I'm so in love with this sticker I got ❤️ and more happy I got 2 of them!!! A lot of people keep asking me how the trip was and I usually tell them that it was the greatest experience of my life, and I miss it every moment of everyday. And I do, I just don't think people can really understand why that is. In my life I have always been the "black sheep" in my family, friends group, etc. I have yet to ever be somewhere that I truly feel like I fit in, where I'm not just the odd one. I moved from KS to CA looking for that, I found myself to feel more connected here but still not fully. Then I decide to hike the PCT, and it is honestly the first time I've ever felt at home. I found my connection with the trail, nature, and many others who decided to go on the journey. I finally felt like I fit in, no longer the black sheep. Now time goes, back in "society" and I feel that loss. And it's what makes me miss my home, every moment of everyday. #pcthiker#takemehome#wanderer#untilnexttime
The sun is out today and it reminds me how close spring really is and how close we are to starting our PCT adventure.
How are we doing on preparations? Check out my latest blog entry at:
Need a new pack for dayhikes, bike commuting or heading to the gym? We’ve got two sweet Gregory backpacks to give away, courtesy of our friends at Verde PR.
Just sign up for our monthly newsletter, News From The Green Tunnel, by Dec. 20. If you’re already a subscriber you’re already entered. Visit PCToregon.com and sign up now. Good luck!
Need a new pack for dayhikes, bike commuting or heading to the gym? We’ve got two sweet Gregory backpacks to give away, courtesy of our friends at Verde PR.
Just sign up for our monthly newsletter, News From The Green Tunnel, by Dec. 20. If you’re already a subscriber you’re already entered. Visit PCToregon.com and sign up now. Good luck!
Day 52-53: we spent the next couple of days preparing for the next section. Finding exits if needed, how many days of food we’d need, listening to 90%+ of people talk how they’re skipping. Emi, Russ, and Simon showed up and we talked them into joining us. Our group of 5 is now 8! And it’s a strong team. We bought a large carabiner and rope and practiced proper knot tying and what to do when we help each other across strong water. Thanks to Hefty and his rope climbing skills playing a huge role! Freckles, Tim, Em, and Lou headed out a day before us into the unknown and they we all are again. Consistently being told not to do what we are about to do. Again a common line is “you will die”. But we’re going for it. We trusted ourselves and each other enough to know we would make the right chooses and stay safe. And if it’s not safe we will exit the Sierras. #iabmfg#pctfamforlife#pacificcresttrail#expresspctjourney#pcthiker#pct2017#thruhiker#backpacking#sierras2017#adventure
Day 51: last day to town! Sometimes these seem like the longest miles because of the anticipation. I can’t wait to get some fresh hot food. You’re so excited and it seems so easy, and it never is. We walked past Bull frog lake, which like most during this time is just frozen over (this is the pic). Kearsarge was pretty gnarly getting up and over. At the first big incline I was feeling really freaking good and thought I saw some footsteps leading up to rocks then cutting across before heading up a little more onto the pass. It was grueling but I enjoyed it today. Those footprints ended up being Deer prints and let me tell ya, they’re way better at walking on steep ice than we are. So thankful for my spikes. Just dug them in step by step and got up pretty quickly. I wish I knew how many feet of climbing this was in such a short distance but it was tough. We finally got to the top then started the long way down. Knowing the entire time down we have to come back up this was not fun. We got done and walked on some flat fields filled with trees before getting to a part that Meg and I struggled with. I think it was this day at least....the guys were ahead at this point but we go pretty slow on side slopes or downhills because we slip a lot. We were right next to a creek and I glissaded down the rest of the hill. Meg went for it too but she started sliding toward the creek....so scary. But luckily she was able to stop herself and get back on the right track. It’s so scary how one little thing could make such a big difference. We finally FINALLY get to a section we can actually see trail!!! TRAIL!! It’s what someone always yells when we actually see it! We started down some switchbacks. And now we’re used to cutting them due to snow so it seemed extra long. Hawkeye and his group literally ran past us just cutting all the switchbacks to race down to the parking lot where we would try to hitch. We get to the lot and there’s a few other hikers, trail magic, and a dope ass couple who was up to hike. The trail magic was from @carrotquinn she wrote a book on her PCT experience. There was bananas and donuts! Heaven. So this couple we sit and chat with them a bit trying to call
Day 50: We got up super early to attack Forester. I was slightly nervous because, I forget what it was called, but near the tops there’s like a snow chute you have to walk across that seems pretty terrifying. The first of the day was a hike through flat snowfields which was nice. But what are these damn sun cups? I had never heard of them until this hike and they are dreadful. We took a morning break on a rock, and it was crazy cold. I had 2 pairs of gloves on and was trying to use a hand warmer and nothing was helping. Scotty was nice enough to loan me his gloves which worked better than mine for sure. After our morning snack break we continued on, following foot steps from hikers ahead of us as our trail to reach the pass. We start drifting pretty far right before someone realizes we shouldn’t have gone this far. So we started walking more lateral along the mountain side to get back to the right track. It was scary. For some reason more scary than anything on Whitney. There was a lot of potential for an easy slip here. We slowly but surely made it to a bit of trail further up. We were close but now was the snow chute. It must have been an accumulation of the scare I just had and from the last few days but I got terrified and started crying. I didn’t think I could do it. If any of us were to slip, it would be a long ass way down. Luckily my trail fam is amazing and made me feel brave enough to do it, and it ended up being super easy because there were really good footprints already for us. Then we were there! The highest point of the PCT. We did it. Now how to get down? Some people apparently butt slid right down, but I’m too scared for that. And there’s a lake down at the bottom. I remember Hefty trying to use his tent footprint to slide down without scraping up his legs. It was still early so the snow wasn’t quite mushy enough for a butt slide to be comfortable. But it didn’t work to well. We decided to head to the left where Scotty taught us the importance of being spread out in case of an avalanche. Good to know! So one by one we went across until coming to a point where butt sliding was the easiest choice. All the guys went and I walked a little lower befo
Day 49: I woke up very grateful to know today would be a short day. Our plan was to hike only 7ish miles to be in a good position for Forester tomorrow, the tallest point on the PCT. We left around 5-6am and headed on our way. We took our time and just basically hung out and walked casually it seemed like. My body is pretty tired from yesterday. Hefty decided to detour to a small mountain summit other hikers had told him about. Claiming the views were as good as Mt. Whitney’s. I in no way wanted to join, so he went off. We watched him get across a snow field as we went through our own almost to camp. I had no fear with Hefty going alone. He is a great navigator and really smart. I’d never go alone, that would be suicide. But I’m happy he’s getting some alone, peace, time in the mountains. It’s not easy being with people 24/7. The 4 of us, Meg, Scotty, Stats, and I, got to camp at 10:30......what??? So weird to end the day this early but it’d be far too sketchy to summit Forester this late in the day. And we don’t want to camp too high up. Our campsite wasn’t really a campsite. So to explain there’s an app called Guthooks that almost all thru hikers use. It coordinates our GPS at all times even when there’s no service. It tells us where we are on the trail or how far we are from it. It says where water sources are, tent sites, milestones, etc. it’s what makes it so possible for us to be able to plan our days so easily. But in the Sierras nothing is what it seems. Water sources may be frozen over, or there’s just a million anyways so you don’t even have to look for water. And campsites rarely exist because it’s all snow covered. We got to ours but drifted a bit off from it to find bare dry spots that surround trees. We were all together as not all of our tents would fit but just a short holler or walk away. While there Stats told us stories, like tales that he heard growing up. I didn’t have any. But they were fun to hear. We do a lot like this with Stats, he may only be 19 but I swear he has memorized anything he ever read. We once had a history with Stats day. Scotty had his own adventure of using an ice axe to dig out a hole in the snow for shade for his face
Day 48: what a night. It was so hot at first then around 6:30 the wind started. We thought it was just the evening breeze and would let up but no. It stayed brutal until about 2am. The tent was slapping so loud and pushing against me. We were on rocks so the only thing attempting to hold my tent was more rocks. Stats tent didn’t last too long before he had to jump in with Scotty. Not a good sign for Whitney I kept telling myself. I don’t want to be exhausted when I need to really be able to focus for my safety. At 4am the alarms went off and I decided to go. My only plan was that if I ever felt unsafe I’d sit and wait until they came back down. I carried only a little water with a couple of bars, my sleeping bag in case of emergency and my stove also for emergency. Oh man. How nice a light pack without a dumb bear can feels!! It was interesting. But the most beautiful and amazing thing I’ve ever seen. Holy shit. The climb up was tough. Lots of switchbacks which we couldn’t even see a good chunk of due to snow. We ended up rock scrambling up the loose rocks a good chunk of the way. Scotty cut his finger pretty good....then we made it to the junction where hikers coming from Lone Pine come to get to the summit. There is little snow here and we’re on trail. And then we see it. The last bit to the top. A large steep snow patch. Spikes on and there we went. No problems! This ended up being so worth it. This view is unreal. The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. We’re at the tallest point, in the contiguous US at 14,505ft. We look around and it’s nothing but snow covered everything. It took us just over 3 hours to summit. The way down wasn’t as easy since we couldn’t get down slippery rocks as easily as go up them. In a large snow patch Stats and I decided to use our tools, his ice axe, and my whippet to help self arrest and guide us down to the next section of trail rather than sketchily walk across the snow. Very slowly, release then shoulder down and dig that axe in. Release, dig. For some reason this was so fun to me and I wasn’t scared even though it wasn’t totally safe. Then we’re almost done, a last snow bank. So why not butt glissade down? I wish I had the
Congratulations to Liz O'Neal of Portland, OR, winner of our Holiday Must-Haves Gear Giveaway! Liz just scored a whole crate of awesome hiking gear she'll be putting to use on the Pacific Crest Trail next summer.
Thanks again to @helinox, @montbell.us, @cnocoutdoors, @kleankanteen, @seatosummitgear, @survive_outdoors_longer and @saxxunderwear for contributing to this year's holiday giveaway!
Didn't win? We've got one more holiday prize offer coming in the next few days, so stay tuned!
Day 47: started the day with the log crossing. Which was literally the dumbest and sketchiest thing on the entire PCT. We were dumb to do it and should have looked for another option. But luckily we all made it. We got up at 3:30am and as soon as we walked up to the log everyone stopped. It was a good 5-6 feet above the raging water. And it wasn’t even an even log. There were branches sticking up all around it. Me being dumb I just walked right onto the log like let’s go...and the second I got on it I started shaking really bad. I was terrified and over night some ice had accumulated on the log making it really slick. Luckily I had my micro spikes are. I stepped really really slowly and bent down to hold onto some of the branches I had to side step around. Idk when I’ve ever been so scared and the feeling just got worse while I watched everyone one by one attempt the log. Hefty was the smart one. He found 2 smaller logs a little upstream that were slightly in the water and crossed there. Me and Scotty were tossing our spikes to the others for them to wear across. We all helped each other and after that was over, I was already spent for the day. So stressful. We continued on and hiked to the Mt. Whitney junction and down that trail. By lunch we were a little into the junction and laid in the sun eating and drying out our gear and discussing the next steps. To do or not to do Mt. Whit. A lot of hikers aren’t doing it, Ned Tibbets, an outdoor excursion leader, said nobody should do it. No matter how experienced you are. After awhile of debating me, Scotty, and Stats decided to head towards Mt. Whitney and Meg and Hefty planned to get back to the PCT and take an on trail 0 day tomorrow as we do Whitney. I didn’t know if I was going to do it or not. My only plan was to camp at the base for the night and decide with how I feel in the morning. So we split up. We took off towards Whitney and hiked a very tough few more miles to our campsite. On the way we ran into Tim and Freckles. Asked how it was and Freckles started crying saying how scary it was....not a good sign. But I’m so glad they’re ok. They hiked it with Em and Lou and it was freezing at the top they said. Da
Applications for Granite Gear's 2018 Grounds Keepers program are now open. To join next year's team, you don’t need to hike a long trail (although you definitely can!), just so long as you pledge to clean up 300 miles of trails and parks. The main goal is to make an impact—whether that’s removing 10 pounds of micro trash (a BIG job), or removing large trash items from trails, or inspiring hundreds of others to leave their trails and community parks better! Visit http://bit.ly/GK2018 for more info and to apply.
Day 46: Shortest actual non-zero day. We had planned to go about 12 miles and made it only 10.5. But it felt like plenty. We dropped a bit in elevation and due to that the snow just got softer as the day went. The initial plan for the Sierras is to get up early in the morning and hike as far as possible until early afternoon then stop. That way we’re not hiking so much in the soft snow. Because if we do, it’d be much more energy and take us longer than if we just sleep and walk when it’s more frozen. Which is when I can use my micro spikes which makes everything a ton easier. So today we ended about noon. Once we came down from Cottonwood pass we hiked pass the popular and well known Chicken Spring Lake. I literally almost didn’t even recognize it as we were walking to its left. Because it was frozen and looked like most of the Sierras. Just snow. I remember the part around the lake being challenging and climbing a bit. We decided to camp near a flowing creek that we would have to cross in the morning. Meg saw on the water report that there was a log to cross on. We found it and basically set up camp right near it. Today was hard but we had lots of fun. Lots of laughs and smiles cutting the trail and boot skiing. As we sat with the fire trying to dry our stuff out it unfortunately started raining. So now I’m in my tent just reading. Optimist turtle stopped by. So crazy meeting her after seeing all of her comments on every single water source. The Scotty came. He apparently has hiked alone since KM and today had some sketchy moments where he felt he could have been seriously injured or died. So we told him he had to stay with us now so we added to our group! I’m a bit nervous for what’s to come. Apparently some girl died on Mt. Whitney a few days ago. Idk maybe I should skip and come back? I want to do this trail all out but I also just want to be safe. Will i know when to turn back? Idk I’ll see tomorrow when we get to the trail junction. Everything after Whitney even seems sketchy. #pctfamforlife#pacificcresttrail#expresspctjourney#iabmfg#pcthiker#thruhiker#sierras#pct2017
Day 45 wow gorgeous views all day but what a long challenging day 20 miles from mile 730 to mile 750. started hard just due to incline but ended super challenging due too soft snow. amazing lunch with use of mountains on one side and pines in the lake on the other. my body is so fatigued and drained. I really feel low in calories and I only brought just enough food to get by. this will be a really hard stretch I am praying tomorrow will have a little snow when we got to camp at began to hail and thunder and lightning. We’re on the top of cottonwood pass I think it’s about 11,000 ft elevation which isn’t great for lightning. I was able to find a spot under a tree to put my tent up quickly then stay more blocked from the storm. luckily it stopped after a bit it's for sure going to be cold night and a rough wake up in the a.m. This is so humbling. Typically these miles are easy but I think oh 20 miles no big deal. But this will be one of the very few high mile days we do through the entire Sierras. At this point from here on we will hike together 24/7. Due to tough navigation, sketchy water crossings, and the toughness and dangers of the snow itself we will stick together. #iabmfg#pctfamforlife#pacificcresttrail#expresspctjourney#pcthiker#thruhiker#sierras2017#california
Today we’re at Oregon Historical Society’s Holiday Cheer event. Come on out and meet local authors and pick up some unique holiday gifts. We’ll be here from noon to 4pm. Drop by and talk trail if you’re in the area!
Day 44: started hiking at 5:15am. It was cold but luckily I warmed up pretty quickly. What a day! Wow! So beautiful. Campin at mile 730 tonight. This has been the most beautiful day so far. The views were endlessly impressive and we actually took lots of breaks which I really enjoyed. I’m not really mentally able to walk 6 hours straight anymore so stopping every couple is nice. First we stopped for coffee then our next stop was on some nice rocks looking out into the continuous mountain ranges. Today we made new friends! Marmots! They’re so freaking cute. Today was not too bad snow wise. We did hit some and got to practice self arresting on a slope we found. I should have practiced more, but too late now. You’re supposed to have the whippet in the hand closest to the downhill then when you slide quickly flip onto your belly slamming the ax down into the snow in front of your shoulder while lifting your feet off the ground. Thank goodness my trail fam knows what they’re doing on this. That turn around is kind of hard with a heavy pack on. We also got to butt glissade some today. I felt like a little kid playing in the snow with my friends. ❤️ so much laughter. We ended the day early with a great fire and dinner. And hot cocoa, my new favorite thing. It’s only 7am and I’m in bed because the Sierras means early mornings to try and get as far as possible before the snow gets too soft. The snow isn’t bad when it’s more frozen but once it gets soft you get nowhere fast. #iabmfg#pctfamforlife#pacificcresttrail#expresspctjourney#pcthiker#thruhiker#sierras
Day 43 I hate saying goodbye to people. Especially in this section I’m so nervous and all I want in the world is for everyone to stay safe. but here we go ready to take on the unknown Sierra's. Up until this point everything we've heard about it has been fear-based. Since the beginning we knew it was a record snowfall year and that the Sierra's would be very difficult; a majority of people we talk to are skipping the section or planning to come back later when the snow is no longer there. It makes me a bit nervous. I don't know what to expect or what I'm capable of, but I know I'm always going to give something a shot and then if I can't do it I'll try something else. so we left in the afternoon ready to take it on and see how it would go for us. Fear mongering has been intense. “Don’t go into the Sierras you will die!” “Nobody’s made it through yet” Yet there my trail fam and I were, leaving KM and trekking forward. Our packs we’d HEAVY! Mine was 39lbs and I think Meg and Stats were about the same, Hefty’s was like 50! We’re leaving a day later than planned due to a snow storm we saw on the forecast. We didn’t want to be out in it see we waited it out. We hiked 10.5 miles today. And they were hard! When we took off Hefty stayed behind for a bit to deal with troubles from home, me Stats and Meg walked a couple miles to a campground and waited for him there. This is one moment I really realized how much of a family we were. There was no way we were going to keep walking without Hefty. Such a small gesture in a sense, but so big in many others. I ❤️ that we wait for each other. So nice to be with people where I know we have each other’s backs. We found a campsite near some nice flowing water and settled in for the night. The anxiety was building up...tomorrow we hit snow. #iabmfg#pctfamforlife#pacificcresttrail#expresspctjourney#pcthiker#thruhiker
It’s the final day of our Must-Haves Gear Guide countdown, featuring the new Hiking the PCT trail guides. These comprehensive guidebooks for Oregon, Washington and Southern California cover every mile of their respective sections with detailed trail descriptions, camp and water locations, topo maps, elevation profiles and more. Plus, each has tons of gorgeous color photos to inspire you to start planning your own weekend, section, or thru-hike!
Pick up one or more of these for the hiker on your list—or for yourself. Visit PCToregon.com (or click on the link in our profile) for more info. Plus, we’re including an autographed copy of the Oregon guide in our Must-Haves Giveaway, so get your entry in today!
NorCal guide coming in early 2018.
Day 40-42: just a few mile walk to KM! Such a big milestone. Me, Hefty, and Meg all went in together. We walked to road up to the store and were surprised by the warm welcoming of all the cheers and claps from the other hikers on the deck. We ended up staying a couple of days. There’s free camping behind the store that we all piled into. Stats came a little later everyone was there at some point. Tapeworm, Freckles, Tim,Dash, Em, Lou, Emi, Russ, Strider, Hummingbird, Meatbolt, and gosh so many more amazing people. It was so fun to hang with them. We went to Grumpys each morning and ate the biggest pancakes ever!!! (The pic is from the web not my meal) and they have the best hash browns ever! Spent an evening there too with the dj dancing and singing good country music. The most memorable though was one night in camp. So an ongoing joke with the hikers is about people with their thermarest mattresses that make so much noise! You can hear when they’re blowing them up, all night you hear them rustle around on the mattress, and in the morning you know when they’re getting up because you can hear them open the air. Well In camp H-bird, Meatbolt, and Snorkel came in all giggly. Then Tapeworm heard Stats moving around on his mattress and started laughing. Idk how to describe his amazing laugh but one by one we all started laughing with him. We’d get annoyed then find ourselves laughing along. We couldn’t stop. There was about 10 of us cracking up for no reason and it went on about 30 min. Literally my favorite moment of the entire trail. #iabmfg#pctfamforlife#pacificcresttrail#expresspctjourney#pcthiker#thruhiker
Amanda Mitchell of Parker, CO, shows off her Gear Tune-Up Kit from @pctoregon, and courtesy of @nikwax, @gearaid and @defunkify. She’ll be putting these things to work to prep her gear for her 2018 PCT thru-hike. Good luck, Amanda!
We’re nearing the end of our Must-Haves Gear Guide highlights with today’s pick, the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Daypack. Yes, that tiny thing on our keyring is a 20-liter backpack that weighs just 2.4 ounces! 😮 Smaller than a tennis ball (when stuffed), we carry these along on our long treks for off-trail water runs, side trips on zero days, and peak bagging.
Check out the full Gift Guide at PCToregon.com (or click the link in our profile) for more info. And enter our Must-Haves Giveaway, which includes one of these awesome ultralight packs!
Day 39: I enjoyed camping alone last night. It was so nice to mediate and relax. I woke up this morning and immediately started hiking without eating breakfast. But stopped around 9am to enjoy some coffee and poptarts. Took another break at 9am then a couple hour siesta at lunch. So weird for me to break so much but today I really wanted it. I waited near a creek in the shade for Meg and Hefty. I tried to eat and read my book but I kept getting attacked by fire ants. I moved from place to place unable to avoid them and just finally gave up. Meg came and wanted to hang out to and she was getting bit by the damn ants as well. They’re horrible things. WHY? It’s hard when all you want is to relax in shade for a bit but can’t relax. There’s many times on the trail you wonder what you ever did to make it hate you. Soon Hefty came and the 4 of us headed on to our campsite at a creek just a few miles out from Kennedy Meadows. As we walked we got to see and walk right next to the heavy flowing South Fork of the Kern River. The photo does it no justice it was raging. I thought we may have to cross it and there was no way....luckily we didn’t have to we just walk along it. But it makes me nervous for the Sierras how do you know when it’s too strong to cross? Well we kept hiking trying to find a flat space and finally found one right next to the creek. It was actually a surprisingly beautiful campsite. I learned today I love hiking alone but ❤️ camping with friends. Tomorrow...Kennedy Meadows..700 miles.....the end of the desert... #pctfamforlife#pacificcresttrail#expresspctjourney#pcthiker#iabmfg#thruhiker
Is it a bit extravagant? Probably. But when it comes to having shade and shelter on demand—especially in Oregon’s sweltering lava fields—it’s worth the extra 6 ounces in our pack. That makes Mont-bell’s Sunblock Umbrella today’s Must-Haves highlight.
Get more info on this item, and the rest of our Must-Haves Gear Guide at PCToregon.com; or click on the link in our profile. You can also enter to win our Must-Haves Giveaway, which includes one of these handy trail umbrellas!
Day 38: Erica was kind enough to offer a morning ride to me and Megan to Wal Mart where we could catch a bus to the Walker Pass CG, the same wal mart as the day before when I bought a lot of discounted glaze donuts 😍😍😍❤️. Unfortunately after she left us she realized she mixed up the timing of the bus, so we hopped back in her car for her to take us to the next small townish area where we could hitch. We stood near a gas station and finally a woman offered us a ride. Her name is Bobby and she actually works at Grumpys restaurant in Kennedy Meadows, our next stop! Saw Emi, Russ, and Snorkel when we got to the trail. Poor Emi has an infected toe so they were heading into town. I knew today would be rough, lots of uphill and it’s hot. I chose not to go to my Gmas funeral, I knew she wouldn’t want me to quit my journey so I planned to give a ceremony for her on the mountain. On the uphill I cried a few times just realizing the truth of what had happened. She lived life purely and was always so happy just to be around family and friends. She was so filled with love. On the uphill I looked up at one point and I saw and felt her there with me. The yellow flowers and tall grass were flowing beautifully from the wind. And I felt her again in the wind, helping me and pushing me uphill. I ran into Hefty after a bit, then took off again just wanting to be alone. While at a creek for lunch and water I picked and put together a bunch of wildflowers and thought of my Grandma. And in that moment peace came over me. I was planning to meet Hefty and Meg at a campsite but after waiting for a bit and not seeing them I hiked to another campsite at the top of the peak. Better views. And it was beautiful but oh so windy. Luckily this time I was able to find a spot behind some thick bush and trees that perfectly protected me all night. I didn’t want to camp alone tonight but Now i see it’s just what I need. #iabmfg#pctfamforlife#pacificcresttrail#expresspctjourney#pcthiker#thruhiker#wodrepairlotion
The one positive of a last minute emergency road trip to Nevada.....getting to stop at Donner Summit and be back on my home for a minute. But it was really snowy so I didn’t stay long. #pctlove#mysoulmate#pacificcresttrail#pcthiker
Yesterday we showed you our underwear, today we’re showing you our socks! Today’s Must-Haves highlight is Balega’s Blister-Resist Socks. Seriously, if you’re not hiking in these, you should be. We love that they provide all-day comfort, even on the roughest trails.
What better Festivus gift to give than socks?! Check out our complete Must-Haves Gear Guide at PCToregon.com, or click the link in our profile. And remember, all purchases thru PCToregon.com help support our site!
Day 37: only 8 miles before a quick stop in Ridgecrest. Only Megan and I are heading there to get some packages. The guys are heading forward towards Kennedy Meadows. The 8 miles went blazing fast. They were all downhill and since my shin splints are gone that means I kind of just run. In just over 2 hours I was at Walker Pass. There was some Trail magic there. Someone had left water, some snacks, bread and peanut butter and jelly. And there were a handful of other hikers. A hiker has actually asked a girl he met on tinder to come meet him there and they ended up locking her keys in the car the night before. There’s no service here and they couldn’t get the vehicle open so... it was entertaining and I’m sure their last date! I was a little nervous about meeting Meg here as we haven’t seen each other in over a day so idk where she’s at. But just as soon as Scott, the amazing guy who came up to see if anyone needed rides, got to the pass she showed up. We hopped right in with a large group of hikers. Smushed in a small mini van. First stop was the post office then to the trail angels Erica’s house where we will stay the night. My plan was to get all my Sierra’s gear here because at Kennedy Meadows they charge an extra $6 for every package. So I was planning to get 3. We got to the PO and nope no packages for me here. I didn’t General Delivery my Amazon package so they sent it back. The other, turns out there was an issue with the order of my Whippet so it didn’t get sent. And the other, was there! But as they were searching I turned my phone on and got multiple messages from my family. My Grandma has passed. I immediately started crying in the PO and explained to the lady it wasn’t about the packages. Then I awkwardly reloaded myself into the hiker van and continued crying in front of everyone. Finally we reach Erica’s where I could get to myself and call my family. It was hard and I didn’t know what to do. Tickets were about $1200 and I’d have to leave the trail, right before the Sierras which I couldn’t go through alone. But I want to be with my family. Time to think about it....at least I’m here at Erica’s where I get to be with lots of dogs and baby goats
For today’s Must-Haves highlight, we’re giving you a peek at our underwear. 😮 SAXX’s Quest 2.0 boxers just may be the best, most comfortable hiking underwear ever, and we can’t recommend these highly enough. Dudes, do yourselves a favor and put these on your wish list. Or, ladies, treat your hiker guy to something really special.
Get more info on this item—and our nine other Must-Have faves—in our Must-Haves Guide at PCToregon.com. Or just click the link in our profile. And be sure to enter our Must-Haves Giveaway, cuz we’re including a pair of SAXX for you!
It’s #CyberMonday ! Check out our holiday gift guide, 10 Must-Haves for PCT Hikers. Pick up one, or more, of these items for the hiker on your list and help improve their experience on trail. Or add a few items to your own wish list and share this with your “Santa.” Every purchase made thru our gift guide helps support PCT: Oregon and keeps us running. That’s a win-win-win! Just click on the link in our profile and start shopping. Happy Holidays!
Day 36: I’m tired so I just took photos of my actual written journal from the day. Literally the beach sand was so brutal. My shoes continuously sunk in with every step followed my flinging sand all over myself. My toes were hurting from clinching so bad to keep the shoes on. Also, after the cache which was near a road, left for us hikers due to a long waterless stretch, was a big uphill. And it was my first view of snowy Sierra mountains. But never have I had to ration anything so hard. I was only able to drink 1/3 liter of water every 3 miles and it was insanely hot. I tried sitting and hanging in the shade after lunch for it to cool down, but I was still so thirsty I couldn’t stay. I would have drank all of my water. So I knew I had to walk. That was the only way to get to the water. It was one of the hardest moments of the trail. I have literally never been so thirsty in my life. #pctfamforlife#pacificcresttrail#expresspctjourney#pcthiker#pct2017#thruhiker#iabmfg
“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”
Ok, it may not be the Star of Earendil, but a good headlamp in a Petzl Noctilight Case can be the next-best thing in the nighttime wilderness.
Get more info on today’s handy highlight gear item in our Holiday Gift Guide: 10 Must-Haves for PCT Hikers at PCToregon.com.
Day 35: miles 588-618. 600 miles? What? Omg less than 100 until the Desert ends and the Sierras begin. How has time gone so fast? I made it a point today to not complain at all, and it was amazing. So simple, but so crucial. Somehow I didn’t see anyone from my group today but got a double dose of trail magic! I met Kate and Dan as they were looking for their friend and helped them with some directions. Then when I was at the water, that was about .3m off trail I saw them again. They found their friend and offered me to come hang out and have beer and ice cream! It was heavenly! Coffee ice cream covered in chocolate with nuts 🤤. After hanging for a bit I headed on for the day trying to complete my miles although I felt wrecked. Due to my blisters I decided to start hiking in my $.99 flip flops I brought for camp shoes. They lasted me 16 of 30 miles, my 2nd 30!, and felt way better than these stupid tight shoes. I also walked 2 miles barefoot. On the walk I found more beer. Win! Grabbed one to go and have with dinner. First real time getting some solid trail magic. The hike sure went good after that ice cream and beer, all felt well in the world. And now tomorrow I only have to do 25 miles! Today I also meditated while walking, time flew by and I loved it, and now I get to camp alone. One of my favorite and appreciated things. More really fun facts from my day. My allergies were booming today and within the first 1.5 hours of hiking I shot 36 snot rockets....I am not ashamed. And yes I counted. It was crazy. Thank goodness for my essential oils to help me out!!! And so now 1 month into the trail and I’m getting my first allergies, blisters, and a little not so fun chaffing.....oh boy. The desert isn’t done with me yet. #pctfamforlife#pacificcresttrail#expresspctjourney#pcthiker#pct2017#iabmfg#thruhiker
What’s that orange sheet under our tent? That’s our All-Weather Blanket from SOL. It’s our 11th Essential and our next highlight on our Holiday Must-Haves list. This lightweight, insulating blanket is also a tarp, pack cover, poncho and more—and at just $22 is super affordable for so much versatility on the trail.
Check out our complete Holiday Must-Haves Gear Guide at PCToregon.com—and enter to win our gear giveaway that includes one of these great blankets!
Another day, another campsite, another unreal view. 📷 by @thedroneabroad #killaexpeditions
Day 34: before leaving tehachapi I decided that I would change the insoles to my shoes because I was starting to feel every single rock I stepped on. I found some in the hiker box at the hotel and just put them in my shoes and they seem to fit just fine. but when I had the shoes on they felt a little tight, but I went with it. we called the trail angel to take us back to the trail and he took us there and we started walking and for some reason today just felt miserable. my pack felt so heavy everything hurt. my feet started to hurt pretty immediately and I got worried I was going to start getting my first blisters of the trail. over 500 miles in?!? then I kept walking and we had an incline, it was miserable in the moment. just walking and struggling and I finally had to stop to try to take care of my feet to prevent blisters so I lubricated them a little bit and put duct tape over them and kept walking. So strange to have taken a well needed rest and it does not feel like it at all today! I feel too tired to even write. I feel sad today, I miss my friends, my family, my gym, and watching the Warriors. It will pass some times are just harder than others. #pctfamforlife#pacificcresttrail#expresspctjourney#pcthiker#pct2017#iabmfg#thruhiker#nobo
Today’s Must-Haves highlight is the Klean Kanteen Insulated Bottle. Sure, it weighs a few more ounces than a regular lexan bottle, but when you can have ice-cold stream water for hours—even on the sweltering days!—it’s totally worth it. It’s also great for keeping tea, coffee and soup hot on the chilly days.
Check out all 10 of our Holiday Must-Haves at PCToregon.com. And enter to win our Must-Haves Giveaway—including this awesome insulated bottle!
Happy #optoutside day! Hope everyone is enjoying a stress-free day today. Cheers!
Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Here at PCT: Oregon, we’re thankful for big mountains, icy streams, vivid wildflowers, grassy meadows, furry critters, sunshine and puffy clouds, and all the hiking trails that let us explore, appreciate and find peace in these things. Cheers!
Today’s Must-Haves highlight is the Cnoc Outdoors Vertex Carbon trekking poles. We put these to work on trails all over Oregon this summer and were very pleased with their performance and stability. Plus, they’re super lightweight and compact!
Learn more about the Vertex Carbon poles and our other picks in this year’s holiday gift guide at PCToregon.com. You can even enter to win a FREE pair!
Day 32-33. 2 0 days in a row! So needed and nice. It was amazing to get to resupply and run all the errands one day then just relax the next. I spend the day switching between the hot tub and the cold pool, then me and the fam enjoyed Guardians Of the Galaxy 2 at the theatre. With lots of popcorn and candy for me!!! Then we headed to meet so many more beautiful people for Thai food for Emi’s birthday celebration. Tehachapi was good, great even, but also sad. The goodbyes were already starting. Had to say goodbye to Snorkel and to Simba who were both heading home for a bit for some family occasions they had to attend. It was hard, and so sad knowing I wouldn’t get the chance to see them more on the trail. They made such a big impact on the first part of my journey. #pctfamforlife#pacificcresttrail#expresspctjourney#pcthiker#pct2017#thruhiker#tehachapi#iabmfg
Day 31: left this windless hell hole and the cute trail magic set up to head out for Tehachapi. It’s still windy, but now also foggy and cold. I had to wear all of my gear, pants, puffy, gloves, beanie, and even my poncho just for some added warmth. I hiked the initial 8 miles down the mountain to a picnic table and a spot where we could hitch to town if we wanted. Right before was a trail registers, a nice binder you could write the date, your trial name in, and any notes you wanted. I remember Scotty and the Unicorn saying something about the cold dampness, and many others commented on the wind. I struggled to even write my name my hands were so cold. From this spot It’s supposed to be a harder hitch then you have to come back and hike the next 8 miles, so we didn’t plan to hitch from this spot. I stopped at the table to try and eat some breakfast and make hot tea since I was way too cold to earlier. I scattered my tent and fly around on posts to try and let them dry out. T kind of worked I just had to make sure a couple times they weren’t going to fly away. Meg came and we chatted for a bit, then Stats (Moritz) he got his name because this guy knows everything and would always give updates. 8.1m to town.....3m to water. 1,274 ft of elevation gain. And he is the smartest 19 year old on the planet. Hefty was behind us a bit and we took off. Fighting the wind in most of our steps. We looked drunk. We’d walk fine then BAM wind would hit and we’d take a few tripping steps off the trail to try and catch ourselves. Then you’d fight against the wind and itd suddenly stop and you’d fall that way. It was sometimes scary. You’re up high on this ridge with little control. But more fucking windmills, then finally at the top of the hill you can see switch backs going all the way to the road. In my beanie and green poncho I took of running. It helped my knees, it’s faster, and it’s fun. I kept going and going and going and going until I hit the road. Meg told me I look like a samari in my poncho. We walk to the highway and after not too long get a hitch from a nice woman who works for the wind farms. She dropped us at the BBQ joint where they have teepees set up for free
We’re kicking off the Festivus season with a free gear giveaway! Here’s your chance to score a sack full of some of our fave items from this year’s Must-Haves Gear Guide. Visit PCToregon.com to enter. Good luck!
Viresque Acquirit Eundo. 👣
Day 30: the aqueduct day! I thought it was going to be a nice mellow day. Easy, flat lands and just road walking. And it was for awhile. Meg went off ahead, her long legs! She can move so fast!!! I listened to some podcasts a @joerogan with Dennis McKenna on physchadelics, and Sam Harris on how social media is literally designed and has specific people who make it so we spend more time on these apps. All these things just competing for our time, and none of them really do us much good. My mind is still always wandering, never silent. It’s been 500 miles and I still don’t really feel like I’m hiking the PCT, when will it? And why is time going so fast?? Ahhh. I don’t want it to end, I love this life with these beautiful people. Well after lunch SHIT GOT REAL! The fucking wind farms happened. Later, we found out we were in the middle of this during a high wind storm. We are near Tehachapi which, along parts of the PCT holds one of the largest wind farms in the country. And we had to walk through a lot of it. It was so annoying, I was getting thrown everywhere. I decided to not even stop for water or to eat, because it wouldn’t have been relaxing. I just have to keep walking and get through this. Sometimes I felt like I wasn’t moving. Then the wind would shift and shove me off the trail. FUCK YOU!!! I kept going through the farm, then up the big ridge and incline to where some trail magic supposedly was, and it’s where I planned to camp. Making this my first 30 mile day!! A big milestone. I passed the water that gave a quick break from the wind and hiked on, the ridge line was still windy but far less than on the desert floor. Finally, made it to mile 549. Camp. And Freckles, Tim, and Dash were there! It was only about 4:30 and they were hiking 8 more miles to get into Tehachapi tonight. The trail magic was just water and chairs. I tried to find a spot in between the Bush to block the wind for my tent. I found a place but it didn’t help much, my poles were bending all over trying to set up. Finally I got it up, then Meg came, then Stats! He did 32 today!!! Amazing. The wind was relentless here at camp. I didn’t sleep even an hour. My tent pushed against me and
Thanks to our friends at Granite Gear and the 2017 Grounds Keepers team (including our pal @shawntesalabert!) for hauling more than 1,100 pounds of trash off our trails—including more than 150 pounds off the PCT. You guys rock!
Check out more on the Grounds Keepers team at PCToregon.com.
📷: @reptarhikes & @granitegear
Day 29: woke up cold as shit. As we waited for Hefty to get all packed up we decided to be goofy and move around. I started dancing around and doing jumping jacks. Then Hefty joined in and we played ninja! So fun and a good warm up! We got a late start due to the cold and moisture in the air. Why is it so damn cold in the desert? Apparently it’s because there are no plants around to absorb sunlight and retain the heat. So when the sun goes down...so does the temp....dramatically. We began hiking and it decided to hail on us, but before we knew it we were at mile 500!! How? What? How is it going so fast? It’s funny to think how big of a deal it was to hit 100 miles. Now 500?..wow. “But I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more “🎵🎶19 miles for the day and we hit hiker town. Not sure how to explain it. It’s like a set for a play. Everything has labels on it, even though it’s all just bedrooms. But it was nasty. We saw Striders room and Meg and I knew we weren’t going to stay there. So we headed out and the boys stayed. We didn’t walk far, but far enough away. Walked Past lots of old gadgets and tools just sitting there in the desert. Then there it was, the aqueduct which tomorrow we will be walking along for many many miles. Potentially the most boring part of the trail. Fortunately this part of the aqueduct was not covered so we got to camp next to some nice calm water. It was one of my fave campsites yet. The sunset was unreal beautiful. We sat and enjoyed our waterfront dinner and I had another guest join me, a spider that kept coming around. It was on my stuff, then on my tent. So crazy. I took it as my spirit animal for the moment. It’s all about being creative, patient, and open with your life. We weave on our webs ya know? We create our own destiny. #pctfamforlife#pacificcresttrail#expresspctjourney#pcthiker#pct2017#iabmfg#thruhiker#almosttokennedymeadows#camplife#backpacking
Day 28- woke up and had a bunch of pancakes that Terri made the hikers. Fully carbed up and ready to go! Little foot was giving rides back to the trail and we hopped in. Planned for a short 20 mile day since we started later than usual. The day overall had a lot of elevation gain, it wasn’t necessarily hard but just consistently there. Ate lunch with some beautiful people, my fam plus Dash, Freckles, and Tim, on a dirt road. I used all my battery up and spent a long time trying to find a way to listen to the Warriors play off game. I hate missing these games. But we always seem to be leaving the day they play or arriving to town the day after. I wrote very little in my journal today and nothing really stands out. Also just wrote it was cold and windy, and a trek to the water from camp. #pctfamforlife#pacificcresttrail#expresspctjourney#pcthiker#pct2017#iabmfg#thruhiker#alwaysforthedubs
Day 27: 24 miles from Hiker Heaven is another trail angels house a few miles off trail, Casa De Luna, or the Andersons. Rumor has it it’s quite the party but we receive our official 2017 PCT bandanas there. I walked the 16 miles to the Andersons, not realizing I had passed Meg and Moritz so I was trying to catch them. I was walking to the road and in front of me was a guy and a kid, I “casually” cruised behind them hoping they’d be leaving and would give me a ride. When I got to the road Em and Lou were there packing their things into his car. So I went up and asked if I could join, and we all hopped in and headed to Casa De Luna. When we got there I felt a little off. I didn’t know anyone, my friends weren’t there. And I wasn’t too sure how I felt about the energy of the place. It’s just a house that we can’t go in, with couches in the drive way, portapotties in the street. People drinking and smoking. A shower that’s just a wooden square. A hanging line with tons of Hawaiian shirts that we were supposed to wear. But then someone showed me where we can camp it was like a mystical fairyland. Painted rocks everywhere you turned with beautiful trees and greenery surrounding everything. And nestled between trees perfect 1 person campsites all over. I set up my tent then grabbed one of the bikes and headed to the cafe to eat. I had a big sandwich and the best waffle fries before heading back. When I went back to my tent I heard familiar voices! Em and Lou, Tim and Freckles, and Moritz were all hanging out! I was so happy, and that’s when I found out I was in front of them. I thought they maybe ended up skipping the house and kept walking. Relieved I went back to the cafe with Moritz Tim and Freckles. I didn’t eat but just enjoyed their great company. Soon I saw Meg, then Dash, then Strider and Snorkel. And the gang was here! I helped cooked the massive taco salad dinner with Snorkel and Strider, which meant we got first dibs!! Chips topped with beans, quest, sour cream, tomatoes, jalapeños. So good and we could eat as much as we wanted! Later in the night it came time to get our bandanas. And we had to dance for them! It was hysterical watching everyone bust a move
Day 26: hiker heaven= AMAZING! It’s so beautiful how kind people are to us for no reason other than they want to share love and give. I am so beyond grateful and can’t wait to be a trail angel in the coming years. But today was rough, literally felt worse than maybe I ever have in my life from eating too damn much. Me and the gang had quite the bfast feast. A $2.50 apple pie from Meg, Cinnamon rolls from Hefty, Lemon pound cake from me, cookies with fudge from the hiker box...I think that’s it. Yea I ate like 2 pieces of pie, a cinnamon roll, a few cookies, and basically the entire pound cake because it’s so good and nobody else eats it! I felt sick all day. While the fam had pizza I struggled sitting in the restaurant trying to not get sick. And instead of taking a ride back to the house I had to walk. Why did I do that? Also, I don’t want to say much because it’s not my business to tell online but it is funny how as hikers we become totally comfortable talking about our poops with each other even while eating 😂. Today I also learned Calvin, Twister, got into medical school! So I made him a card and got him a big slice of Tiramisu I’m so happy for him. He got his name from the day I did my big 29 miles with Moritz. He was camping with Hefty and Meg and Simon, when his tent literally blew away from the wind. They all had to go searching for it and found it, torn up. 😢 but it made for a good story! When we got back the gang packed up to leave but I had to stay and wait for a care package from my PCT mentor and good friend Halle. I hated having to wait behind but it ended up being so worth it. She got me so many amazing things! Homemade cowboy cookies, best things ever! Yogurt pretzels, D. Choc almonds and espresso beans. Nut butters. Ahh so thankful. But now my pack is really fucking heavy because I already rexupplied so I have double the food I need. But I paid for this food so I’m not tossing it. So I packed up and headed out. I didn’t plan to go far, just get to a campsite. But me being me I went 8 miles hiking into the dark. I had really been wanting to camp alone and Meg and I had talked about it. Apparently I passed them while hiking and didn’t see them b
FREE STUFF! Did your gear take a beating this year? We’re giving away this gear tune-up kit with products from @nikwax, @gearaid and @defunkify. Just leave a comment below and tell us why you need a gear tune-up.
On Nov. 20 we’ll draw a random entry to win the whole shebang. Open to U.S. residents only. Void where prohibited.
Day 25: Woke up at 6am and started the 18 mile hike to Hiker Heaven. But at 9am I did something very unusual. I stopped and took a 45 min rest and decided to eat “lunch”. That way I didn’t have to stop again before getting to town. Hummus and spinach wrap! So good!! The next and last 10 miles were brutal. It was really hot and I so badly just wanted to be there. I took off on the uphill and just decided to race against myself. I was craving a cold Gatorade so bad. Ran, literally, on the massive downhill to Vasquez Rocks. They’re famous for being in movies but I didn’t care at all. I was ready to be done!!! I had a bit of a road walk into town which seemed crazy long, but finally I found a small convenience store and got a Gatorade and Pineapple Coconut popsicle. Heaven! Stats came up a few min after and we headed to walk the extra bit to H.H. But local Jim was too the rescue. He was sitting eating with some friends and offered us a ride of his tractor. Hell yes! And then we were there! We opened the gate and there were teepees and dogs, and horses, and chickens. Literally heaven. The garage was stacked with organized resupply boxes. One teepee had computers and internet stuff, one awesome loaner clothes for us to wear while they do our laundry. The back yard was massive. Tents scattered as well as small trailers. Soon all my friends were there with me. Meg, Hefty, Moritz, Crusher, Emi and Russ, Prince, Meatbolt and more. And got to know Tim and Freckles a little more at dinner! Now going to sleep looking at the big beautiful moon ❤️❤️#pctfamforlife#pacificcresttrail#expresspctjourney#pcthiker#pct2017#iabmfg#thruhiker
Wanna get a jump on holiday shopping for the hiker on your list? Or maybe put a few items on your own wish list? Check out our 2017 Holiday Gift Guide: 10 Must-Haves for PCT Hikers. Visit PCToregon.com for all the goodness!
And stay tuned, cuz we’re giving away a prize package with some of these awesome accessories!
Day 24: above the clouds! Today was much better I got up and ate a donut I brought from the bakery for breakfast! Best idea ever! Then headed off, it was cold and I worried about slipping more but soon the snow was gone from the trail as I headed down to the road. Finally, just walking again. Today was just 24 miles because of a fire closure not allowing camping I knew I had to camp at a ranger station at mile 436. I was in a much better place today as I got to hike above the clouds, listening to Nahko. It was mystical and beautiful. I met Crusher, from Tx on the way to water. Super cool dude! At H20 the rests of the fam made it there and we hung out, and the talenti cup came very useful at this trickling water source!! Met Dash at the water, this is where I first remember meeting him, and Tapeworm was there too. And we finally got Zeph his trail name! Trash bag, no wait what if you’re at the bar talking to a girl and someone yells “HEY TRASH BAG” haha no bueno, good save Tapeworm. So we changed it to Hefty! We were cracking up!!! This came because he was carrying multiple trash bags in his pack. As a liner and giant food bag. And he’s really skinny so it made it funny ironic. Kept on cruising to camp where we had a fun tent city. The whole gang was there, Em and Lou showed up at dinner and we sat at a table cold chatting before all drifting off to sleep in our warm bags ready to get to get to the Sauffleys place, Hiker heaven tomorrow ❤️❤️ only 18 miles! #pctfamforlife#pacificcresttrail#expresspctjourney#pcthiker#pct2017#iabmfg#thruhiker