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!

Portland……………..

One great thing about my weekend in Big Sur was that I got to do A LOT of thinking. I haven’t yet figured anything out, but I certainly thought about stuff. Mostly I been trying to figure out what I will do AFTER the PCT. Seeing as I won’t have a job, home or even a car, I got to figure out a plan.

Seriously I have been tossing around the idea of moving to Portland. Thru hikers tend to gravitate there (surrounding yourself with people get “it” can be real nice), plus I know a few burners who recently moved there, plus they get rain. Oh how I miss rain. Anyway I do like San Diego (even with it’s lack of rain), thing is I’m not sure I love it. I need to find a place to land for a while, a longer while than usual. I need a place that makes me not think about being anywhere else.

So yea, I need to plan a trip to Portland, quick like.

Big Sur, CA

Went on the most fabulous camping weekend! My friend Pat and I threw a bunch stuff and a tent in the sugar cube and took off for a couple of days in Big Sur! It was well, fabulous. I didn’t even have cell phone coverage, yea!  It was just great to drive up there with absolutely no plans.

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We camped in three different camp sites. The first one we tried to slip out without paying, but at the last minute we paid (it had nothing to do with the golf cart chasing us)!  Hilarious. The next day we camped at place that totally had a full sign posted …..but then we asked and they had one left! I think those full signs are a joke, just saying, because the next it happened again. We opted out of camping by the beach (Limekin)with ALL the families instead we drove up in the mountain and BINGO! We found the greatest campsite ever! Yep I liked it that much! It was just off a bend in the road. At first we thought we would be camping by the road then hiking up the canyon. However there was a couple of great spots just feet up the canyon.

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After tucking our tent into a spot right between two redwoods, we hiked up the canyon following a small creek that led right back to a Waterfall! I swear this was the second waterfall of the day (we hiked to one earlier). Did I mention right up the road from our site was great spot with a log a view of the ocean and a great spot to watch the sun rise and set! Yep this place was so sweet I wouldn’t have been surprised if a unicorn pranced by! (Actually we did see some deer at sunset and zebras on the drive up).

We squeezed in a lot of hiking between taking in the sights (even some window shopping). It was cool as you are driving along the coast you can just pull over and hike out to a secluded beach, or up and down the canyons.

Lovely place, I recommend going. I know I will be going back!!

End with a Burn

Well, Burning Man 2014 is in the books! Although I am still process all the events, experiences and lessons I am moving through the change on to my next adventure. As my friend said last night it hard to come away from a burn without changes. This year my changes are smaller but I feel a deeper meaning.

I spoke many times at the burn (to anyone who would listen) about my upcoming PCT adventure. The similarities between the two experiences are staggering.The sense of community, LNT, trail magic/playa magic, surrendering to the elements. Carrot’s recent post struck a cord:

The PCT is a place that we construct with our imaginations that has its own culture, value systems, traditions, vocabulary, cuisine (block of dry ramen covered in peanut butter, anyone?), beauty standards, and mythology. We come together, agree that this place exists, and then we all there, for a little while. 

At Burning Man we construct a city quite the same way, it’s extraordinarily indescribable, the planning, transport and building of all the things, together we build this magical place to live. But after a week it is gone, we burn the art and remove the rest, as though it never existed at all. It remains only in our collective hearts.

Initially I was wrote the burn off for next year, but now I am super determined to try and make it back in time. What an epic way to end my PCT adventure! The logistics and finances I have yet to figure out but if it is meant to be things will come together. Things tend to work out the way they are supposed to.

 

So the ‘real’ planning and training has begun. Down to about 7 months to get my crap together! Eeek! Time flies man. Seems like just yesterday that the class of 2014 was leaving kickoff. But in the last weeks many have completed their journey at the northern terminus. Ah, yes there is a feeling I long to have, but wait I’m getting ahead of myself, so much to do.

 

Along with all the gear, packing, training, and a gazillion spreadsheets I ‘ve been working on some inner stuff too.

Like figuring out what my philosophy/goals are for this thru-hike. Hike fast or just in enjoy the experience, are both possible? Do I want prove something to myself?  What’s the meaning to life? What are my plans after the trail. What do I really want from all this?

These questions whirl in my head at night, no real answers yet…..but stay tuned I may have a lead on the meaning to life one!

tentative schedule

Time to Burn

Hey there readers…..crickets…..i know it’s been a bit but I’ve been busy and my internet is sketchy. So while I have been training more in the gym my hiking miles have declined. Did my training hike over the Poway mountain about two weeks ago and did a long stroll with my hiking buddy last weekend, but that about it. Been working out in the gym 3-4 times a week, sometimes twice a day. The weight hasn’t fallen off the way I had hoped, but then I eat crap. (must-eat-better) I can feel my muscles getting firmer and stronger, I can run longer and faster, best of all I feel good.

I’ve had to put most of my PCT training on temporary hold because…….agh!…the man burns in 17 days!!!! Headed to the burn in one week! I am so not ready, not even packed kinda.

Feeling weird about the burn this year, excited then not excited, unfortunately the not excited periods are longer than the excited ones. Oh well ten days to get my head in the game and my sh** together. There are so many things to be excited about this year. First time I am driving myself, ohh, road trip with as many stops as I want! Ranger training, fingers crossed that goes off without a hitch. I have so many friends coming this year that are first time burners! Just got the camp layout and I am tucked back in a nice little corner with some fun people. (agh , they better not change it).

I had written the burn off completely for next year…..however….as I see people on the trail this year are finishing up pretty early (ie before September).. I know that it is a wild fantastical dream but what an epic way to cap off a PCT hike but with the man burn!! A girl can dream……

Gear, oh the choices

Recently I had a lady ask me if I was scared to camp alone. Not really. That is probably the least of my fears. This isn’t my first rodeo, just my first time in this arena. Once I did a solo self-contained bike ride from Des Moines to St. Louis. There was a lot of heat, hills, solitude and stealth camping by myself.

bikepack

 

Actually the biking that I used to do and backpacking are sorta kinda similar. When I first started biking RAGBRAI I had my road bike with on little bag on it; my overnight things were carried on a bus. Then I became a bagger added a basket/bags to my bike and started hauling my overnight stuff. So much easier to haul 40 pounds on your bike than on your back!

So I have been researching ultra light gear. There are SO many choices, SO many reviews. My wish list is below(subject to change once I read another review). Only thing I’ve settled on is a Thermarest Z-Lite pad and Black Diamond poles. Usually
I camp without a pad, I know, gasp! Just how I roll, however for a 5 months I better go with a pad. I’ve been using my ski poles to hike with up to now to see if I really liked using poles. Answer: yes. I hope to narrow down my choice of a sleeping bag and tent by July, then onto the pack! Once I have my pack it’s on!!!

In the meantime, my mother is coming for a visit. Not sure if I should even mention this whole PCT deal. She was not at all happy about my solo bike trip. Maybe I should keep it on the down low for now.

Wish List (short list)
Shoes -Brooks Cascadias
Sleeping Bag -Kelty Cosmic Down 20F
Backpack -ULA Circuit
Tent – Tarptent Double Rainbow
Headlamp – Mammut S Lite
Sierra Designs DriDown Cloud Puffy
Gaiters – Dirty Girl
*Trekking Poles Black Diamond
*Sleeping Pad -Thermarest Z Lite