Hope you enjoy the views as much as I did. Phil.
It has come to my attention that we have some younger readers of our blog, who would like to learn more about through hiking. First and most important is: leave no trace. Try to enjoy the outdoors so it will look the same for the next person behind you, as if you where never there.
•Plan ahead and prepare
•Travel and campon durable surfaces
•Dispose of trash and waste properly
•Leave what you find
•Minimize fire impact
•Be considerate of others
Lu talked about her turtle shell, or back pack. how we carry everything we need. I will break it down as if it were rooms of your house and talk about what we do different in the outdoors.
This is the whole house all spread out.
First room (I’ll get the gross part out of the way) the bathroom or toilet.
So when you have to go, find a place off trail a hundred feet or more, this can be tricky because the ground may be too steep and you don’t want to fall off the hillside. When you’re done you don’t get to flush it, you use the little shovel and dig a hole (don’t use the shovel to put in the hole find a stick) put all paper and any thing you use in the hole and cover it. The hole should be 8 inches deep. Be careful you my not have water to wash your hands, just hand sanitizer.
The bag in the picture is my shower kit really only used when in a campground or town with showers.
Next is your bedroom. If you’re like me you hate making your bed.. imagine building your bed and bedroom every night, taking it apart and putting it in bags you can carry every morning. The bag that says eureka! Is my bedroom or tent, the little green one is my bed or air mattress, the big gray thing is my sleeping bag. Remember everything as to fit in our backpacks.
Next up is the kitchen, the bottles and funny shaped bag are our sink or water storage. At home you turn on the tap, outdoors we have to filter the water before we drink it or cook with it. Which takes time so we like to conserve, or save it till we really need or want it. Well for cooking we really just eat as much stuff as we can hold. You need to carry fuel to heat things up, I use the black thing with the orange bottom that’s my stove if I need to boil water to cook. Remember your carrying everything. If I don’t need to cook it we do what’s called cold soaking, I use the container with the blue lid, put my food in it (like rice, beans, or oatmeal) add water and let it sit for a of couple hours, mix it before you leave camp carry it in you pack when you stop for lunch its ready, not hot but still tasty. The big bag is all of my food for five days.
Last is my clothes they all fit in the yellow bag. You will wear the same clothes eveyday when hiking, only at night do I change in to something, that’s kinda clean to sleep in. I have extra socks when they get really funky, and will wash them when we get to rivers or streams. Also we wash everything when we get to a town. It’s really important to have layers, or warmer clothes to put on when it does get cold. My sleeping clothes are what I will put on under my hiking colthes, when it is cold.
Any questions please comment
As we looked up to the V shaped notch in the mountain we realized that is our portal to the next valley beyond. It’s a 14 mile hike from Crabtree Meadow (the base of Mount Whitney) to the top of Forester Pass; the highest point on the PCT at 13,200′.
We luckily met up with a few other hikers at the base of the mile long switchback climb to the top. We were happy to not make the climb alone as it was later in the day and the snow would be soft not only on this side of the pass but the other as well. We had been leap frogging with Burns, Rambler, Goldfish and Cheesy Mama Bear all day so it was fitting to climb the pass together.
The snow travel is a big difference from the dry hot desert, it makes me feel right at home in these big mountains! From here on there’s not going to be a dry foot in the house between snowfields to cross and streams to ford. The hike from Crabtree to Forester alone had four stream crossings, one of which I had to stop and take a photo it was so pretty!
This stretch from Kennedy Meadows to Kearsarge Pass took us 6 days to complete and we are planning another 6 day haul to our next food resupply point at Vermilion Valley Resort 95 miles from here. To give you an idea of what six days worth of food and trash look like I’ve included a few photos.
How many of you can get a weeks worth of food to fit in a Bear Canister? Or a weeks worth of trash to fit in a one gallon ziplock bag? I challenge you to try it, over the next week only use a one gallon ziplock bag for your trash and see how many you accumulate. It’s an incredible feeling to be entirely self sufficient on the trail and even though we’ve had to lower our mileage through the Sierras our calorie intake has increased because of the elevation and physical exertion we experience climbing this high passes.
Over the next week we will climb seven more high passes as we make our way to Yosemite Valley where Fire Whistler (Phil) and I (Oasis, I got a trail name!) hope to meet up with our brother Pete and his kids Bella and Gavin. So excited to be sharing this journey with so many friends and family, whether you’re reading this blog or lucky enough to meet us on trail.
Thank you for all the care packages, letters and words of encouragement! As many of you know my hope is to raise a dollar for every mile Phil and I hike and bike for three very special organizations I’ve volunteered with during my time in Alaska. If you could please consider visiting my ‘Charity Causes’ page and sponsor a few miles, a days hike ($15/20) or an entire weeks worth of walking ($100). These organizations are very near and dear to my heart. I’ve volunteered as a Big Sister for eight years to my Little Brittany (she’ll always be my Little!) and truly believe in the mentorship this organization provides. If it wasn’t for the many of you who’ve inspired me and mentored me over the years I might not have ever found Brittany. I’m truly grateful for all the strong and gracious people in my life.
The Special Olympics Alpine Ski team has helped me grow as a person in more ways than I could have imagined, my athletes strength and courage is what keeps me going everyday.
And Bike Anchorage for their unfailing effort to build a stronger and safer bike community in Anchorage!!
I know many of you have been touched and changed by experiences and people, they can come in all shapes and sizes and I’d love to make this hike about something more than just a long walk but a commitment to those organizations who have challenged me, changed me and shown me the full power of what it means to give your time for the benefit of others.
To Kennedy Meadows of course! If you ask just about any hiker on the PCT they’ll tell you the first 700 miles are just a warm up for getting to the Sierras and Kennedy Meadows is the jumping off point. It’s all we think about, leaving the dry desert landscape behind for the cool mountains and streams of the Sierras!
The desert has been challenging with long water carries and water sources you wish you could laugh at and walk away from, but no, this is your last chance for the next 19 miles to fill up. And so you approach the concrete trough half filled with a thick layer of algae and slime, frogs jumping around croaking while tadpoles swim about below the surface. A tiny pipe at the corner of the trough drips water at the rate of one liter per five minutes and you think ‘Dear God, I’m out of water, thirsty, hungry and there’s a line six deep!’ I collapse in exhaustion, take a few deep breaths and pray. It took three hours to collect and filter six liters of drinking water and another liter for making dinner. Only 100 more miles to Kennedy Meadows, in my mind it sounds like paradise! I dream it’s a sweet oasis of tall trees, flowing streams of cool water and happy hikers leaving north for the tall peaks of the Sierras! Soon we’ll find out!
What has made the desert a more pleasurable experience has been having our dad be our support vehicle for the past 500 miles! Our dad has earned himself the trail name ‘RVP’ (RV Pete). He’s become a trail angel to so many hikers during the past 500 miles and many of them are green with envy at us having our own personal trail angel. Our dad has tirelessly met us at every road the trail has crossed, navigating the high mountain passes of the San Gabriel Mountains to the bone dry windy flat expanses of the Mojave. He’s a heroine for driving the the steep twisting dirt road of Jawbone Canyon Road to meet us at the high pass of Kelso Valley Road. This marked a point in the trail where the phrase ‘Hike your own hike’ takes on a very personal meaning.
RVP met us at PCT mile 616 in the middle of a 42 mile waterless stretch to make sure we could at the least resupply with water to cut it back to a 36 mile waterless stretch. It was at that point Phil and I both realized 36 miles of no water and 100 degree temperatures was not for us. We grappled with the notion of carrying 9+ liters of water or jumping in the RV to get the heck out of there. We happily took the ride out. Offering a ride to any other hikers, a few accepted and many others declined accepting their waterless fate.
As we arrived at the Weldon KOA we quickly learned a forest fire had been burning just north of Walker Pass and the PCT was now closed from mile 652 to Kennedy Meadows! What now!? How to get there, our resupply packages for the Sierras, my beloved backpack how would we continue? We decided to wait it out, enjoy some downtime; a pool party, a shower, laundry, milkshakes! Thankfully we did and just a day later the Forest Service was able to contain the fire and trail will reopen soon! Phew! But during that time RVP being the heroine he is offered to drive us around the fire, despite knowing it would be a mountain road filled with twists, turns and steep grades. What a trail angel!
When Phil and I decided to hike the PCT together I couldn’t have imaged I’d be able to share this experience with my dad. It has been incredible to have him with us every step of the way! Many, many thanks to our dad;the trail angel, ‘RVP’, for being our biggest supporter and for the endless Dr. Peppers!
In a few days time he will depart for Boise to see his grandkids; Bella and Gavin on his way home to Whiting. It will be sad to see him go but I’m so happy I got to share this experience with him and if you ask him he’ll tell you ‘I did my job, I got my kids through the desert’ and that he did!! Thanks RVP!