No sleep ’til PA

Howdy folks. I will get to doing some more stuff here again soon. For now i wanted to let folks know that i am safely back at home in PA. There is so much to do that it is rather daunting, but i got started digging out today and will have to simply keep at it.

"Stand By Me" Bridge
“Stand By Me” Bridge

I don’t have a schedule set for when more PCT info, stories, and pictures will begin to appear here, but they will.

Experimental Forest?!?
Experimental Forest?!?

Also, I will begin a new writing exercise “soon”, which will be my path towards becoming more familiar with brevity. You can re-read that last sentence a few times and note that brevity and i don’t often dance to the same songs…

Washington is pretty
Washington is pretty

I can already hear some “isn’t this more of a status update than a blog post” grumblings. Sure, but six months with no Facebook has been fantastic and i am not at all eager to plug back in there. So, you get a short-ish post here with a few pictures!

Casa de Luna Banner-Done
Casa de Luna Banner-Done
Casa Banner-closeup
Casa Banner-closeup

Be Well. More Soon. Right On!

n

 

Let’s Head South!

Howdy. I thought it was time for a little news. After an excellent 10 day stay in Northern Washington-Bellingham, I am headed back to Green Valley, California via Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area.

It was such a treat to be able to spend so much time with my friends and receive a mini-immersion course in Pacific Northwest living. I don’t know how much about that time I will share here. Certainly, sitting on the bus having said farewells yesterday and early this morning, this does not seem to be the right time. The memories and feelings are so new and fresh and precious to me. There is a warm, familiar, and comforting level of intimacy we found at our first meeting, almost four years ago now, that we still share easily.

But everybody likes pictures!

IMG_0042.JPG

IMG_0029.JPG

IMG_0033.JPG

FAQ:
1. How do you feel/are you OK? I feel good, but my feet still hurt. The damage from broken wet shoe blisters is almost healed. The soreness and inflammation at the toes, ball, heel-basically every part of my foot that can touch the ground-those parts still hurt and probably will until I force myself to get off my feet a lot.
2. Are you gaining any weight or ALL the weight? I think I am gaining some weight. I am battling hunger while trying to eat smaller meals/snacks, but this is a difficult game.
3. Are you still a crazy woods person? The transition from trail life is slow and incomplete. I am getting some of the social graces back, but I am still quirky. I carry a lot of food with me at all times. I bought a small fuel can, even though I may not use it once before I have to leave it with Joe because you can’t fly with them, because I couldn’t handle not having the ability to boil water and make meals at all times.
4. So, like, are you ever going home? Yes! I have not set a date yet, but I will fly back to PA in October. Perhaps something in a high teen or low 20…

Canada

There will be more later but I thought you might want to know…I am done people. I am clean, fed, sitting in a real bed waiting on my laundry to come out of the dryer. Threw away my last pair of hiking shoes a few hours ago. No miles to do tomorrow on the feet.

I will be heading to Bellingham ASAP. When I get in cell range, some phone calls will commence. For now-
ROCK ON!

IMG_4030.JPG

And it feels so good

I just saw my old pal Zander for the first time since 1993. We met in southern Washington, hiked a little bit, camped and talked. How nice to spend some quality time together after so long.

IMG_3776.JPG

After a few days of very low miles, I feel pretty good and rested again. I will take it very easy tonight once I finally leave Kracker Barrel and do a few 20-25 mile days and then see Josh and Sammy again.

I am not ready for the end. We will do that stuff another time. For now, all is well. I feel good. I saw an old friend. I am starting to see hikers I have not seen for over 1,000 miles. Goat Rocks Wilderness was amazing and I am eager to see more of beautiful Washington.

Be Well

IMG_3687.JPG

A little news

Howdy folks. Normally, I have no trouble writing. Stopping and brevity are issues I struggle with, but getting started has never been difficult.

On this journey, the task is a little overwhelming. Trying to stick to some more surface details about the “how” of the adventure proves difficult because there is so much to say about each and every process and piece of gear-and the gear and processes change and evolve. I will write about these things but it doesn’t feel like a good use of my time right now.

The inner journey continues to be rich and deep. Many old memories have surfaced to be seen in a new light. Each day brings new experiences and opportunities. I continue to strive to be a good person and to understand what that means. I try to stay open, try not to pre-judge, try to simply not judge, try to be nice. Sometimes I succeed.

Reading these words, these attempts to briefly and tangentially describe what I don’t have the time and mental or emotional distance to write about fully – it feels trifling – paltry. Anyway. Enough of all that. Just know that I will be writing about this trip but I am going to keep on living it for now.

Things are going very well. My body is in great shape. No residual pains. My feet and shoulders ache a bit when I am hiking, but feel fine when I stop.

I had an exciting adventure getting around the northern Cali southern Oregon fires. Oregon showed a little bit of the famous rain and lots and lots of green. The mountains in Oregon are lovely. The talk peaks are several thousand feet taller than any of the surrounding mountain ranges so you can see peaks 200+ miles away on clear days. Eagle creek and tunnel falls completely live up to all the hype. Truly beautiful. I shot more video than stills through there so it will be a while before you get to see that stuff.

Later today or tomorrow,I walk across the bridge of the gods and enter Washington State. I am so thrilled to be out here and don’t want the trip to end.

Be well. More soon.

IMG_3419-0.JPG

IMG_3446.JPG

IMG_3485.JPG

Goodbye Columbus

The walk is going well. I am feeling good and strong. My body is doing well. I have stopped shedding pounds since 40 or so fell off. I think I may have even gained a little bit back. My shoulders are a little achy and my feet are contemplating revolution, but other than that – I am tip top.

20140808-084011-31211202.jpg
That pic was taken after a long awaited reunion with the PCT. On august 1, I hit route 3 south of Etna. Firefighters were staged at the trail head at the road crossing. These folks talked with me a while and highly recommended that I not proceed on the trail but road walk to Etna and talk to the next firefighter team there. I met a local fella, Brian – and his dog Thor, in Etna and camped with them over the weekend waiting for the post office and to see what the fires would do.

20140808-091928-33568870.jpg
I looked at maps with Brian and some other relief workers and a long stretch of road walking ensued. The pros told me to stay off the trail until Ashland, OR. In order to stay off of Interstate 5, I walked on rural highways and dirt roads. I slept in the bleachers of a youth baseball field in Fort Jones. I got water from a church sprinkler at 10 pm in a small town called Hilt. I was occasionally thwarted by barbed wire and dangerous looking no trespassing signage featuring references to guns, dogs, video cameras, and prosecution.

20140808-085132-31892630.jpg
I met John Mullin at the church in Hilt and we looked at the maps together also. He helped me avoid an area i planned to walk through that was no longer open road but private property, driveways, and lawns. This last unexpected detour led through some rolling hills and just across the line in Oregon, I found a beautiful Tibetan Buddhist temple.

20140808-090744-32864078.jpg
The adventures of the past week will stay with me, but I must admit that I am very pleased to be back on trail. Road walking g should be faster, but I covered less miles off trail. Not knowing a precise route, not knowing the mileages, not knowing the elevation changes, not knowing where the water sources might be or where to camp or use the bathroom – it was stressful… and beautiful…

20140808-091446-33286273.jpg

How decisions get made

I got to castella ca and found two packages waiting for me at ammaritis market. A “new” mid sleeve hiking shirt, a replacement section for a damaged hiking pole, new socks, and a fully functional air mattress make a beautiful tableau. But, I arrive Monday, wait until noon to finish with my food resupply and mail my damaged air mattress back home, and the next post office in Etna closes Friday afternoon. I don’t feel like doing the big miles to maybe not quite make it there in time. What to do with two new free days?

Immediately I decide to break the 100+ miles into five 20 mile chunks instead of four 25 miles chunks. My feet have been making some noise and I think I am due for some new shoes. I will have a lazy morning at camp, let my stuff dry out, and spend a little time at ammaritis looking for a hitch to the gear store in Mt Shasta. If nothing turns up, I may go ahead and walk to Etna and try to hitch to Shasta from there on Sunday.

That is how it goes. I am still loving this adventure. Living outside is magical.

…a few hours later… Some guys pulled up next to me in camp where I was writing and asked if I needed anything. So, I got a pretty easy hitch to Shasta for new shoes and a few essentials. I hope your lives are going this smoothly 🙂

20140729-174513-63913952.jpg

It’s Alive!

20140701-133719-49039440.jpg
Howdy folks. I have been having such a fantastic time out here. I have lots I would like to tell you about. Finding/making/taking the time to write blog posts has been a bit of a struggle so far. I won’t do it out on the trail. At the end of a day of hiking, I am ready to get horizontal with no weight on my back, hips, knees, legs, and feet as soon as humanly possible. Typing on my phone while laying on my back with hands up above my head is not a position I can maintain for very long. In towns, I am still not at all good at taking zeros. I end up doing lots of walking or my chores take most of a 14 hour day and there is no time to just sit around and write. I may need to do a double zero to get writing done. For instance, in Tahoe, I cleaned almost all my gear – every stuff sack and every zipper, sanitized all my water, kitchen, and cooking stuff with bleach, washed all the fabrics, showered three times and had one bath, and, and, and…Anyway…some highlights:

Hiking with Joe for even a few days was really great.

20140701-123512-45312116.jpg
I saw Marie (I am not gonna link it here via the phone but you can search for Jun 11(ish) 2012 and read about the first meeting) again at VVR – an awesome and totally unexpected surprise. Walked down from VVR to where she was working at Mono Hot Springs. She is getting into archery now and we shot her bow and arrow. I had not done that since high school and it was fun.

20140701-130131-46891087.jpg
I am down to 149 pounds with my clothes on (no shoes). I am eating a lot. I am not going to bed hungry or anything. It is just very difficult to keep up with the calorie demand. (Smaller beards now run away or bow when my beard comes near.)

20140701-131243-47563251.jpg
I would love to write about food and I will but not today. For now here are a few process pics.

20140701-131456-47696360.jpg
6 days of food prepped

20140701-131920-47960473.jpg
One day of food (minus the baby bells that were still in the ice bucket when I took this).

20140701-131937-47977232.jpg
6 days of food packed up

20140701-132409-48249841.jpg
Today’s Breakfast

20140701-132509-48309045.jpg
We meet the nicest people out here as well. I can’t even really say hitchhiking has been easy because I have not even really needed to try to hitch. Most times, rides find me. I will try to mention everyone eventually but today I will feature the folks that helped me out from Echo Lake to South Lake Tahoe. John and his dog Ernie gave me a few rides, and I got to meet and hang out with John’s friends. We had a great afternoon talking and eating. So “hey” to John, Ernie, Dan, Will, Laura, Siddhartha, and Arundhati. (I hope I did not butcher your name stop badly.)

Until next time, Rock On!

20140701-140910-50950287.jpg

20140701-140954-50994112.jpg

May 15 – 16 miles by 11 am

As you can see, this ain’t exactly going to be a play-by-play sorta deal. Given that, I have spent some time considering what to write about. I do want to capture the flavor of several different phases of the hike thus far and cover some of the outer stuff. Inner stuff is also on the menu. I forget the exact phrase she used, but Liz asked me something to the effect of “how’s your head?” Which is a fair and good question. We will get there. Before it is lost to the past, I want to give some highlights, and circle back around to pick up the thread of “staggering arrogance”. (You thought I was gonna let that one just sit there? No way!)

After a great first day, I hiked alone the second and third days. I did still see some people at water sources, but was alone most of the day and the evenings. I did start to talk with two guys I kept running into, Darin and Daniel. I think they started to become a unit on day three. By the evening of day four, we formed a loose group. Over the next few days, we did start to hike together and the three of us threw all of our best ideas together and we became better hikers because of it.

The Water Party is one result of this combination. There are two kinds of water parties-bathing and drinking. The drinking part is simple. Always remember to drink tons of water when it is free, easy, and you don’t have to treat or carry it.

The bathing water party is another simple idea. I was cleaning my feet once or twice a day and doing some other cleaning when it was easy. The Ds and I started to carry an extra half liter of water each for the final walk of the day. You can do quite a bit of cleaning with half a liter. When water was scarce, we would only use a quarter liter or simply enough to wet a bandanna twice and rinse it once. Those simple steps made us very happy and clean and helped us to sleep better.

The adjustments to my daily routine were another huge result of my time with those guys. I had been waking up at 3, tossing in bed until 5 ish, doing all my chores, then breaking camp and hiking between 6-7. One day I apologized to the Ds about making noise so early the morning. Turns out, we all get up at 3 and were all sitting quietly in bed not wanting to wake the others. We started actually getting up at or near 3, immediately packing up and hiking. This was great. I had to change the whole way I thought about morning time and morning chores and readjust myself, but it was worth it.

Next up: pace with the boys and bushwhack campsite sites

P

20140515-220649.jpg

20140515-220711.jpg

20140515-220745.jpg

20140515-220731.jpg

%d bloggers like this: