Day 34 – May 25

672.8 to Kennedy Meadows 702.2 + 1 mile to town (30.4 miles)
12 hour day today, and 30 miles by 6pm! I was alone for the majority of my day. I was also the first to hike through the section right after my camp site. I could tell because I was getting all the fresh spider webs in my face! After stopping for water 8 miles in, Pinecone and Freetail caught up and I hiked with them for a while. They are my favorite trail couple! Jealous. They camped at 20 miles, and we said our goodbyes. I probably won’t ever see them again! We exchanged numbers and such though.

It was a gorgeous day. The morning was cool and foggy, then later it was sunny, and then it started hailing and there was thunder and lightning, and after that it was hot and sunny again! Craziness.

After 20 miles, I ran out of toilet paper…. Not exciting. When I saw the porta potty at the highway at 30 miles, I RAN. I almost turned to using rocks and sticks… Those are never fun experiences!

The transition from desert to the mountains was so exciting. I really can’t believe I’m done with the desert. 700 miles, one month… It’s going so fast! Being in the Sierras is going to be so new and incredible for me. I’m craving them already!

When I reached Kennedy Meadows, I saw Ripley (my beloved pup) around the corner when I was approaching the General Store. When she saw me, she ran faster than I have ever seen her run! She jumped up on me and it was the best thing ever I missed her so stinkin much!!! My dad was waiting for me at the store. When I got there, all the hikers on the patio were clapping for me! I love all these hikers. It’s amazing how supportive and considerate everyone is towards eachother out here.

My dad and I went to Grumpy Bears to get dinner. I had a bowl of veggie chili! I am gonna pig out so much this whole week. I carry a tiny fit bit because I like looking at the miles I’ve done and I use it for checking the time, but it shows calories burned and today it said almost 5,000. And it doesn’t know that I’m carrying 20lbs on my back either! I definitely need to be eating more.

Im feeling super excited yet super weird heading to my house right now. It’s going to be so odd being back home after being in the dirt for a month. But I’ll be flying out on Friday to stay with Lindsey so YAY!!! The sierras will be waiting for me. I’m so looking forward to them.

I’m always at least 98% asleep when I write these blog posts and rarely re-read them so I apologize! I’m trying I promise! Thank you to everyone who actually reads them. It feels so nice to know people are interested! You’re all so lovely.

Day 31+32 – May 22,23

Bird Spring Pass 630.8 to Walker Pass 652.1 (21.3 miles) + unexpected yet very necessary zero day

Woke up at 5am and hiked out before 6! It was beyond cold and the wind was gnarly, making it feel 10x colder. Waking up that early was so worth it, the morning view of the sunrise made me melt.
First up was a nice 2000ft climb. It went by quick though because I was basically running so I could get warm. The rest of the way was so fantastic! (Besides almost getting run over by ATVs). It was mostly flat and downhill to Walker Pass. I got to the campground right before the pass at about 3pm and hung out there for a while with some other folks at the water cache. I was to meet Joan (my aunt) at 4pm about half a mile further so I wasn’t worried about time. I hiked on to meet up with her and she ended up being at the campsite the whole time! We even locked eyes but didn’t process that we saw each other. She thought I was meeting her at the campground, while I thought she was meeting me at the Walker pass monument half a mile up. It was pretty funny! After four, she asked a trail angel who was at the cache if he had seen me and he told her I left with a group to Lake Isabella! She thought I was blowing her off and I thought she forgot about me! But it all worked out and we had a blast. We stayed at the campground and she brought me the greatest vegan feast, oh man. I have been so spoiled. My tummy was jam packed with happiness. Curry, rice, cake, fresh fruit, coconut water, two days resupply and tons more! I was speechless it was all so amazing and generous! I went into the biggest food coma. So worth it. We talked all night, had a fire and I devoured more and more food. One of my favorite days yet! I’m so glad she could visit me.

^ My beautiful and incredibly delicious dinner!

^ A freakin vegan whoopie pie! (One of the tons of deliciousness she brought me)

^ Joan after accidentally pouring salt from the wrong side onto her watermelon! (Salty watermelon is oddly really tasty, I have discovered thanks to her)

It was really fun stuff! We have only really met once or twice previous to this and we actually had the opportunity to hang out and learn about each other! She’s definitely one of the most amazing and kind hearted beings I have ever met.

I woke up the next morning and decided I wanted to take a zero day. The morning sun felt so good, there was still so much food to be devoured, and my body was exhausted. I spent the day here at the campground and ended up hanging out with Penny, Bourbon, Pinecone and her girlfriend (wife?), Freetail. It has been a really nice and relaxing day! My tummy is stuffed, all food is devoured, and I’m ready for tomorrow’s hike! 25 miles, and then another 25 the next day until Kennedy Meadows! Also, penny’s uncle brought his dog, Poppy. Highlight of my day. I miss Ripley SO MUCH.

There’s bear warnings from here on. Feeling excited but still a bit scared deep down.

I’m feeling so happy lately, and I’m so beyond thankful for everything and everyone out here. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.


Day 33 – May 24

Walker Pass 652.1 to mile 672.8 (20.7 miles)

Last night I told myself I would be hiking by 8am. I didn’t start hiking until 10! But hey I still pulled 21 miles! I was aiming for 25… But it was already sunset and there’s bears apparently and I’m a big scaredy still. Now I have 29 miles to do tomorrow, HA. That will be a nice fun day before leaving for my little break. I’m so stinkin’ excited! I’ll be on the plane in two days!

Anyways, it was a great day. My morning was glorious and the hike was just as great (almost). Joan made me coffee, and brought me a veggie wrap! I just wanted to sit in the sun all day and eat more fruit. But I finally got myself to pack up and we headed to the trail. I started the day with so much energy, I went up the mountain so fast! When I reached the top, I almost pooped myself because of how incredible the view was.

I stopped for lunch at noon. Joan hooked it up big time with the best snacks! I chatted with the older Aussie couple. They’re so cute, holy moly.

After 18 miles, I refilled my water at a very slow flowing, buggy stream. There were three guys there doing the same. One, named Dean, was from Melbourne and it was his second day! He’s section hiking. Dean and I decided to meet back up after 4 miles and camp together. We didn’t hike together because I was still sitting in the dirt eating my smushed avocado, while he was ready to hike on. One of the other guys told me that there was another fellow named Green Bean and I’m kind of bummed. His buddy mentioned that it might actually be String Bean… I hope so! Kinda wanna meet him though.

Tomorrow is going to be craziness. Let’s see if I can do 29 to Kennedy Meadows before sunset! Woo!

I’m loving life, and I’m feeling amazing. I can’t wait to be back in the beautiful Sierras in two weeks!

Day 29 – May 20

Mile 587 to Piute Mountain Road 608.1 (21.1 miles)

Last night I planned on hiking out this morning by 6. I ended up an hour late. I laid there forever all cozy in my burrito of warmth and smelliness. I felt like if I stuck even just my arm out, it would freeze within milliseconds and fall off. Once I mentally prepared myself, I wiggled out of my quilt and finally got up. It was so cold and windy! I did push ups and crunches to get warm.

I headed out in my short sleeves, thinking I would warm up and immediately regretted it. I bundled myself up and speed hiked and still wasn’t warm! The wind chill made it feel like it was actually freezing.  After about 5 miles I stopped and made hot oatmeal.

There were a lot of Poodle Dog bushes in the burn area right after where I camped. You can smell them from a ways away! I thought we were done with the Poodle Dog, guess not. Fortunately I haven’t touched it yet! Supposedly a few people have this year. Not fun!

I barely saw anyone today, and only got cell reception once, on top of Hamp Williams Pass. On the to the pass, the scenery was so glorious. The greenest of greens I’ve seen so far. Rolling meadows with little yellow and purple flowers hiding beneath the grass.

For lunch, of course I had my peanut butter banana roll up thing. Along with the rest of my (beyond delicious) plums and a strip of Primal hickory smoked vegan jerky (also my fave)!!

I reached the last reliable water source for  the next 40 some miles. It was a pool of greenish buggy water with a big red bucket to scoop with.

I was planning on doing at least 25 miles today, but I figured I should get to bed earlier and just head out as early as I can tomorrow to fit more miles in that way. I found a nice place to camp, so why not! Only 44 more miles until Walker Pass! Should be there by Sunday afternoon.

At 6pm I set up camp, sat in my tent all bundled up and cooked dinner in my vestibule. No one has passed by me today besides “Navy Dan”. I was wondering if I would see anyone else before bed and, of course, out of nowhere I hear “company?”. It was “Two Shoes”, he decided to camp near here as well. We cooked our dinners. He was making chicken flavored ramen, with peanut butter (don’t ask me). I decided to make rice and beans with avocado again. I dont have any tortillas, so I just scooped them together. It was such a perfect avocado!

When I ran out of avocado I added potato flakes to the bean and rice soup. I was scared at first but it was so tasty. (Man what am I doing I miss real food already).

It looks pretty gross but I swear it was good. Or was it? maybe it wasn’t but the hiker hunger said yes.

Today was good! I still really dig hiking solo, let’s see how long that lasts.

Here’s some pictures!

Saw signs warning me of cows (only saw poop and footprints again, bummer), hiked through spooky trees, found a giant bone of some sort and passed mile 600!

Day 27 – May 18

ZERO MILES!! In Tehachapi, Ca.
I tried to sleep in, because I actually had a chance to, but my internal alarm clock had be up before 6am. I woke up, had breakfast, and went to the post office to pick up my resupply package. When I got there, I remembered my dad said to ask for the “cow box”. I was confused but the mail lady knew exactly what it was! My dad colored cow spots all over the box. The post offices get so many packages during hiker season, so it helps if you make the box distinguishable. Dads idea was a success! My parents also added a bunch of goodies to my pre made box and it made my day! I guess they’re pretty cool!

Right before leaving the post office, a man with blue hair and a ball cap came in and asked me “are you the hiker?” After seeing my pack on the ground. He was a trail angel looking for hikers to help out! The post office was the right place. The walk to the post office was a bit long, but Dalton (the angel) gave tots and I a ride back to the Best Western. He was such a nice guy. He ended up driving me around several times throughout the day to the airport (where they let hikers camp and shower), the grocery store, and the hotel. Dalton takes 6 weeks off during hiker season just to shuttle us around all day, for free! He even texted me later on after I left Tehachapi saying “just checking in. Do you need anything at all?” SO NICE!!!! I love people sometimes. He’s also renovating his backhouse into a place for hikers to stay when they pass through!

Anyways, I spent most of my day at the airport, reorganizing all of my gear and food. TaterTot had left to go to her parents house at this point. My aunt Lisa came to visit me, treated me to dinner at ThaiHatchapi (where I got extremely delicious spicy red curry green beans duh) and then we stayed at the hotel. We talked forever. It was super nice!
Before bed, I took a bath in Epsom salt that I oddly found in a hiker box (box filled with unwanted junk hikers leave behind for others to take if desired). I felt like I was in heaven and I almost fell asleep in there.

Pretty great rest day!

Day 28 – May 19

Mile 566 to 587 (21 miles)

Today was one of my favorite days so far. It was also my first day hiking and camping out completely solo!

I had a bit of a late start, beginning my day at about 8:30. But I still managed to get to camp at 21 miles before dark! The climb out of Tehachapi was a pain in the butt, literally. However, it was so nice out! The sun was bright, but the wind was strong and they felt amazing together.

I hiked until 1pm where I found a nice spot off trail to take a lunch break. I ripped my shoes off, and most of my clothes, and layed out under the sun. I did some stretches, and ate banana strips with peanut butter, trail mix, and plums. Exciting right? I’m actually really addicted to the banana and peanut butter thing.

I have discovered that I really really love hiking alone. For many reasons! First, I get to stop whenever I want and feel no pressure to rush/get stuck longer than I desire. Second, I can sing really horribly without the possibility of bugging anyone. Third, my mind feels so much more free, because I’m not worrying about silly things like how far ahead or behind I am from someone, how I’m scared to pee or take break because I’ll get behind.. etc. I have felt SO good today. I have new and bright ideas for my future as well! Pretty excited.

I pitched my tent near turbines, so it’s pretty loud and windy. But if I kept going it would be dark and I would have had to climb right before bed! No fun. I made spinach dal for dinner, along with some dark chocolate and herbal tea. I feel great and my tum is satisfied.
Tomorrow I’m aiming to do a pretty big day. Hopefully 25-29 miles. Hopefully I can wake up early enough and not have to night hike! I’ll be at Walker Pass hopefully by Monday. My aunt, Joan is going to meet me there. I’m super stoked! And then a couple days after, I’ll be in Kennedy Meadows where my dad will pick me up and later take me to the airport on the 27th, where I’ll be flying to Minnesota to avoid the snow in the sierras a bit and to spend much needed time with Lindsey!

Everything is going so well and I’m so happy. Tomorrow I’ll hit 600 miles too!

The one con of today, was seeing this. Irks me beyond words. I’d like to have a chat with “Cyborg”. So rediculous. Why is this guy even on the trail??? He tagged on every sign for several miles. I’m gonna find this dude.

Day 26 – May 17

Cottonwood 535 to Tehachapi Willow Springs Rd 558.5 (23.5 miles)
I left alone this morning, before the sun was completely up. The sunrise with all of the wind turbines was pretty cool. Cowboy camping is so great, because you don’t really have much to pack away. I always feel like I’m going to wake up with bugs or a snake cuddled up with me, but hey what’s the problem there? I hiked for about 6 miles until I reached a stream at about 9am, where I filled my water. There, others cought up and we took a little break together.

Afterwards, we had a 4 mile climb. WHERE ARE MY HIKER LEGS? I AM GETTING IMPATIENT. That was a huge pain. Once we reached the top, you could see miles and miles of wind turbines and rolling hills.

It was sunny, hot and windy all day. But out of nowhere for about 15 minutes, it started pouring while we were up on the hill.

I got pretty cold, and I was soaked. But shortly after I had to take my rain gear off because the sun already came back out and I was sweating like crazy. Because it was so windy, I wasn’t feeling as hot in the sun. Causing me to get my first sunburn! Woooo!

Overall, today was so so beautiful. It was pretty tough, but I’m so content. Especially now that I’m hiding away in a best western freshly showered with my belly full of avocado rolls and edamame. I’ll be here in Tehachapi for a zero tomorrow. Second zero in almost a month! I need it.

Day 25 – May 16

Horse Camp 508 to Cottonwood 535 (27 miles)

Today was my longest day so far! I hiked out from camp this morning and made it to Hikertown (9 miles) by 10am! The place was pretty interesting. It’s made to look like a little old town, and you get to sleep in little shacks that were made to look like different buildings (store, hospital, city hall etc.). The owner, Bob, lets hikers take the van down to the store nearby. A bunch of us squished into this van, an old beat up Astro, with no door latch, a broken swinging window and no seat belts!!! It was rather funny.

The day was really hot and dry. So I rested up in the shade in Hikertown until 3pm. It was a long stretch, with insane winds sand blasting my legs and occasionally my eye balls. But it was really cool to hike along the LA aquaduct. It’s a 17 mile stretch with no water for us hikers, but just a few feet below us there’s a dang aquaduct filled with tons and tons of it!

Stopped for dinner right before dark. I made bean, rice and avocado tacos! And of course my Cholula packs.

Night hiked until around 10:30 until I reached the bridge. Tonight was beyond windy, and everyone was hoping the bridge/overpass would shield them from it. It was basically a wind tunnel. While night hiking, I was sand blasted in the face at least 10 times. It was insanity! Once I got to camp, I literally just plopped myself down and slept under the stars. Slept like a baby! And woke up to this.

Day 24 – May 15

Casa de Luna to Horse Camp 504.2 (~17 miles with detour)

Signed Sheet
Started the morning off at Casa de Luna. The folks there are so beyond generous and fun!!! They make taco salad each night for all the hikers and pancakes for breakfast. Tots had pancakes while I made my sad oatmeal. But the place was pretty cool! Signed a giant sheet covered in hiker trail names, wore a Hawaiian shirt with everyone else, got a Pct 2016 bandana, took the group photo and found out why the place is called Casa de Luna! You also get to paint a rock, but I forgot to. Sad stuff.

Today though, we hiked out from Casa de Luna around 7am and hitched around the fire closure. Got to ride in the back of another pickup truck and froze my butt off!! We hiked 17 miles and reached the horse camp. There’s so many people here now!! And of course, I pitched my tent right next to the only picnic table! The hikers are swarming. I had pad thai for dinner, along with an avocado and vegan brownies. Heck yes.

The hike today was beautiful. Rolling meadows and trees and incredible views. I took a nap under a tree where I had a chance to call Lindsey! So nice. I’m going to reach the sierras way too early, and it’s not safe to enter before June 15th. I don’t have snow experience, and I don’t want to risk anything so im going to wait it out and return around the 10th of June. In the mean time, I get to stay with Lindsey in Minnesota for a while! Flying out on the 27th. So so so excited. Many others are doing the same thing.

Tomorrow, we will reach hiker town. I heard the place is a bit odd. Something about the guy there having a porn den where he asks hikers to be filmed? I will not be staying there!! But we will stop in and then hike back out when it cools off in the afternoon. Hiking along the LA aqueduct!

Also, I passed mile 500 today!!! Feels amazing. And I got my hair cut in hiker heaven. I gave in!

Day 21 – May 12

Messenger Flat 430.4 to Acton KOA 444.4 (14 miles)

Today was actually really great. Pretty eventful! Tots, Brightside and I have been in and out of a group of hikers including Strider, Stitches and Nick. They’re pretty fun! Camped with them a few times now.

After about 6 miles of hiking, there was a ranger station with soda and candy bars… Of course everyone stopped in! I refilled my water and tried to mentally prepare myself for the wild 8 miles ahead of us. It was already almost 90° by about 10am. In the desert with no shade. Luckily I have my sun umbrella, but man I was cooking. Hottest day yet I’d say. Stitches actually got dehydrated and was close to getting heat stroke! It was a struggle.

We arrived at the KOA (Kampgrounds of America) in Acton right before 1 O’clock. After 15 miles in the heat, and a late start, that’s some pretty good time. No one was really taking breaks considering that there was no shade.

Right when I got here, Tots and I took showers. There’s a pool, and they make hikers shower beforehand. For some reason after my shower I didn’t want to swim anymore! But we did laundry and later on hitched a ride into town. A man who barely spoke English picked us up and drove 80 mph into town. I am alive. We went to the grocery store and I immediately ran to the produce and basically bought one of every kind of fruit. And chugged a bottle of coconut water. Then I bought Chinese food. From an “Italian, Chinese, Mexican , American Bistro”. What??? Pretty tasty actually. The boys got two pizzas delivered and bought a bunch of beer of course! As we sat and chatted at our table, a couple of hikers were in a one man tent with no cover on it (in broad daylight right next to us) gettin’ it on… Of course I pitched MY tent next to theirs tonight. Regrets.
I am sleeping with about 50 bugs tonight because I left my tent open all day! Besides that, it’s actually super nice out. First night I am sleeping without my thermal layers on. Plus I hear crickets and frogs, so lovely!

Tomorrow will be a hot and fun uphill stretch into Agua Dulce, but I get to resupply and have another easy day.
My arms are getting so tan… Extreme farmer tan going on though. PS menstruation on the trail is not fun at all!!!