A change is gonna come

Hey everyone!! I know it has been awhile since my last post. I finally got back home to California and needed to get a job ASAP. I have a very long to do list, car registration, place to live, find 2nd job and still maintain a social life. Don’t even get me started on the CDT to do list, so-many-details. So I’ve been busy with life.

I have written a couple of posts, they are hanging out in drafts….I keep changing my mind, I’m wishy washy like that. I’ve been wrestling with the idea of writing a post on race & diversity. I just don’t know, one must choose their words carefully when dealing with said topic. That and everyone is hypersensitive right now. People have asked about being a solo black female on the trail. With almost 4000 miles of hiking under my shoes, I have to say race has not been an issue.

My whole life I’ve participated in activities that were mostly white. That’s just my life. From hockey cheer-leading (yes we cheered on the ice, I get that question so often)to skiing to road biking. I’ve never let participants race determine if I was gonna give something a try or deter me.

Of course I’d love for more African Americans to experience the joys of being in nature. It’s good for both mental and physical health…and just plain fun. I’d also love to see more representation in ads and magazines. But until that happens. Make A Plan and go for it! (I’m talking to you people of color) Every camp out doesn’t have to be a epic adventure, maybe just an over night. Represent! Take a buddy with you. Please don’t wait until you see someone who looks like you before decide to go. Just go. You can do it. African American clothing designers, how about some hiking gear! I enjoy answering backpacking/hiking/camping questions, lay them on me.  I’ve had this blog since what, 2014  and still people are like ‘I couldn’t find any African American hikers’. I was inspired to thru hike by just reading some blogs by some tough ladies who tackled many a trails. They were all white btw.

On the PCT I hiked with some great…. people (yes mostly white people). We hiked and talked about our families, hopes, dreams and silly things. We all want the same things, but most importantly we talked, that’s where it starts. See when it comes to race on the trail…..let me put it this way. When you are cold, got miles to go, scared, and trying not to slide off the side of a snowy mountain; your trail buddies skin color isn’t really important. You just make it happen….together.

 

Logistics

So flying over the length of the PCT to get to the AT was an interesting route. Stirred up a lot of emotions reflecting on that journey.

In a year so much has changed but so much is the same. Looking forward to a couple of months of trail therapy. The trail is a good place to work through some “stuff”. Talk it out with a fellow hiker you may never see again, talk it out with yourself as you struggle up a mountain. Sing it out while listening to Pearl Jam on a summit! Experience is wasted if you don’t learn or grow from it.

I performed a poem for the XSL Poetry Slam/Cookoff last weekend.  It was a great lesson in facing my fears and speakin from the heart. Nervously i stepped on the stage…I had to start over once…but when looked into the crowd…. (no I did not picture them in their undies, granted that might be fun ..wait i digress), what I saw in that crowd was friends wanting me to succeed!

Man that was just was the confidence builder I needed. (Oh and the bacon/mac&cheese, egg rolls, specialty drinks & desserts….well I’m about to live on ramen for 4 months…. that was the bomb..all of it !) I’ve said it before but my friends are crazy talented, generous, and supportive. I am one lucky badass hiker.

**special shout out**
Thank you Dan & Kimmie for watchin my wheels at the last minute!  This trail I got Dr. Bronners soap, hand sanitizer, coconut oil……I’m ready, AT bring it!

It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves. -SEH

Well if you haven’t heard (where have you been?) I’m off on another thru hiking adventure! This time I’m tackling the Appalachian Trail 2200 miles, through 14 States -Georgia to Maine. Watch out East coast I’m coming for ya! I’ve given my work notice and fly out of San Diego on April 13th hope to see you before I go!
I’ve planned, read and researched my little heart out so now it’s just putting one foot in front of the other. The PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) tested me emotionally, physically, and mentally and the AT will as well I’m sure.
The last weeks of preparation have been an emotional rollercoaster. The hurt and loss I let wash over me like a tidal wave. Then I surfaced and let it all go, buoyed by the encouragement and support of my friends and family. Oh the feels. Lets just say the excitement of starting a new journey and the sadness of leaving everyone behind can be so overwhelming.
Spending time with close friends before I leave has saved my sanity, for reelz. Thanks for dancing in the desert with me, watching the Sun/Moon rise and set, Mimosa brunches, hikes, Survivor nights, all the hugs, laughing til my gut hurt, loong phone calls, and so much more.
After completing the PCT I was compelled to learn/dream/live/do more. (lord knows I’m tryin) I even gave in to identifying reasons for thru-hiking so I can keep them in the forefront of my mind. You know when my feet hurt. Here’s some:
-If you can Inspire just one person…… do it!
-To gain courage, perseverance and sweet hiker legs
-To learn to be patient, flexible and less afraid of new things, face the fears.
-Growing as a hiker but also as a person.
Thank you (yes you!) for being part of my story this next chapter should be a real page-turner! Send Good Vibes my way, mkay, and follow me on my thru hike of the Appalachian Trail 2016 this should be good. Much luv.
(I will try to keep y’all updated, but my tech skills in the woods are shotty at best, don’t judge, kisses.)

New Year New Trail

Well the holidays are behind us. All those things that I have been putting off till “after the holiday” are looming large. I don’t have in NY resolutions, I just have things I need or want to do. In 2015 I covered a lot of my wants, but the needs got a tad neglected. That being said 2015 was a great year for me. Things did not work out because of some resolutions or a grand plan I set in place. Nope. Things just worked out. I like to think things always work out the way they should even if it’s not the way you wanted. Just deal with it.

Many things changed over the last year but many have stayed the same. I’m cool with that.

So 2016 being a even year I think it will be a good one. In my world big things tend to happen in even numbered years. Why? Don’t know they just do. So this should be interesting.

My intention is to thru hike the Appalachian Trail this year. Well I am 95% committed at this point. Why not 100%? Because I got ALOT of stuff to do in a very short amount of time and I like to keep everyone on the edge of their seats to see if I will pull it off. Plus no better time than now, I’m not getting any younger, my ‘career’ is non-existent, and my living situation is sketchy. Plus I got the CDT in 2017! Yeah after that I gotta stop moving. Ya know settle down and stuff. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

So I’m in the preparing, training, stress out phase right now. The “off” season was really off for me (off the hook!!!). No seriously, I had good time and now it’s time pay the piper, buckle down and all that stuff.

You would think after one thru hike the next would be easier. Nope. There is a bit more logistical planning involved this time, gear to replace, new maps, a new phone to a post from and guidebooks! So many things. Did I mention I got a spiffy new rain jacket while I was home for the holidays! Yep no more poncho! So I got that going for me.

Stay tuned……….this should be fun!

Little boxes

Working in a cubicle, sucks. I go to work, sit down and start cranking out orders. I do this ALL DAY. It’s a job and I need the money to, you know, live but it’s not fun. Our company moved into a new fancy building this week. My desk is facing a wall, sorta. See on the wall to the right is a big window (the bottom half is frosted, why I do not know). So from my chair I can only see the sky and watch planes fly by. To the left on the wall is a nice sized flat screen tv. On this tv pictures pop up, like screen savers. At first I was like cool, because they are these nice pictures of mountains, forests, trees, beach and city shots. After a week of this I think they are just there to taunt me. I glance at a beautiful place and momentarily day dream about being there. Yep, I am in cubicle hell.

Speaking of cubes, me and my Nissan ‘sugar’ cube are parting ways. I need to slide back into the no car payment lane. So I’m picking up my ‘new to me’ wheels this weekend. It’s a suv, cuz I gotta have room for my stuff and I think I got a good deal. Hard to say, it’s used but the miles are lowish. Change is good, right?

While change is good, sometimes you just need to stay put. I was all fired up to drop Verizon as my bill was to high and their customer service is lacking. But to change to T mobile I had to call Verizon to get my account number. When I mentioned I was shopping around all of a sudden they wanted to be helpful. You know long time valued customer, whatever. Just like that I got a new phone for $11.00 and shaved $20 off my monthly bill! Sweet, their customer service still sucks, just sayin.

Last but not least I totally went camping AND hiking last weekend. Oh man did I really need that. It was a friends birthday, so it was a great gathering of cool people. We night hiked and day hiked, ate some great food, laughed around a camp fire til my sides hurt. Won’t lie to ya, it was super chilly but so worth it!

hikeross

So grab your gloves, hat, coat and get outside people, get out of your box! It’s the cure for cubicleitis or whatever ails ya!

Oh after hiking I am pleasantly surprised to have zero pain in my ankle. Yea me!

Leave it to me as I find a way to be

at

I’m finally finding the time to reflect on my journey. It’s weird, I spent so much time, after finishing the trail, traveling and running here there and everywhere. There has just not been time. Or maybe….

I was avoiding it. Some how there has been a part of me that has not really wanted address how much it effected and changed me. As it is I have changed so deeply at my core that I cry at the loss of who I was.

Some days I catch myself reacting as my old self would, that is frightening. It’s like trying to slide into an old skin. It’s not right it doesn’t fit, it’s uncomfortable yet familiar. It is imperative that I find a way to embrace this new me and move forward.

                                                                  ………..find a way…….
What has started all this ruminating? Well I been working put all my trail pics in a video you know with music and stuff. It’s taking a bit as my computer, well, sucks. The windows program is constantly crashing, so annoying. That and everyday it seems harder and harder to settle in the city. When did things become so overly complicated? Why am I here? Why is it so darn noisy?

Today I watched a film about the Appalachian Trail. So much hard stuff to deal with rain, mice, mosquito, mountains lots of them. Yet after the film I whipped out the calendar to see when I could start! Um, yea when did I become this person, did not see that coming. I have a feeling it’s gonna be a long winter and I need new hiking shoes.

Paperback Writer

So it was my birthday this last week! Another spin around the sun and what can I say this last chapter in the life of me was a dozey! Really looking forward to the next one because I did not realize the last one was gonna play out the way it did. You just never know.

I didn’t really do much for my birthday, but I did get to go to Youtopia at the last minute. So glad that I did. It was amazing! Got to spend time with some very special people, get my dance on and a bunch of, well other things went on. It was beautiful. Connected with a guy from North Carolina hoping we can meet up when get out east!  Even got to throw up my old Coleman tent, after that one person tent that Coleman was super roomy! Heck I could have had people over, if I was ever there. Think I slept all of 4 hours all weekend, good thing I don’t feel as old as I am.

Looking forward to my life settling down a bit but I am just not sure when that’s gonna happen. With work and so many people I need to catch up with. Feels like I am constantly running with hardly time for a short hike. That makes me sad and even more anxious. Pushing to get into my own space by November, that should help lower my current high anxiety. I just feel really discombobulated with things everywhere, the room, the car, storage. I need a solid landing pad so I can focus and stop stressing out. At least I’ve started eating better, so there’s that. One day at time, one thing at a time, just breathe……………………

By the way did you see this article:
It’s all about the journey. Hiking the PCT, solo.
This was pretty much the first interview I’ve ever done, or least remember (mind is the first to go). It came out pretty awesome, but that’s just me. Thanks Teresa!

Post trail dust off and reacclaimation

Well I’m back in San Diego. Physically I am anyways, my mind and heart are somewhere else.

So let’s see the Burn was way different for me this year. The weather was crazy, windy, dusty, cold (this has been the coldest summer on record for me, seriously), and the art was stirring, but there were SO many people. Going to the burn right after the trail might have been a bit over ambitious on my part, I admit. At least I had some down time in between and wasn’t just dropped directly into that or I may have lost it. Honestly it was a bit more intense than I thought it would be.

No sooner than I got to the playa I got in a tiff with a dear friend. We worked it out but I really internalize it and just wanted to hide out in my tent sanctuary, that did not exist. (note to self there is no such thing as a minimalist burn) It was very conflicting having so few things for months then being around all the excess on the playa. Also, even though self expression is stressed at the burn, I felt more ‘myself’ on trail. On the playa there is a need to ‘dress with flare’ that seemed like a mask to me. Nevertheless I got myself through it, left my Brooks Cascadia in the temple with a note that took forever to write with all the crying. Those were great shoes, letting them go was like closing a chapter I didn’t want to end. The random connections didn’t really happen this year. Reconnecting with new/old camp mates and distant friends was much more what I needed and enjoyed.

Now that I am back in SD the finality of it all has hit pretty hard. Trail life was, well simpler, everything now is overwhelmingly complicated. Agh. The weirdest things have been throwing me for a loop. It is hard i’m sure for people to understand the difficulties associated with coming off the trail. Like driving, I hate driving now, i just do. Why does everything have to be attached to an address? Why am I so broke but, I have so much stuff? Agh. All I really want to do is climb in my sleeping bag and hide. But I cannot, because I have “things” to do. That and it is like 100 degrees! (i am loving that part!)

Luckily I have friends who are allowing me to crash at their home while I “get it together”. Thanks Colleen and Mike. And yes, I am “getting it together” albeit slowly. First, I need to get a job or two even. Because………..wait for it…….I’m preparing for the Camino de Santiago!!!! A girl’s gotta have a dream!!!

dusty2015

Time to burn

Tomorrow we hit the road headed to Nevada!! Time for that thing in the desert, otherwise known as Burning Man. I’m excited to say the least. Last year darling Marie sat with me at the burn and asked me what my dream was. I quickly said: To be a thru hiker! Then end with a burn.rt

Well I put it out in the universe and boom! Even when I doubted things just fell into place. Sometimes you just have to put it out there, then get out if your own way.

Super freakin hyped to see all my beautiful crazy burner friends. Let me tell you all throughout this journey my burner friends have been there. Whatever I needed. When I went to my first burn 5 years I had know idea I would meet so many amazing, generous, crazy, beautiful, loving people. I’m so lucky and super grateful, I get hearty (is that a word) and teary writing about this.

But no time to get mushy. We got to finish packin and loading! Dusty hugs for everyone soon! I love you guys!!!!

oh I am so burning my shoes!!!!shoes

Can’t carry it with you, if you want to survive

 

Do you see the way that tree bends? Does it inspire
Leaning out to catch the sun’s rays. A lesson to be applied.
Are you getting something out of this all encompassing trip?

Seems that needlessly it’s getting harder to find an approach and a way to live. -Eddie Vedder

Laying in my bunk at the hostel last night, hikers sleeping in nearby bunks and rooms. I couldn’t help but think how lucky we all are to have the experience of this journey. It’s all so similar yet so personal. We are all headed the same direction, though the trail is the same our paths will be our own. Getting there will change who are.

I’ve changed, so much I hardly recognized myself when looked in the mirror recently. Or maybe it’s the same I’ve always been I just haven’t been looking close enough. As a solo hiker I’ve had concerns about going over passes, crossing streams and generally wondering around the wilderness with just my paper maps. So imagine my surprise when I realized I had just crossed a roaring stream and was headed up Mather Pass alone. I got hella nervous, especially with gray clouds building. Would it be icy, dangerous, would I be able to find the trail? I took a deep breath ate a handful of gummy bears and just started climbing like crazy, figuring I’d deal with what was on the other side when I got there. I really enjoy hiking on my own, however there is a certain comfort and safety in having others around, ya know. They say you pack you fears. I certainly did, my packs pretty heavy. At some point you have to face them to lighten your load. That’s the learning and growing part, you need to do that on your own. Mather was the second pass that day at 12,100 feet. I summoned energy from who knows where. Got over the pass alright, pushed myself, sliding, post-holing, falling through the wet snow. As the sun slipped behind a mountain I managed to find the trail! Picking up the pace I made it to camp before dark, the boys (Geo and Scout) already there tents up chillin. Two passes and 20 miles, all in one day, in the High Sierras. That’s crazy exhausting and cool! Learning to rely on myself……priceless. Follow me on instagram