Day 9 – April 30

Mile 144 to 151.8 (7.8 miles+walk to paradise)

Tater Tot and I woke up and booked it to Paradise Cafe. It was a bit of a climb and it was foggy, cold and drizzly but we made it there by 10am and both ordered a bagel, hash browns and two sides of avocado. Which doesn’t sound that exciting, but man we were in actual paradise. From there, we got an easy hitch into Idyllwild by a kind older lady named Linda, if I remember correctly. She said she usually doesn’t pick up strangers, but we looked “welcoming and clean”. Well, we definitely weren’t clean. But I’d say we are definitely welcoming to a free hitch into town. It was a really nice hitch. She was so sweet and loved hearing and sharing stories. One thing we noticed about hitch hiking, is that the driver always brings up politics. Man… Do I really want to get into that? Don’t know about that! We were dropped off right outside of Sky Island Natural Foods, which was actual heaven. Of course, I got a green date shake and Tate got a green smoothie. Gotta get them greens!!!! I hope to go back tomorrow for a wheatgrass shot and maybe a fresh juice before returning to my dreary hiker diet!
Afterwards, we went to the gear shop where Tots bought some more fuel. There were so many hikers up there, it was a bit overwhelming. We went to the library and figured out what to do to get around the next trail closure. It really is a bummer that we must skip parts of the trail, but hey what can we do? It’s closed. Her mom arrived shortly after, with fresh baked vegan chocolate chip cookies and a code to the cabin she rented from air bnb. The day just kept getting better and better. We got to the cabin, devoured all the calories we had burned, did laundry, showered and ate even more. My parents decided to come visit with even MORE food. Vegan chocolate cheese cake, carrot cake, muffins and more! And the best part…. THEY BROUGHT RIPLEY! man I missed that pup. She was so excited to see me! My parents took me back to the natural food store where I bought seitan jerky, chips, chocolate and more crap to lift my spirits even higher on the trail. It was nice to see them! I’ll see them in a couple weeks again in Wrightwood.

Came back to the cabin and Tate’s mom made pasta, pizza and salad and we sat around in the overly toasty living room and chatted. Now I’m in an actual bed! It feels so bizarre, but I’m so excited to sleep. Tomorrow we plan on starting late, and maybe doing about 15 miles. Pretty excited about the next stretch! There’s apparently snow! It’s such a change being up here in this cute little mountain town after cooking in the desert sun.

Very content, and cozy at the moment. Certainly not mentally prepared to get up in the morning. Super thankful to have met Tater tot, who has such a supportive and giving mom! My belly is happy, my body is happy and I’m just happy happy happy.

Day 8 -April 29

Mile 119.6 to 144 (24.4 miles) 
Today was intense! Lots of incline. But Tater Tot and I still managed to hike almost 25 miles! We started hiking around 7:30. After about 7 miles, we went to “Mikes Place” to get water, where we met more hikers, and took a nice break. Mike was giving hikers hamburgers and cold beer for lunch! Thanks but no thanks mike! It is nice to know there’s so many great trail angels out there.
While hiking, Tots and I mostly talked about good vegan food and how much we miss our significant others… Her boyfriend left his phone on the bus so they can barely talk! And MAN I MISS FRESH JUICE AND MAKING BREAKFAST EVERY MORNING. We are getting picked up by her mom tomorrow to get around the closed off burn area, which is a bummer, but she is bringing vegan cookies…. So YEEESSSS. We will be in Idyllwild tomorrow, so it will be a short day and possibly a zero Sunday. Which is a good time because it will be stormy out. And my body is so exhausted.

Later on, we met up with two guys from Germany, who we hiked with for the last 3 miles. We are all camping together with a few others! This spot is nice, but it’s windy as heck and is going to rain soon. Yay! Excited to get to Paradise Cafe tomorrow. More potatoes for me.
I almost forgot, when I ran into some bushes to take a poop, I headed back to the trail and saw this.

 My sun umbrella got snagged and I didn’t even realize it! Good thing I looked back in that direction. Thought it was pretty funny.


 More trail magic next to a pot farm!

Day 7 – April 28

Mile 109 – 119.6 (10.6)

Woke up to the sound of rain drops this morning. I didn’t want to move, I was so warm and content. But we decided to get up finally around 8 and headed to Warner Community Resource Center, where the party apparently was. There was a field right outside the building that looked like hiker tent city. Inside, there were several tables set up filled with free fresh fruit, and hiker boxes full of unwanted and extra goodies. Along with dozens of hikers! I ate 5 pears and two apples…. After, we got a hitch to the post office where I picked up my first resupply box! Pretty exciting. Warner springs is such a small town. But next door there was a golf resort or somethin, and it had a restaurant.. so of course, we ran in. OH YEAH and this dog followed me from the post office to the restaurant and waited outside for us! She was just following hikers everywhere. I wanted to take her home. Man I miss Ripley!

We hitched back to the resource center where I filled up my food bag with my new supply, and of course ate more fruit. Also, met a bunch of hikers who I know from social media! Fun stuff. Met a girl trail-named “Tater Tot” who is my age and is also solo and plant powered! She decided to join Adam and I for the next while. It’s also funny because Adam was going to trail name me tater tot, or taters (since all I have been getting in town was potatoes in some shape or form) Good thing he didn’t!
The three of us set out around 2pm, and when we stopped for water, Adam disappeared? I stopped where we planned on camping out for the night and he wasn’t here. So Tots and I decided to just camp here anyways because it was the only stop with water for a while! Another super cool chick trail-named “Bliss” decided to join us for the night! It was really really nice to sit around camp all together and have dinner with good conversation!
Today’s stretch was beyond gorgeous. The views were breath-taking! My butt is sore from all of the uphill, but it’s so worth it. Tots and I decided we will hike to Idyllwild together. There’s a burn section that we have to skip, so her mom is going to drive us and she’s bringing vegan cookies!!! Stoked. And once I get to Idyllwild, my dad might be bringing Ripley! Hoping to be there by Saturday. There’s also a vegetarian/vegan restaurant nearby! Couldn’t get any better than this. So excited for the near future. And so happy I have met such lovely humans already!

Day 6 – April 27

Mile 88 to 109.1 (Warner Springs)

21.1 miles

Slept for almost 10 hours last night, cowboy camping, and woke up at 5am to watch the sunrise.  Look at it! Ahh! It’s so so nice to wake up with the birds, as they start to sing.

Started hiking around 6am and later on found the billy goat cave!

Oh yeah… I REACHED 100 MILES!!!! 100 miles in less than 6 days! I’m so proud of myself! Now this, 26 more times!

I haven’t had one bad day yet. I won’t allow it! Everything has been so incredible and crazy all at the same time. Also, I finally feel and see a difference in my calves (my chicken legs are finally getting some muscle). I’m getting stronger! I’m getting somewhat tan too.  I have silly trekking pole strap tans across my hands. I’m probably going to look so different when I get home, oh my.
In the middle of our day, we came across a creek and, of course, ran to soak our swollen feet in the icy cold water. It was magnificent.  I let them dry in the sun and headed back out feeling so refreshed!

After about 18 miles today, I reached Eagle Rock. I walked all around this giant rock, and never saw a flippin eagle. I gave up and waited for Adam to catch up. I followed him as he went to check it out and of course, the eagle was so obvious. I have no idea how I missed it.
Hiked through the prettiest views through grassy meadows filled with cow turds and hoof prints… but no cows. I was very bummed about this. But my oh my it was beautiful.

Now I’m camped out. Had my dinner (refried black beans with cholula, and two packs of oatmeal with dried fruit and peanut butter… I was very hungry). Tomorrow morning I’ll hitch to town to get my first resupply and probably stop at a restaurant! For the only thing I’ve been getting in town… Some form of potatoes (which is ok because potatoes are prob my favorite). It’s supposed to rain all night until late morning. We shall see how my first time sleeping in the rain goes!




Day 5 – April 26 

Mile 77-88


Got a hitch from the hotel from the sweetest little old lady who took us to Moms Pies where pct hikers get free pie and a free drink! Adam got his pie and I got apple cider which was super tasty. Afterwards we walked to the store where I got fresh fruit and almost died of happiness. Adam was still hungry so we got breakfast as well. Julian is such a cute little mountain town!!! Adam and I got separate hitches back to the trail, but I was picked up by this amazing young couple who hiked the trail in 2014! During the drive we saw a dude on the side of the road with a bike lying next to him, and we totally thought he was dead. Turns out the poor dude is just the town drunk? And he just does weird stuff like that all the time.

Started hiking around 11:30. The views are so amazing up here! I’ve seen a ton of snakes in the past 10 miles too. AND THE WILDFLOWERS ARE SO BEAUTIFUL!!! It’s been such a great day I’m freaking out.

Heading to Warner springs tomorrow to get my first resupply!! Going to aim to get there before 3pm before the PO closes, 21 miles.

We decided to stop early at a really nice spot to camp where we will see the sun rise and set over the San Felipe Mountains! Pretty stoked.

Looking forward to Warner Springs!

Day 4 – April 25

Somewhere? to Scissors Crossing (26mi)

Mile 51 to 77

Woke up at 3am to hike but fell back asleep. Started hiking at 7am. I felt so amazing today! Learned that it helps a lot if you don’t complain. Kept positive and was able to move much faster! Was stuck in a very intense windstorm all day, I blew off the trail countless times. Even after 26 miles, today was amazing and so much fun.

I did have one freak out though. I thought I was going to run out of water, but found water with only half a liter left in my bladder! Near the water there was restrooms at a nearby trailhead. It was so windy that I decided to have lunch in there… Which was amazing. I made two bags of refried beans and added Cholula and vegan nacho cheez and it was actual heaven.

When I got cell reception and the wind died down, I called Lindsey and talked to her for a whole hour while hiking! I know I won’t have service much later on, so it was so lovely to get a chance to talk. She motivates me to push on each day! So happy to have her support. Hopefully I’ll see her once I get to Oregon!

Made it all the way to scissors crossing by sunset. Didn’t have any luck with our thumbs out to get a hitch to Julian, and the storm clouds were rolling in quick, but I got so lucky just in time! My aunt knows someone who lives up in Julian, and he gave us a hitch and bought us a hotel room! So thankful. It’s freezing and rainy outside. After this long ass day, I need this.  Planning on taking it easy tomorrow and spending some time in town! Then later we will get back on the trail until dark.

Took a hot shower, washed my clothes and now I’m beyond comfy in this warm bed. Forever thankful for the universe. Day four and I’m so incredibly happy. Fresh fruit in town tomorrow!!

Day 3 – April 24

Mt Laguna to somewhere
Mile 42 to 51

Woke up today around 8, washed my socks and underwear, had breakfast at the cafe with Meghan, Cheeseburger, Mike and the couple from Sweden! Started hiking around 11. Today has a very high wind warning, and it’s been slowing us down but the view of the desert below is breath taking! We decided to stealth camp surrounded by bushes where it is much less windy. Going to sleep early tonight to wake up at hopefully 3am to head to Scissors Crossing at mile 77 to get a hitch to Julian. We only did about 10 miles today, but that’s fine because my body needs rest and Adam is having foot problems. Surprisingly, I felt really amazing today. When I woke up I could barely walk but after eating and stretching I felt great! Proud of myself after those two 20+ mile first days! Tomorrow will be crazy if we can actually pull a 26 mile day! Hoping so. I guess we will find out! I like hiking with a buddy, but I’m starting to really enjoy the times I get to hike solo. Adam and I have pretty different hiking styles, mind sets and paces so we will see how long we stick together. I SAW DOGS TODAY AT THE TRADING POST IN LAGUNA AND I REALLY MISS RIPLEY. It’s only day three oh man. Someone please bring me my dog.
Here have some photos!


Day 2

Lake Morena to Mt. Laguna (22 miles)

Mile 20-42


Ended up waking up a bit late and headed out at 8am. Such a long and crazy day. The heat was unreal! But even with the elevation gain, sun, late start, and long breaks, I still made it to Mt. Laguna before dark and in time to get a giant bowl of vegan chili before the restaurant closed. I basically ran the last three miles… Lol. It was well worth it. (Listening to ‘don’t stop me now’ non stop for 3 miles strangely pushed me to hike as fast as I possibly could)
Had my first trail magic today also!

 This is the marvelous Carl who provided me with some iced tea! Heck yes.
Saw a giant rattle snake and a super cute coyote too along with a bunch of other little critters. Animals are so exciting!

I got my first blister today. Which is weird because I have never gotten a blister in these shoes with this combination of socks (La Sportiva Wildcats, Injinji liners with Darn Tough cool max socks for the trail nerds). Taped it up and kept trekking! My shoes are a size bigger but with swollen feet they feel a bit snug. Might be it.

Had lunch and hiked a bit with a fun solo thru-hiker named Meghan! I barely remember people’s names on the trail, I have come by so many already! All I know is that I have met 4 Jeffs so far.
Adam met up with me at the restaurant about 30 minutes after I got there. I booked it so I could make it in time to order us food! I was going unbelievably fast. It’s barely day two and the hiker hunger has already kicked in full affect. I teared up a bit when I saw the sign saying I was almost to the restaurant.  We met Cheeseburger and Mike, who are letting us crash on their hotel floor tonight! I got a hot shower which was amazing. I AM SO STIFF. I need to stretch hardcore. I didn’t know my body was capable of doing this amount of miles so soon!

Since my body needs rest so badly and it’s already late, I plan on sleeping in and only doing maybe 12 miles tomorrow. Unless I get there and want to push on! We will see. I should hopefully be in Warner Springs mile 109 by Tuesday or Wednesday.

IM LOVING EVERY PART OF THIS. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.

Day 1

Campo to Lake Morena

Mile 0 -20

   Day one is complete!! I am alive! Adam and I started this morning at about 6. (Adam will be hiking with me for the beginning of the trail). It still doesn’t feel real. I am actually hiking from Mexico to Canada for 5 months…. It hasn’t hit me yet. However, it HAS hit me, after this 20 miles day, that I am very out of shape! I can’t wait to get my hiker legs. I’m currently very sore and wiggly. Anyways, today was super hot, the climb to morena was killer. But so happy we made it. No blisters or butt chafe so far, so that’s great!! What else… We saw three snakes including a rattler! Fun stuff. There are so many hikers on the trail right now it’s insanity.

It’s 8:30pm now, and we are the only ones cowboy camping.. I guess we will find out if this was a mistake. We plan on waking up around 3am and heading to Mt. Lauguna, about 21 miles from here. VEGAN CHILI HERE I COME. Our first resupply is Warner Springs at mile 109! So much food in my pack… Base weight is at 11.6, and with 4-6 days worth of food + 5 liters of water  it was at 29lbs. Not too bad? Could be worse.

Overall, today was pretty great! So so so happy to be out here. I never thought the day would finally come! Almost a year of planning and saving has finally payed off. Also, happy Earth day! Did my part and picked up trash on the trail. Even though every day is earth day!

(Also, I plan/hope on improving with this online journaling thing, I need to get the hang of it + take more photos. But stick around for good stuff! )

-Melissa (yet to be trail-named)

Ps here’s a cute picture of Ripley in front of the monument before I painfully said bye to her

UPDATE: cowboy camping was a mistake… Woke up to drizzling (which wasn’t on the weather report) and now my bag is soaked. But I’m not cryin’, live and learn.