Five More Minutes – Scotty McCreery

 

“Time rolls by the clock don’t stop, wish I had a few more drops
of the good stuff…”

Hiking Estes Park Colorado
Hiking Estes Park Colorado

You might have heard me say I started hiking 4 years ago (long distance anyway). Well I’m getting old and forgetful! This popped up on my Facebook memories (FB you don’t totally suck)! Look at me hiking Estes Park, when I was living in Colorado 10 years ago. Rockin actual hiking boots AND a camo backpack.  You’ve come a long way chardonnay!

That’s me a real OG (outdoorsy girl)! I’ve been “adventuring” for so long it’s become my normal. Normal or not, the memories coming in waves are special and remind me the clock doesn’t stop for anyone. Take in every moment in life or you’ll blink and it’ll all be over.

A Flower in the Desert -The Cult

 

If you’re looking for a nice hike, in the wild, with few people around, this is the one. Corte Madera Mountain in Cleveland National Forest, just east of San Diego. You will need a permit, but you can get a free permit emailed to you if you call the rangers station. Seeing as I was the only one on the trail, I had my choice of the couple of campsites at the summit!

The Trail is a 7.5 mile out and back trail near Morena Village. There are great views over
the Lake Morena area and the desert as you climb. At 4,657 feet, it is a continuous climb, so don’t forget to take plenty of water! Overall, great hike. The manzanitas that line the trail throughout the hike are cool, some were completely covered in the bright red bark.
There are signs noting the birds of prey nesting in the area, I wasn’t lucky enough to spot any. On the upside I also didn’t see the mountain lion that is rumored to be in the area, either.

Leaving late in the afternoon I made it to the top and set up camp just in time for the moonrise! My camp was just off trail surrounded by large granite boulders, I had dinner grazing at the twinkling city lights in the distance. It was a lovely, much needed, restful evening under a full moon. Initially I had intended on staying two nights, but quite a few hikers came through in the morning so I decided to bounce.  I hiked down and headed for Anza Borrego State Park! I really enjoy the desert. (side note my first bicycle was a yellow banana seat named the Desert Flower, foreshadowing?)  The desert is very calming to me, hot, but calm. So, yep from the mountains to the desert in an hour, Southern California! On the way to meet friends, I stopped off to stretch my legs at the Slot Canyons. It has been awhile since I’ve been there.

The Slot Canyon, just of highway 78, is a hidden gem of tall narrow channels, that at points you need to squeeze your body to fit around tight curves. The trail itself is pretty easy, with plenty of kids scrambling through. The trail is only about 2 miles with a “loop” that goes out into the open desert. Take plenty of fluids and a hat if you plan on exploring the open sections! Most people that I saw go on the hike (probably due to the heat) just went through the canyon and then turned around and went back.

IMG_20180401_073414_600.jpgSpent the rest of the weekend recharging, reconnecting, watching four-wheelers and dirt bikes whip across the dry lake bed. I woke early to have coffee, watch the sunrise and take in the cool quiet morning.

 

Heading back home in the late afternoon as I approach Scissors Crossing I spotted two hikers thumbing on the side of the road! Two thru hikers from Brisbane, Australia  looking to get a lift in Julian, I was happy to help and here how their journey was thus far. Being in this section of the PCT brings back a flood of memories. How little I knew, hitching for the first time and camping alone in the San Felipe Hills. It is my wish for the 2018 PCT class that they travel safely, show kindness to those that cross their path and remain open to the lessons of the trail!20180401_162241thru hikers happy to get to Julian…..and get some pie!

 

Something to Talk About – Bonnie Raitt

About 40 days out from starting my hike and I’m getting in trail mode. Making lists checking them twice. I don’t read blog obsessively like I did before the PCT anymore. However, I might checkout a hiking movie or two, listen to some podcasts. I really got into podcasts on the CDT, I like listening while I hike. My mind flows differently when I’m hiking, ideas come in waves, creativity is stirred. Listening to podcast reminds me of  times gone by when people would sit around the radio to listen to a show, you know like before tv. Listening while I hike, I can let my mind imagine the stories in vivid color, get wild ideas about my next adventure and learn some things.  Continue reading “Something to Talk About – Bonnie Raitt”

Portland – The Replacements

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Sitting here writing by a fire with a view of the stunning Oregon coast. What an honor to be included in this weekend writing retreat. A group of women writers, bloggers, pod-casters and trailblazers. Sharing our hopes, dreams, passions and some ridiculously tasty healthy food and lots of snacks!

Jenny and Rahawa picked me up from the airport we had a lovely drive out to the coast. This was only my second time in Portland but my first time going to the coast. The drive out is beautiful, foggy and rainy. The trip wouldn’t be complete without stop at the Tillamook cheese store! So much dairy, mmm. Jenny even took us down to Short Beach and to checkout the Cape Meares lighthouse.

 

 

We stayed at a lovely Airbnb in Oceaside. It was so great to meet the people behind the books, tweets, podcasts and emails. I was pretty stoked to meet Carrot Quinn, her blog was the jump off for me doing the PCT. If you are interested in hiking the
PCT check out her book Thru Hiking will Break Your Heart. Finally I caught up with Rahawa she’s a great writer that thru hiked the AT in 2016 when I did, but our paths never crossed. There was also Jenny of Unlikely Hikers, Nicole of Real Talk Radio, Lacy of
Liberation Barbell, Alley, Vanessa, and Kelly. I could go on and on about these women but I really think you should checkout their works and take it all in for yourself. Thank me later.

 

 

Now I know why people go away to write. There’s something to be said about removing yourself from the daily grind, a little nature time, waking with a clear mind to put words to paper sans distractions. Surrounding yourself with talented awesome people helps too! There was a lot of writing, eating, trail talk, life talk and getting to know each others quirky personalities. We even tackled a puzzle that was, I swear, missing pieces. Frolicking, yep there was beach frolicking!

Something magical happens when beautiful, strong, intelligent women come together.  Women laughing, dropping knowledge and supporting each other. Women carving their own paths, standing up for themselves and inspiring one another. Given the state of the world today a network of siStar support is crucial. Just because you carve your own path does not mean you have to go it alone.

Emerald City

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Hanging out in Seattle processing the last 5 months. Sometimes it’s like a blur, while some moments I remember with amazing clarity. I’m fortunate to have amazing friends here in Seattle that allow me to decompress in their beautiful spaces. (Yes, I was here also after the PCT)

Cerrie and Chad (missed ya, but Flapjack took me on a nice walk about!) have taken me in this time around. Cerrie you’re the best taking care of me, working and whipping out homemade dumplings, you rock! This was a last minute stop over, too bad. So many awesome people to see here. Some I just didnt get to see. But they too are in the midst of decompression and dusting off.

I did get to catch up with a dear friend from Iowa Sheri! Old friends are best they remind you how far you’ve come but that ya haven’t really changed. On trail I dreamed of a ‘nice’dinner (ya know with silverware) got to share that with my friend James. Thanks man your energy is contagious!
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Today I’ll hop a plane back to San Diego. Feels like I’ve been gone foreva!

Winter Wonderland

This past weekend I got to go play in the mountains…..snow covered mountains! Joining some friends from Minnesota we met up in Denver and headed out to Steamboat Springs! If you like to ski (or snowboard) and you haven’t been to Steamboat…..what are you waiting for. It’s been almost 10 years since my last trip there. Honestly I have only skied a handful of times since I moved to California. So to say the least I was a bit rusty. Luckily after a few warm up runs on Thursday Night Ski I was just fine!

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Did I mention the snow!? It snowed everyday we were there except one. This made for some great morning skiing and some visibility issues when it got windy. I went with three guys that ski well and often. So we hit it early and hard, there was minimal lollygagging in the lodge. Everything was super full anyway with Winter Wondergrass going on (and it was sold out). What’s Winter Wondergrass…..hmm…bluegrass bands and craft beer festival. I didn’t hear a single band but I did get a few drinks with the locals!

steamboat

We skied as a group in the mornings, that was fun. I chased the boys down black diamonds on fresh legs then broke off in the afternoon to ski longer runs. I really like the longer runs rather than repeatedly flying down the mountain to sit on a chair lift. Steamboat has great long runs, by the time you get to the base your feeling it!

The CDT comes pretty close to Steamboat, I’ll probably resupply there. I couldn’t help but wonder how much of that snow will still be there when I hike through!

 

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

Re-entry

So I have been off trail for almost a week. I miss it to say the least, like all of it. The early mornings, the aching feet, even the dirt. It was just so less hectic and simple. When did everything get so complicated with so much stuff.

I thought when I was done I would just want to stop moving, sit down. Nope. Even with the balls of my feet still tender, I feel a need to, well, walk.

Totally enjoying my time here in Seattle. I really like this town. Been staying with my friend Rod who incidentally was at my last dinner before I left and then hosted my return dinner. Can’t think of anyone better, the man knows food. Many thanks for the re-entry crash pad Rod.

Speaking of food, holy crap I can’t stop eating. So many tasty things I haven’t had in so long. But seeing as I am not putting down 20+ miles daily now I have got step away from the food.

So I’ve gone on a few walk abouts. Yesterday I walked six miles to WalMart. Found a nice little trail from the house then along I-90. Heck there is even a 9 mile trail into downtown. I love this town. (there is also the slim chance I could run into Eddie Vedder, so there’s that).

Alas, I’ll being heading further south in a couple of days, by car. Yeah, road trip! It’s time for TTITD. I’ll have a bike there but there’ll be plenty of walking to do!!

Return Trip

Had a great time in Michigan with my crazy family! It’s a good thing I am hitting the trail soon, I ate soooo much food. I couldn’t help myself, you know, home cooking. I think they were trying to fatten me up for the hike. Apple pie with ice cream, wine, chicken, dumplings, stuffed pasta shells, more wine, smoothies, grits……..some how I missed out on my brothers taco night, next time (but I’m so flying). Great seeing my nieces and nephews, they are all so grown up now (well except the newest addition). Did a lot of running around, laughing, family foolishness, even went to church with mom. Nothing like family time.

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Mom and I in our Sunday best. (and my sisters finger)

 

Drove straight through from Flint to Denver on Saturday 18 hours! Had mom along for the ride. We were pretty spent by the time we got to Sissy’s house in Green Valley. After a couple hours sleep I was back on the road. Left mom in Denver to spend time with family/friends and catch a flight back home. She rode as far as Denver but she is not fond of driving through the mountains. I tried to ease mom’s fears about the hike, but of course she is still worried. It’s what mom’s do. I told her not to watch in wilderness shows for a while.

It was a great drive from Denver through the mountains. Realized that can only road trip alone or with certain people (you know who you are). I roll a particular way on the open road or I get real wound up. Anyway, made a quick stop at Arches National Park, what a beautiful park. I will be going back when I have more time to hike and explore for sure! It was really hard to stay on the road rolling through Utah, there are so many great views and places to stop and hike. So yep had to take a quick spin around Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.

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Finally made it back! Whew now I guess I’m ready to walk to Canada. My next trip is, so gonna be by plane.

Road Trip!

2 weeks, 2 days, and 6 hours til I hit the trail……………and I am in the middle of cross country road trip. Yep I taking a quick trip back to see my family in Michigan and some friends in Iowa.
So far it has been quite the trip. I took the scenic route, so beautiful are the mountains through Utah and Colorado. Even with the white knuckle drive over the very snowy Vail and Loveland Passes.

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I’ve been called crazy for taking on the PCT and making this drive. Is it crazy or just living? Sure I could have flew home. But I would have missed out on seeing Devils Canyon in the Black Ridge Wilderness and getting to spend some
quality time with old friends.

It’s been 3 years since I left Iowa for Southern California. Great to be back, so much has changed but it’s still the same. Great night out with my girls. What a bunch of beautiful, smart, strong, funny, and active women!

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And yes they are ‘crazy’ like me all in their own special way! Caught up with some past coworkers and some old friends. So many memories, laughter, tears and life experiences were revisited (over adult beverages, of course). Iowa is a great place to be from.

Tomorrow I’m headed for Michigan! Family time!