Some musings and lessons from a month on the trail 5/17

First and foremost, congrats to Kris on making it back home after three months in the hospital. Keep up the recovery and we can see the Boundary Waters when I get back!

Sidewalk in Minnesota – Photo courtesy of Bethany
  • Don’t keep leuko tape on for longer than recommended it’ll give you more blisters.
  • Don’t keep leuko tape on for longer than the recommended or you’ll get a skin rash.
  • Even out here it is hard to slow down the pace of life. I am often reminded of a poem from John Donahue – For One Who Is Exhausted
  • It is hard to believe how full the day is when you are walking for 10 plus hours.
  • Feeling stuck, disheartened, tired and exhausted, frustrated, or envious, just take one step at a time. (Definitely still working on this.)
  • What does it mean to be feel strong or to be strong. Often thinking on John Krakauer from Into the Wild “I read somewhere… how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong, but to feel strong… to measure yourself at least once.” That has definitely been a factor when it has come to this and the previous BWCA trips.
  • Through hiking the does not make you homeless!!! I could write a whole list on just this subject.
  • I will push myself harder if it is for someone else than if it is the same thing for myself.
  • There is a fair amount of crossover between Stoic Philosophy and Mindfulness. Thanks to Tim for the Epictetus book!

More to come next month!

Hiker Heaven

Hiker Heaven 5/17-18

Did a moderate 18 mile downhill hike into Hiker Heaven in the sun! It definitely felt nice to have the sun out after the past couple of windy/rainy days and unfortunately more rain is in the forecast…

I have been hearing that Southern California doesn’t typically get this much rain in 3 months as we have these past few days which compared to Minnesota still isn’t much but definitely sheds a different light on the desert section when compared to a more typical year.

Hiker Heaven has been great. All the essentials are here showers, laundry, close restaurants and good company. I could hardly believe it when I wanted into the Mexican restaurant that Mikayla was there. I haven’t seen her since day one! She moved in the next morning after shaving her head while I stuck around to enjoy a much needed rest. After the we few days my feet really needed it. Blisters definitely become a much bigger issue for me when my feet are wet.

I’ve also been able to reconnect with several others who I had been passing on the trail. Gigs, Perry, Roxi, and Nigel have all passed through these past few days. I’d like to stay longer especially with the coming rain and healing blisters but the Saufley’s request that hikers spend no more than 2 nights here.

I wasn’t able to get sound but I did get to video chat with everyone at Freddy’s 1st birthday. Happy birthday Freddy!

Vasquez Rock County Park – a bit like Arches National Park but on a small scale
Keeping warm around the fire at Hiker Heaven
Why you need to change your leuko tape
Perry fully embracing 1980’s American culture

Another wet one 5/16

I got off to a very late start today because of the wind and rain. I caught a break around 11 and quickly packed up in the hopes of pushing far enough to make it to Agua Dulce tomorrow.

Once I was on the move I was in and out of clouds, rain and even some more hail. It was also a quiet day on the trail because of the weather. I only saw two others until I made camp at the North Folk Ranger station at mile 436. Ron was managing the station as a volunteer for the California Hikers Coalition and was selling pop and granola bars for a dollar.

I did get a break from the rain for lunch. The sun poked out for an hour and I took the time to eat and call Gus too wish him a happy birthday. It was brief as they were adventuring at Minihaha Falls but good to talk to the Krischs.

Mist amidst the burned trees
Rain off in the distance

Windy Wednesday 5/15

Not too much to report today. Hiked another 20ish miles. My feet were feeling better after a good night’s rest. Perhaps the road walking was a bit much for them yesterday.

Walked through more burn areas and finally saw my first Poodle Dog Bush. You definitely don’t want to touch them as they can cause blistering rashes that’ll last for several weeks.

There has often been a lot of wind but today was particularly bad. I set up camp as close as I could to some bushes for protection but even so my tent is flapping wildly. Hopefully the rain in the forecast doesn’t compound the issue.

Tomorrow I hope to put myself in striking distance of Agua Dulce were I think I will take a day off from the trail as I haven’t had a zero since Idlywild.

Manzanita berries. Tastes like green apple!
Don’t touch the PDB

400 miles in 4 weeks 5/14

Camped just past the 400 mile mark and it feels pretty good to see the miles tick away. However, my feet are currently not feeling too happy about it. My left achilles and both soles have been achy for the past few days. It is probably getting to be time to replace my shoes or at least my insoles. Sadly, the super feet insoles I’ve been using seem to only last about 100 miles.I’m just a few days shy of one month on the trail and it has given me cause to reflect a bit on my time out here. For the most part, I’ve been focusing this blog on what has been happening and my progress but I think I’m going to do something a little different for my one month anniversary.

Hwy 2 detour to avoid Mountain Yellow Frog habitat. Fortunately, Hwy 2 was closed so I had it all to myself!

Eating it kind of late but delicious birthday cake!

Mother’s day and the mountain 5/12-13

I am on top of Mt. Burnham and once the sun went down the temp dropped real quick. I received an email about bills back home not going through so I’m just going to post some pictures and get some sleep. Cheers!

Climbed one side and then the other of this valley
Hiking through a close ski resort
Hiking straight up Baden Powell. Hopefully you can get a sense of the incline with Nigel ahead of me.
Patriotic shot of the peak.
Setting up camp on neighboring Mt. Burnham

Blame the weatherman 5/11

It was s pleasant surprise to wake and check the weather to see that what rain/storms they were expecting had cleared. It was another wet start but by 9 the sky had cleared.

Nigel caught up to me fairly early in the day and we don’t the rest of it waking together. Made it down to Cajon pass for lunch only to find dark clouds again and a storm warning that included quarter sized hail. At that point we did get a bit of a sprinkle but soon enough the skies cleared again.

I ran into Katie today who was the very first hiker I met. She and I shared a ride to Scout and Frodo’s way back before hitting the trail. It was quite the surprise because I haven’t seen her on the trail since Mt. Laguna which was day 3(?) and I had to stop because of my foot.

The day ended with a dinner full of laughs with a couple Nigel and I had just met that afternoon, Roxi and Perry. We made animal noises from the bushes of our camp as a large pack of hikers walked by and returned our calls in kind.

Fresh fruit in my oatmeal courtesy of Fish Tank!
Kids don’t try this at home
Roxi, Perry and Nigel discussing Aussie things

Hot springs and a long walk 5/10

Ended up walking 25 miles today. Longer than originally planned but I was motivated by food and running water. Still hoping to make it to Wrightwood by Sunday so I can have a birthday shower and be able to call home but it is looking like a tall order. We’ll just have to see what tomorrow brings… other than a 60% chance of thunder storms.

Waking up to what would be another wet day.
Spent a good two hours soaking in the hot springs
Beautiful section of trail… however it is covered in graffiti and litter.
Giant pipes outside Mojave River Forks Dam
A little trail magic from Fish Tank to end the day

Deep Creek 5/9

Today turned out to be a real nice day. The sun was out but not too hot, the trail was not too difficult and I was able to get in 19 miles with plenty of time to take a long lunch by Deep Creek which I had been following much of the day. Kiwi Keith and I played leap frog much of the day on the trail and we settled in at a camp site around mile 304.Shortly after setting up camp two different German groups came to join us. I had dinner with three of them (Jonas, Viviana and Martin). They all came from the same village in Germany on the Rhein close to the capitol when Germany was split (I’m now blanking on the name).The next couple of days have some rain in the forecast but I’m still planning on stopping by the hot springs tomorrow morning and then booking it to Wrightwood before Curt leaves and my birthday.

Goodbye Big Bear and Curt 5/8

We woke and gathered our things at the hostel for the 9am checkout and then made our way back to the trail. We left the trail on the east side of the lake so much of the day was spent hiking west around lake.We were treated to some real nice views of the city as well as the mountains ahead of us. Around 6 we stopped for supper and the Curt kept moving up the trail. He has a couple of big days ahead of him to reach Wrightwood by the 11th so that he can meet his parents.I’m camped at Little Bear Springs with Kiwi Keith who I just met tonight. Tomorrow I will pass mile 300 and hope to camp just outside of the hot springs! But now it is time for bed and earplugs to dampen the noise of planes coming into LAX.

Pretty and found it surprising that when in bloom the flowers shade out almost all the leaves.
Wave goodbye to Bear Lake
Valley, mountains, clouds, mountains