Day One. Day Won.

First of all I have to admit an error in judgement. I was told straight up that I chose a trailhead that immediately led into a 3000 foot elevation rise. I knew that but Ego said, hey let’s go for it!

I was so pumped up I agreed with Ego, and we went for it. Katrina sent me off from Seiad Valley where I first signed the registry and had a decent breakfast. The waitress was even kind enough to wrap my extra pancake for the ride. I carried that pancake with me all day. I was also told a storm was expected and several people have hiked back out. :/ But I don’t want to talk about that anymore.

It was slow from the get-go, because my pack weighed in at over 40 pounds from me trying to stuff a 8 days worth of food into it. That was mistake number two. I basically went from switch back to switch back feeling every muscle in my body come to life. I trained a little bit but nothing slightly compared to this ascent. It was up, up, up the mountains. Just when I thought I was reaching the top of a mountain, a bigger meaner mountian was waiting behind it. Hours went by and I stopped off and to enjoy the view, breathe the air, and acknowledge the various bugs, flowers, and the gorgeous Cedars that have been there longer than us.

By the time I reached what I thought was the final tip top of the mountain, I checked my GPS and was told it was still a half-mile away. The sun was starting to go down and I had to find camp.

Let me explain a little bit about me. I am terrified of heights. More specifically I am fearful of small walking paths with steep drops immediately next to them. I told my dad before I left that if I encounter any of those that I was going to turn around and come straight back. Well joke’s on me, that happened immediately and the entire 5 miles uphill were all those. Meaning that you can’t just stop and make camp, or even stop and sit down until you find a Switchback or a fallen log. Also if a log has fallen across the path you have to navigate over it, generally next to the what I call a cliff, with a massive backpack. That is where my cuts came from.

Moving on, by the time I got to camp I could feel the change of elevation in the temperature, and when I saw my campsite I was thrilled to finally be able to set my pack down for awhile.

The brown bear with the white fur on its back was not thrilled that I set my pack and he/she made one of those loud sounds that only a bear can make as it’s running down the hill through leaves and sticks. Fortunately he was running down away from me; I tried to snap a picture of his fuzzy butt. Someone with a good editing program can blow it up and see his butt.

I was too exhausted physically and mentally to be scared, but it certainly set the tone for the rest of the night and I was hyper-aware of every sound and armed my bear spray, hung my bear bag up as far away as I could, and talked loudly to the forest as the instructions say to do.

It was too late to cook dinner, and at this point I didn’t want food anywhere near me in case fluffy buns decided to get curious. So I grabbed a Clif Bar out of my bag and called it good. Everything else was hung.

Setting up the tent was easy, I absolutely adore it. I didn’t need to stake it down all that the wind was blowing pretty good. I was freezing and just wanted to get inside. It was then that I noticed the absolute cold, and I changed into the pants my dad insisted I buy. When I got in my bag, I knew immediately that it was too cold and I would need a better bag. I got out put all of my clothes on and took out my emergency blanket. That seemed to do the trick and I was able to make a cozy shell. The truth is, everything hurt and it was impossible to get comfortable. But I just took that as a sign that I had worked my body over, and was totally okay with that. To be expected.

It was then I realized I had to pee. Awesome timing. Oh well.

The wind and some rain started picking up and it was pretty loud, that on top of the bear anxiety I didn’t sleep at all the first night. I questioned my sanity, the entire reason I did this, and then I started doing math for the next day. The math did not come out right.

It had taken me all day to ascend 3000 feet and 5 miles, granted it was a straight incline. But now I knew how the campsites are set and you couldn’t just set camp when you got tired. The next day I would have to ascend 2000 more feet and go 15 miles before I hit the next campsite. Mathematically it wasn’t working out. I am not fit enough to do the 15 miles in one day yet especially all uphill and if I didn’t reach the camp site I would be stuck hiking in the dark.

I ended night one feeling frustrated with myself, and even wishing another human were nearby. Day one…they will get better.

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Pinecones

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Dirty

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Camp

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Bear hang.

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Bear running away.

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Nap time yet? (Walked ten feet)

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Pancake and I

A mini-sappy-awwww update

In countdown mode and my last full day at work. One of my many blessings is that in 30 days I will come back to a life and a job I love. I’m not trying to escape anything, I’m just taking breather. A few close colleagues surprised me today with a gift, and unless they ever check this will not know how much it truly means. Thank you isn’t enough. Here is what they gave me:

  1. Curiosity and encouragement and of course advice on staying warm. ❤
  2. Nutrition-I had to promise to wait to eat it till I’m on the trail, hehe.
  3. Someone obviously researched hiker food! Stuff so nice I wouldn’t even buy it for myself.
  4. A pretty bag with my name, handmade-which always makes me happy.
  5. Post-its I will carry with me as reminders.

Yeah, I have an excellent life, and excellent snacks. Excellent.

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List of lists, logistics, and fooood.

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Building the base calories. Or a pyramid.

I have my ticket, my dates, and transportation! I want to give a huge shout-out to my own personal Trail Angel Katrina: 35 years of friendship and didn’t even blink when I told her my drop-off was 85 miles away. She understands fully the desire to be lost in the woods.

The plan, Stan:  I am flying in to Medford on June 13th, and will spend a few days prepping my resupply boxes and grabbing the last few gear items, snacks, etc. I get to stay with my Dad and most likely drive him nuts with my excitement.  I plan to be on the ground running from Seiad Valley, California mid June, depending on schedules and then arrive at the Crater Lake endpoint 20 days later (ish). **List One-supply shopping in town

That has me doing 200 miles, including off-trail resupplies. OMGOMGOMG. I will add my resupply points and itinerary later, but I left it all upstairs and grabbed a glass of wine, so I cannot be bothered to go back up and get it right now. **List Two-maildrops, campsites

 

The food planning is hilarious. Since I am not spending 6 months out there or pushing 20 mile days, I am not worried about caloric deficit. Face it, I am not undernourished to begin with. I am setting my dailies for 2000 calories, and will adjust accordingly. If I drop a few pounds I will not lament. The expensive part is the dehydrated food, so I will stick to one food pack a day and augment the rest with the basic hiker fare: peanut butter, tortillas, tuna, meal bars, candy, granola bars, and anything else I remember from the endless lists of suggestions. I may never poop again. **List Three-meal plan by day

What is in a resupply box: Since I cannot carry 20 days worth of food, and there are no towns past Ashland that have a grocery store, I send a box to places wthat accept hiker maildrops. I will send food, coffee, hygiene stuff, and maps for the next section. My maps are laminated and a bit heavy. Thru hikers (who do all 2600+ miles) sent about a half-million of these boxes, and it is a crazy sight to see. I can’t wait.

Over the next few days there will be a VERY (inside) dry run of my gear and how to repack, and also test my water filter system. I will also explain pictorially  why I will not camp outside in Hawaii.

Terra

 

Life Happens Fast: Adjust Accordingly

First I was going to take the month of June and do Seiad Valley to Crater Lake, which gives me a good 200+ miles. I couldn’t quite figure out how to get from Medford (where I will fly into) to that far down, and I am not into hitching and Greyhound goes nowhere near it sooo, flash forward:

My Dad lives in Medford, and almost all of my friends from childhood, so I figure I will start near Ashland, continue to Crater Lake, and if I am making good time…schlep up to Diamond Lake.  I haven’t yet tried to rope my childhood best friend into picking me up, or perhaps meeting me and camping for a few nights at the end…but I will link her to this post and surprise her.

My timeline was the last week of May through June, but life has  lobbed a curve-ball in my direction, so I may need to adjust the timeline just slightly. I plan to go slow and enjoy

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pricing vital gear

every detail. I am not trying to pound out miles, but instead give a good shakedown of my gear, make notes, befriend wild creatures, listen to my body, listen to the forest, and decide if my grand goal is to do the whole 2600 miles in the next few years. And of course overshare everything with photos and witty captions.

 

So if anyone is magically going to Seiad Valley in June from Southern Oregon, hit me up. I will also get the last few pieces of gear when I am in the valley. I am Amazon exhausted…a term I created, just now.

 

Breaking it Down-Feral vs Wild

Q: Have you seen that movie Wild?

A: Yes, yes I have. Since every time I mention hiking the PCT (starting years ago) I get asked that question, I figured I should go ahead and watch it. Loved the outdoor shots, but I do not have a sensational story or demons to wrestle with. I just look forward to taking a really long walk.

There, got that out of the way. Whew. Moving on.  For those of you who know me, I grew up in the woods and mountains, and for my friends and I this was out backyard and playground. We were feral, dirty, little wildlings that feared nothing and explored everything without the trepidation that hinders us as adults. The worse thing that ever happened was Poison Oak, and even then we wore it like a badge of honor; whose eyes were the puffiest and how many little girls can you fit into one oatmeal bath?

Fast forward to now, my life in Hawaii and as much as the ocean is my solace and home, I do long for the challenge, physical and mental, of being alone in the outdoors for a ridiculous amount of time.  Since I am not in a place right now to take six months of leave from my job, I have honed it down to one month and two trail sections. The following posts will detail plans and gear for  gear-junkies and fellow PCTers.  Unless of course I can figure out how to make fancy links.

 

So here is post #1, scattered and succinct. Had to start somewhere.

Terra (no trail name yet) <<<others have to pick that for you.