on the trail again

After spending the weekend at Kick-Off we are back on trail!! It feels so right!
Kick-off is a gathering at Lake Morena, twenty miles from the border. We got a ride down there from mile 342, El Cajon Pass. Mumbles wife rented a van and gave us all a ride back to the border. It was a long trip as we had two stops to make along the way. The journey took us 7 hours. We pulled into Lake Morena and it was dark. We checked in and found our campsite, set up our tents and went to sleep.
It was a great weekend. We went to lectures ranging in topics from water and fire reports to over use injuries and flora of the trail. We had community dinners. I met some cool people. Teddi Boston was the first woman to hike the PCT solo. She is such a joy and inspiration. I also met Billy Goat. A PCT legend ! He has had I believe six major surgeries this past year. He still made it to kick off. He refers to the trail as home!!
After three days hanging out, we found our way back to the trail. Our groups is now five. WhyNot?!, PocoLoco , Spirit , Atlas, and I . We make a good team.
I love walking the trail looking back at where we have been, and looking ahead at where we are going. It’s so peaceful allowing for contemplation whenever needed.
We have a 17 mile waterless stretch tomorrow. We are carrying 3 liters each. The weather isn’t too hot though so we should be fine.
The trail today was short. We didn’t start until noon. We started hiking and wound our way away from El Cajon paralleling the San Andreas fault. We climbed up 3000 feet. It was a mellow climb though .
It is interesting . I feel like now , we are really hiking the PCT. We aren’t getting off for any reason , planned anyway! This is it. We are walking to Canada. What an amazing feeling!
Our campsite on the top of a mountain …we are looking out a Mt Baden Powell , which we will climb in a couple of days. Peaceful , easy feeling.
I was asked recently if I was trying to find myself.”I thought before answering. I am here, I am walking because I am living a dream of following through with a passion. A passion of living life to the fullest. A passion of learning how to live a life well. I have left fears and insecurities behind. I want to be an inspiration to others. I met a young woman in facebook recently. She sent me a message and said how inspired she was seeing older women on the trail . While at Kick-Off a young woman approached me. She said, “laura?” She gave me a big hug and said how happy she was to meet me and my friends. She said after hiking last year and not seeing any older women on the trail she feared as she aged she may not be able to hike, but after meeting us, she was inspired.
My dream in life is to inspire others. To send a message that reaching for dreams and doing the unthinkable , are possible. That because hardships, enter our life doesn’t mean we need to be stuck in our story. We can break free. We can be happy again. We can smile and laugh and love.
I walk on
With love…..p

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300 miles by 3 weeks !!

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We began walking 3 weeks ago. Today we hit 342 miles. We now have 3 days off in which we will spend it at kick- off. I am so looking forward to meeting the other thru-hikers and getting to know the past hikers who have provided me with a wealth of knowledge regarding the trail !
It has been amazing journey. The trail keeps getting better. My body keeps getting stronger. The chatter in my mind is diminishing. The bonds I am making with other hikers will last a lifetime. What a journey.
This last section was tough. But, not as tough as I anticipated . I love how with each turn of the trail something new awaits my senses. Whether it be a rock formation resembling a frog, a cottontail bunny hoping across the trail, the scents of the vast array of wildflowers or the expansive views in every direction. The trail provides in every way. For me it is magic.
My toe got a little worse. I decided on our zero in Big Bear that I would visit the doctor and also ask him to check my knee. I got a ride. I waited for 45 minutes to see the doctor. He came in and went right back out to chat with his friends. A young man, this doctor, I am sure just out of medical school. He returned with a big long needle and a scalpel. Yikes. The needle hurt like hell. Then he proceeded to lance the toe. It wasn’t pretty. He had me apply pressure to the bleeding and said his assistant would return to dress it. I said,” wait my knee!” He felt it, said” it’s not hot, no worries.” He was gone!!!
Today the toe is healing. My knee hurts quite badly on the downhills but beyond that….all is well!
We have been doing a number of twenty mile days. It feels good. The exhaustion at days end is good for me.
We have been hiking and just finished Section C. At one point we were walking thru a burn area, for quite a number of miles. These areas provide me with such hope for renewal and life. The charred remains of a fir tree surrounded by beautiful array of green shrubs and a kaleidoscope of colors of wildflowers.
We formulate our days mileage based on water availability and elevation . It determines what we well be doing for the day. It’s interesting. The whole water issue . I have found myself very thirsty at times. I am learning to drink at water sources along long with filling my bottles.
Some days I am hungry. Other days not so . I try and force myself to eat at times. Already I am tired of Pro-bars, which I thought would be a staple. I am craving caffeine, but because I don’t have a stove I can’t have hot coffee. I did
find a solution though. Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cup sprinkled with a package if Starbucks VIA . Instant gratification!
Our group is slowly diminishing . We lost a few from day one as our pace was much quicker than theirs. We lost sweet Willow as she missed her family too much . Mumbles has finished his hike as he only planned on hiking until kick- off. We will miss him . He was a joy to have around. As of now our group consists of Astro, PocoLoco, WhyNot, Spirit, and myself!!
The ever changing nature of this walk
fills my heart with joy. The challenges continue . When I think I can’t take another step. I do.
With love
I walk on

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Gratitude Revisited

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Ziggy and the Bear provided us with coffee and cereal….we were on our way at 5:30am. Amazing trail angels. Their love for the hikers was so evident. They greeted us with foot baths and ice cold bottles of Gatorade .It was kind of surreal winding our way up the mountain thru the wind farm. The moon hanging out behind us, the sun soon to rise. I loved beginning my day this way. I love having to dig deep to find the strength to take another step as we continued to climb. It was warm as soon as the sun peaked her head up over the horizon. My body was tired , yet it was feeling really strong. Each day , a little stronger. At times though… as the sun was beating down upon me , I questioned myself. Can I do this? Can I truly complete this adventure. As I near the top of the climb, I realize yes. Yes, I can do it. But it will take strength. The kind of strength that overrides the chatter of the mind. Found a sweet campsite alongside a water source, it was so lovely to bathe in the stream. I didn’t sleep so well, body aching. But as the sun arose I was again ready to hit the trail. The hardest day for me. Both physically and mentally. I didn’t lag physically, but it was a challenge. I think perhaps because sleep hasn’t been good. Up and down the Mission Creek drainage area of the San Gorgonio Wilderness. The steep climbs then down into these beautiful little sections of lovely greens , because of a water … I have become so grateful for water . We are used to having it at our fingertips , and often times take it for granted.
It is easy to be in the moment while walking the trail. I must watch my every step. I listen to the birds, and the possible stream flowing by. I inhale the scents of sage, lavender, and various other lovely scents of the trail . I wish for a breeze and it blows through my hair . I stop . I look in wonder at the beauty that surrounds me. And then , I smile.
I experienced such gratitude for life. For everything that has transpired in my life to bring me here, to this trail. I was chatting with Willow as we were walking. She was commenting on my speed downhill . Such a beautiful memory awakened of a time very long ago . Michael and I getting married on MtHood . He went up very early to run the mountain. I looked up to see his grace and ownership of that mountain trail as he wound his way down. I commented on how beautiful he looked. He called it ,”running with wreck less abandon .” The memory brought tears, then gratitude. For without all that has transpired in my life I wouldn’t be here, now.
As we completed the mileage of this part if section C , Spirit, Atlas and I were greeted at the trailhead by Honey and the Bear. Lovely trail angels from Maine. They host hikers on the AT. They were on a road trip stopping at trailheads along the PCT offering rides to hikers into town. They gave us a ride into Big Bear. They had only been married for 20 years. They were in their 70’s. Honey said she found Bear in the woods. Their love for each other was so evident. Blessed be the love.
We will take a zero here . Good for me as my knee is swollen and sore. I will ice it as much as possible before we head back out…next week we will head for kick- off.
I walk on, with love.

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Zeros, lunar eclipse , and pushing through

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I was feeling quite conflicted about taking a zero. I came out here to hike. To be away from traffic, coffee houses and pizza parlors. When we realized we couldn’t hike thru the closure the decision was made to zero in Idyllwild. I wanted to stay with my tribe. I did not however want to take a day off. I contemplated it and decided I would go on. First however I spoke to WhyNot?! And asked her to talk with me about the PCT. She made me realize that the towns, the trail angels , the rest days, are all a part of the experience. I chose to embrace the moments as they occurred. It was a good decision.
We left Idyllwild around 6:30 am. We began hiking up. It was a good climb. I got a really bad nose bleed. I stopped. I rested. I tried to push through it but it wouldn’t stop. I gave in and fell back. I started stressing. I let my mind interfere with my serenity . I was feeling insecure for some reason. I continued up. My head down. Feeling a little down. I rounded a corner, I looked up, the most beautiful, expansive view opened up in front of me. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude for the moment. I let go of all the petty insecurities and realized what was truly important.
The walk was fabulous. The views spectacular. The sky the bluest blue. The boulders a snow speckled gray. Trees , shrubs and plants all the various hues of green. I was walking hard. Pushing my body . If felt so good.
We set up camp on the side of the trail down a sandy hillside. We set up for viewing of the eclipse. How magical it was! The moon so bright. The stars dancing in the skies. Such an easy, peaceful feeling washed over me.
The next day we hiked downhill . Switchback after switchback. It was hot. I drank 4 liters if water in 15 miles .
Satisfied after a god day of hiking. The next few will be hot. Waterless in areas. Long days . This is what I came for. Pushing myself through limits I gave imposed on myself . I love this journey.
With love
I walk on

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Inhaling the strength of the trail

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We camped at a trailhead last night on the Anzo Borego Desert. It was sooo cool!! The evening sky so vast. The stars twinkled like diamonds in the sky.
The hike out of Nance Canyon wiped me out . The problem of course was my mind . I was dehydrated a bit from the day before . Two liters for 18 miles in the hot, hot sun was simply not enough. I was parched. So once we hit Nance Canyon again with only two liters I was dry … And questioning my bad planning. This in turn made me question myself.
I have to get that stinkin thinkin in check!
My body is getting stronger every day. I look at the mountains, the plants and all living around me and I inhale their strength. My only physical issue has been my big toe. It was continually throbbing. I called Tatu Joe and asked his advise. He said to stick a needle under the toe and drain it. Of course this didn’t appeal to me all that much, but I needed to remedy the situation. It worked ! Warner Springs a Monte let me soak my feet in Epsom salts then he applied oils and salves. I taped them up and removed the tape today. Black and blue nail, but no more pain!!!
We had a short ten mile walk into Paradise cafe. I met Randy Welch whom I became friends with on FB . It was fun once again to meet someone in person. Our conversation around the table was how to deal with the closure. The highway is to sketchy and none of us wanted to risk it. My thought was hold off until Kick Off and see what our choices will be at that time.
Now the crazy repackaging , washing of body and clothes, rehydrating and eating. Hopefully some good rest.
I love this journey .
I walk on, with love

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Sparkles, love and boulders

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A beautiful walk today. Although I must say, everyday has been a beautiful walk. Today the trail was meandering through wise , old oak trees, along a sweet little creek, and climbed up and up through the most amazing peach colored boulders.
For the longest time the trail was covered with sparkly little crystals. It was quite lovely.
Love bloomed today, and love
changed.A couple we have hiked with decided to change their relationship.One was hiking on, the other had to go home. They say the trail changes people. But their love was still apparent. But the lesson of impermanence appeared
once again . The ever changing realities of life. I felt their love. I felt their loss. I felt their realization of the ever changing fabric of our lives.
The boulders so strong in their presence . How long have they been here? How long will they remain?
The trail wound it’s way up and down and around. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was strenuous but I love the sweat. I love the walk. I love the lessons.
We are at a home along the trail . We are cowboy camping, but it feels as if a storm is brewing. It will be what it will be. It is as it is. I enjoy the spontaneity of this journey.
With love, I walk

 

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Two crows

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What an amazing journey it’s been. Yesterday we headed up over the San Felipe mountains. Another lesson from Mother Nature. Gazing up at the Felipe’s the day before they looked dry , hot and desolate. I truly was not looking forward to the next day.
We awoke earlier than normal after spending the night in Julian. We barely made the pie!! But Atlas and I shared a piece of crumble , hot apple pie with vanilla ice cream. It was fabulous.
We began up the San Felipe’s. WhyNot and I fell behind the pack and took in the beauty of the desert. The lesson. From afar I was not interested. It looked like a long dry section. Once I tasted a bit of the mountain I was entranced . The way the sun hit the ocotillo was breathtaking. The way we rounded a corner and stopped in absolute amazement at the cactus gardens naturally growing along the trail. Such a lesson in judging a book by its cover. Of course we all know the harm in doing that but I breathed in the lessons and gave thanks.
There were two crows following us from day 3. We were hiking out of Cibbetts flat and we noticed their grace in flight. I gazed at the sky today and flying over and landing on eagle rock were the two crows . We have seen them every day. As you may remember I was questioning whether the crow was one of my spirit guides. I believe yes. The messages are not clear yet, but I know I will hear them soon.
Walking down the trail alone is so peaceful. I love walking with my friends but those moments alone are precious. I am slowly cleaning the cobwebs from my mind. I feel lighter than I have felt on a long time.
Yesterday we hiked a long, hot 24 miles. At the end if the day we crossed the 100 mile mark!! It was a exulting moment. We were stoked!!!
With love.. I walk on
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Layers of life

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I love the trail.
The layers of life enfolding in front of me. I walked alone for awhile after leaving sunrise. I find I like to be at the back of the pack. I enjoy the moments of solitude. I enjoy reflecting on my life. Glancing out looking at the layers of the mountains I contemplate the layers of my life . There is so much to me. There is so much to look at where I have been. I walk and I give thanks.
Two crows have been following us for a number of days. The dance with the wind and it is mesmerizing to watch them. They bring me simple joy.
We slept under the stars. It was magical. The galaxies passing by. Once again I didn’t want to sleep . The show continued on. I would start to drift into sweet sleep and glance at the skies and force my eyes to settle into the intensity of the sky above.
I have met some super great people . Dave Super at Laguna Mountain Sports is an amazing man and truly supportive of the trail community. We are blessed to know him . I met Jessica Ford.. a facebook friend . It was so awesome to meet her in person.Blue Moon and Shock Top brought cold drinks and sodas .. Amazing folks out here.
WhyNot and I were walking a trail and we ran into two young boys. They asked us if we were through hikers. We proclaimed yes we were. They were in awe. They said we were living their dream. They said all that we can offer you us our words of encouragement. It was so sweet!
Today we walked through a portion of the desert. It was very hot. But our bodies pushed through. The desert flowers were blooming . We had continual trail magic by a guy I named TAJ. He is the boyfriend of
Kirby. He is an angel.
There are a lot of people on the trail already. But I find I am able to contemplate and receive the teachings that nature has to offer. I feel so blessed.
With love.. I walk on.

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Step by step I walk

The journey begins. From the very first step onto the PCT I was stoked. From a group of about thirty we broke off into a group of 7 or 8. Our core group is Atlas, Jason, WhyNot , poco loco. Willow. Pink panther, Kirby and myself, Grasshopper. Winding our way from the border to Lake Morena, whereby we joined probably fifty others at the campground, onto Cibbets Flat where we had awesome trail magic by Kirby’s boyfriend who I named TAJ ( trail angel Justin) and up to Mt Laguna. I am alive. Life pulses thru my veins with a new energy . Trail energy. It’s a different life out here and I love it. It has been cold at night. Really cold. Frost on our tents. Small patches of snow along the trail. Steam arising from our bodies in the early morning. The flowers have been blooming because of the late rains and they brighten up the trail. The expansive views remind me of the enormous potential in life.
It has been crazy to me how accessible we are out here . I mean, cell service has been readily available. I didn’t expect it. I don’t know how much I like it, because if it’s there I find myself plugging in. I am sure though it will change soon.
We have met a number of cool and interesting folks. One young man named Dustin had recently been released from prison . Scruffy red beard and beautiful smile he shared some of his story. He was involved in the world of meth. After serving some years he was released to walk the trail and spread the word to school children about the horrendous world of drug use. He is a lovely young man and I wish him success in his new found place in the world .
My body is doing well. No blisters yet, though my little toes are a little stressed. Wishing I brought my ” toe rubbers” little individual toe sleeves to protect what nail I have from turning black and falling off . I have been sleeping not all that well. I look forward to cowboy camping and watching the stars pass by. But big sleep isn’t needed out here for me .
We are splitting up today into a couple smaller groups. WhyNot, Atlas and I are yearning for a hot breakfast as WhyNot and I don’t have stoves so we are waiting for the cafe to open. Then once again we walk.
With love.

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