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

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. 

Day 132 – The Badasseries of Motherhood

The whisper-yelling wakes me again in the morning, but my alarm’s already sounded, been silenced, and sounded again – that’s what I get for trying to be a bum. Waking up and not having to cook is a nice change of pace, though. Mama Lion and Boone are out so quick for having to get the both of them moving, but I’m not so far behind them. We leave a hiker enjoying the morning and another enjoying their snoozing behind. Continue reading

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!

Interlude: Late Nights, Long Days

I’ll admit that I kind of avoided talking about election season while it was going on. It was hard for me to keep up, honestly – I was kind of dealing with my own shit, dealing with the slow, inexorable decline of my endorphins, my dopamine, my seratonin, as I started to spend my days hunched in front of a computer instead of confidently striding down a trail. I mean, I kept up as best as I could while taking care of myself, but truth be told that was hardly better than it was while I was on the trail. I’d come into the living room to Spesh watching The Daily Show or @midnight and I’d get a few pieces here and there. I’d get on the book of many faces and see various articles that people had posted. That sort of thing. I didn’t hear much outside of my algorithm-induced echo chamber, but I knew, despite what I was hearing, that we were staring down the barrel of a potential Trump presidency. Continue reading

Day 8 – Ripping off the Bandaid

I wake at 8:30 – oh, the luxury! – to a bustling mass of tents under the cottonwood tree. The first thing I do is pack up, put my tent away so I’m not tempted to stay another evening. I am going to nero, though – head out around 4:30 to avoid the heat, go five or six miles – there’re a bunch of sites in that vicinity. And until then, it’ll be so, so nice to spend a day resting in the company of hikers!
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Day 4 – Early Magic

I say I’m going to be up and out by 6:30, but 6:30 rolls around and I’m barely out of bed. I want to get out though, want to be back out there as soon as I can be, so I’m grabbing thankfully-dry bits and bobs, stuffing them in my pack hoping, hoping that I can get a hitch back out to mile 47.5. I’ll roadwalk if I have to – it’s an early morning, and who knows who’s going to be out and moving – but that’d be a rough way to start the day.
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