Not-Hiking

I crest a ridge and am greeted by the morning – the sky above is laced with deep, dark storm clouds, but underneath them shines the dawn, the sun hanging heavy just above the lip of the world. Everything’s painted a brilliant orange, the road in front of me threading over rolling hills, slinking off into the distance. I’ve got more than 700 miles to drive today – right around 12 hours – but I wish I could stop and enjoy this. It’s one of the prettiest sunrises I’ve ever seen1. Continue reading

Colorado Rockies Ruck: Full Docket

Friday morning, I’m just settling into my to-do list and I get a call – it’s my new employer, wanting to know if I’m available to pick up some more work. Mama need to make dat skrilla, so yes, yes I am available. When I arrive, settle into the scope of the project, I fear I may have bitten off more than I can chew; the work’s certainly entertaining enough, but having picked it up in the middle of doing things it goes a lot more slowly than I would like. 14 hours later, I regret everything – it’s 2:30am, and I’ve got the Rockies Ruck tomorrow. And by tomorrow, I mean I need to be up in four hours. Hoo boy. Here we go. Continue reading

Going Home

One of the bonuses about my upcoming foray into more teaching and professional road-tripping as a Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer is that the region we’ve been assigned is the region where I spent my formative years. It’s so strange to think that after all this traveling, after living on two other continents and in a boatload of other states to boot, I’m gonna wind up right back where I started. Kind of. Sort of.  Continue reading

Ruckin’ Around

Spring has sprung, the move’s complete, I’ve updated the Gear List to reflect my PCT gear, and I’m stoked for the ALDHA-West Colorado Rockies Ruck, set to go down this Saturday, March 11th in Golden, Colorado!

Basically a convention for section hikers, thruhikers and would-be thruhikers, this year features vendors like Granite Gear, Gossamer Gear, and Mont-bell, a gear panel, an hour for one-on-one pack shakedowns, a Leave No Trace presentation, lightning and water safety demonstrations, breakout sessions to talk specific trails, and a keynote given by Jean Ella, the first woman to hike the Continental Divide Trail. I’m heavily involved this year as a part of the gear panel, a pack shaker-downer, and the PCT breakout session facilitator.

I’ve been going to this event for three years running, and it’s always a good time; tickets, which include breakfast, lunch, and social hour afterwards, are $35 – but what you get is well-worth the price. So if you’re looking for something to do Saturday, and you’re in the area, I hope you’ll join us for a hikertrashy good time!

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

TIL – Incidental Mountain Climber

I get informed upon waking that our friend Pajamas is in town, which is a rare treat – he’s building a climbing center in Nepal, and only gets a few months off a year. He comes over to hang out, asks Spesh and I if we want to go hiking. Sure, I say – it’s gorgeous out, and my student for the day has cancelled on me, so I’m definitely interested in doing something outside-ish. Between the winter and the knee recovery and whatnot, I haven’t done much in the way of hiking since I’ve been back, and I think it’s time to test the healing out. Pajamas did Green Mountain yesterday, so he’s wanting to do South Boulder Peak, maybe Bear Peak today. Alright, I’m down. So we load up the car and set out into the morning. Continue reading

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.