Home is where I am – My Summer in Yosemite

What is home? I am 27 years old, and for the past 2 years, home has evolved into something I carry with me, rather than something I leave behind. From birth until I graduated college, home was my parents house. Sunny, beautiful, and full of comforts (and free food). It was a place that I had little motivation to leave. But after a couple months hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail, the trail became my home. My tent, my house, though lacking in decorations and my family – I had the beauty of the wilderness around me to fill me with love. In Baja, home was my campsite under the shade of mesquite tree’s and I shared my space with dove’s, who perched above my head as I laid in a hammock. Each time I returned to my parents house, I felt more like a visiting guest. And as quickly as I had arrived, I was off again to my next adventure – this time, a summer in Yosemite National Park. Why visit a national park when I can just live there? Seems reasonable.



At the end of last spring I decided that hiking another long distance trail was too costly an endeavor to take on. I had to get a job… but not just any old job, a really cool job. I found myself applying for jobs in June. This is extremely late for summer jobs which are usually filled in December and January. I could only hope for a miracle. I applied for naturalist positions all over the country and did not get a single reply. I knew I was too late. Head in hands, I started asking around. A girl who I knew very briefly during my time in Mexico told me a position was open where she worked in Yosemite and needed to be filled immediately. I jumped right in, applied, got an interview and suddenly I was making plans to move to Central California in the Western Sierra Nevada mountains. I had about a week to figure out where I’d live. I arrived under the belief that I was going to be living on a farm owned by the well-known Double Rainbow guy, Bear. But when I arrived, an angry young woman scolded him for giving me permission to live there. Feeling uninvited, I drove off hoping to find a place to camp along the road. I arrived at a trashy campsite late in the night somewhere just before the National Park Boundary. Sleepy eyed, I set up my tent and went to bed.

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The next day was my first day of work! So I freshened myself up in the Merced River, dodging the eyes of people in cars driving over a bridge in sight of my naked bum. Once I was reasonably clean, I was on a mission to find an electrical outlet. After making circles around public buildings, I spotted one near the front door of a general store in the tiny town of El Portal. I put my produce in a blender and nonchalantly approached the front of the small store and quickly (and noisily) made my breakfast and drove off to my first day of work. As I processed in for employment, I was offered a place to put my tent by a very lively and sweet woman my age who lived high on a ridge above Yosemite Valley. I was relieved to have a place to sleep, at least for now. I drove into the valley, seeing it as I had never seen it before – my work place. I was trained by a sweet hippie lady, who had hired me over the phone. She was the manager of the Wilderness Center. She showed me the ropes and before I knew it I was memorizing the maps, giving Leave No Trace talks to wilderness users, issuing permits, and taking wilderness reservations over the telephone. I spent my days talking to people about the wilderness that I was also paid to hike in. I couldn’t have found a better job to feed my hunger for wilderness. Twice a month I went on a four day backpacking trip (including shorter weekend trips almost every weekend) which helped me get to know the vast and beautiful land that makes up Yosemite National Park.

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Did you know Yosemite Valley makes up only 1% of the entire national park? Yet it is usually the only part of Yosemite that people ever know simply because almost all park users never get farther than a mile away from their vehicles. Yosemite Valley cradles this type of visitor with roads, restaurants, hotels, crowded campgrounds, and of course gift shops. It is only those who are willing to do the work who get to have a real wilderness experience. They must decide on a route, obtain a wilderness permit, learn the rules and regulations (i.e. food storage, bears, human waste, etc.), and of course just get out there with their two trekkin feet and their dirty boots. People who are willing to do that experience the true, pristine beauty of the park – free of crowds, roads, cars, noise, and nonsense. I very much enjoyed my position to help those kinds of people who were seeking the experiences that I have grown so fond of. However, I also found myself surrounded by the crowds of the more common visitor who came for the gift shops and to say they had been to such a popular place, likely the most popular of all the national parks. Being surrounded by the yahoo’s who swarmed the valley, I often wondered to myself how the human species has survived.
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Surely these people hadn’t lived their whole lives parking in the middle of roads, pooping and leaving poopy toilet paper next to pristine mountain springs, leaving their trash everywhere, feeding wild animals. Or had they? All I could do was hope for their sweet children whom they pushed around in strollers on paved paths to have a future of real life experience, not this gift shop bonanza where buying things is how they experience life. Thus only begins to express one of my daily challenges in life, being baffled by human ignorance and all the things they do that make me worry about the future of our planet and our species. Being in the tourism industry, I see a lot of really ridiculous stuff – it just makes me slap my forehead and pushes me further, to live a life with real meaning.

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Soon after I arrived in Yosemite, a relentless young man from San Diego followed me. I allowed his presence but was focused on being on my own and experience the world as a solo woman. He was so easy to be around that I very much enjoyed his company, and he loved the wilderness just like me. So we hiked. And hiked. And hiked all summer long, till I realized that I’d be stupid to be so stubborn to push him away and not accept that which life was offering to me. So while I have remained true to growing my independence and doing what feels right in my heart, I have opened and allowed a new relationship to blossom in my life. Because after all, I can’t always choose what or when things happen to me. I realize that I can’t be in control of everything. So I let go. And in return I was blessed with a best friend, a hiking partner, and a lover. We explored over 300 miles of Yosemite trails together. We ate trout from high sierra lakes, skipped rocks, shared trail snacks, sang songs around the fire, jumped off rocks into wild and beautiful rivers, took shelter from thunder storms, shared the most epic mountain views the Sierra Nevada mountain range has to offer, and we laughed. His name is Ted, and he is the sweetest trekker to cross my path.

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When I was a kid, my Dad took my brother and I backpacking for the first time. Our destination was Barney Lake, just a few miles from Mono Village in the Eastern Sierra. We never made it because my brother hurt his knee on a stream crossing. I recall the most uncomfortable night I’ve ever experienced in the wilderness. I woke up repeatedly scrunched up at the bottom of the tent because we were camped on a slope. Since we had to stop when the injury happened, it wasn’t an ideal location. To make matters worse, I was awoken by the sound of a bear roaring outside of the tent. My dad was awake already and trying to scare it off. At the time, I thought it was hilarious, and started cracking up inside the little tent with my brother. The bear had a cub and was trying to get our food hung high in a tree. They eventually ran off. I didn’t make it to Barney Lake on that trip, but now – at 27 years old I was setting off to hike Matterhorn Canyon with Ted from Mono Village to Tuolumne Meadows. In between those two places lay the ever illusive Barney Lake, and after only 5 or so miles, I was standing at the place I was supposed to see when I was 9 years old – 18 years later.

It was a beautiful lake beneath the mountains leading up toward Matterhorn Peak (named for it’s resemblance to the Matterhorn in Switzerland). We spent our first night praying for good weather when it was drizzling on our tent. We knew we had much higher to go and would prefer some gentle weather – either way we were going. Rain or shine. I do a lot of praying, especially when I am in the wilderness. I pray for safety, warmth, comfort, and a smooth trip. Not to anyone in particular, to God, to nature, to the universe – whatever may be hearing my request and my ever gratefulness for all the blessings I have received thus far in my journey through life. Our second day it rained on and off all day. We hiked through the mist into the majestic Matterhorn Canyon and almost as an answer to my prayers the rain stopped and we saw a few stars in the sky. That night we had a fire, Ted played his ukulele, and we cooked a fantastic feast.

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That night we fell asleep with the rain door open. But when we woke up in the morning we realized that at some point the door had been shut and it had rained all night on us. Neither of us remember waking up and shutting it, not to mention it is a tight door that really takes some force to open and close. It was a mystery. Had we been protected by some guardian way out there in the middle of the mountains? We will never know. I did some research once our trip was over, and I learned of a man named Fred Claassen who went missing while on the same hike we were on. His body was found 7 years after his disappearance at the base of Whorl Mountain, very near to where we were camped that night. He had fallen to his death from a ledge during a deadly storm. Part of me would like to think it was Fred who heard my prayers and shielded us from the rain that night. All I asked for was to be warm and dry, and I was. Thanks to Fred!

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During my summer living in the national park, I ate organic produce from a local CSA that delivered right to my work. I ate mostly raw fruits and vegetables, but weekly cooking up a big healthy stew of some sort consisting of whatever was in my CSA box, coconut milk, and a collection of spices. I had an outdoor kitchen made up of a camp stove, an old table, a giant pot and cutting board. While I cooked, the local dogs would smell my food from far away and come by to get some for themselves, I enjoyed their friendship. I’d watch the tree’s sway in the wind and enjoy the silence and solitude of my beautiful camp on a ridge, far from the tourist traffic and rowdy campgrounds. I half lived out of my tent, and half lived out of my car. I stored anything in there I might need while down in the valley, running clothes, hiking clothes, a large cooler, camp chairs, and backpacking supplies. You can imagine it got a little messy! I slept in a large tent with sky windows under a forest of pine, surrounded by wild, open space. Each night the wind blew, coyotes roamed, and snakes slithered. It hit me one night just how wild I have become when I was settling into my sleeping bag after a day of work. I could hear an animal under my tent, a gopher, snake, or lizard. Whatever it was, it’s movement kept me awake. At one point, I walked out of my tent without shoes or anything at all for that matter, lifted up the edge of the tent to find the tail of a garter snake, I grabbed it and tossed the snake through the air into some bushes. Here I was, this woman, standing naked outside in the middle of the night throwing a snake through the air. Then, I could finally rest and went back to bed. I realize that to the average person, I probably seem like a weirdo, and that is all right with me, because I know it’s not me that’s weird – it’s everyone else! What may appear to be weirdness is actually just a connection to the world around me, which so many people lack. Life in the cities can be too busy, noisy, and full of so much nonsense it is almost impossible to feel a connection to the earth. The truth is, we are disconnected from ourselves, because we are not separate from nature. Get closer to nature, become more of who you truly are. Your wild self. You could die tomorrow, and this could be the only chance you have to live an amazing life. Get out there and smell the flowers ya bunch of weirdos! Life rules!

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In recent years, large areas in Yosemite had burned, and being our third year in drought, it wasn’t a surprise what a fiery summer this one would be. On an average day, I had gotten off work early for the first and only time all summer, so that I could attend a local concert in the nearby town of Groveland. On my drive out of the valley I picked up a female hitch hiker a little younger than me. We were driving and making conversation when I began approaching the road to the Flying Spur and saw a very large plume of smoke threatening the land that I camped on. We took a detour toward the flames to save my belongings from the fire that would certainly come through my camp. When we arrived, the fire was wildly burning towards us. Residents on the land began to show up to do the same. The hitch hiker helped me gather almost all my things until the fire was too close for comfort, and we drove out of there as quickly as possible. The firemen were just driving in as we were driving out. I went to the concert that night, but I knew I could not return to my camp. I was invited by some locals at the concert to sleep on their land. I drove to their farm in the middle of the night and caught some shut eye, but in the morning I drove to Mammoth Lakes to get away from all the smoke. When I returned for work, and after the firefighters let residents back in, Ted and I went to the Spur to see the damage. My home was replaced by a layer of black crust, but thankfully all of the permanent structures (except the shed) had been saved by the firefighters. I was now entirely living out of my car, and camping wherever I could find a place to sleep. It was frustrating to say the least. Again, I felt displaced and wanted desperately to find a new space to call my own.


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After confiding in a coworker that I was homeless and stressed out about illegally camping, she told me she wanted to help me. She connected me to another Yosemite local who had land on the other side of the Merced River Valley. He allowed me to live in a tiny shack about 5 minutes walking distance from his home. I lived in the tiny 10X4 shack for the remainder of my summer. It had windows all around that overlooked the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and I had complete privacy there, besides the resident red-tailed hawk who perched high in a pine tree above my cabin every day, and the mama bear and her cub who occasionally sauntered through. Once again, I was afraid of something new. I missed my comfortable camp across the valley, but before I knew it, this little cabin became my home and I just loved waking up to the sun shining in my windows. Inside, I had a table, a futon bed, and a chair. I decorated the space with incense, a couple of candles, special stones and dried plants I’ve collected from places I’ve been, and a string of battery powered LED lights. It was a beautiful little home. Outside I had a couple camp chairs, a small metal table for eating on, and a giant tool box that I stored all my kitchen supplies in, and used as a kitchen counter top. I had all the necessities to make it work perfectly for me. It was cozy and beautiful, as well as fully functional. I even put up a hammock between my cabin and my kitchen. It felt like home. I’d often rush home after work to catch the sunset from the top of the ridge. A ten minute walk on a dirt road from the cabin lead to an overlook of the western foothills, and a perfect place to witness the setting sun. I often walked back in the dark, always feeling grateful for my shelter once I’d walk in the door of what became my sanctuary.

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As with all my travels, in Yosemite I experienced the fear of integrating into a new environment with new people. An insecurity that has been with me since childhood. Despite my fear, I met people who were warm, kind, and open towards me. I also felt the tension of one particular woman who carried a heavy load of negativity in her heart and the pain she projected onto me. Why I am chosen for this projection is unknown to me, but it seems to happen with one person at every work place. So it was a challenge I’d been faced with in the past, and this one was just more practice to remain peaceful in my heart and keep my distance. It seems that some people who feel dim inside want to dim the light of others. I am so much stronger now than I was years ago, and these kinds of people no longer have power over me. They just make me shine brighter. I’m on a journey, I’m imperfect, I make mistakes, I get angry, I feel strong, I feel sad, I feel beautiful, I can be wrong, I’m the only me there will ever be and I’m proud to be myself. I’m just a person doing the best I can. I know I’ll never be able to please everyone, so I’ll just be happy anyway. Thanks to all the bullies who have reinforced that in me. While they have hurt me throughout my life, they hurt themselves far more. Meanwhile, my heart only blossoms. I become more open. I become more of myself.

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I didn’t have too many visitors during my stint in the park, except for my mom. She is the kind of woman to require comforts like running water, electricity, walls, toilets, etc… you know, “regular” stuff. I’ve begun a lifestyle so minimal and cheap that I’ve grown comfortable without these things. I don’t mind pooping outside or carrying my water into camp. If I need it hot, I heat it up on my camp stove. If I need a light, I make a fire or carry around a lantern. Everything is just fine that way for me, but I knew it would be slightly uncomfortable for my mom. I was surprised when she followed through with her plans to visit me even after I told her how I live. She was brave and came to visit me anyway. I gave her my bed in “the cabin” and slept outside in my outdoor kitchen. I took her car camping in the High Sierra before taking her on an easy one nighter in the wilderness. We hiked out of Lyle Canyon and went a few miles. She carried a backpack with just a sleeping bag inside and a couple of clothes. Dutifully, I carried the rest, knowing we didn’t have too far to go before we would camp. That night we slept cozily inside my two man tent, only to awake to frost covering it in the morning. We cooked a meal with the river water flowing through the canyon, forded a stream, and enjoyed the sounds of the wild night. She did great, and I was proud to see her so tolerant of a lifestyle so far from hers. I really appreciated it and had no idea she could be so tough. Love ya Mom!

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As fall arrived, my seasonal job came to an end. I decided to prolong my time there and take on a job in the visitor center after about two weeks off. I spent five days hiking solo on the High Sierra Trail, which is a pathway leading from west to east from the giant sequoia’s of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park all the way to the top of Mount Whitney, a 72 mile trek over the Great Western Divide and back to the eastern Sierra’s. It was a beautiful walk that I’ll never forget. It meandered up and down through the high country and down into the valleys and back up again. Something I love the most about backpacking is how strong I feel out there. Self-sufficient, light, quick, and just plain tough. When I got to the top of Mount Whitney on my fifth day, an old man who had seen me the day before setting up camp at Guitar Lake, saw me again on my way down from the top of Mount Whitney. He was sitting alongside the trail with his wife and said to me “Girl, you fly over mountains!”. I spent 3 more weeks working in the park before I packed up my stuff and drove over Tioga pass to begin a new chapter living in a studio apartment with my boyfriend Ted in Mammoth Lakes.

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Here’s to another amazing Summer!! Goodbye Yosemite. Hello Mammoth.

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This Is Only The Beginning

My graduation from college was followed by the most mentally and physically arduous pilgrimage of my life thus far, an experience which has thrown me into the greatest transition I have ever been through. Kind of feels like a mid-life crisis, but I’m too young for that! It has been a roller coaster of excitement, sadness, self-love, self-doubt, loneliness, power, emptiness, independence, frustration, pride, inspiration, fullness, and a lack of motivation. Each day is different, which is telling me something very big is on the horizon.

One thing that rings true for me – is that in order for us to transform ourselves, we must first be broken. Something that we thought would always be there must end in order for something brand new to be born. For me, it is a path of independent adventure. I am focused on what I need to do in order to live a life that fulfills me. I am learning that nothing in life is permanent and things can change in an instant which has enabled me to accept a new path…
You can either be a victim to this change or use it as a tool to live what I like to call… “AN EPIC FUCKIN’ LIFE”!!

The trail is a perfect metaphor for almost anything in life. You live the most simple truths because they are all you have. Here are only twelve of the many lessons/gifts that walking over 2,000 miles gave to me:

~ In order to move forward you must let go of the past, because it’s behind you now. Your survival is reliant on your ability to focus on what is happening right now.

~ Don’t try to live faster than the pace your feet can travel – you will get there, enjoy where you are now.

~ No matter how difficult an obstacle, you have the power in you to overcome it. Never give up, unless it will certainly kill you, then maybe you shouldn’t do it.

~ Some days totally suck but a good day is always on the horizon. The hardships you endured are always paid off with the strength you feel from overcoming something so difficult and of course the beautiful places your audacity has taken you. Remember this on those crappy days.

~ Just when you think you’ve reached the top of a mountain, you see there are many more mountains for you to climb.

~ Sometimes, when you want to quit, you’re in the middle of nowhere and can’t do anything about it. Suck it up and keep walking. After all, moving forward is all you can do.

~ People come and go, when they do go, you may never see them again. Enjoy them for everything they are right now.

~ When walking gets boring, DANCE.

~ When walking is too easy, flex your butt muscles and get the most out of the path you are on.

~ If you fall over, get up, yell about it, then move on.

~ If someone wants to help you, let them and let their generosity help you to become more giving of yourself.

~ If it’s raining, get your butt up anyway. Magic can be found in all types of weather. Even on dark, cloudy, rainy days there is always something beautiful to be discovered.

The lessons from the trail are endless, discover some for yourself…

Since I returned home from my long walk I haven’t just been moping around (maybe I have a little bit) but I have been staying busy with friends, occasionally pretending to be a transient, drinking wine, looking at rainbows, holding babies, throwing snowballs, swimming in the ocean, wearing silly hats, journaling, singing loudly and terribly, drinking ridiculously healthy smoothies, making a montage about my trip, looking for work, and routinely jogging 4 miles a day, ending at the top of my local mountain to watch the sun set. Witnessing the setting of the sun on a daily basis has become the one thing that brings me the most happiness and peace during this turbulent period in my life. Also, I discovered the most delightful dance community in San Diego, with whom I have been dancing my heart out. It feels so good to have this outlet. It is very healing and has brought me much joy.

For my next adventure, the time has come. I am going to Mexico at the end of this month. I will be living among other people who strive for a more simple life in a sustainable community in Baja. I don’t really know what it is going to be like yet, but I can tell you I will be learning how to build earthen homes, working hard in the gardens, living in a tent, hiking to swimming holes, hot springs, and waterfalls as well as developing myself as an independent woman. Please stay tuned for my adventures there. I am flying out on December 31st! What a way to start the new year!

Recently, I made a rough “life itinerary” to help me stay focused on achieving my goals and living epically. This winter and beginning of next spring I will be spending my time living in this community in Baja. Next summer of 2014 I will be working a seasonal summer job somewhere in the states doing what I love: environmental education, or something similar in the outdoors. In the Fall of 2014 I will attend the Burning Man festival and that winter I will work my butt off to save for my next big adventure, back on the trail summer of 2015. My goal is to walk every single mile of the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada and put it to rest so that I can move on to other long distance trails. All of this is subject to rearrange, change, and be accommodated to as time goes on but at least I have an idea of how I would like my life to go over the next two years.

Here I go!






















The Brick Wall

I must warn you, this post is nothing like my happy, excited posts I have written over the past 6 months. Rather, it is a reflection of what it is like, for me, to come back into mainstream society after the most beautiful journey of a lifetime. It is very common for people to have a period of sadness after such a long hike, and I am no exception. So if you are here to be uplifted, read no further. It’s all part of the journey, and this is my experience.

I have been “home” for just over two weeks now and have been working through so much mentally, emotionally, and physically. Each day is a challenge in a whole new way that I never experienced on the trail, and it may be just part of this great journey – another challenge I didn’t expect. A very dark one.

While I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail I felt the most happiness I’d ever felt in my entire life – I attained true bliss. I learned that real happiness comes from not knowing what each day will bring, but having the faith in myself that I will confront obstacles and get through them as they come. It is invigorating to wake up each morning not knowing the beauty I will see or the challenges that will arise, but taking each step one at a time and living only as fast as I can walk and only concerning myself with a few simple things: eating, caring for myself, sleeping, resting, filtering water, and most of all WALKING.

Coming off the trail is like coming into the world for the first time. It is a noisy world of fast cars, unhappy, unhealthy, and upset people living lives that contain them in little boxes, only occasionally dreaming of doing what they really want – all the while telling themselves they cannot, because their responsibilities seem to own them. It is a world of anonymity where people barely even look up at one another in passing and think you are weird if you take a moment to say hello to them. After being embraced by a community of happy, healthy people I feel so alone in this world of strangers.

Life here has me dwelling on the past, stressing about others and the chaos that surrounds me, and just plain feeling stuck. I feel as though this place that I call “home” is merely a waiting room. Waiting for my next adventure, waiting to see what the future holds for me, waiting to move out and be independent again. My real home is the trail. The trail is home to all of us, you may just not realize it yet. It is a place where life is simple, options are limited, and friends are everywhere. Every day you are blessed with the beauty of going with your own rhythm and accepting every single moment for what it is and nothing less. On the trail we walk in God’s country, a place of perfect beauty and what may seem to most as mere legend. The earth is a magnificent place but our busy lives within our concrete jungles make us think that wilderness is only a dream, or perhaps a place to visit – but it is our home. As the Tobasco Donkey’s put it, “Civilization is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.” I’d rather be hiking up the hottest, most endless hill, or walking through freezing rain and snow than living such an average life. This feeling must be temporary, but I know I will never see the world the same again.

My feet are buzzing constantly and I have nowhere to go. They said it would be hard to come home after my hike, but I had no idea it would be this hard.

The trail gave me a gift. One that no one can ever take away from me. I know how I want to live. After a lifetime in school, I finally discovered what it feels like to be free and now I am determined to live a beautiful life of adventure, and not settle for anything less. I have so much life left, and I will spend it discovering the world. I may not have discovered the strength to do this had I never hiked the trail. The realization that I have what it takes to follow my dreams has pushed me to make some very ambitious and difficult life decisions. I sacrificed my relationship with the man I love to nurture my independence and further challenge myself with living the life of my dreams. It is both terrifying and exciting at the same time, it is also very lonely and I miss him deeply. It is quite simple. He is focused on building a settled life and I can no longer swallow my urge to fly. Perhaps one day our dreams will align, but right now I have no choice but to feed the hunger of my soul to experience all the different flavors life has to offer.

“When it’s time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived.” Henry David Thoreau

Some things I am dreaming of…

1. Finding a community of happy, healthy, inspiring people to live among (out of San Diego)

2. Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail AGAIN (and the entire thing this time)

3. Hiking the Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT – 1200 miles long, from Montana to the Washington coast), among many other lesser-known long distance trails.

4. Living in beautiful, inspiring places – maybe other countries

5. Seasonal Park Ranger opportunities in other states (Such as Colorado, Alaska, Hawaii, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon, etc.)

6. Learning to play a musical instrument

7. Living well, following my heart, not letting the world get me down, being inspired

8. Eventually, settling down somewhere beautiful where I can live simply

I will start working again soon and I don’t know what the next chapter will bring, but I know it is not going to be easy. Being here has me trying to make future plans, but my life is too unpredictable for it not to be in vain so I will do what worked for me on the trail – I will play it by ear and see where the path leads. All I do know is that I am going to follow through with what truly satisfies me, no matter what I have to do to manifest it. And let’s not leave out the most important part… I know that everything is going to be okay. Everything is temporary.





Thank you for following me. I hope my adventure inspired you to get out and do something you have always wanted to do.

Urge For Going

After a spending a few days hiking through Mount Hood and down into the breathtaking Eagle Creek with Brian, we went into town at Cascade Locks, my last town in the state of Oregon. We parted there where I spent the afternoon at the marine park enjoying the beautiful Columbia River and preparing for my next section toward Trout Lake, Washington. As I crossed over the Bridge of Gods, stepping from one state to the next while suspended over a large body of water, I gazed all around at the 360 degree views of the beautiful river and the bridge I was crossing it on. The wind blew wildly as I looked down where I could see through the metal grids all the way down to the water below. It was breathtaking and exhilarating. I was excited to step into a new state, the last state. Washington!

I hiked into the evening that day and found myself on an unexpected and frustrating ascent in the dark. All I wanted to do was make camp but I had to keep moving forward and hope for a flat place to sleep. It is not uncommon for me to get a little sloppy at the end of the day and this evening ascent really got the best of me. I fell hard on some rocks right on my knee resulting in a nice big, bloody gash and a bruised knee cap. I yelled out loud in anger at the trail and felt pretty silly when I ran into some friends just a few minutes later. I had hoped they didn’t hear me whining at the forest. I camped with them that night in a nice little flat spot near some water. The next morning I completed the ascent alone and enjoyed some music in my ears. It was a gorgeous day and one of only a few that were left…

After a big day of 27 miles, I camped by Panther Creek and saw an almost full moon rise over the rushing water. I felt all sticky from the day of humid heat and lots of climbing so I rinsed off in the freezing water. It was refreshing. That night I made my heaviest meal, gnocchi, which is also my most hearty, flavorful, and favorite meal. I fought for my hot cocoa when a mouse kept coming back to steal a sip. I awoke in the middle of the night to rain drops on my shelter but when morning came it was only fog hanging over the forest. As I climbed, the clouds became thicker and thicker until I was walking through them, taking in the beautiful silence of this dark, wet day. That evening the wind was blowing like a tornado, throwing water at my face as I walked. Once again I hiked into the night, and exhausted from the beginning storm, I fell again and sprained my hand. I was just getting all beat up on this section. The next day was nothing but rain and I was pretty cold and miserable. I resisted the desire to hitch into town at a road I reached before my planned exit road, which was 15 more miles down the trail.

I got a ride with some other hikers into Trout Lake, WA which is a beautiful little town full of wonderful people. I stayed at the tiny grocery store which was run by a family who lived behind the building. They offered small, hostel type rooms for hikers at a very reasonable price and they did everything they could to provide us with what we needed. Trout Lake was full of angels and I’ll never forget how at home I felt there. The day I left the rain had finally broken and it looked like it might become a sunny day, which it did, just in time for me to head into the beautiful high elevations of Washington around Mount Adams where I could see for miles all around. Mount Adams had fresh snow on top which was beautiful and also threatening. The air was cold that day, but I strutted around in my shorts as I walked 3mph with music in my ears. I was on a roll, but by 5pm it was too cold and I had to put on extra layers. From this day on, I never walked again without those extra layers…

That night I camped at a beautiful lava field where water came out from beneath, forming a pool I could get water from. There were 11 other people there that night and we all sat around eating dinner, watching our breath, and making ridiculous jokes that would only be funny to people who have been on a trail for 5 months. The next day I was the last to leave camp (as usual). I passed a couple people while they took lunch, but I saw no one for the rest of the day. I was appreciating the sun as I climbed up high to where I could see lakes, hills, volcanos, and endless forests. As the day continued on I became grumpy, not for any reason in particular. Sometimes hiking can be monotonous and on top of it, I am simply not giving my body what it needs to hike a 25 mile day. A grumpy hiker is a hungry, tired hiker. Despite the beauty that surrounded me, I could not unfurrow my brow. My heart reawoke as I passed over Cyspus Pass and was transported to what felt like the High Sierra again. Rocky peaks engulfed me in an enormous, open valley of flowing water. I found the best campsite just after a waterfall. The site hung over the emptiness of the valley and seemed to float over nothing. I set up camp here and watched the full moon rise as I heard the hoo-ing of a dozen Great Horned owls as they retreated from their daytime sanctuaries in the thick trees of the forest and headed out into the last light of dusk. I watched them as they took flight and went off into the night sky. I love camping alone.

The next day was a blessing in disguise. I climbed up and up where I found marmots! It really was like being in the Sierras again. I had heard about a place I was going to, called the “Knife’s Edge” and when I saw it, I threw my hands up in complaint. Ahh I don’t want to do this! The Knife’s Edge is a 2 mile piece of trail which traverses over a narrow crest with thousand foot drops on either side, with nothing but glaciers to break a fall. My nerves were all buzzing as I crossed over the Packwood glacier and then walked along the edge very carefully. This was one of the most beautiful views I had seen on the entire trail. Mount Rainier in the distance with clear blue skies, mountains, lakes, glaciers, and rivers all around. I was one of the last people to see Mount Rainier from Knife’s Edge this season. There was a tiny cloud at the tip of the majestic mountain and as the day grew late, the cloud got bigger and bigger until the whole sky looked angry with darkness, wind, and cold.

I camped a mile from White’s Pass so that I could go in in the morning and resupply. That night the rain started, and this time it never stopped. It rained and I saw a bunch of hikers at the Kracker Barrel store who where talking about skipping to avoid the coming storm which was said to bring immense amounts of snow and rain. I wasn’t ready to give up yet so I got a ride into Packwood where I could wait out the storm at a lovely little hotel that charged only $30 a night. I ended up staying here for 5 days, and it stormed day and night, nonstop. I became depressed with the lack of hope to continue on. Other hikers were coming off the mountain describing 2 feet of snow and high winds as they traversed the Knife’s Edge. They were all thankful to be alive.

In a couple days I knew there would be at least one clear day, so I decided to get back on trail at that point. The first day out was very cold, but mostly no rain fell. The rain started again the next morning and never stopped. I met some southbound hikers who told me of a trail angel waiting for hikers at Chinook pass. I made it to the pass and waited inside of a pit toilet bathroom at a rest stop, on the floor, in my sleeping bag, because it was FREEZING. My fingers and toes had been numb most of the day, and now that I was stopped my entire body was losing heat fast. I did what I had to do to stay warm while I waited for the trail angel to come pick me up on one of her regular runs up to the rest stop to rescue hikers from the bathrooms.

Trapperkeeper, took me and my friend Backfire to her camp where she fed us a fresh cooked meal, built us a fire in the rain and gave us a dry place to sleep among her Tarp Town in the woods. It was amazing and necessary trail magic. I finally reached the point where I was deciding whether to go on. She checked the weather and assured me that snow was on its way and the weather would only get worse from here on out. The freezing cold rain had been enough for me. It was frighteningly cold. Hypothermia became a real concern and I couldn’t imagine dealing with colder temps. I simply was not equipped enough for winter weather, nor was I skilled in snow travel and navigation. This was where my hike north on the Pacific Crest Trail came to an unexpected finish. 300 miles from the Canadian border, and I decided to turn back.

Trapperkeeper drove me to Packwood the next day where I spent another night so that the following day I could find a ride to Seattle. After making a beautiful Seattle sign on a piece of cardboard, Trapperkeeper showed up in town again and said it had snowed overnight and she was shutting down her camp and going home, to Portland. I decided this was my best bet for a ride and took it. Feeling so far from the trail now, the anxiety hit me as we drove into the busy city with lights, cars, rain, and noise. I realized this was not a temporary ride into town, this was it, and in town was where I’d stay. Goodbye Pacific Crest Trail, for now.

I was then thrown into the oblivion of public transportation. I rode a bus to a train and rode the train to the real train, which I sat on for 30 hours going insane because I felt like there wasn’t enough oxygen on the train (I’m used to being outdoors!), then in the middle of the night I got onto another train from Union Station in L.A. and rode that to Santa Clarita where I spent the night and was picked up in the morning by the well-known trail angel of southern California, Donna Saufley.

Instead of going straight home, I decided I would fare better with some time to reflect and decompress. I skipped a section from Idyllwild to Agua Dulce so I am going to spend 3 more weeks hiking south from Agua Dulce to Idyllwild, or at least until I run out of money. Here at Hiker Heaven I am preparing for my final jaunt in the wilderness before going back home.

I walked over 2,000 miles and I thought there was no chance in the world I wouldn’t make it all the way to Canada, but Washington had different plans this year. Winter started in September, historically the most rain and snow ever received this time of year. Just my luck!

This was the most amazing summer of my life. I crossed through the desert and over the entire Sierra Nevada mountain range, and almost the entire Cascade range. I walked through California, Oregon, and Washington. I walked and I walked, all day every day. I saw the sun rise and set and became in tune with the moons waxing and waning. I slept under the stars every night sometimes alone, sometimes with friends. I met hundreds of wonderful people and for the first time I really felt part of a community. Everyday I was blessed with beautiful scenery, challenges, and time to think and go with the flow. Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail was the best decision I ever made, and I will do it again. This was an epic journey through the deserts, mountains, and forests of the west coast. I also had the unexpected opportunity to experience tiny mountain towns all along the way where I met people with unwavering generosity and kindness. There were times when I didn’t think I could take a single step, and then I did. I overcame so much doubt and became stronger than I have ever been. My mind has never been clearer, my life has never been simpler, and my body has never been stronger. Thank you to all the trail angels who helped me keep going and to all the people following me and cheering me on. I have never been happier!!!

Stories of my final journey to come, stay tuned.













































Trail Bliss

I am doing very well and am still out here living in the forest! My home is the woods and I am in love with the trail. I have been so many different things in my life, always searching for what is right for me but never quite meshing completely with any one thing, but on the trail I feel at home. Life is raw and true out here. I have the freedom to be myself and go with the flow of what feels right while being 100% responsible for my actions and dealing with consequences. I have many daily tasks and chores but they are simple: eat, make shelter, sleep, filter water, rest, watch my maps, care for myself as needed, and simply WALK. I used to think this was the hardest thing I’d ever do, but in fact – it is the easiest I have ever lived. Life IS the moment and the challenges, with few options, forcing me to accept each moment and take each day one step at a time. Don’t be mistaken, hiking 25 miles a day is not easy, but don’t we all understand how rewarding it is to suffer? Not only am I in the best physical shape of my life, but mentally I feel powerful and independent. I feel at peace and in control of my life. I have made a complete turn around since the beginning of the trip. At first I could barely stand the thought of being away from home, and now I can’t stand the thought of the trail… ending. I just want to walk in the woods forever….

After a lovely stay at the Hiker Hut in Etna I hit the trail again and got the best of surprises! As I was walking I noticed three beautiful Rosy Boa snakes lying sleepily along the side of the trail. I thought they wouldn’t be safe from flying trekking poles and curious hikers that close to the trail so I gladly scooped them up and made friends with them before relocating them to a safer place. That was such a happy day! Soon after, the landscape transformed from brown and green to white, brown and green. Raw marble all over the ground and making up entire mountains! It was a beautiful sight and made me happy to see such a valuable mineral being left in it’s natural state, protected by the national forest, untouched by the hand of man.

After descending into Seiad Valley, we were picked up by an old local couple in a pickup to avoid the dangerous road walk and were greeted by many hikers relaxing on the grass as we arrived. I had lunch at the cafe but did NOT take on the pancake challenge. I don’t really like pancakes – I’m more of a waffle kind of girl! 🙂

With a full belly I took on the 8 mile ascent up a huge steep mountain overlooking the smoke settling from recent fires in the area, it was eerily beautiful with a red crescent moon as I fell asleep in my shelter. I love sleeping on ridges because I can see the sun rise and set.

Soon, I made it to the Oregon border and the trail was a whole new ball game! I was ready for a change and excited to see what a new state had to offer, I walked on with big smiles and wide eyes… 😀 What I found the next day was Santa Claus! He lives in Oregon!! I met Santa at the Callahans Lodge where I was treated so kindly by fancy, clean people. One woman who worked at the front desk offered us a ride into Ashland and I asked her “how many can you fit?” she replied, “up to 7, I have a pickup truck.” When I walked outside I laughed to myself when I saw her tiny 2 seater truck, we all jumped in the back and we drove on the 5 freeway for about 15 minutes and it was terrifying. At least I can say I’ve ridden in the back of a truck on the freeway! That is not something that most people can say they’ve experienced. Now I don’t ever have to do that again!! But thank goodness for the ride to Ashland, and to be alive. Wow.

In Ashland, I shared a hostel room with several other hikers. It was more like a large apartment and felt very luxurious, although it was difficult to get enough sleep with everyone making breakfast and talking at 6 in the morning. I was a grumpy girl that day. Ashland was a nice town stop, I stayed an extra night to get the rest I needed and got more chores done before hitting the trail again with the excitement of my next stop – Crater Lake! This is a section of the trail that I have looked forward to since the very beginning. Arriving here was emotional and beautiful. I couldn’t believe my eyes, and my feet! The lake was huge and glorious. I camped for a couple nights here and watched both the sun and the moon rise and set shining it’s beautiful colors on the crystal blue waters of the ancient caldera of what was once Mount Mazama, standing above 12,000 feet before it exploded.

I went real slow through this section because of its sereneness. I was caught in a vortex of beauty and bliss, walking through the forests of Oregon has been a dream. People warn you of how boring it is to hike through the forest for days on end, but for me it wasn’t like that. Each day I’d make it to a ridge where I could see snow-covered mountains, craggy peaks, volcanic lava fields, and beautiful sunsets. When I was under the shade of the forest, it was a whole new world of green ground cover, butterflies, lakes, wet mushrooms, and happy pine trees. I could never get bored with the sweet smells of the forest and the soft duff to sleep on. I made it to Sisters and began heading back out on the trail when I was hit with a big cold, scary, wet storm. I was hiking through exposed areas in a lightening storm and I was terrified. I finally found a safe place to set up shelter where I stayed for 24 hours hoping the storm would pass. It did not, so with all my wet stuff, I hiked back to Sisters and Brian picked me up there instead of the planned pick up spot at Timberline Lodge. He is going to hike with me from Timberline Lodge to Cascade Locks which I am looking forward to. However, I am currently stationary at his Grandma’s house in Washington but will be back on trail tomorrow.

I reached mile 2000 last week and have less than 550 more miles to Canada. This hike is a dream and I couldn’t be more content and happy. I want to just keep hiking.





















































Goodbye California

Oh boy, so much to write. I’ve really been pounding the trail with little time in town and have not had an opportunity to blog until now. I am in Etna, the last town in California. Over the past few weeks I have been consistently doing 23-26 miles a day. Getting to Canada is a real and timely concern. It’s time to get miles!

After I spent a few days with my family in Sierra City I hit the trail again and headed toward Belden, my next resupply town. I had heard it was creepy, but nobody told me the whole hike would be eery. I hiked for a few days through a dry, hot, and unhealthy forest where I found myself going out of my mind with boredom. I ran into my friend Puppy on the trail and we camped together a couple nights until I stopped to take advantage of a perfect and beautiful ridge where I could dry camp, but only be a mile from water. I knew she was at the water source, but I decided to camp because I hadn’t seen such a beautiful view in days. I was able to watch the sun set and rise from my tent and the hills around were forested and made me think of Oregon, and how close I was to finishing California. This ridge and the Feather River were the two best things that happened to me that week. Everything else was mosquito and poison oak infested, not to mention the occasional rattlesnake (my 3 favorite things!). When I got to Belden I had lunch at the resort which had a bunch of minimally-clothed, pale, zombie-like people wandering around aimlessly. Apparently raves happen here on a weekly basis, and they were the sloppy leftovers.

I slept on the porch of a trail angels house down the road, but got out of town as quickly as possible toward hopefully brighter horizons. The sun was beating down on me while I kept busy dragging my tired body up hill after hill through a dead, burnt forest until I reached Lassen National Forest where water and shade were more prevalent and my spirits were a little higher. I met a girl who I’ve been hiking near for several weeks now, her name is Skidaddle. We have lunch, discuss our daily plans, and often camp together. She has been good company for me, especially since I have done almost the entire trail alone. I was excited to walk through the National Park but it didn’t last long, it only took one day to walk through. Once I reached Old Station I resupplied and got new shoes in the mail! My old shoes had 700 miles on them and they looked it. I was very happy to have new kicks. The next section was Hat Creek Rim which other hikers talked about as the worst part of the PCT due to no water, no shade, high temperatures, and rattlesnakes – it was much different for me thankfully for the clouds in the sky which kept it cooler and a trail angel who kept the cache 22 stocked with water for everyone coming through. I kind of enjoyed that stretch, actually. The haze from distant fires gave the mountain ranges a dream-like feeling.

After I finished up the Rim with some friends Seeking and Delaware Dave, we headed back down into the forest which became moister and moister as the miles went on. Eventually all my trail friends hitched into town while I continued on alone until I ran into some other hikers, Ash and Sierra Bum who I hiked with for several days through Burney Falls State Park all the way to Shasta. I found Skidaddle in the wilderness out of Burney Falls and met some other hikers Rotisserie, Sensai, and Cream Tea – all of which were hiking in the same vicinity for a couple weeks so we all grew fond of one another and shared a big hotel room in Shasta, which was purely awesome. I have not been one of the most social PCT hikers, as I do like my alone time and the freedom to move with my own rhythm, but spending this time with other hikers was really fun and it was so nice to hang out with other girls! Skiddaddle, Cream Tea, and I sat on the bed drinking beer and gossiping. Oh the joy!! 🙂

After “neroing” in Shasta, I hit the trail again with the girls Skidaddle and Cream Tea where we ascended into the Castle Crags, Trinity Alps, and Russian Wilderness’. It was BEAUTIFUL! So different than the high Sierra but so magical. It took us 4 days to get into Etna and here I am now at the Alderbrook Manor Hiker Hut with lots of other hikers.

The hiker life is fun, we are all just living amongst each other as though we are just relaxing in our own living room. I am loving this life on the trail and all the beauty I see. The hiking is fun, but always challenging. I am currently nursing a fluid-filled knee and a shin splint while I rest here. I am trying to prevent more damage so that I can make it all the way! My next town is Ashland, Oregon. WOOHOO!







































































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!
















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.