Trail magic!

Monday July 15, 2019

21 miles

I received my first ever trail side trail magic this afternoon. Ducky’s dad was our host. Ducky completed the PCT in 2016, the AT in 2018 and is currently on the CDT. I had some chocolate milk, oreo cookies, tortilla chips and cherries. Such an awesome experience.

Morning view from our cabin.

We left Shelter Cove after a breakfast of scrambled eggs. It was a very good stay. I got my laundry done, showered and got to talk to Jim. I’ve had pretty much no cell service out here and had to use wifi to call Jim, but so glad I got to talk to him. He is my rock and bestfriend. I just wish he loved backpacking as much as I do.

It was mostly overcast all day today with cooler temps in the low 60’s. It was very comfortable hiking and maybe a little on the cool side. I didnt do much sweating today. I am also feeling better, less soreness. My pack is much more comfortable with only a little over a days worth of food in it.

The mosquitos are still bad but not as bad as yesterday. We passed by many beautiful lakes/ponds today with crystal clear water.

I am currently camped on the shore of a beautiful lake. This is one of my top five campsites ever.

View of the lake we are camped on.

I’ve seen the most people on the trail today since starting the trip. Even saw a few trail runners. This is an awesome trail to run on. So few roots and rocks. I’ve often thought how awesome it would be to live close to a trail.

Deadly mosquitoes

Sunday July 14, 2019

11.3 miles to Shelter Cove Resort

Sunrise over the lake this morning was spectacular! When you live outdoors for a while you get to see so many of them.

We rolled out of camp at 5:50am. We were headed to Shelter Cove Resort where we would stay the night, take showers and do laundry. I am so dirty. More so than I was on the AT. There are so little water sources out here that you can actually wash in. It is so different from the AT. So I don’t really get a good bandana bath in the evening.

The terrain was really dry and dusty this morning. A lot of horses had been on the trail so the ground was really stirred up and made it a little difficult to hike on.

I thought the mosquitos were bad previous days. Well it was nothing like today. There were no breaks from them at all this morning. They were so thick I put on my head on to keep them away from my face. It was only about 40 degrees when we left camp this morning so I had my puffy jacket on and I couldn’t even stop to take of off. I would rather be a little to warm than be eaten alive by mosquitoes. Just to take a picture was a challenge. Before you could take the picture they were landing on you

We made it into Shelter cove by 11am. Where the girls picked up there resupply boxes. I didn’t have one here because I didn’t get to the post office early enough. It would take UPS 10 days to get my box here so it wouldn’t have arrived until the day I was leaving Shelter Cove and I didn’t want to wait on it or take a chance on it. So I carried extra food to get me to the next stop, Elk Lake.

We took showers, did laundry, cleaned up gear, called family, caught up on emails, text messages and social media. The days we make it into town are rarely all relaxation.

Shelter Cove is really just a camping resort on a very large lake. It is not really a town. They do have a small store with some supplies and a small grill that serves hamburgers, pizza and some breakfast items. I had a gluten free veggie pizza for dinner.

Crescent Lake

Saturday July 13, 2019

19.9 miles

Check out this awesome campsite for the night. Crescent lake. Although we are not camped directly on the lake we are only a short walk away. Crescent lake is not on the PCT. We have taken an alternate route to avoid heavy snow areas around Diamond Peak, the mountain pictured in the back ground.

The last couple of afternoons I was really dragging so I decided that I would get up early this morning. So I could get most of my miles in early when I feel my best. So I woke SHORTCUT up with a loud rooster’s crow at 4:30am. We packed up and were out of camp by 5:15.

SOULFLOWER camped further down trail so I gave her a rooster’s crow as I went by. She had just woken up and got dressed but was not ready to go. We made arrangements where we would meet and we all made 10×10 (10 miles by 10am). With SOULFLOWER, the last one up and out of camp finishing first!

The mosquitos are relentless. When they are out you can’t pause to take a picture without them landing all over you. I have been applying bug spray daily and sometimes more than once per day.

The trail has been mostly a dirt path with very few roots and rocks. It has been very easy walking. Oregon is one of the flattest sections of the PCT and thru hikers can generally make 5 miles more per day here.

My knee is feeling better but my calfs are still sore. My arms are sunburnt and my butt is chafed.

Holy Snow!

Friday July 12, 2019

17.1 milesThere were miles of trail covered in snow today. I wore my microspikes for a good part of it. The snow was just in patches. Some long and some short. For the most part it was pretty easy to stay on trail since so many have been through before us.SHORTCUT postholing.I have been really tired. The long day of travel getting here plus the time change have been tough on me. I’ve had some knee pain yesterday and a little ankle issue this morning. My calf and shin muscles are sore. Which is normal for me when just starting out on trail.

Beautiful

Thursday July 11, 201919.1 miles I woke up to mosquitos still buzzing out side my tent this morning. How are the little buggers still awake? It make it challenging when one has to go poop while trying to squat and swat at the same time. Add this to my new list of talents!We continued to hike along the Rim trail for a few more miles this morning. The beauty is hard to capture on a cell phone camera, but some of the professional pictures I’ve seen with sapphire and teal colored water are exactly what I am seeing today.We had one small section of he Rim trail that was closed. I think it was impassable do to the snow. It was an easy one mile road walk around it.Crater lake was formed from a volcano that erupted 7,700 years ago and the island that you see in it is the actual top of the old volcano. The lake is over 1,900 feet deep. I will definitely be back here again some day.We had many snow covered patches of snow that we had to traverse this morning. There have been plenty of hikers through before us so we could easily follow in their footprints. We were going across them early in he morning which makes it easier when the ground is still hard. Once the sun rises it can get a little slushy.Once we were back on the PCT we entered a woodsy area where we remained the rest of the day. It got pretty warm today and with carrying a pack I got a little dehydrated. When we left camp this morning we had to carry enough water for the whole day since there was no water available. We were also depending on a water cache supplied by trail angles for our evening water. I have read reports on Guthook (electronic trail guide) that there was water there. And we were lucky that there was, about 20 five gallon water jugs. Thank you trail angles!😊There was a report at the water cache about the upcoming snow on the trail. It looks like tomorrow there could be a good bit of snow.I have been amazed how dry some section of the trail have been. Some areas are so dusty you can’t even hike behind the hiker in front of you. Then other areas are covered in snow.We were able to find a pretty good place off in the wood that was remarkably low on mosquitos. We had hiked through them off and on throughout the day. Requiring me to apply 100% deet twice.

CRATER LAKE

Wednesday July 10. 2019I am off on another adventure. I had to cancel my trip to Colorado this summer because of all the snow still on the trail making sections of it impassable. So I am currently in Oregon on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).It was a long day of travel starting with the alarm going off at 4am this morning,, involving three different flights to get to Medford, Oregon and maybe a panic attach added in.When I arrived at Dallas/Fort Worth I realised that I had less then 30 minutes before the next flight left. So that really gets the blood flowing. After what felt about a mile of running through the airport to get to the next gate only to find out that I was an hour early. Effing time change!!!After meeting my friends SOULFLOWER and SHORTCUT in Phoenix for our last flight we touch down in Oregon at 7:30 PM eastern time.Then it a quick trip to REI for fuel for our cook stoves then to tackle the 1.5 hour drive to Crater Lake with our PCT trail angel Nick. Thank you Nick.Our tent spot for the night was about 4.5 miles down trail. Which would put us in camp at 11:30pm eastern time 8:30 pacific time just enough light to set up our tents.We stepped out of the truck to the amazingly beautiful Crater Lake and swarms of mosquitos the size of birds, 61 degree temperatures and patches of snow on the ground. The temperature and the mosquitos had us moving quickly to get to camp as well as the race against time to get there before dark.We were following the rim trail around Crater Lake. It was a photographer’s dream, but you couldn’t stop and enjoy it for long because the mosquitos were all over you. You could literally feel them landing on you a dozen at a time.

DETOUR

I wrote this awhile ago. I just felt it was a little personal for me to post, but since my web address will be changing to littlebearstumbles.wordpress.com I though I would just get it over with and post the darn thing. So please take note of the above address.

Saturday November 4, 2018

They say the trail will change you, and it does. It didn’t believe it would change me, but now I do. It took a while for it all to sink in. I’m not the same person I was before trail life. I’ve change in many ways. Now I am always looking for the next big adventure!!

I was told about the depression that would hit me after the trail, but of course until it happens to you you really don’t let it concern you. Plus I was one of those poeple that thought those people didn’t know what they were talking about. It took a while to hit me, but hit me it did! I felt like I just had to much time on my hands. I started to go insane with boredom on my days off of work. I wondered how I was so busy before trail life. I could remember having this long to do list that I couldn’t even finish in a single day. Now I looked forward to going to work just to have something to do.

I was in a rush to finish the trail since I only took 6 months off from work and had given them an exact date when I would return. I finished the trail with only 4 days before I had to go back to work. Things were busy in the beginning with returning home and going back to work. At the time I was only working 3.5 days a week. After being on trail for so long and walking every day those remaining 3.5 days off really became boring so by November after being off trail for only a month I started to look for another job to add another day or two to my current schedule. I didnt put much effort into it. I just looking online and sending applications in when I saw something advertised.

With a few weeks of being off trail I already had my next hike planned with my Aunt Julie, who I hiked Long Trail with 6 months prior to my Appalachian trail thru hike. We hiked the Northville-Placid trail with three other friends. I was just ready to be back out there again and this gave me something to focus on.

Things at home were no longer the same. I didn’t put the effort into meal planning like I use to and really had no desire to cook any more. I just preferred simple meals with very little fuss to them. My wonderful husband, Jim jumped right in and took over planning meals and cooking. Let me tell you I’m really lucky to have him! Plus he is a much better cook than me.

I use to spend so much time on planning meals out for the week then making a grocery shopping list, and even prepping a lot of things, but that is no more! I’m applying the k.i.s.s. principle (keep it simple stupid) to meals now and just letting Jim handle it. I’m not fancy and as far as food goes I’m easy to please.

I also had a to do list which would consume my days off. I had a spiral notebook that always sat on the kitchen counter with a long list of things to do on it. That is now gone. But I must admit that I still make a to do list but it is now on an app on my phone that does not get looked at on a regular basis. I will put some important things on it that I want to make sure gets done at some point, but I don’t look at it several times a day like I use to do. Now that to do list may only get looked at once per week.

I also use to sit down on a regular basis…weekly and go through our finances. I would record all of our expenses in quicken and pay any bills that needed to be paid. I no longer do that. Before leaving for the trail I set up my bills to all be paid once per month to make things easier for Jim while I was away. And of course he didn’t like my meticulous system of tracking where every cent went so it wasn’t keep up as well as I would have liked while I was gone. So when it came time to renew my subscription for quicken and it was it a much more costly price than I had paid in the past I just decided to do away with it. So now once a month I sit down and pay the 5 or 6 bills that need to be paid and I am done with it quickly. Simple.

While nothing amounted to the job applications I put in. I started to read about minimalism and simplify my life. Hence a lot of the above changes. I also went through the entire house and started to get rid of car loads of stuff. Then I was selling it or giving it away for free. It gave me something to do and focus on for months.

As spring rolled around I was ready to be on trail again so I started to look at some of my options. I had some friends that I knew would be on trail and I started to make more hiking plans. I ended up having a great year of shorter hikes with friends. I was able to meet one of my biggest AT supporters, Kara on trail and hike some with her. Somehow I managed to get 3 weeks off from my job and hike half the Colorado Trail with the two girls that I submitted Katahdon with, SHOUTCUT and SOULFLOWER. Then I hiked the Northville-Placid Trial with my Aunt Julie, one of her friends, SHORTCUT and SOULFLOWER! I was even able to squeeze in a couple of days in with CHOCOHOLIC on the AT.

As summer was approaching I noticed that a job I applied for in November was still available so I thought what the heck I would apply again even though I had made all kinds of plans for the summer. Then they called me for an interview. They told me that would like to set up a working interview as well. I explained to them about the 3 weeks I wanted to hike in July, the 2 weeks I was hiking in August, and the week long family vacation I had planned in September and they still wanted to do the working interview!

Now that summer is over and there are no more hikes to go on I am restless again. I started to read about van life. People who live in their vans and travel all the time. It has given me a new focus! So I have been looking into camper vans. Not to live in full time right now, but to travel more in. I will still work, but now on my long weekends I can travel to state and national parks still camp out, which I love, sleep in a comfortable bed, have a shower at the end of the day and drumroll HIKE!

Although there are a lot of flaws the that plan, if there is a will there is a way. Right? I had planned to get rid of my car, that I just bought new in Jan. Which would mean that I would have about a $6000. loss and just make the van my primary vehicle and still have one payment. I am so anxious about having the freedom to travel and stay in parks that I was willing to stomach the $6000 loss. Lesson learned don’t buy brand new cars. But the city I live in does not allow camper van’s to be parked in the driveway. So now the current plan is to have two vehicles and keep the van at a friends place of business so I don’t have to pay for storage.

The next flaw is the cost of the van. New they can range from about $80,000 to well over $100,000. Of course I’m not looking for a new one. And there goes putting money into retirement or as much money. But what if I don’t live that long. Do I enjoy myself now or be bored with my current life? And why do we have to retire? Why do we work so hard now when we are young and have families? Maybe we are so sick and crippled when we are old because we work so hard now! I saw this quote and it makes me just want to go for it.

“And then there is the most dangerous risk of all — the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.”

— Randy Komisar

Almost there

Day 10

Wednesday August 22, 2018

15 Miles Total Mileage 130

We decided last night that if it wasn’t raining in the morning we would head out early. If it was raining we would stay in bed and hide from the rain. I was awake at 4:54am and it wasn’t raining so I got those sleepyheads up and at it. We were off at 6:10 am headed down the trail. We soon caught SOULFLOWER and SHORTCUT still in bed at 8:30. They were just taking it easy and had decided to take 3 days to finish up. They were shocked to see us! We got them up and moving.

Me, waiting for SOULFLOWER and SHORTCUT to finish packing up after sleeping in. This lean-to had a chair in it that I took advantage of.

We were making great time today and at noon we had reached our destination for the day and decided to go another 4 miles to the next shelter. Now we will only have 8 miles to complete tomorrow.

We arrive at the shelter and it is surrounded on one side with flowers and I noticed a hummingbird flying around the flowers.

The trail was overgrown and even though it wasn’t raining hard it got the overgrowth wet and that is what really makes your socks and shoes wet and uncomfortable. We didn’t have much sun today so there is no way my shoes will be dry by tomorrow morning.

There were no really good spots to camp tonight so we were all were staying in the lean-to.

This is it. We did it!

Day 11

Thursday August 23, 2018

8 Miles Total Mileage 138

I guess there was a lot going on throughout the night and I slept through it all! It seems I was the only one that slept great. SHORTCUT got up to go to the bathroom 3 times and was so cold she was having a hard time sleeping. Amy was cold and hasn’t slept that great on her sleeping pad the whole trip. She was the first one up and starting to pack up. SOULFLOWER said she couldn’t sleep and was up until 1am. Plus there was a mouse in the house eating something and making a bunch of noise. At first SOULFLOWER thought it was Aunt Julie eating a midnight snack, but when she sat up to investigate she realized it was a mouse. She was shining her light trying to find out where it was but couldn’t see it. It was over by me somewhere. Aunt Julie also had a hard time sleeping because of all the noise and she was cold. And me…I just slept toasty warm through it all!

Yucky muddy trail.

I did later discover that there was indeed a mouse and he ate a hole through a mesh in my pack to get to a bar wrapper that I missed putting in my bear hang. Oops!

We were off early to finish up the trail. A few of us took a short side trail to a waterfall. This is where I ate my breakfast this morning.

We completed the 8 miles by 11am and my Uncle Brian came and picked us up. Then he took us for ice cream! A perfect way to end the trail. Thank you Uncle Brian.

The Katahdin girls.

I did enjoy the trail plus I had the best company. I can’t wait to get together with these girls again.

The trail was pretty flat with lots of tree cover so we didn’t get much sun. There were a good number of blowdowns that we had to go over, around or under. As well as plenty of roots, rocks and muddy areas to slow you down. I also have the most mosquito bites o think I have ever had.

Bloody toes

Day 9

Tuesday August 21, 2018

13 Miles Total Milage 115

We left the motel at 8am this morning. The motel owner was gracious enough to give us a ride back to the trailhead. Although the ride was in the back of a pick up truck. It was pretty chilly.

I’ve been pretty hungry on this trip. Yesterday I made a few purchases for breakfast this morning. I started with a fresh peach, a very large blueberry muffin and finished it off with a chocolate milk. I was full and ready to hit the trail.

We were off to a good pace and didn’t stop until noon for lunch. SOULFLOWER and SHORTCUT where thinking about pressing on further than the planned stop for the day because of the forecasted rain for tomorrow. It could be an all day rain. Their plan was to hike the mileage we had planned for the last three days in two days and be in a nice dry and warm hotel room tomorrow night.

Note left by SHORTCUT and SUNFLOWER.

When we got to our planned stop and Aunt Julie took off her boots and I saw the blister I am glad we stopped here. It is really bad and bloody looking. Plus this spot is really nice. It is right on the Cold River. We were able to sit at the waters edge and soak our feet for a while.

Aunt Julie’s little toe.

This is the toe next to the little toe. A totally different blister.

Julie and I lay down early and Amy goes for a walk up the trail! Like she didn’t get enough walking. And this isn’t the first time she did this. She went for another walk one night when we finished up early.

Scary suspension bridge.

We had to cross a suspension bridge with a see through metal grate at the bottom. I was not fond of it but managed to make it across.

Aunt Julie coming across the scary suspension bridge.

I managed to loose my bear line tonight. I picked out a branch and on my third attempt to get the line over the branch my rock bag went flying into a neighboring tree and I knew immediately that I was in trouble. After giving it a yank…yup its stuck!!! I managed to save enough line for maybe a small clothes line, but I will have to make a new rock bag and buy a new line. Although I didn’t have all my line to begin with. I got part of it stuck in a tree on the AT, but I still had enough to hang a bag. Now that is no longer the case.

Me, in bed resting.