Say Something -A Great Big World

Well hellooooo! How y’all been? I’ve been enjoying the last days of summer and just being, well, busy. Let’s catch up!

So I went to PCT Trail Days…
Like a crazy person I drove 17 hours to Cascade Locks, OR! But it was so worth it. I met some cool people (that I’ve only known through the internet), volunteered at ALDHA-West, chatted with hikers and learned about Land and Water Conservation Fund!!

A Place in the Sun….
I’ve been itching to move out of the city, thought the desert would be right up my alley. So I took a trip out to Palm Springs. It was fun and hot, I even hiked part of the Cactus to Clouds trail, but it was hot. Went to a swanky museum and a cool bar with misters because it was hot. Then when I left to drive home my car overheated, I guess because it was hot. I took that as a sign and ditched the whole desert plan.

You’ve got a friend…..
My friends are the best and have helped in every way imaginable throughout my hiking adventures. So it’s been great to be back this summer and get to hang out with them. There have been some rocking brunches, porch chats, city hikes, kayaking, Ziggy Marley at Del Mar and Pink Floyd on the Spreckels Organ. We camped at Carlsbad State Beach last weekend and hiked Mt Woodson for a fogged out full moon! So much laughing and straight up shenanigans. 

But wait…I thought you said you were itching to move out of the city? Yes, this is true. It’s time to mix things up a bit and get out of the city. There are plans in the works I’m finalizing the details and digging out my winter gear! (hint) More on this later…


Looking Forward……

BIRTHDAY MONTH is coming!!! Setting down my wine glass and picking up my stein, bring on the Oktoberfest fun!

October there will be a lot of celebrating Me! Oh and the 50th anniversary of the designation of our nation’s first two National Scenic Trails: the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails!! The PCT and the AT were our nation’s first National Scenic Trails, designated by a bipartisan act of Congress and signed into law as the NTSA (National Trails System Act) by President Lyndon Johnson on October 2, 1968. 

Two years later on October 14, 1970 Elsye chardonnay was born, destined to hike those very trails…..yeah let’s celebrate!

For my birthday week I’ll be in Portland finding some trouble to get into and then Mt. Hood, Oregon for the ALDHA-West Gathering!

Oh I love Fall!! But I’m also looking forward to a wonderful winter adventure!



Living for the City -Stevie Wonder

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!


My hiking training and preparation has been going splendidly. (knock on wood) Operation pay bills/save money is underway. Fighting the urge to buy gear, need more time to save and research. I want the right equipment, for me, even if it costs a bit more (hopefully not). Thing is I’ve never been much of a shopper so this pains me. In a perfect world someone would just say ‘hey you a need this … it here, done”. But no, there are tons of things. Some things you really need, something’s you don’t; something’s you might need, or not; some you can buy used others not so much. It make my head swim, you should see all the lists and excel sheets I have compiled. It’s ridiculous.

As far as training, that is going well! I’ve dropped a few more pounds, woo freaking hoo! Really it’s due to the increased amount of hiking/walking I have been doing. That’s it. If I clean up my diet I’ll be at my goal weight in no time. (weird, I am dropping like 30 pounds….only to carry a 20 pound pack(or less) hmmm).

Anywho, now that I am staying in Poway, mostly, getting out in the mornings and evenings is easier. Besides I have found some pretty nice hiking trails in the area, with hills, big hills. Best of all there are hardly any people on them! I have them all to myself, unlike Cowles, so many people. Oh the other day I wasn’t alone, some dude come trudging up behind me, about scared the living crap out of me. At least he was cute, named Brandon, we chatted for a bit but he was not going as far (or as fast) as me. I was in just started on a training hike where I go as fast as possible on this 7 mile loop! Noticed my climbing speed is better, no more of that, whoa stop and get a breather mid climb crap, yea me! Operation be a bad ass hiker is GO!

SIDE NOTE: No I will not divulge the location of my cool new hiking spot; don’t want the word to get out. You know it’s like a fishing spot thing. I will however blindfold you take there and let you hike with me, maybe.

Weight this is too long

My lack of posting comes from the fact that I feel every post needs like a certain length. So every time I sit down with an idea I either ditch it or it sits unpublished waiting for more. Where is the more? It’s that same weird feeling I’d get in high school when you had to have type (like on a typewriter, i’m that old) a paper double spaced with some arbitrary word count. So yea, i’m letting that go. Short posts rule!

I’ve been reading trail blogs and enjoying the Santa Ana Winds blowing through San Diego. Trail blogs make me hungry. There is a lot of talk about food, especially snacks. I’m constantly fighting the urge to grab some junk food. Sympathy weight is not cool. Found another cool blog of couple going stoveless, that’s my plan too! Check it out here.

Wilderness Basics

Guess who completed a Wilderness Basics Course?! This girl!! I had a number of people who had taken it recommend it and I put off taking it for a whole year. So glad I finally got around to doing it. It was in preparation for this course that I learned about the PCT. The course is 10 weeks of learning so much about camping, hiking, gear, even land navigation. Best of all I met some awesomely fun people that I will surely be hiking/camping with again! My girls Betsy and Liz, you guys rock, thanks for the rides, homemade granola, laughs/chats, tent sharing and so much more! Oh yea there was also these great trips! I squeezed through the slot canyons of Canyon Sin Nombre, scrambled over boulders at Hellhole Canyon and navigated Borrego Mountain’s West Butte.

The last trip was snow camp at Mammoth Mountain.This was a really great experience. With full packs we snowshoed out to our camp site, not before getting a warning from ski patrol that a storm was coming. After setting up tents we built epic snow kitchen and privy. Right after dinner it started to snow and it snowed pretty much all night. (Thanks Sonie for that 10 degree sleeping bag/pad, I was nice and toasty) We woke to avalanche cannons and about 9 inches of snow! What fun, and my Chardonnay stayed chill the entire trip! Check some pics here.

So I passed the course test and the class is over. But my backpacking adventures are only just beginning.


Liz, Betsy and Me!!                                                                               Great Snow Camp Blizzard of 2014