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!

IMG_1164

IMG_1154

IMG_1141

IMG_1136

IMG_1134

IMG_1119

IMG_1111

IMG_1096

IMG_1085

IMG_1081

IMG_1076

IMG_1058

IMG_1040

IMG_1024

IMG_1023

The Sierra Wilderness

I’ve learned that pure happiness is walking on a gentle downhill slope in the Sierras, or finishing a climb at the top of a mountain. No wait, I already knew that! That’s why I’m out here. The uphill isn’t so bad, but it never seems to end. It is quite a treat when I don’t have to huff and puff while trying to enjoy the scenery. I am strong, skinny, and happy. My mind runs all day through the trail happenings and I am at peace. In the mornings I take my time to have breakfast, bathe in rivers, and just enjoy where I am. I am hiking through some of the most beautiful country in the entire world. The wilderness in enormous! Thousands of mountain peaks, sunrises, sunsets, birds, deer, bear, tree’s, rivers… am I repeating myself? This trail is amazing. On the other hand, I am in Bishop right now and I am also learning that I am at my lowest in town. I start to think about home, Brian, and my life waiting for me in that “other world”. It is hard to cope when I’m not in the wilderness. I’m going to hike the entire Sierra, but I’m not sure if I will finish the entire trail. Only the trail will tell. I know I can, but do I want to? I’ve hiked hundreds of miles already and I feel pretty damn good about that. I’m going to hike hundreds more. I am in love with the wilderness. Here are some photo’s that took over an hour to upload! Appreciate them 🙂 In the past week I summitted Mount Whitney, climbed Forester Pass, and Kearsarge Pass. Maybe someday I will find a computer that works and I’ll post more in depth blogs. Back into the wilderness I go.

IMG_0980

IMG_0994

IMG_0993

IMG_0986

IMG_0974

IMG_0965

IMG_0960

IMG_0923

IMG_0927

IMG_0939

IMG_0941

IMG_0945

IMG_0958

IMG_0942

IMG_0910

IMG_0894

IMG_0892

IMG_0882

IMG_0881

IMG_0875

IMG_0871

IMG_0850

IMG_0998

Agua Dulce to Mojave 109 miles

IMG_0721

IMG_0566

IMG_0569

IMG_0576

IMG_0579

IMG_0580

IMG_0610

IMG_0617

IMG_0629

IMG_0639

IMG_0653

IMG_0658

IMG_0662

IMG_0669

IMG_0673

IMG_0679

IMG_0682

IMG_0686

IMG_0691

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. 🙂

IMG_3780 IMG_3791 IMG_3799

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…

IMG_0389 IMG_0398 IMG_0401 IMG_0402 IMG_0408 IMG_0410 IMG_0414 IMG_0422 IMG_0426 IMG_0440 IMG_0441 IMG_0443 IMG_0445 IMG_0472 IMG_0474 IMG_0479 IMG_0484 IMG_0486 IMG_0489 IMG_0507 IMG_0529

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!

IMG_0325 IMG_0328 IMG_0340 IMG_0344 IMG_0346 IMG_0350 IMG_0353 IMG_0357 IMG_0361 IMG_0365 IMG_0376 IMG_0382 IMG_0385