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!

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 149 – Canada Day

As predicted, I can’t sleep – I wake up at midnight again, feeling refreshed and ready to move, get it over with. And from what I can hear of the rest of the camp, I’m not alone; everyone seems to be restless, the night is full of rustling tossing turning creaking cracking tents bags air mattress. The cacophony’s hard to ignore, punctuated only by four-leggers galloping through a couple of times around 2 or 3am. My brain isn’t being helpful either: is it Canada time yet? No, go back to sleep. What about now, Canada time now? No, it’s still only 4am. We still have 23 miles to make tomorrow today, and we need our rest. Continue reading

Day 148 – Harts Yearning

It’s so cold in the morning that I have a hard time moving, joints screeching in protest against the temperature. It doesn’t help that my alarm keeps malfunctioning – it goes off, then I move my phone to check the screen, and the alarm turns itself off. I feel like I should have to try harder to sleep in. But everyone else is rustling around, and it serves the purpose of an alarm – I get to rustling, too.  Continue reading

Day 147 – Last Marker

It’s been about two weeks of weird anxiety of an evening – thinking I’m gonna go to sleep and then something’s gonna happen in the middle of the night. A grizzly is gonna slash into my tent and eat me, or I’m gonna get hypothermia in my -3F bag, or a coyote is gonna tear my face off as I get up to pee – whatever it is, it means I’m not gonna finish my hike. And whatever form it takes, I’m super over it. Luckily, I wake up feeling super refreshed– although it is midnight, so I don’t know that I’m gonna get that far right now. Oh well. Continue reading

Day 146 – Frogger

In the middle of the night, the boys all come home, chuckling cackling howling whooping. I’m affectionately annoyed; “Thus, though we cannot make our sun / Stand still, yet we will make him run”1 and all that, but also I was trying to sleep. I knew it was coming, it was one of the reasons I stayed up as late as I already did, but alas. Here I am. Awake, with a loud sleeping pad2. The next thing I know, though, my alarm’s going off and it’s around 5:50. Well then. Good morning, I suppose. Continue reading

Day 145 – Stuck in the Sunshine

I’m up early this morning, but there’s literally no rush; the bus to Stehekin isn’t supposed to arrive until 9:15, from what I can tell, although it leaves Stehekin Landing at 8:15. So I get comfy on my sleeping pad, look at maps, plan out the next four days. Even with the lower mileage of the past section, it looks like it’s only going to be four more days on trail. Wow. All this time, and I’m down to four more days. Better make the best of it.  Continue reading