Sunday, April 29, 2012

Day 11: Holy Hamburgers batman!!

Sunday 4/29/12
Miles 134.5-151.5 (19 miles, including the 1 mi to and from Paradise Cafe)
Elevation 5,100ft

Is it lizard mating season or something? Lol! They're everywhere and acting kinda weird. B
Not that lizards aren't awesonely weird on a normal basis, but right now they seem extra quirky. Yesterday, this one lizard looked like it was doing a pushup dance or something. It was so funny-looking. Animals are cool :)

Today's hike seemed a lot more difficult than its been. I think it's cuz of all the elevation gain. If you're looking at my elevation report, even though the overall change isn't much, I gain/lose 1,000+ft several times thought the day. The trail isn't flat. Lol. Hence the name "Pacific Crest Trail". It follows the crest of the mountains all the way to Canada. :)

Sorry I didn't take many pics today. It was a tiring day. There was a huge water cache which was AWESOME. I took a pic of it. Sometimes people will randomly leave a water cache for hikers along the trail by road intersections. This particular one is huge. Usually it's several gallon jugs of water. But either way, we are oh so grateful. It's pretty hot out here and there is no shade. O.o

There is a legendary cafe on the road near the PCT called Paradise Valley Cafe. It's *very* popular among hikers and they supposedly have epic food, so naturally I had to stop by :). Oh, I leapfrogged with Alice and Steve the last 2 days. They're a really cool couple. Alice did the AT a while ago. She's also the first person I came across with a pack heavier than mine. Whew!! Glad im not the only one :). I told them about the Cafe so they went there too. I had a huge burger with feta and olives and jalapeƱos. It was amazing! Bummer I didn't get a pic of it. But it was really big. I managed to eat it all tho :). The beer was really good too. In the pic below Butterstuff is drinking a beer from the Czech Republic. I had a German beer after. Both very delicious.

I'm currently camped out not too far from the cafe. I was too tired to do more miles. Lol. Alice and Steve kept going. They are pretty hardcore. Anyhow, it's nap time! Sorry I don't have much interesting news to report. I have all these great thoughts throuout the day but by the time night rolls around and I blog, I forget everything! Lol. Maybe I'll try blogging throughout the day? :). Goodnight!!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Day 10: crossing the san diego county line!

Saturday 4/28/12
Miles 117ish-134.5 (17.5ish miles)
Elevation: 4,123

Today's hike had a very wide variety of scenery. I started off coming out of the valley with trees, went through a boulder field, and now it's just bushes all around. I am so stoked on my chrome dome umbrella. There was no shade on the trail today. It's basically a very lightweight umbrella with a reflective coating on the outside. I've used it everyday except 2 days when it was really windy, and no sun.

The morning views were incredible! I was in high enough elevation where I could see a huge sea of fog below. It was so pretty. I have a pic of it below.

As I was walking through the boulder field in the late morning, I came across a random spring! Stoked!!! Must've been from the rain 2 days ago. It was awesome, because the previous water source I got water from was kind of gnarly. I don't have a filter so I'm just treating my water with bleach. It's worked good so far, but doesn't get the particles out. So I filtered the water through my bandana first to get the particles and dead bugs out, then I bleached it. Needless to say I didn't take much of that water. So when I found this random spring I was so grateful, since I still had 4 miles til my next water source and it was getting *hot* and I didn't have much water. So yeah, I filled up :). I have a pic of this water, it's the close up shot of the 2 boulders, I'm not sure if u can see the small trickle of water running in between. But yeah, I need to get a filter. I have one of those katydyn hiker pro filters but i decided not to bring it because it's too heavy. Works great for short trips but im going for 5 months so every ounce of weight counts :)

Today was suuuuper peaceful. Everyone is at the PCT Kickoff Party at Lake Morena (mile 20) so there's not many people around me. I love it!! Lol. It's nice because I don't have to put a change of clothes on when I'm drying out my regular clothes. That's a benefit of hiking and camping solo :) I only saw 2 hikers all day today, Young Geezer and Blacksnake. Blacksnake was part of the group that I started with, we've been leapfrogging since Day 2.

I took a long mid-day break today. I like doing that, if I can get an early enough start. I dried out my tent (lots of condensation from night before), ate trail mix, and stretched. I like to break around 12:30-3 ish, during the hottest part of the day, then keep hiking til 6. That way I still have enough sun to dry my clothes. And I don't need to carry too much water. I carry about 3L at a time. I know that doesn't seem like much but it makes my pack *heavy*!

Oh, in other exciting news, I crossed the San Diego/Riverside county line! Stoked!! I love little tactile things like that which help me feel like I'm making progress :D

I had fajitas for dinner tonight. They are the Mountain House freeze-dried kind. Yummy! Thanks CJ! :) I have a pic of the fajitas and of me eating in my tent. Man it was hard not to make a mess!!

Tomorrow, my goal is to make it to paradise cafe which is at mile 151ish. They supposedly have good food
There. :D

Oh, thanks for all the little notes you leave me guys! Sorry I don't reply, I'm trying to figure out if there's an efficient way to do it on this phone, since I don't have a computer. Anyhow, it's naptime for me! Aloha and goodnight <3

Day 9: Christmas in April!

Friday 4/27/12
Miles 105-117ish (12ish miles)
Elevation 4,000 ft

Wow today was such an amazing day!!

This morning I had a spider on my pack. Theres a pic of him below. No hitchikers! My pack weighs enough already! Lol! The trail goes by this huge rock outcropping that looks like an eagle. I got there in the morning, stopped to take pics, and Anna and Chris of the Casual Club showed up! Stoked!! I haven't seen them in a few days, I really like them and was glad to see them again. I also met Faren and Tommy at Eagle Rock. In the pic below L-R is Tommy, Faren, Chris, Anna.

I got to the Warner Springs post office late morning to pick up my first resupply box! It's so cool, since someone else is doing all my resupply packages, I have no idea what is inside them, so it's like a surprise present every time! My box was filled with tons of goodies, thanks CJ!!! I have a pic of my resupply box below. I got an awesome assortment of pasta, potatoes, tuna, food bars, trail mix, and other snacks and treats! And best of all, I got KETCHUP!! Ok so this might sound really weird to you all, but I really like squirting a fat line of ketchup on a tortilla, covering it with powdered milk, rolling it up like a taquito, and eating it. YUM!!

I spent the afternoon at Warner Springs with Anna and Chris, we were all organizing our food and i was also stretching. My sleeping pad makes a great yoga mat. :). It was an incredibly warm an sunny day! Yay!! I laid out my sleeping bag and I think it finally dried out from the rain 2 nights ago. I have a down filled bag, and when it's wet it doesn't insulate well.

Leaving Warner springs was an elevation climb of about 900', to where I'm camped out now. It was an awesome hike, I crossed the Agua Caliente creek about 10 times. I love hiking next to a moving creek. Water is amazing. <3. Another plus for hiking in flip flops is I don't have to deal with wet shoes and socks after a river crossing :) Last night I was camped next to San Ysidro creek, it was so soothing to fall asleep to the sound of flowing water. The view going up the valley is awesome. I love being high up with a cool view, I feel like I'm on top of the world. Lol.

So I hiked til about 630 and decided to make camp. I like to have my tent up and my belongings situated by 730, because it gets really cold after that and I don't want to have to move. Lol. For dinner I had mashed potatoes with Tuna and ketchup. And now its food coma time!

It's really nice sometimes, camping without other tents around. One reason is so I'm not woken up by other people's snoring. Haha! Another reason is so that I can dry my clothes without having to change into other clothes. Lol.

Man I love this tennis ball. I use it to massage my feet and calves and other muscles throughout the day. And now I am laying on it to massage my back while I'm in my sleeping bag, blogging. Backpacking is all about multitasking :D

Goodnight everyone!! It's sleepy time! Aloha <3

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 8: sweet desert solitude

Thursday 4/26/12
Miles 91-105 (14 miles)
Elevation 3350ft

It's really cool how I'm feeling stronger each day. :) just a week ago I was so tired after just 10 miles. Now I can almost do 10 miles by noon! It helps that my pack is lighter too. I've mailed some items to myself that I don't need now but will later.

I really enjoy hiking by myself. I've pretty much been solo this whole time, except when I get to water sources, people tend to congregate there. It's like we are animals in migration, just walk from one waterhole to the next :).

The desert is so peaceful. I love being by myself out here. I'm sure at some point down the line I'll want company, especially when it gets sketchy. But for now I am just loving the solitude. I only saw 3 hikers all day. Steve from San Diego who is camped at the same area I am right now, Barb who is a section hiker (she's been doing 20-25 miles a day since Saturday!), and Young Geezer.

The sunrise and sunsets are incredible! Im in a hilly area right now, so the lighting and the shadows and the clouds are just so beautiful around dawn and dusk.

So last night and this morning were pretty gnarly. It was windy, cold, and raining. Pretty much the trifecta of weather I do not care for. Lol. It's all good though, I'm building character. :). I didn't want to move this morning. I could hear everyone around me packing up, but I didn't leave camp til 8:30 which is pretty late. Usually I wake up around 4:30-5 ish and leave no later than 6/630 ish.

I left at the perfect time though, because that was when the rain stopped! Stoked! But man, today was a cold and windy hiking day!! I had my beanie, jacket, and even my leggings all on at one point! Yikes! I didn't even stop too much for breaks because it was too cold and I needed to keep moving to say warm. Lol!

Tomorrow morning I go into Warner Springs to pick up my first resupply box. Yay! Then it's onward to Idyllwild.

My feet and legs and body are sore but feeling pretty good :) I've acquired a tennis ball so I've been rolling my feet, calves, and various muscles on it. I need to stretch more. Hard to do in my tent, it's pretty small in here but I do what I can.

Oh! In other exciting news, I completed my first 100 miles today around noontime!! Yippee! :D

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day 7: rain or no rain, that is the question...

Wednesday 4/25/12
Miles 77-91 (14 miles)

The breakfast at the hotel was so yummy!!! I spent the morning organizing stuff, lightening my pack, etc. I left my shoes in the hiker box. I am now fully committed to hiking in flip flops til at least Idllywild. :D

My feet feel pretty good! Kinda worried about the rain tho... But this morning Thomas pointed out that hey, it's gonna rain at some point... Leave it to a German to tell me to not be a pansy. Lol. Go figure. :)

I got a late start, didn't get back on the trail til 2. But it became a blessing in disguise, because I ran into Dazzle. Stoked!! I was hoping i'd run into him, not sure if ill see him again after today. Of all the hikers ive met so far, Dazzle is my fav. And that's saying a lot considering everyone is so cool. Stoked to have such a positive influence and mentor early on in this game. :)

I think the Casual Club has officially disbanded :( Anna and Chris have moved on, Dazzle is staying in Julian and going to KO, Laura and Aaron are staying in Julian and not going to KO.

Anyhow, the next water source wasn't until 13+ miles away so I hiked past dark. Saw 2 snakes today. Managed to get a pic of one.

So the awesome thing is it didn't really rain the whole time I hiked. The not-so-awesome thing is that it's raining right now and I was cowboy camping. Dangit!!! I shoulda just set up my tent when I first got here. The reason I didn't was because I didn want to block in whoever is in the tent behind me. So when it started raining I threw my fly over me, and I'm pretty much a silnylon taquito right now. Bag is getting wet from condensation tho. Its a down bag, too, not synthetic...Arg! Hope it can last til at least morning. Sigh... Why oh why didn't I just put my tent up?? Lesson learned...

Oh man I really hope this rain stops or tomorrow is gonna totally suck. :(

Anyhow, this is all a part of the whole "figuring it out" process. Lol. Incredible sunset today. The store owners in Julian are so cool!

Please oh please let it stop raining... Ugh. I am such an idiot. Lol. Anyhow, goodnight!! Tomorrow i go to Warner Springs! :)

Day 6: Julian!!!

Mile 68-77 (9 miles)

As in, Julian, the tiny mountain town in San Diego, not the king of Madagascar. :)

Did 10 miles in the morning, then got a hitch into Julian. Yay!! Time to rest and situate my feet! Free food and pie at Mom's restaurant! So yummy :) I went here with Sunshine (Hanna the kiwi), Calf (German dude), Jason, and the guy who likes beer (can't remember his name). Dang the pie is good! Julian is quite famous for their apple pies.

I found someone to split the cost of the room with, stoked! We're staying at the Julian Hotel, it's so awesome, $75 for 2 ppl is the pct hiker rate which includes breakfast, laundry, and tea time at 5. Fun! Walking Stick and Ancient Mariner are here too. They are a father/son team who did the AT 5 years ago. Super cool pair. There's Rob who I'm splitting the room with, Speedbump, Thomas from Germany, and Heart. The picture with the 2 dudes is Rob (l) and Walking Stick (r).

So there are 2 wine tasting rooms in Julian!! SCORE! Blue Door Winery and Witch Creek winery. Both places have exceptionally good wines. That, or it's just cuz I've been on the trail for 5 days. Lol. The dog in the pic is Sailor, he was at blue door winery. Cute puppy!! Likes saltine crackers.

There is talk of rain tomorrow. I'm trying to decide if I wanna zero here tomorrow and hopefully miss the storm. It's expensive tho and I don't wanna spend the money. Bleh. :( but my feet could use the extra rest. I guess I'll see how I feel in the morning.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Day 5: shoes suck, long live slippers!!

Monday 4/23/12, miles 51-68.5 (17.5 miles)
3297ft elevation

Yep. In true Hawaiian fashion, I hiked all day in my crappy $3.99 rubber flip flops. Shoes were just KILLING my feet. Oh man my feet are so happy! Lol.

Today was an incredible day of incredible views. I'm camped out here with a whole bunch of people! Kinda different from last 2 days when I was camped solo. Let's see, there's Blacksnake who started the same day as I, he's done the Cali portion of the pct 3 times I think. Threshold is here, as well as Helicopter, Jason and Hans, Hanna and dude (both kiwis), a guy who likes beer, and 2 other guys, I forget their names.

At the water tank (pic below, foreground with her back turned is Threshold, behind her is Andrew, and i dont remember the others),cold winds started to blow and clouds were moving fast!! We watched the clouds roll in north of us and down the valley, it was incredible. It looked like a tidal wave of clouds, going down the valley and up and over the hills. Absolutely amazing. I have a pic of this below.

Omg it is so frickin cold right now. Wish I had a thermometer, I'm curious to know the temp. If it is this cold in the morning I might wait til the sun comes up before I start moving. Lol. I've been asleep by 9pm every night, and wake up around 430am. I don't know when I've *ever* been on tat kind of sleep schedule. Lol! But after the sun goes down I'm COLD, so it's not like I wanna do anything anyways, other than blog while laying in my sleeping bag. Haha. Thank goodness for my 15* down bag!!

Oh wow, Jason is playing the uke and singing right now. Hes really good! This is so awesome!! :D

The pic with the tents is our campsite tonight. Helicopter is the one standing on the far left, she's sleeping tentless (HARDCORE, it's so cold!!), Hanna (kiwi!) is in the blue jacket sitting on the floor.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Day 4: I love trees! Happy Earth Day!

Sunday 4/22/12, mile 39-51 (12 miles)
5,300ft elevation

Holy 40 degree temperature fluctuation batman!! Daaaaaang it was cold this morning!! I am so grateful it is not snowing like it was last week. Holy crap! The great thing about frigid mornings is I can't feel the blisters in my feet. It's a great time to haul ass and gain some miles! Haha! :)

There are a lot more trees now, as opposed to just bushes like the last few days. I went to Mount Laguna which is a tiny little town with a post office, small store, and an awesome outdoor outfitter place. The guy that runs the store, Dave, is so cool! I hung out here for a long time because it was super hot. I ran into the rest of the Casual Club, and met a lot of new hikers too! Cool!! As we all sat in front of the store, tons and tons of motorcycles went by. What an epic day to ride.

This mount laguna area is so awesome. There must be tons of great mountain bike trails because I saw lots of trucks with bikes in back. Also, tons of jeep trails. :)

It's really neat being at a higher elevation. The views are pretty incredible! Makes up for the fact that my feet feel like crap. Living in Hawaii, I don't wear shoes. Ever. This whole shoe thing is super gnarly on my feet. Uuugh. I'm gonna get some chacos to hike in as soon as I can find some. I did around 3 miles yesterday and 3 miles today in my crappy flip flops which I use as camp shoes. It felt sooo much better. Blah, I hate shoes. Lol.

Pics: the group of people are hikers resting in front of the convenience store. I don't remember the first guy's name, behind him is Laura and Aaron (the triple crowners), behind them in the chair is Dazzle, and behind him on the floor I think it Threshold. The umbrella is my Chrome Dome, its an umbrella with a reflective coating on top; great for the scorching sun. The rest are random views from today.

So, I'm camped somewhere I'm not supposed to be. But I only did that because I somehow missed my intended campsite by 2 miles, and it was getting late so I just found a spot to pitch my tent and I'm hoping to get up real early and head out tomorrow before anyone notices I'm here. Goodnight! :)