Sagebrush to Summit

received_3383116303139251What a difference a week makes! Last weekend I was granted one more relaxing weekend with friends in the desert. With my life about to transition I was a bit anxious about all that was ahead of me. It was a much needed time to unwind and laugh. Four wheeling can be a great way to unwind. Thanks guys for help with those snow chains and road trip tips!

                         ‘Merica

 

 

On Sunday I sorted and loaded the car. I’m pretty sure I over packed AND under-packed (is that even possible). But everything needed to fit in the SUV while leaving me room to car camp. Since I had a couple of days I broke the nine hour drive over a couple of days. Camping first in the Alabama Hills, it’s a beautiful area with lots of dispersed camping that I’ve visited before.

The next day I headed north in search of a hot spring. After rambling around a couple of dirt roads I landed at the Hilltop Hot Springs. I would have rambled further but to my surprise my service engine soon light came on and I was a bit nervous about straying to far from highway 395. So I found a lovely dispersed camping spot about half mile of 395 back in a forested area.

My friends messaged me about a storm coming in so I figured I better push on to Tahoe City. There was rain that turned to snow and then back to rain. It stopped near Carson City so I had a beautiful drive north around the lake.

Tahoe City is a quaint resort town just minutes from Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows  where I’ll be working. After a stop at HR I drove around til I found a good spot to stealth car camp. Not easy in a town with limited parking, but I found a spot. Went to sleep with a light rain falling…….woke to 7 inches of snow! Cleared the snow off with a towel (I neglected to replace my snow brush/scraper)! Welcome to the mountains!

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Home of the 1960’s Winter Olympics

Going with the flow

Sorry, I know its been awhile. I’ve been in the wind! But here’s  an update:

Ok after the brief July snow it was nice to stumble into Kilgore, ID. A tiny but festive town. They put on a great fireworks show, that I caught from my tent! One little girl even gave us sparklers!

Off trail heading into Kilgore, ID we ran into a group travelling by motorcycles and a van. They were so kind to share snacks and water. It’s in the detours that you find the magic. Read about our meet up here https://carlastories.me.

People have been more than kind in Idaho. In the town of Salmon a guy called us over to this bakery and gave us tasty croissant sandwiches! Later while having dinner at Bertrams Brewery a few customers asked about our trip. When we went to go pay our bill it had already been paid. Oh yea, if you are in Salmon checkout the Sacajawea Inn, great theme rooms!

Two days outside of Salmon, ID I got a call from my friend Tom (Toasted Toad)! He’s been camping, fishing and helping hikers/bikers all around Montana. Since he was heading back to Colorado we decided to catch a ride. Plan change!

We spent a fun three days traveling back. First visit to Jackson Hole! Camping in a cool back road spot in Yellowstone and in between mining towns in Colorado. I got a bit tipsy at the Yellowstone campsite. Fireball and red wine will do that. We stayed in a hotel in Rawlins and ran into hiker Fun Size! It’s good to know most hikers that hiked Colorado are just entering Wyoming. With luck we can get through Colorado then flip up and be around other hikers.

The CDT is a lot of isolation. Flipping north meant not seeing hikers on trail, and only one in town. I’m kinda a social person so this wears on me.

It’s gonna be rainy going through Colorado at this time, but that is way better than snow. So off to tackle the mountains again!

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I can’t thank Tom enough for hauling us ALL the way back to Chama, NM. It was a fun road trip, thrift store stops and sightseeing and catching up with a friend.

For me this journey is not just about cranking out 3000 miles as quickly as possible. In the end it’s about the experiences and a lifetime of memories.

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!

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!!