While your waiting on that Fiji post……let’s talk about the ALDHA-West Gathering!!
After a long flight back (that included a sweet layover in San Diego. Thanks again Brendan and Kassy! The best layovers include friends and margaritas!) When I landed in NorCal I hit the ground running. Unload, laundry, repack and I was off to Nevada City, CA!
The annual ALDHA-West Gathering is a gathering of hikers who share a love of long distance outings. It’s a great time to see hiking friends old and new. Camping was in full effect. Car camping, tent camping or a cabin if that was your thing. There was also a hike to a waterfall, Hiker Olympics and music provided by Jacob and the Ghost Train. Want to try new tent, pick up, trade or win some gear….it was all there!
Speakers this year included Steve Queen, Ultrapedestrian, Heather Anderson and Loren Steinberg and Mary Taloff (they did the Camino by wheelchair!) All the speakers were informative, inspiring and funny.
A highlight of the weekend was the Triple Crown ceremony Saturday evening. Triple Crowners are people who’ve hiked all of the three major long distance trails (Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail and Continental Divide Trail). They shared their stories, got their awards and we celebrated their accomplishments (well into the night)!
Mark your calendars…….next years Gathering will be in Colorado!!
After a challenge, trip, adventure or experience I get home and take a deep breath. Then I say to myself (sometimes out aloud) whew, I did it….and didn’t die!
Although I step out of my comfort zone on the regular, it’s a monumental task for my inner me every-time. I’m not big on labels but I suppose you call me an extroverted introvert. I live for going places, trying new things and meeting people. But it is seriously exhausting mentally and emotionally.
Usually the first thing I’ll do when I get somewhere is find an escape spot where I can go and reset. In Fiji it was down a little cliff then across the river to a sand bar. A couple times I had to scramble to beat the rain. No I idea how I’d get back up if that cliff turned to mud.
What can I say, it’s how I cope and keep from killing people (kidding..sorta).
Anyway, for those of you wondering I’m back in Tahoe! The welcome back was a wake up call.
from this to …………………………………to this
So I will be posting about Fiji soon….but first I have to find my coat!
Let me start by saying I’m not a big endorser of products. But I’m all about sharing with y’all something that is worth you checking out. Okay. That being said you probably know I am really thrift store kinda girl. I got both of my thru hiking skirts from thrift stores because I was looking for a particular type of skirt. You know, one that fits and was comfortable.
What am I getting at here? Ok well, long story long…..Purple Rain Adventure Skirts! I got my hands on one of these and boom game changer! Finally a hiking, biking, outdoorsy skirt that works. Um…it has pockets, need I say more. It fits those of us that have, you know hips. It’s fitted but not too snug. It’s really cute and versatile. I’ve worn mine to work and around town, it’s better than yoga pants.
Recently I tried out the action dress! It’s cute and comfy too! So go check them out (I’m talking to you Ragbrai ladies!) Oh and dudes too there’s a kilt version! Get you one….you can thank me later!
People sometimes ask what’s your next adventure? Really I never know. Things just kinda happen. Like, I wanted to thru hike the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT). However, I just started a new job and taking a week off is currently not an option. So a friend and I decided to section hike it together.
We decided to do the first leg over the 4th of July long weekend. I dusted off my gear and boom it was on. Getting a late start after work and shuttling cars we hiked up to a nice camp spot then hiked down out of the trees to catch the first set of fireworks out of Kings Beach. Doing the Brockway Summit to Tahoe Meadows was a good choice for firework views but that was still A LOT of snow.
It was really nice trail, then the higher we climbed the snow patches started. Seriously considering some crampons after this hike. All that slipping, sliding and trying not to fall really suck your energy. Found a lovely spot on Mt. Baldy to camp at 9,200 feet. Watched the moon rise on one side of the ridge and the fireworks of Tahoe City, Incline Village, Zepher Cove and South Lake was over the opposite ridge. Afterwards I stood watching boats glide across the lake and the traffic build up on the roads. I was super grateful that I was just ten feet from sliding into my tent for the night.
The section is only 21.6 but I was really glad that we had planned to do it over multiple days. There were certainly parts where we were just hoping for the best only to find we were way off trail. Spent 10 miles picking our way through some sketchy snowy areas. Hiking on snow can really slow your roll and tire you out. We decided to scramble up the granite rocks to get to Raley’s Peak (the highest point on the TRT) at 10,335 feet. It was a way more fun than picking our way over miles of suncups (bowl-shaped open depressions into a snow surface) what a workout that is!
Getting to the top of Relay’s we were rewarded with amazing panoramic 360 degree views. Then we had to get down. Without crampons taking the trail towards Mt. Rose was out of the question…..so sliding down the steep face of suncups then high stepping over the depressions of the only choice. Skiing this area next season has got me a bit excited.
I really enjoyed this hike, I’ m so glad to be living in the Tahoe Basin. Hiking the Sierra’s on the PCT was my favorite section. It is a true privilege to have access to the Sierra’s and all it’s beautiful possibilities. What will my next adventure be? Hard to say….. I just go with the flow and trust the universe will put the correct opportunities in my path.
Second leg of my super road trip I rolled out of Michigan and blew through Indiana and Illinois. That’s about where I hit I-80. I-80 westbound would take me all the way to Tahoe. I’ve driven this stretch of road Michigan to Colorado so many times now I truly think I could do it with my eyes closed! I lived in Iowa for about 20 years. I always look forward to going back. A lot of growing up, for me, happened there and many friends were made. As always I didn’t get to see every one I would have liked to. But I got to see some old friends and their adorable little guy!
Driving through the windmills of western Iowa my mind linged on the days I biked those rolling hills. Ah, the fly over states. After living in the densely populated west coast I longed for the open space of the Midwest and the comfort of a small town.
Since I was rolling north through Colorado I just had to stop at New Belgium Brewery (Ft. Collins). Have you been there!! Next time you’re in the area stop for the tour. The tour guides (and beer) make it real fun. I lost my wallet hurrying to catch the tour, the people who found it were trying to contact me before I finished the tour! Thank goodness. New Belgium…..Good People….Great Beer.
After lunch and a chilly stroll around Ft Collins (man it was 79 degrees when I left Iowa) I was westbound again. By the time I hit Wyoming it was sleeting.
Nothing but good things to say about Wyoming. In 2006 I hunted a buffalo there. Considered moving to Chugwater when they were giving away land and hiking the Basin was a joy. Oh and they have wild horses, what a sight to see! I had planned on camping/hiking a few days in WY. However the cold rain and digital highway signs warned of a storm coming. So on I went.
Next stop Salt Lake City……wait hold up Park City, I see you…got to come back to this cute town to ski. Spent the next miles plotting a winter ski resort road trip. How fun would that be! A quick stop to stretch my legs and check out Temple Square.
With reports of fresh snow falling in Tahoe I pushed on from Salt Lake City. It was a good choice…….got back just in time to get in one last powder day!! Not a bad end to a road trip.
If you didn’t know….I’m from Flint, yes that one. You can’t go home again….that’s kinda true. When I grew up in Flint it was a different place. I lived in a Dick and Jane neighborhood there were homeroom moms, halloween was a community event, we played kickball in the street, we drank from the garden hose, everyone went to day-camp, mom knew everything and GM was the city anchor. Now GM is gone, the city seems smaller, I don’t know the neighbors, we lock the doors, my high school is closed and water comes in bottles.
Things have changed. But somethings haven’t…mom still knows everything, she still has the bests yard in the hood and at 85 she’s a force to be reckoned with! Going home always reminds me how lucky I am. My parents sacrificed a lot for me. They taught me I could do anything, ski, play violin, colorguard….whatever I came up with they were behind me, no matter what. Mom taught me to be a strong woman but not to forget those that paved the way. Thanks mom.
While I was in Michigan I went down to Livonia to hear Heather Anderson give a talk. I was super excited, I’ve wanted to meet her for a while now. She is badass hiker and super nice. Have you read her book,Thirst!? It was so good. Took me like a month to read it. I had to keep stopping to process all the feels. Go check it out!
Oh and Heather happens to be from……Michigan!! So in conclusion 1)Badass Women come from Michigan!! Boom! 2) Home is where the heart is…and mine is sprinkled all across the country.
Recently I did a 5000ish mile cross cross road trip. Nothing was really planned except getting home for Mothers Day to see my mom in Michigan. I left Tahoe and headed south. What, out of the way, nope. Had a quick stop and Mammoth to hit the slopes. Plus, I needed to stop in to San Diego re connect with some friends and grab some summer gear from my storage unit. It was great having brunch with my peeps, Coleen and Mike host a kickin waffle brunch in their sweet yard! Thanks Kassy for girl chat, a place to crash and providing much needed kitty time!
After San Diego, fully loaded, Q (my suv’s name) and I headed out across the desert towards Las Vegas. I car camped most of the way, I had the back sleeping pad set up. I really like camping on BLM spots, if not I slip into a truck stop or quietly slide into a hotel parking lot. The route through Utah and Colorado is a really beautiful drive. Massive red stone formations in the Valley of Fire and Moab! I really need a specific trip to Utah and stop stealing moments on my way else where. Found Vail pass closed for safety concerns so I slept in Avon. If I had been a week earlier I could have got some skiing in but most of the areas were already closed for the season.
There rest of the way to Michigan was a dark blur. I got news outside of Denver that my uncle had passed so getting home meant driving through the night. I’ll miss my uncle Frank he was quite the character loud and could always lift the mood when family got too serious. He never questioned my crazy life, just sent me side money through Western Union! Old school. Frank dude you will be missed…..see ya on the other side!
On the move again! Left Tahoe and headed south on hwy 395, such a beautiful drive. Had to stop off at Mammoth, I’ve hiked there and snow camped but this was my first time skiing!! With the incredible amounts of snow they are saying they will be open til July!! I had a fantastic time the snow was great and the sky a brilliant blue. Even with some of the chairs not running there was still a lot of area to cover and not a lot of people!
After skiing my little heart out, with a smile, I hoped back on 395 southbound and down! Even though I’m skiing, hiking season is in full swing! So stopped in at Casa de Luna! Terrie and Joe have been generously taking in PCT hikers for 20 years! They had a full house, I really enjoyed hanging out with all the hikers and watching the zero day Decathlon! I need to go back on trail! But not now….I hit the road for San Diego.
Oh San Diego how I have not missed your traffic, but I sure missed my peeps! Catching up with everyone over champagne and waffles, yes please!
While snow was dumping up north, rain was dumping in San Diego. Everything is so green and blooming up a storm! I was so great to see everyone again and visit my things in storage lol! But the road trip rolls on….oh did mention there were…..kittens!!
You know what’s great about a long hike or road trip? Time to catch up on those podcasts!! Might I recommend checking out my chat with Erin on the Hiking Thru podcast. We talk about the trail and how it’s spurred some of my current adventures and not getting locked into those pre-trail plans. Get out there, explore and go with the flow!
To be honest it wasn’t all blue bird powder days. Some days were truly tough, but I made through those days partly due to my co workers. They drove me crazy, made me laugh and taught me many things.
I officially made it through my winter season as a lift operator at Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows! It was an epic season indeed. With record snowfall, over 500 inches of total snowfall this season. There were times I truly believed it would never stop snowing. So much back aching shoveling but also some of the best ski conditions I have ever experienced.
There is so much that goes into running the resort. Everyone doing their part; lifties, ski patrol, mountain host, groomers, maintenance just to name a few. Some how we pulled it off day after day, in the best and toughest conditions. So much goes into making the mountain safe and ready to shred.
Thank you Alpine Meadows 2018-2019 crew for reminding not to take life to seriously, that I’m better than I think, and take a breath enjoy the view everything is going to be alright. Now I gotta see about some new sticks before my next adventure……….
“Skiing is expensive, but it’s cheaper than therapy”.