Wrap-Up – No Hiker Is An Island

On Friday – after all the heartfelt congratulations and folks who’d never commented before coming out of the woodwork to thank me for writing – it occurred to me that I hadn’t done any formal thank yous for folks who helped me along my hike. Without your support, encouragement, and willingness to take a chance on a stranger, my hike wouldn’t have been what it was, or meant nearly as much to me. So without further ado, I’d like to thank:

Backpacker Magazine and Mountain Hardwear, for making the whole hike possible and providing me with gear that didn’t quit over the course of 2650 miles.

Altra, for making magical shoes and giving me a super shiny hat, gaiters, shoes to give away, and a badass prototype to try out.

Snorkel, for lighting the way and lighting a fire under me, reminding me one should never say never.

Dirty Girl, for her wondrous dirtiness, badass gaiters, and unflagging support.

Carrot, for being a super-supportive badass and giving this aspiring writer something to aspire to.

My parents for being supportive, even though they had their concerns, and my family for calling me crazy with smiles on their faces.

Spesh, for holding down the fort in my absence.

Halfmile, Guthook, the PCTA, and all the Trail Crews for keeping me on trail and making the walk as smooth as possible.

The trail angels I met along the way:
From the folks willing to even have a conversation despite my smell,
To folks willing to take a chance on a hiker-hitchhiker, like Patty and Russ, who picked me up on the side of the road and took me out of their way to or from an off-trail stop,
To friends like Butch and Harue, who drove two hours out of their way to make sure I had a good town day,
To folks like the Andersons and the Saufleys, who open up their homes/yards to a crazy bunch of misfits with a single dream every year, and also like Bill and Kelsey, who decided on a whim to put up a stranger.

My Class of 2016 extended hiker family, including but not limited to, and in no particular order, Pineapple, Undercover, A Game, Sprinkles, Homegrown, Outro, Yoda, Evac, U-Turn, Wolf, Spaceman, Flaming Hot, Meerkat, Six, Cookie Scrambler, Blackout, Moses, Big Spoon, Toggle, Zippee, Jazzus, Mixed Rice, Heatwave, Fuckit/Still Alive, Mama Lion (& Boone!), Roadrunner, Hammer, Shaka, Mozart, Sterling, Todd, Strider, Sweetheart, Lapsang, Skittles, Stork, Suds, Bear Sweat, Tuff Broad, Lost & Found, Powder, Schweaty Balls, Bleu Cheese, Smiles, Dilly Dally, Donger, McG, Juicy and everyone else I shared snack breaks with, camped with, and enjoyed moments with. Y’all made the pain worth the pleasure of your company.

The folks who donated to my Big City Mountaineers fundraiser, including:
Schrauf, Roxanna Roddy, Bruce Gillman, Tess Helgren, Lauren Scanlan, Ryan McEwan, Ben Schumacher, George Turner, Madman Ralph, Butch & Harue & Map & Compass, Krissi, Sean Teague, Kurt & Anna, CB, S Swansen, LaTanya Corbett-Mathis, Bailey & Anita, Katie B, Coffeebeans, Dave & Judy Chordas, Worth Baker, Nora Ni Dhomhnaill, April Sloan, Christine Hardin, Anna Mayenschein, Liz Thomas, Jesse, Mikey, Ms. Kim, Georgia Turner, Al Werner, Griff, and all you magical Anonymous donors. Thanks for helping to get urban youth outdoors!

And, last but certainly not least, all of you, dear readers – and all the folks I’m sure I’m forgetting – for liking commenting laughing crying caring about one Brown Girl’s journey from Mexico to Canada. Thank you all for making my hike – and all the writing that’s gone along with it – one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I haven’t forgotten to talk about reentry, I promise – that’ll be the topic of my next post. I just remembered I didn’t do it alone, and thought that was quite important to discuss, too. 

Interlude: New Year’s Presents

It’s 2017, folks! Another trip around the sun, another hiking season just a few measly months away. I’ve been working on a lot of things, including, as promised, New Year’s postcards for everyone who both donated to my fundraiser and said they wanted a postcard. Said postcards are 5’x 7′ glossy prints of photos from my PCT hike this summer – including some not yet seen on the blog!

If you donated to the fundraiser, and, for whatever reason, you did not opt in to the postcard, but this news makes you want to opt in to the postcard, go ahead and throw me a line via the Contact link. I made sure to order a couple of extra, so I should be able to cover you this run.

If you did not donate to the fundraiser, and you’re interested in a postcard, please consider donating here or slipping me a couple bucks here to help with the next run. I’m doing this out of pocket to give a big “Thank You!” to my donors, but if there’s enough interest I’ll do another run and/or an exclusive run, if an individual donates enough.

Thanks for hanging with me last year, and I hope you hang around to see what this year has in store! A proper update later today, for your patience.

Interlude: BCM is Hiring!

Big City Mountaineers – whose mission is to get urban youth from around the country outdoors, and who I did fundraising for on the Pacific Crest Trail and Colorado Trail – is hiring for the summer of 2017! So if you’re looking for a way to get outside and help the younglings get outside while still making money (saving up for a trail in 2018?), take a look and see if your resume and their requirements are a match! Their employment page is here, and, if last year is any indication, they’ll start doing volunteer info sessions in a few months, too.

(Also, that fundraising page is still open – think we can get to a nice, round $2000 for them by the end of the year?)

Next post is a’comin!

Day 90 – Bumps

I apparently turn off my alarm in the morning, wake for realsies as 6:04. Whoops. I mean, not a huge deal today because town is nigh – Old Station is about 7 miles away – but still, the earlier I get there, the earlier there are delicious breakfast foods. Still, it takes me forever to get out and moving – an hour and ten minutes, every one of them dragging itself out to try to help me. Sometimes, you just can’t be helped.

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Update: On Track

Soooo clearly, I’m quite behind on these posts. Turns out that trying to write for Backpacker and my regular job back home and you fine folks while attempting 25+ mile days is a bit more challenging than I first anticipated. I wanted to let y’all know that I am still, in fact, on trail, and still, in fact, on track to finish – hopefully by the end of September. Oregon is treating me kindly, and I’m looking forward to Washington, too.

I am going to keep writing and posting, albeit probably at the same snail’s pace I’ve been recently. I’m taking super-detailed notes on each day – and between those and the pictures it’s pretty easy to reconstruct things as they were. Being down to the wire, as it were, I have to put finishing first, as much as I would love to write write write in lieu of some of this walking.

I will finish blogging about my hike, don’t fret – and I’ll hopefully succeed in hitting my fundraising goals for Big City Mountaineers. I’ve even got a stretch goal and reward planned, assuming y’all like people dancing in silly costumes. Meanwhile, thanks for sticking around – I’ve got so many more stories to tell you, and I’m happy you’re here to hear them.

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.