Friday, October 24, 2014

I finished and other thoughts.

I finished on September 28th and immediately got caught up in a whirlwind of buses and planes and road trips. It hasn't really got to settle in until now that I am not on a series of zero days.
Adjustment back to civilization has been very hard. Out on the trail I used to make fun of the fear mongering that goes on. It was about poodle dog bush or puma's or bears or snow or snakes or water levels or anything that was unknown. Out there, I knew what to fear and what not to. I was level headed and things made sense. Everything that was important; food, water, shelter, being warm; stayed important and all the local drama was just white noise.
Now back in civilization the tables are turned. I am fearful and stressed about everything. People are so complicated. I have food water and shelter, in abundance so I should be relaxed. Instead my people pleasing tendencies seem to be getting the best of me. I have never been very natural around people and now it is even worse. Every human interaction makes me on edge. Even the person I spent so much time with on trail seems alien to me. 
Where is the beauty in concrete? In pavement and cars and clothes and fancy soaps. There is no beauty left for me here after being in real beauty for so long. 
It has been and will continue to be a hard transition. As finances run thin and I need to get a job, all I want to do is build a cabin in the woods and disappear for a while. Maybe for a long while. Maybe forever.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bend to Cascade Locks

It's been a while, time to go back a recap. 
Oregon was overall a gorgeous state from start to finish. Sure there is lava rock  between Three Sisters Wilderness and Mt Jefferson Wildernes which is annoying on the feet but fun to experience. The Dee Wright Observitory was a nice little side trip; built of lava rock with windows in the walls that are the size a of the surrounding mountains. Uptop on the roof is this compus structure that points to each mountain.
Mt Jefferson was beautiful. But there were several burn areas around there which made it exposed and either cool or  hot depending on the wind.
The burn areas thinned out and we hiked through a green tunnel until bam! There was Mt Hood. Beautiful and huge.
We took a zero at the timberline lodge on the side of Mt Hood. It wasn't the cheapest but weather turned from clear to windy and rainy. I didn't want to face that strong wind, so I ate food and drank coffee and looked at the historic building museum. It was a good day.
Heading out and heading to Cascade Locks, we took a couple alternates. The Ramona Falls alternate which was not thrilling but pretty. Then the Eagle Creek alternate into Cascade Locks.
There were many waterfalls and it was fun to walk around. A lot of day hikers, then we had to walk down a bike path to the burger joint.
Cascade Locks was small and cute. Then was passed along the bridge of the Gods and arrived in Washington. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Crater Lake to Bend

We stop on the coast and take a bus to rent a car to drive to Klamath Falls to take a trolley to Crater Lake. It worked out fairly well, but Sunday's nothing runs and it always messes up trail plans. We happened to stop walking on a Saturday making it a Sunday when we were to escape the coast. An extra zero day later and we were in Crater Lake via the Crater Lake Trolley.
It was amazingly beautiful. I had never been, but I had heard it was a highlight from everyone's hike.
Then we cruised for miles on soft ground.  I tried to summit Mt. Theilsen but ended up having to bail once I got half way up. A big fog rolled around and lingered. I couldn't see the trail and it was very cold. I could have continued, but it was easier just to accept that high winds and fog mean it isn't worth the effort just to get no view. I'll have to come back.
I have to say that I have been mislead, hearing all about Crater Lake and no one brought up the amazing beauty of Three Sisters Wilderness. I was in epic view heaven and happy to have sun again. Oh and berries!

There was obsidian glistening everywhere. The Three Sister mountains jutting up, meadows, animals, good water, it was heaven aside from the lava rock sections. It's hard on your feet that is.
Anyway, now I'm in Bend getting errands done and loving the REI and hoping to get a new book at the store. Then back to trail. So close to Washington now and only 670ish from the end.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Completing Coastal Trail Section

There was a lot of 101 walking, a lot of beach walking, and a lot of foot pain, but now it is done. We are headed back to the Pacific Crest Trail today. 
The ocean was at first revitalizing, then it was disheartening. I think I will happier being on trail again. Camping out every night and walking a good pace. 
I'm excited to see Crater Lake today, but my mind is kind of one tracked right now. All I am thinking about it getting north. Canada. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Skipping Fires

Alright so I admit that I have gotten behind on blogging. Usually I would just write on the section I missed, but this time there is too much to think about currently to worry about the past. So I'm picking up where I am now, which is not on the Pacific Crest Trail at all. I'll explain in a bit.
My partner and I got it Old Station in personal best time. Pulling our first 30+ day and feeling ready to night hike the waterless section. We had been smelling fire for a while but didn't think much of it. We pull in Old Station, eat some food, and while hanging out we see a big plume down the road. With no service and no internet we were forced to rely on people's word. Some thing which is hard to trust because we meet so many people in towns that over react. People who wouldn't camp in the wilderness because the bears will eat them...
From talking around we collected that Hwy 89 had just been closed because of two fires. A fellow hiker had a bit of service and downloaded the incident report. From that and an area map we figured the fires were on either side of the trail, one was moving toward the trail. Instead of night hiking we stayed over in a room that lost electricity to figure out what we could do. The next day, the trail closed and Pilsbury and her friend gave us a ride into Redding. 
What is a girl to do. A lot of people were skipping up to Ashland and hiking from there. That seemed like cheating some how. I couldn't wrap my head around just all of the sudden being in Oregon without walking there. I was looking at the options. There are fires around Etna and Seiad Valley, Ashland, Fish Lake. I didn't want to have to hitch around fires every couple days just to walk the trail that was open. Some people just went ahead and walked closed sections and took the chance of fire spreading. Me, I have asthma. The last thing I need is to have more trouble breathing so walking through smoke didn't seem enjoyable. Then again I didn't want to skip that much trail. 
I came up with a plan to walk the Coastal Trail from the same latitude as Old Station to the same latitude as Crater Lake and then getting back on trail at Crater Lake.
So here I am. It's odd walking on sand and not trail, or road, sometimes we walk a highway, or staying in motels/official campgrounds but at least I'm moving north. It's been a nice change in a lot of ways, demotivating in others. It's hard to not look at the beach as a vacation. To walk big miles on sand and not loose focus on the goal of Canada.
I've had injuries and an Uncle pass away, fires and thunderstorms and I'm still moving north, but the coast is the only place where I have had the idea of quiting cross my mind in a serious way.
I think because it reminded me of all the fun an adventure can bring, or life before 20-35 miles a day became the goal. The rocks make me miss rock climbing. I miss being in shape and I miss feeling young; my knees make me move like an old person whenever I stop waking. 
I'm not saying that I am quiting, I'm getting into Oregon today after all, but I'm being honest about how hard this is mentally. I've been lucky so far. I haven't had many doubts, I haven't broken down and cried, I've felt pretty good, so this is just a little hurdle in the journey.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Tuolumne Meadows to Echo Lake

By the time I finally left Tuolmne Meadows I was ready to get out of Yosemite. The amount of people in the park freaked me out. I thought for sure we would get out of day hiker territory soon. I like day hikers, but running into 25 people a day was getting old.

Although my breaks are controversial, meaning I have taken too many, it did make us go through perfect flower time of year. The wild flowers were beautiful.
Mile 1000 was a great accomplishment. Next goal is half way and then the end. I just keep walking until I can't anymore.

The terrain went through just a crazy shift from Yosemite lush green meadows and granite to dry choosy lava rock. 
It was a geological wonder. I would love to research the history of this area in depth. How are black peaks a pile of rubble on top of granite? It's beautiful.
Around Echo Lake the confir forrest comes back but it is still quite dry. Echo Lake has amazing ice cream that I would suggest getting twice. It is such a treat right on trail. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Forrester Pass to Tuolumne Meadows

I've been so bad about updating my blog in the Sierra's that I feel like I can't even remember what happened.
The High Sierra's are tough. We hit them feeling strong from the desert and concurred 20 miles a day for the first few days with a plan of summiting Whitney and getting from Kennedy Meadows to Mammoth Lakes in 12 days. That is a massive carry. With over 37,000ft elevation gain. My pack was the heaviest I have ever packed it.
I'm proud to say that I made it 10 days. The breaking point wasn't snow covered Glen Pass (view of Rae Lakes pictured below) but the day we did Pinchot and Mather in the same day. Pinchot was not difficult as long as you navigated I correctly, but it took longer than expected to get from Pinchot to Mather. Starting the climb later in the day, Mather was a steep scree field. The backside was a postholing mess. We made it down and to the first campsite wet, exhausted, hungry (we were running low on food), and 5 miles short of out mileage goal. The next day we came to the realization that we couldn't make it to Muir Pass before the snow would turn too soft. This would add another day to the trip. Food wise, we couldn't make it. I was already suffering from symptoms of altitude sickness. I was dizzy, low energy, unable to breath with ease. We bailed out through Bishop Pass. 
Not to be dramatic, but whether it was the lack of food or the altitude or just exhaustion I had to concentrate on every step. I have been backpacking my whole life, running long distances, sea kayaked, climbed until I felt like I couldn't move anymore and this was the worst I have ever felt. I decided at the advice of my partner to take a week off of trail.

Once we headed back to trail, I felt strong again. Crushing the section from Bishop to Tuolomne Meadows.
Leaving King Canyon we headed into the land of the lakes and mosquitos. 
I decided to finish the John Muir Trail as well. After which I took several days of to visit friends in San Fransisco. I know it's not typical to take so much time off, but I needed to harden my motivation and give my body a break. This just can't become a job. For me, this is not a race, it's about enjoying the outdoors. Anytime that I am not doing that, I will stop and take a break until I can love it all again.

(Above it Cathedral Peak on the JMT)