Supplies and Supplying

The cycles of light and dark are different from inside a house. Day and night lose some of their meaning as I push back against both – walls, roofs, curtains all conspiring to darkness in daytime, while switches everywhere await a near-effortless command to bring light in an instant at night. The power’s enough to cause a superiority complex; disconnection, above, beyond, instead of connection, one with, part of. Just one more reason, I think, to get back outside and stay a while.

Still, I’d forgotten how intensive preparing for a hike can be. Continue reading

Hiking = Fundraising

I’ve spoken on this before, but I think hiking a long trail is an ultimately selfish endeavor. While I do my best to share my hikes and experience with y’all – on this platform as well as on Instagram/via email through the Contact form/in person at events – ultimately I’m opting out of most daily stressors, even if I can never really escape the implications of history, my gender, or the color of my skin. To offset this privilege somewhat, I like to raise money while I hike in support of a non-profit organization doing important outdoors work.

So this year, while hiking the Grand Enchantment Trail, I’m raising money for Earthjustice.

Earthjustice is a legal non-profit focused on litigation that preserves the existence and quality of our outdoor spaces. This non-profit come highly recommended by several of my environmental esquire friends, both those who are practicing lawyers and those who aren’t practicing at present – plus some of their colleagues, who have worked for the organization before1. They work on everything from clean water to preserving wild space to challenging oil and gas intrusions both on public lands and in places where it impacts everyday life. They also work to right the wrongs of environmental racism. I’m hoping they can use the law to do what all my phone calls and heated letters to representatives haven’t managed to do.

While over the last two hikes, I’ve raised over $3100 for Big City Mountaineers – a very worthy organization that gets underprivileged urban (and mostly brown) youth into the outdoors for a day or a week at a time – I’ve begun to worry that by the time this administration is finished, there won’t be an outdoors for them or anyone else to be in. You should totally donate to Big City Mountaineers as well, if you have the means – and if you’re interested in me starting an open-ended fundraiser for them too, let me know in the comments – but I’m focusing my efforts on Earthjustice for this particular hike.

I’m attempting to raise $770, a dollar for each mile of the hike. I don’t see any of this money – it gets to Earthjustice through an organization set up for such funds distribution. As in years past, any donation will get you thanks in a “Thank You” post on this here website after the hike’s completion, but those who donate $25 or more will get a hand-written postcard from yours truly. Due to the more remote nature of the Grand Enchantment Trail and my potential inability to actually find postcards along the way, I’ll be sending said postcards after I finish the hike. Each postcard will feature a photo from the hike, and be postmarked no later than June 20th.

So help me help Earthjustice. Because the earth *does* need a good lawyer.


[1] I’m finding this to be more and more important in organizations I support. No sense supporting an organization that doesn’t support the people who make the mission happen.

Oh Boy, Here I Go…

I’ve been hush-hush about it, waiting for all the pieces to fall into place, but it’s finally actually really going to happen:

I’m headed out to attempt the Grand Enchantment Trail in about a month.

The route – not so much a trail this time – runs 770-odd miles from Phoenix to Albuquerque, through mountains and deserts and hot springs(!). It’s also gonna be a bit of a reunion, as I’ll be accompanied by Raging Pineapple, who I hiked over a thousand miles with on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2016. I’ll be blogging(!!) daily(!!!), just like from the PCT, and I’m excited to get back to both of the things I love to do.

I’ll be updating the site over the next few weeks – and updating the blog as I do – to talk gear, the route, and the non-profit fundraiser I’ll inevitably do. Check back or sign up for updates to see all the fun!

Start Your Engines

Spesh and I are about to emerge from our training cocoons as Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer butterflies, so I thought I’d just give a bit of an update before the longer updates begin:

  • I’ll be doing updates at least once a week from here on out; rather than labeling these by days/weeks, as is my wont, I’m gonna label them with real-time mileage from our Subaru. So don’t get confused if you see I’ve “hiked” 1000+ miles in a week. I’m not that awesome.
  • Part of the job is to travel cool places and do cool things, so I’ll have plenty of adventures to tell you about, starting tomorrow. I’m going to try to make Thursday publishing day; anything I publish any other day will be bonussssss awww yisss.
  • More information on the job and what it entails, including links and such, can now be found on The Route page; any questions that doesn’t answer you can ask here in the comments, or hit me up through the Contact page.
  • Also Snorkel wrote a book that I (and many others) contributed to; it’s called Backpacker Long Trails, and it’s already been favorably reviewed on Reddit. It’s ENORMOUS and has all sorts of rad information in it for both beginners and folks who’re looking to refine their technique or go ultralight or or or. I think it’s a boss resource that basically mimics my introduction to backpacking – as very straightforward tips from a variety of people with a variety of styles who all want to see you succeed.
  • Also also apparently they named a dinosaur after Zuul. Real life has conspired to bring together my trail name and my trail shenanigans. (That it’s apparently the ‘Destroyer of Shins’ is just a bonus.)

Tomorrow it’s fun fun fun with a post about training and physical sickness and metaphysical sickness – see you then!

Next Steps

After months of stasis, things are finally starting to come alive again. And it’s not just the winter, which felt shorter than usual – it’s been rare that I’ve worn a coat in the last two weeks – but after a dearth of work, a dearth of purpose, things are finally picking back up on the life front.  Continue reading

New Hike’s Eve

I barely get any sleep – my mind’s constantly bouncing from one incidental to another, and it’s hard to get it to calm down. I know it’s really just avoiding the real start of my journey – leaving Colorado, leaving Spesh, leaving home. Another thought crosses: maybe if I never go to sleep, then tonight will last forever! But I don’t want that, I want to go, want to hike, even if it’s throwing my life into a shambles to do so. Or, at least, the state of my apartment, all a-covered in gear.
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Never Alone

When I first started this blog in the fall of 2014, planning to hike the PCT in the spring of 2015, I did so partly because I love to write and my mother I wanted a place where I could prove I hadn’t been eaten by a bear share my experiences, being human and a woman and brown and hiking.

I also did so partly after having inquired around the PCT community and scouted around and done quite a bit of Googling, finding that there seemed to be no place, no person that would tell me, as a black woman, about what to expect re: socio-racial relations on the trail. At least, not that I could find. Continue reading

Last-Minute Necessities

It’s nearly a week from my departure date, and my apartment has exploded in gear and resupply food and ziplocs, more ziplocs than any human should ever need. I’ve spent evenings surrounded by the pages of Yogi’s Guide, figuring out where to stop, where to shop, where to mail and when; squinting to interpret the initially-arcane PCT Water Report; making sure I’ve got maps in both hard copy and soft copy. I’ve also tended to a dozen more real-world things than I’ve cared to – what are taxes and car registrations and employer meetings in comparison to hiking? – but I’m not there yet, I’m here, and even though I’ve taken care of business in every instance that’s come up, I still feel as though I’m forgetting something.

Like, after getting this amazing, entirely-unexpected opportunity, paying it forward.

So I’ve decided to fundraise for Big City Mountaineers again. Big City Mountaineers is an organization devoted to mentoring under-served urban youth in the outdoors, offering over 1,000 teens per year the opportunity to participate in single day, overnight, and week-long expeditions in the backcountry. These trips are given free of charge to participants in hopes they will foster new connections with themselves, with their peers, with volunteer mentors, and with the environment. As urban youth are preponderantly youth of color, I thought it appropriate that a hiker encouraging folks of all colors to get outside support an organization with a similar cause.

So if you’d like to help me spread the outdoorsy love, please consider donating. Even a $5 donation supports a teen’s full day in the backcountry; every little effort counts. And to sweeten the pot a little, any donation of $30 or more will see a postcard from the trail in return!

…starting in about a week.

So it’ s buying smartwater bottles for their lids and buying a pack of trash compactor bags for a single one and turning local places upside down for leukotape, and then… walking.

And hoping that, with your help, I can help others experience the challenge, the escape, and the solace there is to be found in exploring the great outdoors.

To and ‘Fro

It seems weird that, of all the things I have to do before I hike the PCT in a few weeks, doing something with my hair is one of my top priorities. I’ve been pretty broke too lazy to actually do something with it all winter – stuffing it into a Buff whenever it got out of hand – but when I’m potentially not going to have access to someone who even knows that black hair is different from white hair for five months of my life1, now’s the time to figure out how I’m going to deal.
Continue reading