Sunday, April 26, 2015

Day 14- Zero in Idyllwild. Mileage NADA!!!

Today we ate and drank. That is all. Oh, met some ladies who tried to climb fullers ridge yesterday because some dumbass boys said it would be OK. Had to call 911 to get off the mountain. Yikes. Yesterday was soooo nasty, and we were a few thousand feet below them. Ugh. Glad everybody is OK. Heard sime other gnarly srories. Desert meets mountain, guys and gals, different kind of tough! G'night.


Day 13, "nero"? Idyllwild, 8 mile alternate walk

After a long morning in our house we shared with our super awesome badassed friends, we were off like a herd of turtles at the late late hour of 8:30./seeing as it was Saturday in a Tourist town, I tried to secure a room for the night. Easier said that done, but we found someone willing to take a few hours worth of overtime pay off our hands. Then a quick cup of coffee and a pastry turned into a full breakfast and hiker bullshitting...Antsy antsy ansty.  Weather still kind of craptastic...thumb out and ten minutes later a ride halfway down the mountain, then another ride 5 minutes later the rest of the way to Lake Hemet. Crazy stupid idiot naive ignorant young PCT hikers on the part of the highway with no shoulder.  I know these 20yearolds have smart phones and all the latest apps, so why is it only the "old" people can find the alternate routes? Ugh, the locals are all scared for the poor dumb hikers :(

Back on track, turn off at Hurley creek campground, tromp through wet grass to find mountain bike path.. Feet soaking and cold, but not too bad..turn off onto sn old closed dirt road, walk through mist, rain, fog, wind through burn area. Cant see a damn thing, but beautiful. Rain and cold intensifies all the time.  Robin inexplicably starts vomiting a bit, hence our private trail name "cat vomit" :) (grant is shit barf based off a random graffiti sticker that said "shit barf" we think it's hilarious because you know, we are pretty crusty and juevenile.  Hahahaha oh wait, yes, the walking becomes a tad burdensome and a bit wearisome. F'ing cold and wet is what we are. We don't add layers as its "just another hour to the hotel room!" Yeah, ummm... Cold, over it. Only 8ish miles, but a long hard day

Room a bit rustic, no real heater, shower runs out of hot water...woops!  Definite real zero tomorrow. So happy we walked it though!  Yay day two insomnia. Town is hard.

By the way, after we move in, the rain becomes insane!!! INSANE!! Cold mountain downpour. Poor souls are out there in it :(  also, earthquake in Nepal. The world has a funny way of making our trials and tribulations trivial and small.


Day 12 - mile 148.2 to 151.7, paradise cafe, road walk about 12.9 miles

Robin wakes to rain at 3 am, panicking, and grant informs me that it has been raining for an hour. Panic turns to internal scolding that I know better, and reassurances to myself that rain always sounds more intense on the tent than it really is, so I wasn't likely to be washed over the ravine in a desert flash flood...mmmmm sleep.

For a change I let grant decide when it's time to get up... 7:30 rolls around and its finally time. When asked how he liked deciding when to get up, he replies "it sucks". " why?" "Cause we are really late".  Mark your words baby :)

Rain, mist walk about 4.5 miles to paradise cafe. Last mile is pissing rain along the highway, trucks rumbling by. Resort to a constant "one two three four five six seven eight" cadence to keep me marching. Get to cafe and there are cheers, waves, hugs from all our trail friends. Coffee, nice waitresses, warm, best morning ever! Others who put the serious miles in had hit them for dinner the night before then were invited to sleep on the porch at closing time. They were all finishing their second meal and maybe a few breakfast beers. Good time had by all, except this is when we almost got bamboozled out of our plans!

Due to a wildfire in 2013, a section of the trail is closed here. There is  long detour we had planned on but all our friends were skipping it and hitch hiking. Road walking is dangerous for a large part too, so it was a safety thing, plus we got a juicy invitation from our warrior friends we could not turn down. Hem an haw, hem and haw, to others.  We decided to walk half the alternate, hitchhike into town, hang with out friends, then walk the rest in the morning. We were confident in our detour route, hooked up with a new crowd, and away we went.

The first few miles of highway had a wide shoulder far away from traffic, then We scooted over to the power lines which had a dirt path underneath for a few miles. We ended at lake hemet, got some coffee, then a two-car hitch to idyllwild. Locals are saints! One woman even pulled over to give us cookies! Unbelievable.

Beers, hiker trash house party, some sleep. Boy is hiking hard!


Day 11- mile 131.5 to 148.2, 16.7 miles

Up at 0530 as per usual, walking at 0615. No brekky or coffee, just up and go ( still takes 45 minutes! Sheesh!) Walk about an hour then see our friends Shane, aka Dundee like crocodile Dundee, and section hiker Nara. They are still camped up, so we have coffee and breakfast with them. All day there is thunder and dark clouds, rain on the next mountain over, bit it taunts us. Fear and anticipation of a cloud breaks turns into annoyance at the realization that we will be stuck in the sunhole all day long. Good old blister hands was definitely over it whereas I was stoked about working on my leg tan (but even I thought the petsistent sun was ridiculous) .... still apprehensive of the storm moving over to us, we pass up campsite after campsite in the hopes of being closer to paradise cafe and staying out of the sandy washes that become flood zones I heavy desert downpours. The close but distant storms settle, and we hit the wall after hiking up and down a steep ravine, we give up at the next flat sandy wash we find (and were trying to avoid, cause we are smart right?) No. We will stop, and if it starts pouring, it is a short scramble up. Let me eat and sleep for gods sakes! Eat, sleep. Gentle rain at 2 am, but robin's panic does not override the need for  body's rest and we turn over, drifting off to our nightmares... Spoiler alert. We are alive and well.


Day 10 - mile 115.0 to 131.5, 16.5 miles

Awake at 0530, start hiking at 0620. Next destination is trail angel Mike's house for water. The skies are slightly overcast perfect hiking temperature, yet we are moving like sloths. I have it in my head that I need to get more than half our miles in before noon, but its not working out today. Our bodies are tired. We make it to trail angel mike's house around 1:30 (I think). Lots of people.hanging out. Mike is only there occasionally, so he's created a hangout place for hikers, water, coolers with beer and soda on your honor payment, laundry detergent, buckets,drying line. Recycling etc... It's crazy how nice people are! No beers left when we got there, but I managed to snag a root beer and washed my T-shirt and socks.

It was fun hanging out with hiker trash, of course, except there was a loudmouth sexist asshat there that literally within minutes had me hating him, and then he just kept on rolling, insulting women, including service women, asking why the hell anybody would bring their wives (like it wasn't our idea, and as if we hadn't done the same f'ing miles, and as if we were even wives!) Well, you get the picture. It never stopped. Guess those guys are everywhere, but I can't fire them out here. Just have to adjust my hiking times to avoid them. It did mean I didn't get to hang out with some friends that night as he tagged along, but its a long trail, and I know I'm not the only one who doesn't want to hang out with him.

Oh right, what was I talking about? Middle school? Thru hiking is like living in a small, but always moving town :)

Hike hike hike to mile 131.5. Still no blisters, still no trail name :) sleepy sleepy.

Pictures on instagram

Day 9 - mile 101.1 to 115 warner springs day 13.9 miles.

I'm trying to include a pic of my journal. The day before it says "HOT HOT HOT", and this morning it says " nice, cool, misty". Yes, we needed this. Woke up at barrel spring water source and started hiking relatively early. 8 miles to warner springs sent like butter. Misty grass valleys, then a walk along an actual stream!!! With trees! Wow.

Warner Springs was a hiker trash circus, the first large meeting place/ hiker traffic jams. The community center let's hikers camp for free and make breakfast and lunch, showers and laundry for a modest fee, then free coffee, computers, lounge, and a nicely stocked grocery store. Solo many hikers that the ladies are pretty overwhelmed, though it all remains friendly.

The sherriff gave me a ride to the post office with another hiker named Bat. Bat cracked a joke about the last time he was in the back of a cop car..."listen buddy, I don't need your life story". Hahahaha, so funny, for us anyway. Cannot believe the generosity of this tiny community. School kids all wave and smile at us hobos. Its great, but surely as soon as the old resort opens again , they will shut down the operation. Enjoy while you can.

Most people took a Nero or zero here. We got our shit together and pushed off...after five hours of loafing around :)

Should mention getting my first box. I forgot that we sent two boxes, so I only asked for one. Luckily (a) the post office guy was super awesome and (2) the pink flamingo tape really helps!

Those boxes were so freaking heavy we didn't want to carry all that food. Got rid of a lot of it. One hiker snagged most of it before taking it to the hiker box. I also put my sunshirt in the hiker box because I'm loving my sleeves and hadn't worn it yet. Funny thing to give away I guess but that's the way it goes.

Hiked about 6 more miles and camped next to agua calientd creek with a scattering of others. Yay for pics

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Day 8 - Mile 82.4 to Mile 101.1 almost 19 miles!!!

Big day today. Woke up alongside the trail at 0445. Headlamps already heading up the trail. Got underway at about 0530. Nice cool sunrise, then hot, hot, hot!!! So tired of looking at the same valley. It's best to start looking through a microscope at the desert life instead of on the macro level at the HOT HOT chaparal landscape, endless. Made it to the turnoff for the Gate 3 watercache, a huge undertaking that some crazy wonderful trail angel, or network of angels maintains. Without it it is something like 23 miles of no water to the next source, and that's if you hitch to Julian. I hadn't planned on taking water from water caches, so I had more than enough. Nevertheless, we hiked the 1/2 mile roundtrip, and I drank a half liter of water at the cache, and took no more. I think Grant may have taken a liter. It was only 10am, so we pushed on. Did I mention it was Hot? It really started getting hot at 1030, but we wanted to hike until noon before stopping. We passed up some juicy shade at 1115, and from then on, it was nothing. We finally made it to a campsite, hoping there would be shade, and there was barely. We each climbed into our own scratchy bush to hide, but it was dappled shade at best. I got out my emergency blanket and tied that off to the brush for more shade. That worked well, but then I panicked that people would think we were having an emergency, so I took it all back down. Stupid. That was nice shade I had made. So then we set up the rainfly of the tent. That was shady, but the ground had baked so hot that it was miserable sitting under it. Grant lay down in there anyway. After about 3 hours of tossing and turning in our fake shade, we hit the trail again. It was better as a cloud passed over the sun briefly. A guy we met got the trail name "Cloud Rider" because as he was looking at that cloud he decided to start hiking, and somebody said "you gonna ride that cloud out of here?" Pretty funny. Made it to our destination Barrel Spring where several people, maybe 10-15? were camping. We camped too. The water was a trickle out of a pipe into a horse trough. Great for us, but hikers in a few weeks will be getting their water from what's leftover in the trough. I am so happy we started a few weeks earlier than normal. "laundry" eat, sleep. I didn't even take a swig of whiskey I was so tired. SLEEPY SLEEPY. Oh, I forgot the exciting news. We made it to Mile 100 today!!!! Woo Hoo!!!!

Future pictures on Instagram

Day 7 - Julian nero 2 - Mile 76.3 to 82.4

Woke up late, like 0630 in Julian. Remember, I had insomnia and wrote all previous posts at like 2 am! So anyways, dinked around in hotel room until the last second to check out, 11 am, then hit the town. Had a wonderful lunch at Soups and Such. One of the waitresses was so nice and offered to give us a ride when her shift was done. We took her up on it as she was leaving about the time we wanted to leave anyway. Her truck was unlocked and she had us put out bags in there in the meantime. Of course, the waitress ended up being the owner of the cafe :) Lani was sooooo awesome to us, and her food was truly amazing. We aren't just saying that because she was nice to us, it is a seriously fantastic cafe, and everybody who goes to Julian should go visit Lani at the Soups and Such cafe. Julian was an icredible town, incredibly hiker friendly, a worthy stopover.

So, we were dropped off where we left off the morning before at about 3pm. We then dinked around again until a little past 4 because it was freaking HOT! and there was a long slog up a hot hill ahead of us. We finally started down the trail, and hit the hot hillside at about 5pm. Not too bad. Made it 6 miles before camping up. Camped right by the trail, again, but had a great view. Pie for dinner and leftover veggie burger....MMmmmmm....pie. G'night.

Future pictures on instagram

Sunday, April 19, 2015

PCT - day 6 nero in Julian

Day 6, mile 71 to 76.5 about 5.5 miles.

Up at 0530, on the trail at 0609. skipped coffee and breakfast in the interest of time and because Grant thought we were too low on water snow down the trail we decided to take a break take care of some morning business and eat some food Robin thought we had enough water so she made coffee for Grant and herself. Hello Grant made basically a shot of espresso Robin made herself or usual iced latte sans ice with Nido and a packet of instant coffee.

Should mention how the food is working for us. Basically, because of the heat sickness and who knows what food tastes like sand and it's hard to choke down for Robin. the only thing that's good to eat is the evening meal which is a hot soup or rice and beans of some sort. Even town food tastes bad to Robin at this point. Breakfast is Nido coffee and some sort of cookie or bar then their snacks throughout the day so not often enough and sometimes cheese and crackers at lunch. definitely not getting enough calories but hiker hunger has not kicked in either. Things should change by next week when we will likely become ravenous wolves.

Okay so we hiked five and a half miles to highway s2 and jumped off trail a little too early. there was a sign for a taxi service but when we called they weren't there. so we decided to step out onto the highway and hitchhike. the first car that drove by picked us up, but as we drove on we saw thay we should have walked another half mile or to the real scissors crossing. It will be a pain in the neck starting our hike again as we need to be dropped off at a weird point along the trail instead of the jumction.

Another guy got a ride with us, a friend we've made along the trail. he got water and a meal and headed back out right away whereas we got a hotel room. easier said than done as it's the weekend. little more money than we wanted to spend but we don't want to push our luck. Julian's a cute town but I think one day is enough for us.

Pictured on instagram

PCT day 5

Day 5 - mile 55 to 71 plus half mile for water about 16+ miles

Woke up at 5:30 am. Robin's nose was running all night, and when she blew her nose, ended up with a huge bloody nasty nose. She couldn't get it to stop for about 20 minutes, so grant had to pack up most of the gear himself. Finally underway at about 0620.  Robins throat was so sore that morning that she couldn't talk at all except to scream "I can't talk 'cause my f*ing throat hurts!" Ah, the joys of a 14 year relationship is that we'll still make it after mornings like that.

Sunrise over Anza Borrega was beautiful, but it was getting hot fast. Made it 5 miles to our first water source at sunrise trailhead at 0930. It was like the office, everybody standing around the water cooler telling  stories. We got water, washed our socks and underwear (in plastic bags away from the tank) brushed out teeth, ate second breakfast, the usual. At about 1030 this kid came over and asked us if we had the water report. "Yes, do you?". He thought we must be Moro s so he would help us out. Dumb kid hadn't even packed up his tent wereas we had been hiking all morning already. Hike your own hike. We didn't feel like arguing over where the next water source was. We knew we had more current information as WD had downloaded it the previous day, and we didn't want to be told to carry 8 liters of water when we only needed 4. Lots of help out here, but lots of chances to have well meaning people corrupt your day.

Saddled up at about 1045. Hot hot hot. Made it to bottom of a small valley.near mile 64 chariot canyon " road" and napped in some scarce shade from 1230 to 2:30pm. Hot hike out of the valley, chaparral landscape. Forgot to mention those pine trees were very short lived! Finally made it the nine miles to our next water source at Rodriguez Road mile 68. Great cold water, just like the water report said, yet almost everybody else wasn't expecting it. We may be old, but this ain't our first rodeo! They were smartly not counting on it because previous reports suggested there was a leak in the water tank, but as of April 14 there was an update saying it was OK. That's the thing though. We weren't going to insist to anybody they were wrong because they are hiking their own hike, and its annoying. Plus what if we were wrong? Then we would have f'd over a bunch of people. Its all OK though.

Onward we marched to get a little closer to Julian. Ate dinner just past the water source, then marched on until 7:00pm where we found a small bump out in the trail to pitch our tent. After falling asleep at about 8, I was woken by two jerks night hiking. They repeatedly flashed their headlamps into our tent and yelled about how it was a great campsite. I almost wish I had jumped out of the tent to beat them with a stick, but decided to ignore the bastards and go back to sleep instead. Oh the joys of hiking with the herd.

Photos on instagram

PCT Day 4

Pct day 4 - mile 42 to 55 (about 13 miles)  - originally we were.going to take a nero in mt Laguna, but without a restaurant (which actually was open that morning) we decided to resupply at the little store and move on. Unfortunately we got a really late start, and so hiked in the hot sunnyiest part of the day.

I forgot to mention that grant has been battling a bad cough/ cold since February and I got really sick too. Grant began taking another round of antibiotics that make him extra sensitive to the sun, aka potential blistering, and I am battling a sore throat which makes it rather difficult to judge actual thirst/dehydration. We are in full Long sleeves with gloves, hat with neck coverings, etc trying not to burn. Yikes! This day Grant's hands really started to hurt from the sun/antibiotics and were really swollen and red. It hurt him to do stuff like..anything.

Anyway, yes, we struggle on.

Made it to mile 55, and found our own site in a sandy wash, a mile.before where everybody else was going to camp. It is possible to have solitude if you find your own sites off the half mile and guthook apps guide. 8pm, as per usual.

Click on Instagram link to the right for photos, or here.

PCT day 3

Day 3 - mile 26-42 (16 miles) woke up at 5am, started hiking at 0620am. It was an uphill walk from interstate 8, but not bad as it's PCT grade. Finally got away from views of highways and got our first pine tree. Also our first natural water source. Met more hikers. Everybody but 1 is attempting to thru hike. Am astounded by the section hiker, as frankly, this section from the border to Mt Laguna is not actually that great, though of course I'm happy to be here. Met a couple the previous day who had hiked the PCT in 1999 and wanted to see the desert again, so were hiking from Lake Morena to Mt Laguna and back. After doing it, we were pretty miffed by their choice, but to each their own.

Made it to Mt Laguna and were almost bamboozled by a hiker who said not to bother going into town as everything was closed. I waffled,.but grant was strong. "Hike your own hike". Of course, we made it to the outfitter, where there was free beer, then grabbed a cabin (pretty crappy, er, rustic for the price) and made dinner. Restaurants were closed, but still worth the alternately.walk into town. Was handed a bucket for laundry and told not to do laundry in sink or bath tub, and not to either. Our clothes were pretty filthy, and hikers have been trashing the place. Yikes. Beer, chatting, sleep. A good day 3. Click on Instagram link to the right for photos or here

Saturday, April 18, 2015

PCT days 1 and 2

Grant and I have made it about 76 miles on the PCT so far. We'll post a summary over the next few posts!

Trail Angel Mom (actually my mom) flew down with us to San Diego, then drove us to LaMesa to our beautiful accommodations at the Holiday Inn. The next day was all last minute errands, filling prescriptions for grant's sinus infection , searching for a squirt gun, you know the usual. We bought a cooler full of beer because we wanted to make friends the next day with our cold beer and we wanted to start our morning off right.

We woke up at 5 a.m. and were on the road by 6:30 a.m. only half hour behind schedule. Of course the reason we were a half hour behind schedule is because our Styrofoam cooler disintegrated when trying to pick it up, spilling ice and water all over the floor. That's funny.

We made it to the southern terminus by 7:45 a.m. Of course we cracked open a couple of PBR's, took a bunch of pictures and we were on our way by... 8:45 a.m. Not to worry!

Hiking along with our two beer buzz was fantastic. we were so happy to be on our way. We made it 15 miles to Hauser Creek. Unfortunately Hauser Creek was totally impacted by human overuse. We walked down the road and found our own private campsite, wheas everybody else huddled together near the trail.

We went to bed at about 8:30 p.m. and woke up at 5:45 a.m.We had five miles to lake Morena, then we would continue on. We told mom to meet us at Lake Morena at 9 a.m. with a cooler full of (our) beer and food. we made it at 8:50 a.m. It was really fun seeing mom there with the trunk open in the cooler. mom was there, about to give a hiker a ride to the store! we made a whole bunch of new friends while handing out cold beers at 9 am. It was also awesome because we're hiking with the warrior hikers, a group of combat veterans walking the war off. What a group of fantastic American heroes and we are honored to be sharing the trail with them, and honored to buy them their first round :)

After socializing for 3 hours we I finally hit the trail again at noon with 5 more miles  ahead of us in the hot sun only slightly inebriated. We made it to the Boulder Oaks campground near Interstate 80 and called it a night.

So the first two days was 15.5 miles day one and about 10.5 miles day two.

Please click our Instagram link to the right for pictures!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Check Out Rocket Llama - Done with Bootcamp

Just found Rocket Llama's illustrated account of her 2013 PCT hike. She isn't finished with it, but so far it's probably one of my favorite PCT journals/projects, so check it out if you have time to kill.

Only a few days to go. I finished my last bootcamp workout this morning. I ended up doing 9 weeks strait of workouts, 4 days per week, and only missed one workout. These workouts are so much fun, and there are so many awesome ladies in the class, it makes it worth waking up at 5:25 am every day on my "vacation." I feel strong and happy. (And scared, and tired, and I'm crying all the time.)  Big shout out to my SWL bootcamp friends!

I don't think it will feel real until my trail runners hit the dirt, and I'm an hour down the trail. Whenever I ship out, it doesn't hit me until the pilot is down the ladder, the Captain has gone to bed, and I'm standing my first night watch, coffee in hand. I usually take a deep breath, and admit to myself I'm going to be there a few months, so get used to it (I never get used to it). I am hoping when my brain wraps itself around the reality that hiking all day every day is my life for five to six months, it will feel exhilarating instead of the depressed resignation when shipping out. Obviously it will feel better! And I'll have way better legs.

Ok, I have to clean my house now.