, yelling at nothing, worrying about storm clouds rolling in while atop mountains higher than I’d ever climbed, the weight of my pack, the odd bump in the sole of my shoe causing me pain all became worse with the lack of oxygen. I’[m sure it’s minimal, but my legs felt so weak, and not being able to move fast, even when I encountered the rare even terrain, was making me angry. I wanted to summit Mt. Whitney with Chief and Cookie, but I couldn’t seem to gain any ground on them. They hike to a very strict schedule but at lower elevations, where they hike a slow steady pace, I have usually been able to catch up…
By Saturday I was giving up on everything. I had what should have been a somewhat easy 21 mile stretch to Crabtree Meadows at the base of Whitney, but within 2 miles, I was on a 1000 foot elevation drop into an amazingly beautiful meadow that I never should have been in. It was so incredible that I let the beauty distract me and I convinced myself that I was in the right place, so I continued on a good 2 – 3 miles… until i heard road noise, and there were NO roads on my map. So back on the PCT, I just didn’t care anymore. I ran into ‘Running Wolf’ a former Marine, who verbally patted me on the back and said “I’ve done that before, we all have. It’s over, now keep drivin’ ”
Decomposed granite trail turned to sand, taking every last bit of propulsion out of my step. I stopped, as I had been every 20 minutes or so, and Coop passed me, expressing my sentiments ” I thought we left the desert”. Shortly after, I heard shouting from down the hill. Someone was MAD ! “WHAT THE F**K !?!! WHY THE F**K ARE WE GOING UP HILL !?! ” Scanning the hillside, I saw Running Wolf. Alone. Angry. Yeah, buddy… I know the feeling.
By evening I”m not sure WHAT was pushing me, because I should have stopped early on. Anger, Fatigue, Confusion, who knows. I pushed up a very rough incline, 1500 ft in elevation gain over 2 miles. I’ll skip the rest because it’s useless to complain about that which I shouldn’t have done but did anyway.
I arrived at Crabtree Meadows in the near Full Moonlight that reflected off sheer Granite walls all around. No Amp and Memphis were set up at camp, I found a note that said Chief and Cookie were just a mile ahead. It was 9 p.m. – My fellow hikers and I rehashed our day, and it was quick to set up the tent, eat, then sleep so we could summit Mt.Whitney the next day….
Yana Poles by Rutalocura.com – Even though they sponsored me and you may feel i have a biased opinion, I want you to know I TRULY LOVE THESE POLES. They’re so incredibly light weight and strong. When I’m not using them but don’t want to stash them away, I can rest them lightly in my hands and hike on as though I’m not holding anything at all. A lot of people have commented on them, some seem to think they’re not adjustable by their look, but they are, easily so, and THEY ARE WONDERFUL !
My Osprey Pack, purchased at Mountain Gear in Spokane, WA is a great design. I love so many things about it, although it’s falling apart. The back support has fallen out 3 times now, and is NOT easy to fix. The lower frame wears on the hip belt pockets and has worn holes in them. The ‘cargo’ compartment that sits on top has two adjustable straps to cinch it down, one came loose and the other is on the verge of. This all said, it’s not just my pack, it’s many Osprey packs out here that are having many of the same issues.
Osprey has an unconditional guarantee to fix or replace the pack. I called them about a replacement at mile 210 and didn’t receive a reply until I was out of service at KickOff. The reply (although I explained that I was a PCT thru-hiker and had limited time to work out the problem) was generic, “call and speak to anyone and we’ll help you with your problem”. Repeated calls, repeated voice mails, no contact – On to Big Bear. From Big Bear Lake I finally reached a person, not voice mail. I had to purchase a new pack, they’ll refund my money when they receive the damaged one, yet I have to pay for shipping the pack back. I don’t think this was part of my financial plan – It’s a design flaw and I don’t feel I should have to cover such costs. If I were to be able to drive to a retailer, I would be able to swap it out for free.
Well Osprey, I’m using your pack for the inteded purpose of backpacking… I’m sorry I don’t have a vehicle at my disposal – I don’t feel the cost should be mine. I chose my pack after seeing several other hikers use it in the ’11 season on the PCT, I’m sure word of the many faulty Osprey packs on the PCT will reach next years hikers, I wish you had a better policy.
Goal Zero Nomad 7 solar panel. I used this minimally prior to the PCT. Several other people out here have the smaller version of the same product. I haven’t been able to charge my phone or the attached battery pack for weeks. I called the company today. They’re sending a replacement, free of charge, to my next resupply point, and I just need to send the non-operational panel back to them. This is the kind of service I want to encounter. Fantastic, and thank you, Goal Zero for understanding the I don’t have a disposable income and my time in towns are very limited.
My Sea To Summit Silk sleeping bag liner works wonders (thanks Karen for the recommendation) It greatly increases the warmth of my bag. Although after just 4 uses, a hole aprox 2 ft long appeared where the seams connect. I called Sea To Summit from Big Bear – They’re replacing it and covering the cost to return the damaged one. Thank you Sea To Summit for realizing what an inconvenience it can be to find a retailer.
I LOVE these shoes. I was worried they’d be too light weight. I DID go with the size larger than I normally wear to make room for foot swelling. They’re light and airy and I’m pretty darn happy with them, as my feet stay pretty dry. I had hoped to get a minimum of 400 miles out of them, preferably 500 (the estimate of most trail runners on the PCT.) I intended to order a pair in Wrightwood and have the new ones sent to mile 470 ish, but the day prior to Wrightwood, around mile 350 the sides started splitting on the shoes. =-( Duct tape wouldn’t quite do what would be necessary to hold them together AND keep rocks out (with a huge climb ahead). So I had to overnight shoes to Wrightwood. I’m glad I had that $25 dividend to pay for shipping. This was a difficult purchase, but hopefully my feet will be happy.