I’m awake at 3:30 – my initial reaction is “what fresh hell is this”, but I’m actually feeling better than I have any right to be, considering I didn’t eat last night. Not that I intend to eat now; I’m writing for the blog, taking notes from yesterday for the water report, generally reviewing the day to see what’s in store for us. I should do this more often. Continue reading
My alarm goes off at 4:30, but I lay there in the light-enough-to-see-by until 4:45, just watching the day begin. Our plan was to make it out of camp by 5:30, but the fact that it’s so bright already at 4:30 is unnerving; yet another aspect of this trip I didn’t prepare for. I don’t know if I want this – it’d be easy enough to just turn around, head out the ten miles we headed in and what is this, what are these thoughts that I’m having, wanting to end something that’s scarcely begun. That’s not how we do things with this human. Get it together. Continue reading
I check the clock, fearful of waking my hosts. It’s 3:11am. I think I’m going to have a hard time getting back to sleep, but by the time I’m done thinking it it’s 6:25 and my alarm is going off. I hit the snooze button and once again time twists changes slows, for me, for this moment; the ten minutes to 6:35 try to give me a few last moments of peace, of comfort.
Once I start walking, that’s likely to change.
Where other hikes have hinted at buds, new beginnings, springs, the coming of my Grand Enchantment Trail start date feels like an ending.
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!
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
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!
For future thruhikers or those curious, here’s the Too Long; Didn’t Read version of my Pacific Crest Trail thruhike. Your mileage, pun absolutely intended, may vary. Continue reading
One day to normalize. That’s all I got. My flight landed the morning of Sunday, October 2nd, I went to a wedding that afternoon/evening, and then I was back at work on Monday morning. Continue reading
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:
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.
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.