Magic Abounds

Hello friends and family! I am in Sierra City now and have about 3 weeks to tell you about…

After a frightening thunder storm coming over Sonora Pass, I spent 2 lovely nights at the Kennedy Meadows Pack Station where I was treated with friendly faces and generosity. I ordered dinner and scarfed it down. Someone who saw me eating recognized me as a dirty, starving PCT hiker and bought my meal for me anonymously. It was a pleasant surprise to say the least. It is amazing how many people want to help us. This is what we fondly call “Trail Magic”.

Trail Magic is what happens when someone who is most likely not a hiker, but is inspired by what we do, helps a hiker in some way. The past 3 weeks have been filled with magic. People who do this are called Trail Angels, and I have certainly gotten to know how much of what these angels do really is like magic.

On July 3rd, my friends Eldon, Kathy, and Julie picked me up from Kennedy Meadows and took me to their beautiful cabin where we spent the evening relaxing and fishing at the river nearby. Another storm blew in so we had the awesome experience of cleaning fish under a tin roof with hail and rain coming down, it was so cool! Dinner was amazing and the next day we spent exploring Bridgeport for 4th of July. We watched the parade, looked at art, swam in the lower Twin Lakes, and watched an incredible firework show after dark. It was a great celebration! The next day, Kathy gave me a gift from her garden – delicious dried apricots which sustained me for days after my visit with them. Julie and Eldon hiked out with me on the morning of the 5th and we said goodbye after about 4 miles. I was a little sad for a bit as I hiked away, but that is expected now and I am able to cope much better than before. Julie and her family gave me something to look forward to and what came truly was trail magic!

As I hiked on I went up and down and up and down, which I have learned is pretty much the entire trail – go down just to go back up! It was beautiful but I was lonely. A fast hiker came by while I was making dinner and I talked to him as much as I could before he ran off into the woods so that he could get his 43 miles in. He was trying to break the world record for the fastest thru hike on the PCT – nonetheless he still took about 15 minutes to have a pleasant conversation with me, which I appreciated more than he knew.
Along my trek the following day I was lost in my earbuds – music makes my thoughts richer because I’ve thought about just about everything I can think of and I get bored thinking about the same things all the time, so music helps keep things interesting. I saw a group of people alongside the trail who called me over. They were past PCT thru hikers who backpacked in for some on-trail trail magic. They offered coffee, cookies, and good company. The same day, a few hours later, I saw a woman sitting by the creek in the distance and as I approached she placed herself beside the trail to greet me. Her trail name was Sleuth and she was happy to see a young woman on the trail. So of course I sat and talked with her for a long time. She also had a sweet german shepard doggy who made me smile. She gave me peanut butter granola bars and two packets of mango and guava Tang! She said you can only buy them in Mexico. They were delicious…. And that SAME DAY as the evening approached and I was looking for a place to sleep, I was greeted by a family near Ebbett’s pass who made me a garden burger for dinner as well as a huge plate of watermelon, cantelope, and grapes. It was the most gourmet trail magic yet!

The next day brought with it a whole new landscape of dark volcanic rock formations and beautiful wildflowers. After a long walk I finally made it to South Lake Tahoe where I was reunited with my friend Heather (aka Hot Tub) with whom I began the trail with. It was lovely to see her face after what seems like such a long time! In Tahoe I replaced my backpack and shoes due to my failing pack and the need for ankle support since I repeatedly rolled my ankles.

Unfortunately, after a day in my new shoes, my feet became unbearable to walk on and after 60 miles I was crying with every step until I reached Truckee where the most amazing magic happened! Whilst hiking, I met another female solo hiker named Mackenzie (aka Hitch) whose company I enjoyed and we went to the Truckee DQ together where we loitered for hours using their restroom, water fountain, and benches. I daydreamed of washing my feet because it might relieve some of my pain but I did not think it would actually happen…

A curious couple approached us with questions about our journey. After a bit of talking they offered to take us back to their cabin where they would cook us dinner, do our laundry, and give us a place to sleep and shower. It was an amazing offer and we could not pass it up. That night we ate a healthy salmon and vegetable dinner with the warm company of Barb and Ernie – our most generous trail angels! Their cabin was in a beautiful forest with lakes and friendly faces. Mackenzie and I felt like new women! It was a very uplifting and eye opening experience for both of us. We are very thankful for Barb and Ernie, and to all of the angels who help us along this amazing journey. Something I need to remember is that pain and suffering are temporary, it will turn out okay, and to trust that the trail will provide what I need.
To top it all off, Barb offered to drive me the 43 miles to Sierra City where my parents were bringing me my old shoes so that I did not further damage my feet. I was sad to skip 43 miles but it was what I needed to keep going. Barb saved me from the pain I was experiencing and the extreme desire to quit because of it. We had a beautiful drive through the forest and enjoyed chatting and having lunch together before we parted and she headed home.

Sierra City is an amazing little town! What a gem. I love it here. I slept in the backyard of the Red Moose Inn with tons of other hikers and spent a lot of time with smiling faces down at the swimming hole. It was soooo relaxing and it is amazing how different I feel just a few days after having the worst day on the trail.
My parents finally came and I spent 3 days with them doing tourist stuff in Sierra City and the nearby Downieville. We explored Big Spring Gardens (which were a bust), and went on an amazing tour of the Kentucky Mine where I unashamedly rode in the ore car with a bunch of kids! We had a lot of fun learning about the gold rush and how they harvested gold from the Sierra Buttes. Each night we cooked dinner in our room at the Herrington’s Resort and it felt like home. Spending a few days with my family was much needed and appreciated. I know it will be difficult to part, but they are both happy that I want to continue on. The next time I see my mom and dad will be when I get to Manning Park in Canada. I have that and a long road trip home to look forward to!

It has been a great trip so far. I have had many ups and many downs and I am learning to recognize the pattern and work through the hard parts with the knowledge that good parts are ahead. Each day I am a little stronger and I truly feel that I can make it all the way. Oregon here I come! I can’t believe I am almost done with the state of California – and what a beautiful state it is! I’ll always be a California girl, no matter where I am. I love this state!





















































Mammoth to Sonora Pass

As I said in my previous post, goodbyes are painful out here and the day I parted with Brian it was rainy, cold, and miserable. It was a sad day. I resisted getting out of my tent the next morning because it was still raining, but eventually I did and prepared myself for a day of hiking in the rain again. That day ended up being so incredibly beautiful, one of the most beautiful days hiking I’ve had on the PCT. The forest comes alive when it rains, birds stay out all day because it was like the morning never faded away. Clouds majestically rested on mountain tops, feeding distant waterfalls and lakes while all the plants were covered in dew. Hiking in the rain isn’t so bad! Getting out of my tent and sucking up my complaints was a good decision and I had a great day hiking. One of the many lessons on the trail.
I hiked into Tuolumne Meadows which was gorgeous. There is so much water here in the Sierra’s, rivers flowing all over the place. Tuolumne River was one of the most beautiful of them all. Deep, lazy, and blue-green. I couldn’t resist jumping into its freezing cold waters! After some food and phone calls I hit the trail again for the final stretch to Sonora Pass. I was very excited to reach this destination because my friend Julie and her parents will be picking me up so we can celebrate 4th of July in Bridgeport! Which is something I had done many times as a kid, so this outing really got me motivated. I love having something to look forward to, it helps me a lot! My parents will be coming to see me in about 2 weeks also. It is sad to think that I only have 2 weeks left in the Sierra’s. Next is a bland spot in Northern California before I get to the Cascades!

This past section on the trail was different than the past month because it was a lot of gradual ups and downs instead of an 11,000 foot pass on a daily basis. It has been a nice break, but still challenging.

As I came up over Sonora Pass I was the only person on the mountain, which is normally no big deal but this time a huge thunder storm was looming overhead as I tried to beat it down the mountain. Didn’t happen, it started pouring rain, thundering, and lightening on an extremely exposed ridge with no tree’s. I was terrified being the tallest thing above 10,000 feet. I prayed aloud to make it down the mountain safely, and I did thankfully. However, down here at the Northern Kennedy Meadows Resort where I am waiting for Julie, I have been told that a woman down here in the valley was actually struck by lightening and killed while I was up on the mountain. Very sad and eye opening.

Well, I am going to enjoy this rest day and sit by the river, Life is good. I am strong!




























Bishop to Mammoth

Hey there, I am alive and well. Finding a computer has been more difficult than expected so I apologize for the long delay.

In the last post I talked about being unsure if I wanted to finish or not. It’s been a few weeks and I definitely want to keep going. I am getting good at this traveling thing. It’s just that when I go into a town, my mind gets all wrapped up in the stress of chores and the reality of the homesickness I keep in my subconscious. I blog in towns, so my “town feelings” come out in my writings. However, when I am out here in the amazing wilderness of the high sierra, I am well and happy. After Bishop I headed back out and experienced some incredible mountain passes. Kearsarge Pass, Glen Pass, Mather Pass, Pinchot Pass, and Muir Pass. For me, Muir pass was the most challenging of these, but also the most beautiful. There was a lot of snow to walk across and hours of climbing. At the top was this awesome stone building built for hikers trapped in a storm since it is so exposed up there.

I hike for 10-12 hours everyday, generally making 18 miles or so. Most other hikers do 20’s, but I am a late starter (leave camp around 9am) so I lose some time, but I like it that way! 🙂 I am doing really well. My body is strong, no injuries. However, I have been falling a lot the past few days because the terrain has been really rocky and rough. A lot of downhill also has gotten me going faster and less cautious about my footing.

I hiked into Vermilion Valley Resort after spending days dreaming of a tuna salad sandwich which they had on their menu but told me they did not know why it was on the menu because they don’t make it. I seriously almost cried! I found lots of good food there though and I ate and ate and ate. I am always hungry! After a night at VVR I headed over Edison Lake by boat and back to the trail to get to Mammoth to see my love for his 26th birthday!

Some days in the wilderness are still sad, but they are short and the duties of the trail keep my mind occupied. I seriously debated going home with Brian when he came to visit me in Mammoth. I spent 7 days thinking about it, because I knew I needed to make a decision before he came so that it would not be on a whim. I decided to keep going and it was the right decision. He came to visit me and we spent 4 days hanging out together, walking around town and exploring. One day we spent lounging in tubes in Red’s Lake which was lovely. The goodbye was painful but give me 24 hours and I am back on track! I can do this.

The wilderness in the Sierra is a dream. No photo’s or words could ever express the things I am seeing and going through. This adventure is amazing!