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!
So this is how the 100 mile wilderness went…
First off i was all hyped to be going it alone, into the wilderness. Nope. Holy crap there are a lot of folks in the “wilderness”. For instance i never camped alone, which was weird but fine. First night i set up my tent, i was just not feeling the people in the shelter. This guy had a gun and was all “better to have it and not need, than need it and not have it.” Really, I’m a girl with a broken pocket knife…you’ll be fine. I high tailed out of there, wet tent and all, pretty early. I wanted some miles between me and pistol packin pete.
I hiked 16 miles to the next shelter, i was the only one there..for like a minute. I pitched my tent in in a bad spot and did a crappy stake job. It rained, EVERYTHING was wet or really damp. My bad. Dragged my pack to the shelter, then after the drizzle stopped went back for the soggy tent. Meanwhile i meet this dude, southbound hiker:
I try to ask people “whats your story?” It gives people the opportunity to tell what they choose to share instead of playing 20 questions. Well, boy did he have a story. I wont share because its detailed and not mine to tell. But he asked me to take his picture, oh and he was low on food so i gave him some ramen. (Should’ve checked first…that left me with only 1 hot dinner for myself).
I wished him well and quickly hiked 10 miles or so to the next shelter…because it was gonna storm, again. I set my tent up IN the shelter and hung things to dry. Then the rain and hail started. The shelter and tent sites filled fast.
Two things i feel i should explain 1) yes i put my tent up in the shelter, however my tent takes up the same amount of room as if i just threw down my pad. 2) i do it because of mice dont want them crawling on me and the bugs and mosquitoes are mad intense out here. They drive me bananas. Tried sleeping with a bug net on, nope.
“Time rolls by the clock don’t stop, wish I had a few more drops
of the good stuff…”
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.
In the perfect world I’d live in a small cabin in the woods where I could just walk out the door and go hiking. Alas, I live in the city. This can mean at times I have to jump in the car and head drive a trail-head. Not something I want to do or have the time for. That’s when I go for a city hike. I consider myself lucky to live in San Diego, where there are canyon trails tucked in small pockets around the city, interestingly diverse neighborhoods, numerous parks and the urban forest that is Balboa Park.
Actually I used city hiking as part of my training for my first thru hike. I’d throw on my backpack hike down to the store, grab some groceries then hike a different route back to the house. Walking the city with a giant backpack, people may think your crazy or super outdoorsy. Either way your in good company. Other option, grab a day pack or fanny pack even, find a local park on a map and head for it. Explore the wildness of the hood, the stunning views from a hillside, giant urban trees and surprise book nooks!
Hiking adventures are right out your backdoor, whether you live in the city or the mountains; the beach or the countryside. How many adventures have you passed in your car on the way to the trail-head, store, or work? Go on get out there, you can thank me later!
So there has been very little climbing in Pennsylvania, but a whole bunch of Rocks! Seriously little rocks, slippery rocks, medium rocks that jet out of the ground and wreck your ankles, giant boulders to jump from and climb. So many rocks! The weather has been swell though, warm, ok hot, with sprinkles & some rain at night. I’ll take that.
And then there’s this…
So you know…variety. Found this little dude just hanging out on the trail!!
So how’s trail life? Well I’m sitting here waiting for my ramen to cook in diluted Gatorade water (i was too lazy to go back to the stream for ‘fresh’ water). I’ll probably throw some sour cream & chive mashed potatoes in it, cuz well trail food. At least I have a Sprite a nice lady gave me at the road to wash it down with!
I got poison ivy on my elbows, yep that happened. Must got it on my hip belt because thats where my elbows rub. Gotta be more careful where I set my pack down.
Into Hamberg tomorrow, miscalculated…..ran outta food, thought I could make it to Delaware Water Gap, but nope. That’s about four days away. So running in for supplies. Oh there is also the Yuengling Brewery tour (America’s oldest brewery) nearby. A lot of cool distractions out here….man, a girl’s gotta hike…..Kathadin is waiting.
So I have officially put my intention out there starting in April 2015, I will nouthbound (NOBO) thru hiking the 2,660 mile Pacific Crest Trail.What’s the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) you ask, well it this really long trail that begins/ends at the Mexican and Canadian borders in Campo, CA and Monument 78, WA, respectively. It goes through 9 mountain ranges, 26 national forests, 7 national parks, 5 state parks, and 3 national monuments, as well as 6 of the 7 North American eco-zones (no tundra). Give or take about 300 people set out every spring to hike the trail in one season (“thru hikers”) and about 40% finish. Yep, i’m going there, and I’m so excited.
Why would I want to do the PCT you ask? In the words of Amelia Earhart, “ I want to do it because I want to do it.” That’s basically it. Actually I have been trying to get out more, as in outdoors out. Recently I signed up for a Wilderness Basics Course, so I have been out seriously over appreciating nature for the last ten weeks. Turns out when I am hiking I feel more alive, healthier, more connected, and even happier. When I get to see the sunset, the moon rise and the stars in the sky, I feel all giddy. More than anything it’s time for an adventure that challenges me and gets me out of my comfort zone. I need to feel like I am moving towards something, not just going through the motions.
Concerns, I have them, they are money, gear, training, and maintaining this journal.
I will be mad saving for the next year, probably take on a second job also. This will be a true challenge as I am not good with money and I already have A LOT going on this year. I have to cover all the bases plus be prepared when I return. There is also A LOT of gear I will need because what I have either isn’t suited for this or I just don’t have it. Geez there is so much gear, recommendations, reviews, it all makes my head swim. But I have lists! So I’ll just keep reading, testing, and pricing til I have the right collection. That’s the current plan.
As far as training I need to get out and hike A LOT each weekend from here on out, otherwise I may be in trouble. Honestly I’m not in the best shape. I’m not in horrible shape either. My recent group hikes have not been over 5 miles, even less with a pack. A couple of weeks ago I decided I really needed some miles so I decide to hike El Cajon Mountain. Holy crap! That was the hardest hike I have ever done. About 11 miles of up and down, just as many ups going down as going up! Actually it was pretty terrible around mile 8, my legs were cramping so bad. I could not figure out why I had plenty of water even Gatorade (spoiler alert: I only had a 6 inch sub and peanuts, bad-idea. I had forgotten my pop tart breakfast in the car!) Well, I learned some things, I REALLY need more miles and I REALLY REALLY need to pay attention to my hydration and nutrition. Even though I was not prepared and my legs were sore for 3 days I liked that I completed it, all by myself! (I could have hopped on the golf cart with the Ranger that drove by, but nope I just waved and smiled through the pain)
Everybody seems to have a PCT blog, journal, video,or something. Sure it’s a really great idea, however, I really suck at keeping a consistent journal. I’ve had a couple of blogs that all at some point I abandoned. Even when I was younger I would write in my diary everyday….then not for like months. A writer I am not, but I’ll give it my best go, so don’t expect much and you won’t be let down!
So there, that’s it! It should be a interesting year. There are a whole bunch of hikers hitting the PCT soon(some already out there). I am excited for them and will following like a gazillion blogs! Posting links to some of my favs.
so until next time…..chardonnay everyday!