300 miles (482 km)!!!

Will update blog day after tomorrow but since I have cell service, just wanted to quickly update:

Yesterday, I passed 300 miles.

  
Most of the people I started with are already days ahead of me because I’ve been taking too many days off in town but oh well!!! I’m taking my time and I wouldn’t have it any other way! ❤️🌁

Day 22 & 23

day 22 – mile 226 to 232 – 6 miles

Lazy day!!! Sun was hot, we were camped near a creek so just lazed out, read maps, napped and chatted with Gabe about food we would eat at Big Bear. 

Conversations about food are normal on the trail. Questions about what our perfect meal would be, etc, entertain me while I eat shitty food like Ramen noodles and protein bars.

We headed out at 5pm and we’d meant to go to at least 236 but moon was so pretty that, on a break at 232, we got so tired that we cowboy camped there with the intention of getting up early.

Day 23 – Mile 232 to 250 – 18 miles (around 29 km)

I woke up at 5am and headed out alone since Gabe wanted to sleep in. We agreed to meet up at mile 240.

I took my time, took a break at mile 235 and met Ryan, a chef from Wisconsin who moved to Chicago. He was hilarious and we chatted and he took off. 

I then moved on, knowing I had miles of uphill ahead of me, to get to Big Bear to see my friend. Some fallen trees were ahead of me and I decided to climb over them. 

As I climbed over them, something pulled my backpack and I fell. My first fall on the trail. And OF COURSE, there had to be the uncommon poisonous plant, “poodle dog bush” ( Poodle Dog Description ) right where I fell. It touched my face, my hands, my arms and legs. Living and hiking in SoCal, I know what it is, unlike most people. I freaked out, got out of its way and dropped my pack. I then ran to the creek below and rinsed myself and trekking poles over and over and over, praying I wasn’t one of the few that have severe allergies to it since I was hiking alone and couldn’t afford to go into respiratory distress. Since I’m not allergic to poison oak (I’ve sat on it and touched it many times with no reaction), I prayed the same would happen now.

  
The plants you see are “Poodle Dog”. That’s where I fell.

Keeping calm in the wilderness is important. I told myself I did everything I could do and that freaking out wouldn’t help. I hurried up the hill, knowing I’d see people around mile 239.9, where the last water resource for 16 miles was and where there were campgrounds.

I met “Taxi” on the way up. I told him what happened. He calmed me down with some jokes and hiked on ahead of me.

I met “Caveman” from Tennessee along with a group of other young hikers on a break, up the hill.

I moved on ahead, filled up with water at 238. And moved to 239.9, where it started hailing suddenly. Another hiker “Brian”, who’d done the Appalachian Trail, set up his tent alongside mine. He was awesome and we chatted for a while.  I changed my clothing to get rid of any remnants of Poodle Dog Bush and waited for Gabe.

   
         
He came a bit later and we hiked to 250, where my amazing friend, Clarissa, picked us up and brought us to Subway (which I was craving). I was exhausted and so happy to see her, I almost cried. That day took a lot of out of me. But, hey, I got to Big Bear!!! Yay!!! 

Day 20 & 21

I’m a bit behind on my blogs. Had a few people worry about me. Sorry!! But not really. I was lost in the mountains… Not literally, of course, but I had no service.

Day 20 – 5.2 miles in the morning and then 6 at night. So around 11 miles

Woke up early to get to Ziggy and the Bear. Crossed some dry desert and came across another rattler who shook his rattle at us to warn us we were about to step on him

 
And then kept going. It was all flat but got hot fast and we were sweating profusely by the time we got to the 10 freeway.

   
  

    

Thankfully, by the time we got under the freeway, we found some trail magic – someone had left a cooler with ice cold sodas and clementines! The other hikers from mile 206, Wild Bill and Deep, had caught up to us by that time.

       

I usually hate soda but had a Dr Pepper which was ice cold and tasted delicious. Had a couple of clementines and then we moved on, determined to beat the worst of the heat.

Got to Ziggy and The Bear, a husband and wife who’d been hosting hikers for forever. They literally have hearts of gold. Both were so kind and graciously let us, complete strangers, into their home. Signed us in, gave us a cold Gatorade and showed us the showers and everything.

Jen had a friend driving nearby sometime in the day and I had been obsessing about In N Out –  a West Coast hamburger joint with debatably the best burgers EVERRRR. Jen assured me she’d get me to it if her friend would take us. This made the heat much easier to bear.

However, all of us hikers got hungry fast and ordered Little Ceasar’s pizza. I shared a whole pizza with Kim. Everyone else got their own huge box of pizza. Proof:

  
That meant I wasn’t hungry at all anymore, not even for In N Out so when a past PCT hiker offered a ride into town, I didn’t take him up for it. But, mentally, I still wanted a double double, protein style – no onions- with light spread. But the pizza had filled my intestines and there was nothing I could do but pray it come out before I left to hike again.

I spent the rest of the day, chugging water with electrolytes and praying for the heat to stop. My feet hurt. I thought I’d stay an extra day and leave at night the next day but, when the day started to cool down around 6pm, I felt alive and just wanted to hike. I had to wait a bit for my new awesome friend, Jen, to finish dinner with her friend and pack up before we could go but, around 8:30pm, we finally said our goodbyes with the moon shining brightly for us.

“Billy The Goat”, an older hiker who’s hiked the PCT and many other trails, gave us some good pointers and wished us on our merry way.

We awkwardly had to climb under some barbwire fence since we didn’t take the same route back to the trail but we were stoked to be going out. We were adventurers!!!! 

Jen was a trooper for being a new night hiker. Was hard to get any good shots since my iPhone is horrible at taking night shots.

We wanted to get to mile 218.6 that night, to the Whitewater Preserve. That meant 8.6 miles of night hiking. With us averaging around 2 1/2 miles per hour, that meant we wouldn’t get there until about 1-2am.

We got to a little over 216 and then encountered a REALLY crumbled up section of trail on a cliff side which we felt was really dangerous to cross so decided to camp out a little back, where we came from.

 
Pic of the trail the next day. Not so bad in sunlight but, at night, it was bad, that’s all loose gravel.

Day 21: mile 216 to 218.6 and then 218.6  to 226.2 – a little more than 10 miles 

Woke up to cows shrieking desperately. I’ve lived in New Mexico and have NEVER heard such terrifying shrieks from cows. Jen has also hiked in and near herds of cows and had never heard anything. It was as if one of the cows had fallen and was yelling for help with his parents or fellow family cows yelling back at him/her.

We quickly got up, packed up and got our asses to Whitewater Preserve, which was an oasis. Bathrooms, wading pool, beautiful white sand and free camping for PCT hikers

We saw a snake coming in. Not sure what type of snake that was though. It wasn’t a rattler.

 
We set up camp, I ate and then slept on and off for many hours, having had such horrible sleep the last few nights. It was super windy.

   

  

  

 

Around 5:30, Gabriel – someone I’d met before on trail – came around, about to leave. He hung around until I was ready to go.

My shin was throbbing painfully and both Jen and Gabe told me it was shin splints, something new to me. 

We wanted to get to 226. So we night hiked, despite everyone’s injuries coming out to play, to the creek to camp. Jen wanted to do more miles but Gabe and I were pooped so we all crashed.

Here are some pics  

  

Just outside of Whitewater Preserve

  

Jen and Gabe. Jen hates when I take pics. Lol

  

Some bones!

The day before full moon. The moon was magnificent and I didn’t need my headlamp at all.

   

  

Day 16, 17 , 18 & 19

16, 17 were zero days in Idyllwild. No hiking done on the trail. Just laundry, lots of eating (like TOO much eating. Glutton style),  

  
 resting feet, going to doctor to get some Indomethicin and ended up getting some anti-inflammatory shot in the butt too). 

Got to hang out with my friend, Sean, and saw his family who were so nice. I got my Epsom Salt bath with wine, as well, which is turning out to be a ritual now (not that I’m complaining! It’s the best!). Looked at upcoming trail maps (estimating time, difficulty, weight, etc) and working out resupplies. Feels like I’m getting a lot better at estimating my food and water intake now which means I don’t carry as much food and water.

  
Working on resupply boxes to Big Bear.

Day 18 – 11.2 miles

Sean drove us to The Devil’s Slide Trail which reconnected us to the PCT (where the fire closure ended around mile 178).Took off with Jenn later in the morning. 

  
It was basically 2.6 vertical miles of The Devil’s Slide Trail and then several more vertical miles. 

Lovely views that day:

   
Tahquitz Peak on the left and Suicide Rock on the right.

  
Some snow left coming down San Jacinto area.

   

Last water source was at 186. Jenn left ahead of me on one of my breaks but I caught up with her there and, since we’d gotten such a late start, the sun was already starting to set so I scouted an off trail camp spot about .6 miles from the water spot where we  could watch and take pics of the sunset.

   
     
I was exhausted after all the uphill so crashed as soon as sun had set but woke up from the bright moon hanging over me. It was so bright, my body woke up, thinking it was daytime.

  
Day 19 – mile 186 to 206

My first 20 mile day!!!!! Beautiful views at the start of the day.

   
       It was a bit of a climb in the morning but then a shitload of downhill with no shade. Saw some deer, snakes and probably 400 lizards of all shapes and sizes. I almost stepped on a rattler myself. Usually, I hike with one earpiece only in the desert so I can hear rattlers or hikers coming up behind me but, with the disgustingly hot heat, I was blasting both earbuds to will myself through the hot section.

   
         I saw and heard of many people misjudging water intake that day (I almost ran out too – had only 1/2 liter for last 2 miles but since I waited out the heat mid day, it was fine). There was no water until 206.

Jen hoped to get to Ziggy & The Bear (trail angels who open their home to hikers – letting them take showers and hand wash laundry, get food, etc) but we were dead and the sun had basically set by the time we got down the 7000 ft elevation drop. Camped at 206 along with some other hikers (Wild Bill & German hiker, Deep).

Slept under a lunar (moon) halo that night. It was spectacular but I had the worst sleep. Couldn’t sleep with so much light but couldn’t keep hiking either since my feet ached so bad after the 20 miles 

Day 14 & 15

Day 14 – 124 to 140ish – 16 miles (did 1/2 mile to water too)

I couldn’t catch up with Jenn the day before so after horrible sleep, I went to 127 to trail angel Mike Herrera ‘s house, where I had beer and a tequila shot for breakfast. Met Benji, Dang and Rita May there and some others. 

   
   The storm was rolling in and I wanted to get a move on. 

   
       Found a camp site at 140 with Dang. He’s a writer from Oklahoma. We chatted for a while but it was raining so ran inside our tents.

Day 15 – 140 to 151.9 to Paradise Valley Cafe and then hitch to Idyllwild 

Due to fire closure from PCT mile 162 to mile 177 , there was much fuss and debate amongst the hikers as to whether or not to just hitch to Idyllwild and get back on PCT at mile 178 or do the reroute, which involves dangerous highway walking (a local showed me where the alternate route and there was literally NO space on the shoulder of the highway. More than 4 locals I met strongly recommended skipping the reroute). 

Some purists claim it’s “cheating” if you just hitch to Idyllwild. To them, I say “hike your own fuckin hike!!” . I live near Idyllwild so, if I have enough time to get to Canada, I can always come back and do the section I missed. It’s NOT a big deal!!! But somehow quite a few hikers are all up in arms about it. Duuuuuuude, I just wanna hike!!!! Lololol

It was hot!!!! But I met so many cool people and got amazing fish tacos at Paradise Valley Cafe and a few beers. 

       

This cactus cracked me up. It’s like a foot cactus 

Day 11, 12 & 13

Day 11 – from mile 91 to 104ish? 13ish miles/22 1/2 km

I HIT A HUNDRED MILES!!!  (Just under 161 km!) 

 

Warner Springs was just a tad too far for my feet so I walked through so many empty fields with cows in the far distance and finally found a campsite. I wanted to cowboy camp (no tent) but the clouds looked pretty ominous and felt chilly, like it does before rain.

Some coyotes danced and laughed around my campsite at night but it didn’t bother me. I think that was the best night of sleep I’ve had on the trail yet. 

   
  
Day 12- 104 to 109.5 (Warner Springs) 5 1/2 miles/8.9(?) km

Woke up and saw some Aussies (Steve & Amelia) coming up from the trail. They said they’d just seen a mountain lion cub. This freaked me out since where there’s a cub, there must be a mommy and I didn’t want to be in between them. I asked them if they were sure it was a mountain lion and they pointed it out – it was slinking near the other tree just behind me. It was huge but I noticed it had tufts on its ears so had to be a bobcat. Thank goodness!!

 
The arrow is where the huge cat was slinking around!

Bumped into the crew I’d met the day before – Honest Abe, Cheetah, Jay and an OG (Original Gangster) hiker by the name of JZ – he did the PCT – the first time – in 1987!!! It was a lot shorter then – ie, the 20 miles to Lake Morena was only about 7 or 9 miles back then since the trail wasn’t totally established then. He’s also a triple Crowner (meaning he’s done all 3 major trails in U.S. – the PCT, the CDT – Continental Divide Trail – and the AT – Appalachian Trail). Met a dude by the trail name of FM who was nice.

  
Took some pics at Eagle Rock with them – which is a natural rock formation that I swear someone sculpted to look like an eagle. 

   
      Made it to Warner Springs Resource Center which was amazing – had a burger there and they did laundry and had everything set up to help hikers (they take donations and all donations go towards helping their small community). 

My faith in humanity is being restored as I get help from these angelic people. It looked like it was going to rain so we all camped out there. 

Met some other amazing people, like Jenn (aka Bodysnatcher), saw Brad – the Aussie Hike Bike Safari blogger – again which was cool. Saw one of my favorite people, Mitchell, again. He’d been attacked by poison oak in Julian and I thought I’d never see him again since he does such long days and kills it on the mileage.
 
Camping in front of Resource Center  

  

Jenn – she’s a hoot. Funniest bitch on trail making her sexy face

  

Some amazing person came with beer and wine for us !!! 

  

JayZ – I could talk to this man all day. When asked what motivated him to do all these trails “I just love hiking, man”! Super cool dude. Oh, in case you were wondering, he got his name before the rapper. I asked. Lol

  

The sheriff gave us a ride in his patrol SUV to the post office. These are the criminal dirty hikers in the back 😝

 

Mitchell. Going to Berkeley later this year. Good luck man!!! Hope to see you again but I doubt it since you’re so fast. 

 

The sign greeting me when I pulled up with my sore feet.

Day 13 – 109.5 to 124.8 – 15.3 miles/24.6 km

Most mileage I’ve done in a day this far!! That day was never ending fuckin’ uphill. It didn’t end. Finally found some horrible camp spot and kept being woken up by my wet tent slapping me in the face. I refused to get up and handle the tent since it was so wet and cold outside.

Alls I have to say is: my butt better look great after all this hiking and uphill struggles.

Fog and drizzle but I love fog!! Here are some pics 

    

   
 

Day 7,8,9 & 10

day 7 – mile 68 to77.3 so about 9 miles.

Blistering heat, little to no shade. About 9 miles – a few uphill 

   
   and then this

  
Hung out with Kevin, one of the chillest cats I’ve ever met (I later found out, over pizza, that he was a practicing Buddhist which made so much sense). Little did I know, that would be the last hiking I’d do with the man (we started around the same date and he was one of the last from our start date that wasn’t rushing, like me).

Ally, the angel from heaven who hiked with me (and her dog) the first 4 days, offered to pick us up and bring us to Julian. 

All the hotels in Julian were booked (I had a Sunday night booked in Julian and had originally thought I’d camp but my feet were dying from these horrid blisters and swelling from the heat

  so decided to find other lodging just for Saturday – so we stayed at The Apple Tree Inn) but we decided to get some groceries and free meal/pie at Mom’s in Julian (they give free pie and drink to PCT hikers if you have ID and your thru hike permit).

Here’s Ally and I at Mom’s

  
Here’s Kevin: if anybody sees him later (he had to go back to Northern Cali but was planning on coming back to trail), tell him we say hi!!!

  
I was soooo excited to see fruits and veggies after all my shitty (nutrition wise) meals on trail!!!

  
Day 8 & 9 

Stuck in Julian, CA, waiting for my size up shoes to come in. I go wine tasting, take Epsom Salt bath, see local music (think they’re local?), have breakfast at Granny’s (THE best place ever. They have this hanging on the wall)

  
eat pizza, do laundry, pop blisters. You know, the usual. 😝

   
   

  
Day 10:

Soooo foggy and a little drizzly in Julian. Was up at 5am but didn’t think I’d get the 13 mile hitch I needed back to trail fast enough with the Lack of visibility. The mom & pops of 2 sisters that are hiking (Rebecca & her sister… Forgot her name!) offered their car to take a few of us back to Scissors Crossing. Got to trail later than I wanted (around 9:30) but, fortunately, there were winds.

I heard shit about this part of the trail – especially how it has NO shade and you should only attempt it at night or before sun comes up in the AM. I thought it was stunning and 14 miles (77.3 to 91.2)  went smoothly event though I started so late.

Met another fellow blogger I’ve been following – “Hike.Bike.Safari”  ( http://www.bikehikesafari.com ) . He’s some weird Aussie dude (I kid, I kid! he’s cool. 😄😝) that’s been killing it on the miles and travels all the time and is on the PCT now.

  
Camped near water cache at 91. Seemed to be the place to be since everybody camped near there. I had to be the last person out of camp so I could do my business without someone busting in on me (I have a bladder of steel apparently). 

Here are some pics from that day 

   
Cacti in these parts were amazing. These guys were HUGE. A few taller than me!

  

That skinny line is the trail

  

That tree thing is actually spiky like a cactus