Oregon: Ashland to Bend

Welp, Oregon is on fire. Forest fires are popping up all along the Oregon section of the PCT, causing trail closures, requiring hikers to reroute/skip/not hike those sections.

In some cases there are alternate trails we can take (these are fairly rare), often the suggested alternate includes road walking a zillion miles (which is not super ideal or pleasant). SOOO, I’m just continually collecting options, waiting to decide my next move until I get to the next closure. Information changes so quickly that you really can’t anticipate what conditions will be more than a day or two out; the extent of the closure, location of the closure, and alternate routes all change pretty quickly. Luckily, I’m towards the end of the closures (fingers crossed it doesn’t change!), and should have an uninterrupted 150 ish miles to the Oregon/Washington border!

Carl hiked a total of 150 miles with me. We had our fill of adventure, scurrying off trail before fires caught up to us, and jumping in Crater Lake (one of my favorite extra moments so far!). Carl was a great hiking pal, especially considering I nudged him to hike bigger miles (sorry bud!), and his pack was giving him some trouble. We saw tons of lakes, camped at this dreamy spring with hundreds of dragonflies, and met some great fellow hikers. I spent my birthday being a tourist at Crater Lake, we went to a ranger presentation and enjoyed a free concert by the lake. I’m thankful I have so many people from home that are willing to share this experience with me. It’s super wacky and wonderful and is best understood through personal experience.

After Carl left to go on another backpacking trip, I headed out solo on a short 50 mile section to Elk Lake. I wasn’t solo for long; I met a couple hikers (Hitch and Sinatra), my first night out, and ended up leap-frogging them over the next couple days. We reached Elk Lake and decided to hitch around the 30 mile fire closure in the Three Sisters Wilderness (anotherrrr bummer!). We got a ride to Bend OR, had a burger and milkshake, and got another ride to McKenzie Pass just in time for sunset. We cowboy camped on top of an observation deck and experienced some of the best stargazing. I saw tons of shooting stars and the milky way. It’s been one of my favorite campsites on trail!

From McKenzie Pass, I had 12 short (but rocky!) miles to Big Lake Youth Camp across some lava fields and old burn areas. I’ve been resupplying and visiting with hikers, and will hike out in just a couple hours towards Timberline Lodge.

Oregon has been gentle; gentle climbs, gentle hiking. The trail is often padded with pine needles and shaded by monster mossy trees. There are beautiful pristine lakes, and lots of places to stop and get milkshakes. I’ve welcomed the change after the intense Sierra. Oregon has been a “no worries” experience, which has been SO nice!! The fire closures have added a new flavor to this adventure, but there are a ton of options and it’s been an interesting contrast to continuous hiking. I feel refreshed and strong in Oregon, anotherrr great contrast to the Sierra! I’m stoked to be hitting Washington soon, time and miles are seriously flying by at this point!

Sonora Pass to South Lake Tahoe (and beyond!)

I left Sonora Pass and hiked the 75 miles to South Lake Tahoe solo. It was the first time in 2.5 months that I was alone. It was really hard to say good bye to my hiking pals, Dom and Robin, even though I knew I would see them in just a couple days. I was nervous, but knew I was capable.

I left Bridgeport in the evening (it always takes me longer than anticipated to get out of town). My pack was full of the best goodies from some of the best people! I received a care package chocked full of great food and sweet, encouraging sentiments (shout out to all of my Chicago trail angels!!!). The care packages instantly brought me to tears (the good kind!), I’m consistently overwhelmed with how generous and supportive everyone has been!

A gal who works at the coffee shop in town gave me and 3 other hikers a ride up to sonora pass. I set out about 5:00 p.m. and hiked about 5 miles. There was more snow than I wanted, but it was all manageable.

I camped in a mostly dry spot, but woke up to a tent completely covered in condensation. That morning, I packed up and hiked 23 miles, one of my bigger mile days since entering the Sierra! I passed a lot of south-bound “flip floppers” (people who skipped the Sierra and have been hiking south to let the snow melt),  which was a new treat. They had great tips about the trail ahead and it was fun to chat about their experiences in Northern California.

The next day I managed to hike 26.2 miles, my first marathon! It was hard, and took ALL day, but I felt super accomplished and proud that I pushed myself.

The following day I hiked the remaining 20 miles to Tahoe and reunited with everyone. There was a free concert on the lake at sunset, I ate a huge calzone, and we swapped stories about the 75 miles we had been apart.

As much as I craved some human contact on my trek, I really enjoyed hiking solo. It gave me a chance to find my rhythm, take breaks exactly when and where I wanted, and hike exactly as far as I wanted. It’s an interesting, subtle, freedom that I hadn’t experienced.

After a couple days in Lake Tahoe, visiting and soaking up our last few hours together, I rented a car and started driving up to Ashland. It was surreal driving a car after a couple months, cruising through the towns I had planned on walking through, but it was a great chance to reflect and appreciate how far I have come. It was a really hard decision to flip up to Oregon, but I’m glad I did it.

I arrived in Ashland and had a couple days to relax, eat lots of food, and rest while I waited for Carl, my friend from college, to arrive. I stayed in a hostel with a full kitchen and treated myself to a full-fledged breakfast feast. I wandered around the city, ran errands, and organized my pack.

When Carl got to Ashland we packed up and mailed out some resupply boxes, organized our gear again, and planned out our first section to Crater Lake! I was glad to have a familiar person to hike out with. It’s great sharing this experience with people from home, it gives me a chance to bring a piece of the trail back with me.

Sierra Pt. 2: Miles 879 – 1017

Leaving VVR, I was apprehensive and still plenty anxious about hiking the rest of the Sierra. I had to say goodbye to Claire, my dear friend from college that hiked with me for 5 weeks, which was tearful and sad. The environment and setting is always changing on trail, so people become the familiar bit, the consistency within the chaos of hiking over 2000 miles. It’s hard and sad when the familiar pieces float away, I always want to latch on and hold tight.

BUT! These miles were SO MUCH more enjoyable. We we split the 140 miles into 3 smaller sections, which means I could carry less food, making my pack a bit lighter and easier to manage. Additionally, we had relief from the elements more frequently…showers, hot food and laundry can make all the difference in refreshing attitudes and boosting morale.

We stopped in Mamoth Lakes, and then again in Yosemite Valley. I ate plenty of pastries, made some new friends, and stood in awe of Half Dome and El Cap in Yosemite. Breaking the section into manageable bites took a bit longer, but also kept it sustainable. I had time to rest and relax, and to process what was coming up.

We also hiked at a lower elevation, which means less snow and faster hiking. There were still plenty of times we lost the trail, and the climbs were still tough, but the majority of the trail was free of snow. I felt better physically and mentally, stronger, more capable. We found some of the most lovely campsites, swam in lakes with crystal clear water, and took the time to enjoy our surroundings. There are constant breathtaking views and impressive moments, and I’m so thankful these natural places have been preserved.

Some funny calamities include sinking up to my hip in a mud hole while crossing a meadow, and an accidental 50 yard, steep glisade coming down Sonora Pass (this was actually super sketchy, but it all worked out, just a few bruises and busted knuckles).

Lessons or affirmations from the trail includeee: when things go wrong, it’s a lot easier to laugh about it than get upset; I am in fact a capable human being/hiker, even if it doesn’t always feel that way.

I hit the 1000 mile mark just before getting to town, and mannnnn, it feels great! I’m pretty proud of myself for pushing through the Sierra in a high snow year, even though it chewed me up and spat me out. I just have 75 miles until Lake Tahoe which is the ceremonial end of the Sierra. I feel confident that I could hike the remaining 1600 miles.

That being said, I plan on skipping Northern California; I’ll be heading to Oregon from Lake Tahoe and hiking through to to Canada from there. There are a handful of reasons I’m doing this: I reallllly don’t want to hike Washington in the snow, I also don’t want to have to run through the rest of the trail to finish. I have about 2 months of decent weather, and 1600 miles to go…I would have to hike 30 mile days every day to finish on time. Sooo, I’m going to skip ahead, hike my favorite states, enjoy the hike and the scenery, and mayyyybe swing back to Nor Cal at the end (time, energy, and money permitting).

I’m sad to be leaving my hiking pals (I’ve been hiking with Dominik and Robin since day 4, mile 40). I’m quite fond of them, and truly don’t know if I would have made it through the Sierra without them. They rescued me on a daily basis, making stream crossings and mountain passes doable.

The “purest” in me (It’s a very small piece) feels slightly guilty about skipping such a large chunk, but does it really matter?? I don’t think so. I’m content with my experience so far and have SO, SO much left to see!

I’m excited about these next sections, excited to meet new people, and to visit with some friends and family in Oregon and Washington! (Get ready guyssss!!)

The Sierra Pt. 1: Miles 702-879

Whatta section. As I walk I often ponder how I’m going to explain the sections I’m hiking, what stands out, what themes reveal themselves. And really the only way to describe these miles is INTENSE. Intensely beautiful, intensely challenging. The trail threw everything it had at me, and I, in many ways, wasn’t prepared to deal with the challenges.

This post covers the first couple sections of the High Sierra and a large portion of where the PCT and the John Muir Trail become one in the same.

From Kennedy Meadows, we hiked out as a group of 5, weighed down by our new Sierra gear – ice axes, micro spikes, and bear cans, all together adding about 4 or 5 extra pounds of weight to my pack. It rained and hailed for the first 2 or 3 miles which was the perfect send from the desert.

I was chronically the caboose of the group during this section, being the shortest, and the slowest climber. The sierra are steep and tall and monstrous, big elevation gains and losses. The caboose life isn’t bad, but it isn’t great either. It led to shorter breaks and a certain amount of anxiety that I was holding the group back (due 100% to my own attitude, not the attitudes of my hiking pals). It really wore me out mentally and physically. I started skipping breaks, pushing myself to keep going, not eating enough, etc. I was also battling a stomach bug that made eating really unpleasant, which also led to low energy and an unsustainable hiking lifestyle.

In our first section (Kennedy Meadows to Bishop), we crossed a few bigger streams, summited Mount Whitney (the tallest peak in the lower 48 states), and worked our way up and over Forester Pass (the tallest point on the PCT and first big mountain pass of the trip). The streams were totally doable, Mt. Whitney was a hard and long but enjoyable climb, and then we got to Forester Pass. The passes in the High Sierra were still largely covered in snow…which meanssss…we had to scale the slope in the snow, with no trail, just our ice axes, until we could reach a small section of trail where the snow had melted. This climb showed me that I am mildly afraid of heights,  and definitely afraid of falling. It was the first big test for our group, and we passed. Everyone made it safely (although I was totally freaked), and we were rewarded with our first glisade on the other side. We were making it through the High Sierra. Phew!

After a zero in Bishop and some planning, we set out for a 90 mile, 7 day stretch to the Vermillion Valley Resort. I was confronted with stressful situation after stressful situation. Stream (read: gushing river) crossings, snow covered mountain pass climbs, scrambling over loose rocks, losing the trail, finding the trail, and long snow walks. It was slow and hard and so exhausting. The passes made me nervous, the streams made me nervous…and the trail has a way of taunting you as you approach the “scary” things. For example, crossing wide, open snow fields for hours, staring at the snow covered pass you’ll have to climb. Or crossing countless small streams, thinking about how allllll that water is flowing to the same creek you’ll have to cross in a matter of miles. Needless to say, it really messed with me. I experienced some serious environmental whiplash, snow, mud, SO much water. Big climbs, big views. It was truly sensory overload!

About a day before getting to the Vermillion Valley Resort (VVR), I had convinced myself that it was probably a good idea to skip the rest of the Sierra for now, my group should hike on without me. BUT, with some rest and kind encouragement from my long-time hiking pals, I decided to hike on with them.

After some space from this section, I can appreciate the intensity, the snow, the challenges. It showed me (in a very direct way) that I need to be attentive to my own physical and mental needs, that it’s ok to accept help from people, and that doing hard things makes doing hard things easier in the future. I feel a bit weathered, but stronger after that section. I learned a lot about how I can be a better communicator, better hiker, and more functional member of a group.

As always, there are a zillion other details and moments I would love to share, and hope to share when I see you all! Stay tuned for the Sierra Pt. 2 post (spoiler: it was so much more enjoyable!)

Feel free to give me a shout if you have questions or just wanna say hey!

Miles 566-702: Desert Wrap-Up

The 144 miles from Tehachapi emptied me out. We entered one of the driest sections of the desert section during the first big heat wave of the year. Temperatures were close to 110°, often with no shade for miles at a time. We had some long water carries, I was carrying 7 liters (15+ extra lbs) at one point. It was brutally hot from 10-6, making hiking nearly impossible. We would try to sleep during the day, but it was too hot to sleep. We were left with 6 pm- 10 am each day to do everything…hiking, eating, sleeping… the rest of the time was just spent existing. Claire and I  tried to make our own shade by setting up my rainfly, like a fort. It was cool in the sense that it was fort-like…but really we just created a human oven. The fly didn’t block that much sun, and really just insulated our little bubble with hot air. While it was a hilarious bonding experience, I don’t think either of us wants to repeat it.

Needless to say, I was so so excited to reach Kennedy Meadows (KM), the official/unofficial end of the desert, mile 702. The last 5 miles before reaching KM were weirdly emotional. I hiked those miles alone, it was a perfect warm morning. Those 5 miles were a great chance to reflect on how far I’ve walked and how it’s still just the beginning. It felt really final in some ways, the end of this significant chapter in this weird journey. The first real destination.

Hikers great you with applause and cheering as you walk into KM, a mutual recognition of “we did it!”. There are boxes and ice axes, gear, snacks, and beer everywhere. You can instantly tell the hikers have simply taken over.

There are 3 things in KM…The general store, the cafe, and a tiny outfitter. We had the chance to meet Yogi (a PCT legend and owner of the outfitter), eat a milkeshake, do laundry, and visit with tons of other pct hikers, past and present. We spent two nights celebrating our journey thus far with plenty of beer and snacks. While not having cell service is mildly irritating, it’s also an unapologetic reason to live in moment and enjoy time with the people you’re with.

Like I’ve mentioned before, the desert was relatively kind to us. It was consistent, all I had to do was adapt. It was easy enough to learn to hide from the sun and carry lots of water, I got used to being super sweaty and dusty and having sharp things poking me all the time.

That being said, 702 miles was plenty. I was so eager for something different, the treacherous Sierras looming ahead, still snow covered and gushing with water.

Miles 266-566

I’m not exactly sure how 300 miles zipped by so quickly… i apologize for being “off the grid” for so long! Here’s an update, I’ll try to keep it concise!

These 300 miles gave as much as they took. I climbed over 60,000 feet- I’m getting stronger but I still trudge uphill on big elevation days. They’re slow, I’m can be cranky about the thousands of feet left to climb, but the summit is always satisfying, the ridge line view is always worth the sweat and tired legs.

My days are feeling more routine, this transient hiker lifestyle is become more familiar and “normal”. We spend our days walking, eating, talking about where the next water source is, and hiding from the sun. The sounds of traffic and trains are weirdly alien to me, the sounds of insects and rustling leaves (and water, if I’m lucky!) are more familiar and comforting.

The desert has been kind to us; we’ve been gifted with overcast cool days and strong breezes, dependable water sources and relatively mild weather. It’s surreal to think we’ll be finished with this section in 140 more miles, a mere week. Campo (my starting point) doesn’t feel 566 miles away, but when I stop and reflect on HOW much I’ve seen, climbed, camped, and ate, those miles seem more tangible and real.

Since I’m covering so many miles in this post, I won’t belabor what I saw and did in great detail, but there are a few special places and days that I’ll share.

The Deep Creek Hot Springs: About a day and a half after leaving Big Bear Lake, the PCT runs right past some natural hot springs. I arrived at about 9 am, intending to rest for the hot part of the day, then hike another 10 or 15 miles. After a loooong 23 mile day the previous day, my feet, knees and everything else lovedddd the hot water. The spring gushed out of the hillside at about 106 degrees (say the locals). After a long soak and lunch break, my friends and I decided it was probably time to hike on. We slowly gathered our things and put our shoes on, but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to put our packs on. We realized we didn’t haveee to leave, and acknowledged that we had plenty food to make our trek to Wrightwood, even if we stayed. After debating whether we should stay or go for about 30 minutes, we proceeded to take our shoes off, unpack our things, and simply enjoy the magical oasis of the hot springs for the rest of the day. We met some eccentric locals, chatted with some day-trippers kind enough to share snacks, and relaxed in the hot springs of Deep Creek. I slept SO well that night, my feet and body felt great the next few days. It was definitely the best decision.

Night Hiking Cajon Pass: After resting and waiting out the heat at an interstate gas station and McDonald’s (and eating my weight in McFlurries and hashbrowns), my pals and I decided to night hike a 22.5 mile waterless section to avoid the heat and make climbing 5000 feet more manageable. We set out around 7:00 pm and hiked without headlamps for a few hours. It was cool, the sunset was beautiful, and it was SO pleasant. We hiked about 8 miles, found a flat (enough) spot and cowboy camped for a few hours. We got up at 3:30 and continued in the dark, snagging a great sunrise moment and pushing as many miles as possible while it was cool. Night hiking is the best way to enjoy otherwise extremely hot stretches. You don’t need as much water, or breaks as frequently. And it’s fun! You see the landscape in a different way, notice different things…it adds some variety to the relatively stark desert.

Hiker Heaven and Casa de Luna: We hit a couple of notorious, special trail angel houses near Agua Dulce. Hiker Heaven is exactly what it sounds like…heaven. An immensely kind family opens up their home/yard each year to hundreds of hikers, providing showers, laundry and even mail service out of their garage. It was great to have everything we wanted/needed at our fingertips. It was amazing to see SO many hikers filter in and out, like an ant farm of smelly nomadic people bustling around. Just 24 miles past Hiker Heaven is Casa de Luna, an earthy, hippie version of Hiker Heaven. Old sofas, pop up tents, a painting table, and outdoor shower mame for a great hiker landing zone. The family is kind enough to provide dinner and breakfast for hikers (taco salad and pancakes, respectively!). Their back woods are sprinkled with campsites abd painted stones left by hikers; it was surprisingly magical and cozy. The folks that run these pseudo, seasonal hostels are some of the most generous, patient, and attentive people I’ve met. It’s seriously the sweetest luxury to have a soft place to sit, a shower, and a ride to/from the trail.
Hitting 500 miles!: I was SO ecstatic to hit 500 miles! It felt like SUCH an accomplishment and makes hiking to Canada seem more tangible and realistic. We had many dance party moments featuring the song “I’m Gonna Be (500 miles)” by The Proclaimers. It was awesomeeee! One of my favorite, most fun and silly moments on trail!!

There are countless moments and views I wish I could share with you. Each day and section brings a new set of challenges and accomplishments. Some days it’s physical, other days it’s mental (ex. relentless biting flies for 20 miles!). But its all fun and pretty crazy amazing.
Lessons from the Trail:
– Cars are so fast. It’s truly amazing at how quickly you can get places in a car.
– Where there are wind turbines, there is windddd.
– Water is immensely heavy…but such a luxury, and the weight disappears quickly.

I will (most definitely) post again soon! Only 140 miles left of the desert! Keep sending the good vibes and word of encouragement coming! I love every one of ’em! New photos on the photo page!!

Miles 109.5 – 266

Disclaimer: I’m hastily writing this before heading out of town, sorry for any typos and/or rambling. I did post some new photos, they’re just  not in the post…

Hiker Terms to Know:
Zero Day (zero): what we call a rest day(often in town), when zero miles are hiked.
Nearo: a day where we only hike a couple of miles (less than 10), often on the way in or out of town.
Hiker Hunger: the ravenous beast of hunger that consumes us… we’re burning somewhere around 4000 calories a day, therefore we’re always hungry.
Cowboy Camping: sleeping under the stars, no tent

These miles have been amazing. There has been a LOT of climbing, a couple restful days, endless views, and plenty of new friends.

After a wonderful zero day in Warner Springs, complete with the luxury of bucket-showers, bucket-laundry, and free wi-fi, we set out for our next leg of the trail. We camped near a spring, had a couple hot days, and made it to Paradise Valley Cafe where burgers and fries greeted us. So satisfying.

In Idyllwild we had a great campfire, cooked some real food and met some fellow hikers. I made sure to sample the local cuisine, including pastries and pizza. We also did laundry! It was great to have clean AND dry clothes! I really started to notice the little luxuries in Idyllwild, no doubt.

Some friends and I decided we wanted to sunrise-summit one of the taller peaks in southern California, San Jacinto. Since the peak is about 6 miles from Idyllwild, with over 5,000 feet of elevation gain, we decided to get a head start on the hike that evening. We ended up cowboy camping on the trail, waking up at 2:30 a.m. to start hiking again, only to realize we had misjudged our mileage. We settled for an 8,000 ft sunrise, and summited San Jacinto around 8:00 am. It was SO satisfying being THE tallest thing around…worth all the huffing and puffing during the climb!

We had a handful of tough hiking days, decending 9000 ft one day, climbing 5000 ft the next. And it was HOT, reaching 110 degrees one day. We found sweet relief in a cool, gushing stream, sitting in it for hours…rinsing out socks and shirts. We built a shaded fort too…it was all I could have ever wanted.

It’s been a pretty social leg of the trip, I’ve only had a handful of hours of hiking by myself. There is an ebb and flow of hikers, you see the same people for a few days, then they hike ahead or stay behind. There is a constant stream of new people, which is exciting and sometimes exhausting. It’s nice to have a handful of familiar faces to camp and eat with at the end of the day.

We’ve hit 266 miles, 10% of the trail complete! We take advantage of any opportunity to celebrate. Any achievement is significant. It simultaneously feels like the last 3 weeks have zipped by, and that I have been here forever, the way immersive, intense experiences often do.

I’m looking forward to the next 100 miles and will give you guys an update when I reach Wrightwood! Thanks for ALL the good vibes and thoughts, I so appreciate it!

Week One: Miles 0-109.5

Phew! One week of hiking and living like a bum is in the books! I feel like SO much has happened, it’s tricky to sum it all up (but I’m going to try!).

Laurel and I were so excited to start hiking on a cool, overcast day in Campo, CA. I was so relieved the hot, dry desert was being kind to us on our first day!

Mandatory pose with the southern trailhead. Such a pretty monument.

We had great hiking weather most of the day, it was cool and pleasant, and morale was through the roof. We were taking our time, but easily hiked about 7 miles before lunch. We ate at a nice spot with a good view and the fog rolled in right behind us, then the rain started. It was a greatttt lesson on expectations…who woulda thought the desert would cold and rainy?! By the time we hit mile 15, we were soggy and plenty tired, so we set up our tents and called it a successful and hilarious day 1.

The next day was FULL of rain…misty rain, heavy rain, pleasant rain, and colddd rain. It rained from the time we left our tents to the time we set them up again, 15 miles later. We were all still pretty high from starting this crazy adventure, and thus stayed in pretty good spirits until mile 13 of the day…those last couple miles challenged our optimism in a BIG way.

Seeking refuge with new friends under a bridge after hiking 10 miles in the rain.

The sun FINALLY came out on day 3, and I had a sloppy, but warm hike into Mt. Laguna. There was a group campsite set aside for PCT hikers, a cafe and an outfitter. It was a great opportunity to pick up/swap out gear and eat “real” food (i.e. a salad! and eggs!). We liked it so much, we took a rest day and didn’t hike at all day 4. It was nice to give our bodies a rest and SHOWER! And again, eat real food.

Super helpful and fun outfitter in Mt. Laguna. They had all kinds of great tips and gear!

My hiking partner, Laurel, had some SUPER gnarly blisters after the sloppy hike up to Mt.Laguna and decided to take a couple extra “zero” days (rest days). I was feeling good, so I decided to hike on with a few new friends.

Days 5-7 were a great orientation to the desert I expected to meet: hot, dry, spooky, prickly, beautiful. There was a crazy quick transition from the cool mountain temps with plenty of water, to no water and lots of cacti. We had to hike nearly 20 miles to the next water source, after leaving Mt. Laguna. My feet swelled with the heat and a whole family of blisters decided to make my feet their home. My shoes were instantly too small. I “hiker hobbled” my way from mile 60-109.

View from my tent at mile 59.

I visited a few “water caches” (designated locations people, local “trail angels,” drop large amounts of water for hikers), and camped under a bridge. I saw plenty of flowers and lizards, no rattlesnakes (yet!). I had a breathtaking sunset hike and was almost brought to tears.

Sunset views in the desert.

Days are spent leap-frogging other hikers, snacking, taking photos, and planning how many miles we’ll hike. Once our tents are set up, everyone chats for a bit and quickly heads to bed. There is a complete abandonment of schedule and routine; each person is accountable for themselves and is in charge of their experience. It’s a forgein but sweet way to spend my days; definitely taking some getting used to.

I hit mile 100 exactly 1 week into my trek. I was relieved and thrilled to see “100” spelled out on the trail. I ate a snickers and drank a cup of instant coffee in celebration. One of my favorite moments.

Mile 100! Such a SWEET moment!

Even though my blisters made hiking slow and frustrating the last couple days, I was constantly reminded how lucky I am to have this time, to see these places. The desert is stark and monochromatic, but hauntingly beautiful and impressive.

Lessons from the Trail: Week 1

  • Never expect anything, because you’ll be wrong. Example: rain in the desert.
  • Buy bigger shoes, just do it. Blisters are debilitating.
  • Hiking and camping alone is super therapeutic.
  • Take breaks when you want to!

For more photos from this week check out my photo page!