Agua Dulce to Mojave 109 miles

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IMG_0703It’s official. My trail name is Otherworld. The past week has been both amazing and challenging. I skipped about 200 miles from Idyllwild to Agua Dulce to make it to the Sierra’s on time since I repeatedly had to get off the trail for school. I began last thursday afternoon one week ago in a hot, deserty, small town with huge, loud electricity things that made me feel like I was going to get cancer if I stood beneath them for too long. That evening turned out to be so much more beautiful than I expected. I climbed with other hikers as the sun began setting. The hills were multi-colored due to recent fires. The colors of the sun setting, the yellow grasses, and the matilijah poppies were out of this world. I hiked into the night and camped by myself near a water cache. The trail lead me through, around, up, and down beautiful chaparral covered hills in the Angeles National Forest. I saw deer, lizards, snakes, and brightly colored birds. I hiked mostly alone but made friends at water caches and in camp. As I descended out of the forest back down onto the desert floor, the land opened up into a big tan landscape covered in thousands of eery windmills. Now I’ve been hiking through those windmills for 4 days and the wind in the valley got up to 60 miles per hour, and I felt straight out of a movie, with my clothes blowing back, my body leaning forward against the wind, and just being totally thrown around with every step I took. I am in Mojave now and am greatful for a motel room that keeps the wind out. My body is not very happy with the trail food, but it will have to get used to it. My feet are okay, but these new shoes are too small now that my feet have been swelling and the insoles I had in them caused serious blisters on my toes and in my arch so I’ve been hiking without them… I’m in town now and have lots of errands to run. I wouldn’t say Mojave is a very wonderful place, but at least I get a break before the long trek to Kennedy Meadows, 144 miles which will take me approximately 8-9 days. I’m hiking 17-20 miles a day and I am doing well. I am challenged and at times I yell at the wind, but the wind always wins. I’m getting into my groove and I’m feeling good. I will update when I get to Kennedy Meadows in a week and a half. Peace!

Life is So Good!

I returned home last week to tie up some loose ends with my resupply plan as well as to finish school and graduate, what came was so much more than that! This week has been so full of love, blessings, and congratulations that it is making it really hard to get back on the trail! Oh don’t you worry, I’m heading back out on Wednesday! I am just excited for so many things… I finished my last 2 classes at San Diego State University and then on Friday I attended the commencement ceremony for my graduation from college! I had ten guests who either got off work early or took the entire day off just to honor my achievement. My parents, my brother, sister and her whole family, as well as the love of my life Brian, his mother and my friend Danielle attended. The next day, Brian proposed to me at Mission Trails with a ring that he made himself from fallen manzanita wood. He inlayed it with silver and jade from a rock we found together while exploring a riverbed in the Northern California Redwoods. It is beautiful, and I couldn’t ask for a more loving and committed man. Both our families received the news with welcome smiles and hugs. Being away from him while hiking the trail is one of my most difficult challenges of this hike, especially now that we have a lot to talk about and plan. The idea is when I get back we will start the planning (In September) and will be married in March or April of 2014 (less than a year away). After the wedding, we’ll set off into our future together by finding a place for us to share our life. No idea where yet, that is the exciting part!

I am working on my last few boxes and small details before I begin hiking again and will be posting blogs weekly or biweekly, so please keep checking back. 🙂

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Miles 109-178

After a long drive to North County to pick up my new travelin’ flute, we headed east back to Warner Springs so that I could continue right where I had left off the week before. My legs always start to whine a little bit when they know I’m getting back on the trail, but it doesn’t take long for them to get back into the groove. On the way to the trail head I saw lots of other hikers along the road which pleased me because I knew I wouldn’t be alone. Not sure why but knowing people are behind you and ahead of you gives you a sense of peace of mind. When I’m not sure if anyone is around I feel alone and vulnerable – which is something I should probably overcome. I came into this independently and did not expect to be relying on the safety of having others around, although it is nice. On this whole trip so far I have not spent a single night alone on the trail… I’d actually like to have the opportunity to do that, but it hasn’t arisen. Anyway, so we picked up a couple hikers and drove them to the community center so they didn’t have to walk on the nasty asphalt (which I’ve learned is very painful for thru-hiking feet). I hit the trail and saw some familiar faces on the way but happily hiked along by myself. I started out real strong but started to teeter off on the uphill into the foothills of the San Jacinto mountains. It was exposed, very little shade and once again I have the urgency to always keep going – which really tires me out by the end of the day. I am still developing an efficient process for each day – get up early, eat, pack and hit the trail before the sun hits it first (very hard for me – I take forever to do everything). Then, taking well-deserved rests throughout the day, feeding myself when I am hungry, and taking care of hot spots on my feet before they become blisters. I have managed that pretty well as I only have had 2 so far! It’s all a learning process and I’m sure I will get it down in time – especially now that beginning next week I will be on the trail for the rest of the summer, none of this escaping back to home weekly. Finally I am really “kicking off” and gettin the hell outta here! Anyway, I’m having trouble sticking to one line of thought – so I hiked all that day till I was pooped and stayed at Trail Angel Mikes cabin with lots of other hikers where we were fed and slept comfortably in cots. A storm was brewing the next day and after hiking all day, had to run for shelter around 4pm because it was raining buckets and lots of thunder and lightening – it was sooo cool! I was so content and warm inside my lovely tent. I really like it in there, sometimes I’m like… a bed? Well, I think I’d rather sleep on the ground in my tent. 🙂 The days are still long. I hike about 15-20 miles a day and I am still hiking through hot, exposed, desert-like hills. I am very excited to get into some mountains with trees! I did get a little break in Idyllwild where I camped with other hikers and ran into more familiar faces. On Saturday, my love Brian drove up and got us a cabin to stay in and we spent the day enjoying the town together before he drove me home on Sunday afternoon. Here are some photo’s of where I have been thus far…

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Miles 43-109

Hi there.. I am home once again from another 5 day section on the Pacific Crest Trail. Each time I come home, I want to be out even more. I don’t want to be home! But duties, they still call. I hiked into Warner Springs this morning, mile 109 on the PCT. I am feeling strong and capable – definitely starting to feel like I’m getting my “trail legs”. I only have one blister and the biggest problems I have are exhaustion and hunger, which can be fixed easily! Sleep and eat 🙂 I don’t take a whole lot of photo’s because the going is tough through the desert and I want to just keep moving all the time. The one thing that drives me is water – where is my next water source? That is where I am going whether it is 8, 17, or 25 miles away. I’m getting there.

I did my first 20 mile day on Wednesday through some big, dry, hot mountains and there were moments when I asked myself “Why the hell am I doing this?” because it was pretty miserable. I think the high was probably 102 degrees that day and I hiked from 7 am till about 7pm, taking rests in the shade every now and then. I had to ration my water, but I made it there hydrated enough. I think I am through one of the hardest sections of the trail… but either way I am still glad I did it and I have definitely gotten through it and feel that I could get through it again if I needed to.

I stayed in Julian for about 24 hours and hitch hiked back down to scissors crossing for a night hike into the San Felipe Hills. I met a lot more people along the trail again, camped with wonderful people all along the way, even had a PCT bridge party at scissors crossing where some trail angels had brought coolers full of alpine beer and ice cream. It has been great and I am sad to keep getting off the trail but soon that will be over. I’m having a blast and getting stronger every day!

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