Beck vs Day 9

19.2 miles – Foggy place to Nance Canyon @ PCT mile 140.

The fog is still floating around when I get up early to try and cover some extra ground.
I’m feeling good and with the help of my trusty Rich Roll podcast I’m moving pretty fast and through the windy windy hills nicely.

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There is a trail angel’s house with a water tank out front that I head for – both for a water refill and to see who (other hikers) might be about. There is a sign out front apologising for missing us and to come in for a rest.
The place is pretty creepy. There are lots of of piles of random rubbish about, and seemingly no people.
I spy a tent set up and Joyce (his trail name – he is an English Lit major from Korea ) comes bounding out excited to see other people. I’ve been Leapfrogging with Joyce on a daily basis since day 2.  I set up my stove and make a cup of hot chocolate as it is very windy and chilly out. Just as I’m packing up Derek arrives so we head out and march on into the wind and the cold.

The sun arrives and we are leapfrogging with about 5 other hikers. I see my first snake on the trail. Not sure what kind -it was just chillin lying across the trail and took its sweet time getting out the way!

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It’s toasty now so I dig out my umbrella for a little shade when I stop for lunch. I try to elevate my feet as much as possible during breaks – every little bit of care helps 🙂

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The last couple of miles of the day aren’t very fun and we find a campsite at the bottom of nance canyon. It is very sandy and very windy so I grab the biggest rocks I can find to hold down my stakes. I got the miles wrong so I’m sad I didn’t break the 20 mile barrier- but there is plenty of time for that!
It’s a thwack thwack thwack of the tent  kind of night.
ZzzzZzzzzZz

Beck vs Day 8

11.8 miles – Warner Springs to Random Camp in dry creek bed on side of trail @ PCT mile 120.8

With the prospect of a shower and laundry in my immediate future, I’m up nice and early to make it to the warner springs community centre in time for opening. It’s my fastest pack up to date and the quick jaunt into town takes only a few minutes.

There’s no one at the centre when I get there, so I grab a seat outside and spread out my tent to dry the condensation and chat to a bunny that lives under the centre.

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More hikers hobble in but still no one arrives. Looks like the centre isn’t concerned with the last dregs of the hiker season and won’t be opening 🙁
This also means no ride to the post office so I road walk the 2 miles return trip to collect my first resupply! Even though I only packed it a week ago it still feels like Christmas. So much foooood! I was clearly jet lagged nd suffering from the woozy head of my mini sinus infection I collected on the plane ride over, because I have packed enough food for about 3 people! I give a few bits away, and decide I can’t part with any more because it all looks yummy. This means I’ll be carting around a fair few days worth of food- so heavy 🙁

Finally someone comes to open the centre. I take advantage of the computers to order a new pair of shoes to meet me at mile 500, and completely forget all the other things I was supposed to do on the computer. There are 3 giant hiker boxes full of food and discarded bits of gear. Hiker boxes are where hikers put things they no longer want or need and other hikers are welcome to take anything. I help myself to some new hand sanitiser, and contribute 3 panels that I cut off my thermarest (as it’s a smidge too long for me) that someone can use as a sit pad.

I do some dodgy hand washing of some laundry in the sink of the bathroom, fill up 4L of water and then hang out in the centre for another hour or so until the worst heat of the day has paased.

Finally I’m on my way. It’s a hot one and the trail alternates between open dry meadow and little pockets of green forest. My pack is stupid heavy with ally new food and water. There is a little creek the trail crosses a few times so I stop and soak my feet for a few minutes for a little reprieve. 

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The trail winds up and up and up, and I decide to try and night hike to get a few more miles in.

Around 630pm I stop for dinner on the trail, then continue on while watching the sunset over the mountains. The intention is for 4 more miles, however as soon as the sun disappears from the horizon a thick fog starts rolling in. Crap. I’m not keen on walking thin rocky ridges in the dark with the added impediment of fog, so the next site I find at mile 12 for the day turns into home for the night. A bit of a poor effort for the day in total, but I’m shattered nonetheless and it takes about .25 seconds to fall asleep.

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Beck vs Eagle Rock (Day 7)

Day 7 17.7km – Third gate cache to Just Before Warner Springs @ PCT mile 109

I’m up and about around 7 this morning. I spend too much time putting all my little things in all their little places, I fill my water bladder from the cache and have a few bites from a cliff bar and I’m ready to go.

My feet were quite achy yesterday and I have developed weird bruises underneath my big toes so I try out some little foot sleeve things I’ve been carrying to see if they help.

Today is more mountain top windy windy walking. The vegetation is sparse and air clear so it feels like desert. Once again we have been lucky with the weather. I have to knock on wood or cross my fingers or pat a unicorn everytime I say or think how lucky we’ve been weather-wise, because I don’t want to jinx it!

It’s a 5mile uphill this morning followed by the rest of the day downhill. The aim for today is Warner Springs to collect resupply boxes and shower at the community centre. Before I get there, however, is a big milestone.

The 100 mile mark!!! There was whooping and dancing and obligatory facebook posting  😉 O

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The trail dips and opens up to  a view of a giant  dead-grass meadow open to the full sun (Warner spring meadow) we need to cross. Once that is finished there is another little hill to cross which shows us a bigger meadow! Still not convinced it has impressed us, at the top of another hill the trail gives us a big giant never ending meadow!
We are suitably impressed with your scary giant desert meadows, trail. Except I think there needs to be a new name for a meadow that is hot and sunny and all dead- meadow sounds way too pretty. I’ll go with desert. 

Another occasion fo rejoicing because today is Eagle Rock day!!! A rock formation thst looks just like an eagle. Naturally the song Eagle Rock has been in my head all day and I belt out a rendition at the rock. I’m sad I don’t have an eagles scarf to leave the eagle. (Pictures to come when I upload my proper camera photos).

We enter a pretty woodland area- clearly there is water around here as all of a sudden there are green things around us. It’s after 5pm at this point so the post office is closed, so we call it a day on the banks of the creek .5 mile from Warner Springs. Tomorrow is resupply and shower and off to Canada!

Beck vs Day 6

14 miles – (Julian) Scissors Crossing to 3rd Gate @ PCT mile 91.3

Gene Kelly is serenading me about singing in the rain while I sit, sipping my English Breakfast, in a reclining chair with lions on each armrest, in front of a crackling fire.
Not a dream, but the Julian Hotel in the gorgeous town of Julian 13 miles off the PCT.

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I had a bit of a fitful sleep, but the bed was amazing and I was giddy with excitement about getting to sleep on my side! (My sleeping pad isn’t condusive to comfortable side sleep).

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I wander about town, confirm that the free pie shop does not have vegan pie 🙁 , buy a spinach wrap to take out with me, stock up on food at the grocery ,  find out that there IS a vegan pie but they aren’t making any today (whaaaat??? :'(:'(:'(), post a couple of postcards and find a hitch out of town.
My second go at hitching takes a bit longer. We get a lot of shrugs and smiles our way, and finally get picked up by a Julian local about 1/2 hour later. Yay hitching and not dying again!!!

Back at scissors crossing there is more trail magic!!! Today they have left PB & J sandwiches. We don’t want to be greedy so split half a sandwich between 2 of us. It is quite ridiculous the amount of excitement generated by pb&j sandwich!

The climb back up into the mountains looks horrendous from the road, but actually goes really quickly. It’s hot and blustery today so we weave around and around, almost getting knocked off the mountain several times. Three out of the five of us hiking together today ( Steve, Bouncer, Derek and David) see snakes. I’m glad I don’t as it’s really windy so it would be hard to hear the rattle, plus there are some very steep corners so snakes can easily sneak up!

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The PCT likes random gates. There are lots of big pipe gates, some with fences attached, a lot with none. We pass through a few today and the destination is the third gate cache. At the third gate there is a well stocked cache of water for us to drink left by more awesome angels.

It’s a windy windy day and although we only do about 14 miles its late by the time I arrive and I have to hunt around for rocks to put on my tent pegs to make sure it stays put. I make some mountain house pad thai, which takes a stupid amount of time to be ready.
Finally I am serenaded to sleep by the whap whap whapping of the rain fly of my tent.

Today’s Random Song In My Head:
So fresh and so clean (while getting dressed and packing away my freshly laundered clothes this morning).

Beck vs No Pie

18 miles – Sunrise Trail Head to Scissors Crossing (Julian)

There is a little town called Julian 13 miles off the PCT from the Scissors Crossing junction. This town is known for its apples and apple pie, in particular one restaurant that gives FREE PIE to PCT hikers. I’m only 5 days in so funds aren’t dire just yet,  plus I don’t like my chances of there being any vegan pie, but the words FREE PIE still excite and provide the motivation for the day.

Up and out at 7am, it’s a looong day winding around the mountain in sandy scrubby terrain. I’m again lucky the weather is relatively mild but still have to be mindful of water consumption as there aren’t copious water sources along the trail. There’s a great resource updated by hikers called the water report, so as hikers pass known water sources they email through to update how much water is available. There are some water caches maintained by local amazing trail angels to break up sections where there would otherwise be no water for 20-40 miles.

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Today there are some rotten very steep descents and ascents. Definitely giving the knees a wake up.
I lunch at the  Rondriguez Spur truck trail where there is a good water tap with Derek, David and a slack-packer Chicken Fat. CF hiked the AT last year and his patents are around California at the moment so they are taking his big pack while he hikes with a day pack and meets them at the end of  the day (slack packing).

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The sun gets hotter and the energy disappears. I don’t know when the wall appeared but at some point it starts to feel like an endless trudge. The trail is slowly winding down down into to desert that we have been peering down upon for the past few days. It drops is straight into it and we have a few mile march across until the underpass at scissors crossing.

This has been a great spot for a water cache and trail magic (trail angels leave eskies with treats or cold drinks, or in some places set up tents and hang out with chairs and a bbq or fresh fruit or all kinds of exciting things) but local beaurocrats have been shutting this particular one down so I’m not expecting anything.
BUT LOOK! There is water! And bananas!! My first trail magic of the PCT. Amaazing!!

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Now comes the part I have been most scared of – hitching into town. I’m known as a ‘ride-bride’ because drivers are more likely to stop for a female than a male. Given that there is about a 10-1 male female ratio out here guys like to hang out with girls on hitching days!
It only takes us about 10 minutes and we get a ride with a lovely lady named Carol driving a lovely clean rental car. I hate to think what we smell like to her in her previously lovely new-car smell ride.

The scenery changes quickly and dramatically as we head up a different mountain to Julian. It is chilly and we are amongst beautiful trees and could be somewhere in New England with all the pretty wooden buildings and gorgeous retro signs.
YAY Julian and Pie!!! And yay hitching and not dying!!

Everything closes at 5 and I don’t arrive until nearly 6,  so pie will have to wait 🙁 The Julian Hotel is my home for the night and the lovely manager does a load of washing for me while we (Derek and David) head to Romanos for pasta and pizza. There’s another table of hiker trash in the restaurant. None of us have hit hiker hunger yet, but a nice plate of spaghetti and glass of red will do just perfectly thankyou!
Then back to the hotel as it’s nearly hiker midnight (9pm). The yawning kicks in and all I can think about is my big queen fluffy bed. ZzzZZZZZzzzz

Beck vs Day 4

19 miles: Mount Laguna to Sunrise Trailhead Junction (59.8)

I leave Mount Laguna after resettimg the restaurant and have amazing beautiful weather. No evidence of the past two days of crazy and the sun is shining!
The trail winds through some pretty forest before heading out to the ridge. After an hour or so a great view of the desert below opens up. It is crazy windy but not too windy for a quick rendition of The Sound Of Music and some photos!

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I’m hiking today with Derek and David who were at day 1 with me and we follow each other in and out of the winding trail up and down the mountain.
We break for lunch at a small picnic area with tables and are joined by Dave and Privvy Winks (trail name from the AT). I’m excited I’m finally remembering names 🙂

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There is a motorcyclist memorial we pass by and the terrain dries up somewhat as we continue weaving in and out around the mountain for hours. It’s fairly flat ground today, and we have out first encounters with poodle dog bush- a plant that sounds cute and looks pretty but will give you a terrible rash. There are giant sections up ahead on the trail thick with Poodle dog as it grows quickly after fire. No rash incidents, and I am disappointed that it was not named poodle dog because it barks at you when you walk past.

Camp tonight is at sunrise trail head, which has a big water trough for us to filter from, and a random bog wrecking ball looking thing… no idea what it is!
By sunset we have 7 tents dotted around the area and fall asleep playing the movie object game from inside our tents.

Game of the day- Movie Objects. You have to pick an object from a movie that is somehow integral to the plot, and the rest of the people have to guess what the movie is by asking questions.  If you have good suggestions let me know!

Beck vs The Snow

Day 3: 9miles -Cibbets Flat to Mount Laguna

Suddenly it is bright outside. I check my watch and I’ve managed to sleep for a glorious 10 hours.
But it is still raining. I high five my tent which, with the assistance of some rocks on the pegs, withstood the crazy wind and rain.
Canada won’t come to me, and I can’t have two lazy days in a row so I do the pant shuffle (swapping thermals for hiking pants) and get dressed in my mini-space. I stuff my sleeping quilt, clothes and other bits and pieces I don’t want to get wet inside a rubbish bag (trash compacter bag) and then genius-ly place spare rubbish bag over the top of my pack as a poor man’s pack cover. My rain pants and thick gloves are due to be picked up at a post office later on when we are ‘supposed’ to hit colder weather, so my rain jacket will have to do. This is the part of the trail that is supposed to be scorching heat with blazing sun. It was overcast all day yesterday so my solar charger had no chance to charge up my phone. No big deal except that my maps are on my phone. Crap.
The tent is so cold my hands are frozen by the time I finish rolling and packing it up. I can’t feel my fingers but can’t do anything about it so just finish and march on out.

It’s an up hill climb all day long and it gets more and more windy and rainy. I’m hiking in all the layers I have kicking myself for being so wimpy and wondering what I’ll do when I get to really cold weather.
Then I turn a corner and there is snow. Snow, eh? I think. That’s cute. Just a little. But the little turns into more. And more. And the wind picks up again.
I’m now completely saturated from the waist down. I can’t feel my hands inside my soaked gloves so I’m trying to flex my fingers as I’m hiking,  which isn’t easy when carrying poles. I pass a tent that is set up- someone smarter than me stayed in bed.
The terrain changes from the rocky incline and I find myself in a lush pine forest.
It’s a nine mile walk total to Mount Laguna and I start fantasizing about what wonderful trail angels (people who do amazing generous things for hikers) I might meet there. My dream trail angel has a hot shower and a laundry for me to use.  My to do list when I get to laguna is get rain pants from the outfitters,  have shower,  eat hot food, buy resupply and hike on. I play this over and over in my head as I march on taking no breaks.  My hands aren’t working and it takes me forever to open my hip belt pocket to get to my trail mix. Unfortunately the trail mix is inside a zip lock bag that my bumbly hands can’t figure out.  I get it and just pour into my mouth- my hands clearly not up to the task. I have to use my poles to hike faster, but decide that getting there won’t be any good if Mr fingers have all snapped off so I stow the poles and put my hands in my pockets.
It’s really pretty as I cross over streams and through lush green grasses and trees. But all I can think about is walking faster and faster. My feet are now totally numb slushing through icy cold snow and I’m pretty sure I’m doing all kinds of damage to them as I stumble stumble forward.
Hot shower hot food hot shower hot food. I say it over and over. 
Finally I come to a dirt road which I remember is one of the final markers- only about a mile to go
Two crazy trail runners run past me.  “Where are you headed? ” they ask,  “mount laguna” I reply. “I think I’ve heard of that” one says.  Huh I think. I’m pretty sure we are now in Mt Laguna or right next door “there should be a turn off just up the hill” I gesture behind them “did you see a trail or a sign?” “No I haven’t seen anything, but about a 1/4 mile back where you came from there’s a campground with hot showers,  you should check there”.
What the fing f. I missed the turn??? How could I have done that??
I turn around and follow them for a few minutes then stop and try and see if I can get anything on my phone. 3%. Cmon pct app, show me where I am. 2%. Searching for gps. 1%. Town turnoff is .2 miles back where I was headed. Phone dies. 
Stupid runners. I get to the sign and it’s a bloody big sign with an unmissable road, about 3 minutes past where I saw them. Lesson of the day- only listen to pct hikers on the trail. Grrrr.
Then I have the campground to contend with. A stupid collection of circular roads with ridiculous wilderness-inspired names to make the weekenders hiding out watching tv in their giant giant rvs think they are communing with nature.
Stupid roads. Stupid campers. Where is the stupid exit???
Hallelujah I step out onto the main road and right there with angels heralding it’s presence is the Pines Lodge. Hot things! I stumble towards it and a tiny bubbly blonde with a microphone pops her face in front of me. Nooo! Don’t you know there are hot drinks, shower and dry clothes about to happen???
“Were you walking out in that?” She asks with a grin. No, I just decided to take an ice bath fully clothed. “Can we interview you?” Sure. I have no idea what I said,  and no doubt look like some kind of drowned hobo covered in my plastic bags.
I fall inside and get a coffee to-go so I can walk up the road to the outfitters and get some dry pants. The restuarant is full of hikers! Some have been there two days having been caught in the weather- the owners let everyone move the tables to the side of the room and sleep on the floor last night and will again tonight. There’s a massive fireplace, so this sounds like a brilliant plan to me!  It’s a reuinion with nearly everyone I started with at Campo, plus a bunch I’ve never met.
Up the road the outfitters is small in size but is packed to the brim with EVERYTHING. You could kit out your entire hike, including food from here. I get rain pants, waterproof socks, waterproof gloves and grab a bunch of bars for my resupply. Yay all the shopping done! One of the guys from day 1 is here getting a new tent already – his is not waterproof. I’m happy my little notch withstood the test,  but am jealous of the weight saving his fancy new cuben fibre tent would provide. At nearly $600 for the cuben fibre I’ll stick with mine for now!

There is a wait list for the shower so I sit shivering, eating a dodgy veggie burger and trying to warm up for the next 90ish minutes. When I finally get in the shower is divine! It’s far from 4 seasons but all I care about is the hot water. I want to stay there forever but have been given strict 8 min instructions and the lady is scary.

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My clothes are already soaking so I take the chance to wash them with some random mens shower gel left in the shower.
  Back in the restaurant I get introduced to a game called Hive, chat about random things and basically just sit in a daze for a long time because the snow has zapped me of all energy.

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When dinner time rolls around we have musical entertainment! He’s got the Elvis lip thing happening and kind of reminds me of the guy from Red Dog. We get a mix of country and folk ish songs. I sing along to the Johnny Cash and feel like I’m truly in Merica 🙂

We get ordered around, the tables and chairs are stacked,  our wet clothes are spread out in front of the fire and finally about 11pm all the little hiker slugs are spread out across the floor, cocooned in sleeping bags and overdue for  zzzzZzzzzZz …..

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*no photos of the snow sorry! Too cold for that- my fingers weren’t working!

Lesson #1 of the day- don’t listen to runners on the PCT, only hikers!
Lesson #2 of the day- get a backup battery

Beck vs The Resupply

I land in LA, exhausted from only 3 hours sleep over my 22h of traveling but determined to smash out my resupply like a boss.
Resupply is preparing food and other sundries to send to myself at specific points along the trail. I’m determined not to have the crappy hiker diet that focuses purely on calories in and not nutrition, plus I don’t eat the animals so I need to make myself yummy boxes to send ahead. I will pick these up at various locations- post offices, hiker “trail angel” houses, hotels and even “gas stations”. I’m only sending boxes to specific towns that have no decent shops to buy from, that way my schedule is a little more flexible (I won’t ‘have’ to stop in towns, or worse wait a day or so until the post office reopens if I get there on a weekend), plus I anticipate getting thoroughly sick of whatever food I post myself so buying in towns will mix it up.

After sorting my rental car out I start out with a bang- I find an amazing co-op with lots of vegan options, including bulk dehydrated soups, beans, hummus. I go overboard buying way too much museli – there were 15 different options! Mmm

Next stop is REI where I need to pick up a new sleeping pad and poles, plus a few other bits and pieces such as fuel for my stove, bug head net (mine had a fight with some velcro and came off second best), a new spork and mug (mine disappeared in my house move!) And a new pair of socks to post up ahead on the trail.

I head on over to the apartment of a lovely friend from college Heather and her husband Mark. They have very generously opened their home to me as mission control for sorting out all the boxes.
After some catching up we brave costco! Here I buy a bazillion ziplock bags, nuts, dried fruit, entirely too many Ibuprofen, electrolyte drink powder…and a few othr bits and bobs. A quick zoom past the post office and I collect a pile of empty boxes.

Day 1 of resupply is finished with a visit to a fantastic vegan restaurant Cafe Gratitude.  I have their cookbook which is filled with delicious sweets. No trip to LA is complete without a celebrity spotting, and the lovely Rachael Taylor is exiting the cafe as we enter. As one of the hallmarks of the cafe, after taking our orders the waitress gives us a question to chew over – what are you committed to? Well, I’m committed to a little 50cm wide and 4260km long piece of dirt for the next little while at least.

Day 2 and  I get a US sim sorted, head to the delicious Trader Joes (flattened bananas! Freeze dried strawberries!)  and Whole Foods (kale chips! Mashed potato!), get a new lens (18-55mm – yes I have swapped my amazingly awesome primes for a zoom. 🙁 unfortunately weight dictates that zoom makes the most sense) and a couple more memory cards, and general fluff…
Again I attack the food, try and divvy up portions and get a handle on the food situation. It appears there is no handle. So many bits and pieces and a few more bits. I’m in and out of the car heading back to the same shops picking up things I forgot. After my kick-bum start, I have entered some kind of resupply / jetlag vortex. I’m constantly buying, shopping, packing yet nothing seems to progress!

Day 3:  Fedex has lost a package that was supposed to be delivered from LA…to LA. It contained my maps, my tyvek sheet and stuff sack for my clothes. I’m holding out because I really want to portion out the maps into my boxes. 4 phone calls later they are no closer to finding (or even looking for??) my package. I hold out for one more night in case it arrives.
Still boxing. Packing. Dividing.
A visit to the restaurant Sage finishes the day beautifully. I think I’ll be dreaming about the superfood icecream for a while!
I go to bed thinking I have around 2 hours more of packing and then I’ll head off!

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Day 4:  8 hours later (just *slightly* more than 2…) and finally the resupply is conquered. I somehow miss a box I was supposed to pack, have way too much breakfast food left over (and not enough dinner) and end up not really knowing what to expect in each box!
The remaining snack food, wipes and vitamins are boxed up to be sent to Ashland in Oregon later on where I will sort out resupply for Oregon and Washington.

The boxes are all posted complete with little kangaroo road signs on the sides (for easy recognition amongst the hiler boxes), much to the confusion of the post workers. They have no idea what general delivery is, can’t understand what I’m doing, but wish me luck on my way out.

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Massive massive gratitude to Heather and Mark and Watson (dog) and Romeo (cat) for letting me take over! I don’t think they quite knew what they were in for but were so helpful and gracious with all my crap collecting. My first trail angels!! 🙂

I’m now on the train heading to San Diego where angel #2 Bob will be picking me up, hosting me for the night and driving me to the trail head in the morning. In the morning!!! Less than 10h from now.
Holy giant trail batman.
All of a sudden it is almost seeming real. No doubt with 6L of water on my back plus all my gear it will feel too real.

But I’m committed. What are you committed to? 🙂

Crickets In My Head: When Brain Stops and Holiday Begins

To get an idea what the last two weeks have been like, stick your head out the car side window like your dog, drive at 200km/h, through a swarm of bees, blindfolded.
So. Much. To. Do.

I’m not sure if I got it all done, but I gave it my best and I have great people on the ground to help clean up whatever I have left behind! (I already know I’ve left my bloody eftpos card behind!! 😣).

When my lovely friend Kaarin arrived with an hour to spare before taking me to the airport, I still wasn’t  packed. You know when you are so stressed you can’t actually form a sentence either in your head or out loud? When the hamsters on their little wheels inside your head have spun so fast they fell off and are lying dizzy flat on the ground with their little wheels left hamsterless making creepy rusted squeaky noises like in horror movies? Yeah. Something like that. Kaarin missed her calling as a drill sergeant and took on the role of being my brain for the next hour and suddenly-  it was done.

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Stuff and things
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Mission control 1h before leaving

50000000 cuddles with my doggies later we left. I’m going to miss those little bundles of awesome so much!!! Especially when it’s cold – they are awesome hot water puppies.

Managed to get us all in the lounge at the airport and had a last celebratory glass of wine before jumping on the plane.

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We so pretty

This whole crazy idea of a trip has not felt real at all. It’s only ever existed as theory in my head, and I’ve been so busy I was convinced that once I stepped in the plane it would all make magical sense. Nup.  My new theory is that once I start walking it will feel more real. Only a few more days and I’ll see!

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Walk on The Wild Side

I have my permit!!!
A little electronic collection of pixels that somehow give me magical powers to walk a superhero distance carrying superhero weight on my back.
This almost-a-piece-of-paper that is my little key to adventure and pain and excitement and a whole new world of experiences I haven’t yet imagined.

This is kind of the middle of the story, but is also the start. There should be all the decisions and the whys and the how did I come to be here with this almost-paper, but none of those things meant anything until the permit arrived. Now there is a story, because with the paper I can get my VISA, book my flight and make my way over to the US to walk along a beautifully brutal footpath in the wilderness called the PCT.

So we may get to some whys and hows later, but for now the story is I AM GOING!  I have a bag full of obsessively researched things, a head full of mysterious words like ‘Campo’, ‘Sierra’, ‘Tehachapi’, ‘Stehekin’, ‘Nero’, ‘Zero’ that all have book meaning to me, but not yet the experience. I have things to pack, things to buy, maps to study (studying on how to study a map), so many many lists.

So much excitement, and stress. And possibility. Here is one little “WHY?” (there are so many) – because I can :).