So much has happened in the past month and a half!
Phil and I successfully completed the Sierras and had a blast in the high passes, deep valleys and incredible mountains!
As of recent I have been off the trail since July 1st with a slight stress fracture in my left foot. It’s still quite painful and I recently got a medical boot to assist in the healing.
Around mile 994 I woke up to two sore feet, thinking it was morning stiffness I brushed it off, however by mile 1005 I was in a lot of pain and knew something was wrong. That evening we arrived at the Kennedy Meadows Resort and Pack Station for our resupply, rest, shower and laundry. I knew I would not be able to hike the next 75 mile section to South Lake Tahoe, so the next day Phil continued on without me. I hoped a week off would be what I needed to heal up and get back on trail. Staying at Kennedy was a delight! A beautiful mountain setting with Cowboys, 4th of July vacationers and the ladies in the lodge supplied me with all the ice my little foot needed.
Making my way to South Lake Tahoe via a hitch from a great Trail Angel named Brian I was overwhelmed by the vastness off the city. It was Monday July 4 and everything was booked! Luckily the local outfitter, Lake of the Sky had a call list for Trail Angels taking in hikers over the 4th, this was a true blessing. I decided to call Kathy Johnson, she and her partner John took in ten hikers that night and many more over the consecutive days. It was the greatest!!! We joked with John and Kathy ‘we are your new kids’ as they made us a great grill out for the 4th and took us down to the beach on Lake Tahoe for the fireworks! Their generosity was unlike anything I’d experienced thus far on the trail. The timing couldn’t have been better; my foot being hurt, feeling emotionally drained and just wanting the comforts of a parent and a home. I’m so thankful to them for the love they shared with so many hikers!
Phil was still on trail when I arrived in Lake Tahoe, however I expected him to arrive Tuesday evening as other hikers I talked with had seen him. Sure enough as John was at the trail head dropping off hikers Tuesday evening Phil had just come off trail and asked John for a ride. Phil told him he was waiting for his sister to text him the address of the house she was staying at and that she had a hurt foot. To which John asked the sisters name, ‘Oasis’ Phil replied and John said, ‘she’s at our house!’ What a coincidence!! Another rousing evening at the house with a great meal, lots of conversation and laughter then to top it off a family photo in front of the Bears with ice cream sundaes!
The next day Phil and I moved over to the Hard Rock Hotel to receive our friend Cat from Alaska. Cat came down to meet us in Tahoe to hike the next section up to Truckee; 64 miles. She arrived a day earlier than we expected so we scrambled to get fancy town clothes, Phil a hair cut and we haggled with the hotel for a room upgrade. Of which we got a suite with a jacuzzi tub for only $50 more!! The three of us spent a few great days in Tahoe before we hit the trail that Friday. At this point my foot hasn’t really gotten much better, but I had been icing it, trying to stay off it the best I could but still it was pretty painful. But come Friday I magically thought it would be fine to hike. Guess I thought I could ‘hike it off’. Well a mile into the hike, my foot is killing me and all I could think is ‘just get to the campsite, 7 more miles, that’s nothing, you’re fine’. Then I came to a junction in the trail realized I missed my turn but ran into a huge group of people, two of which happened to be chiropractors! Just my luck!! They sat me down on a rock and adjusted everything! The foot was healed! Well, for about 10 minutes then the pain slowly returned. That night Phil, Cat and I camped at Lake Aloha, a beautiful cool night, but the entire night I stressed about what the injury could be. By morning I decided to hike out to Echo Lake, get a hitch back to Tahoe and see a doctor to confirm what I suspected it to be, my worst nightmare; a stress fracture. While in Tahoe a trail friend Pinkie was passing through on a road trip with Ash (a trail friend I’d not seen since mile 86) and they were awesome to drive me to urgent care. What a relief since now after hiking 13 miles in two days my foot was in a lot of pain. The three of us got a cheap motel room and after my urgent care visit which resulted in an inconclusive X-Ray and ‘Stay off it for another week and if the pain doesn’t go away it’s a stress fracture, then stay off it for 6/8 weeks’. Since I needed to stay off my foot Pinkie and Ash invited me to join them on their road trip! Unsure what to do a National Park road trip sounded a heck of a lot more fun then being depressed in my tent for the next week or more. So, I joined in and from Tahoe we went to Salt Lake City; floated in the Great Salt Lake, toured Temple Square and visited with my sweet friend Theresa. We then headed north to Grand Teton NP where our friend Ash and holder of the rental car decided she needed to abandon the road trip and us to head for home. Pinkie and I were able to rally, get a new rental car and continue on north. First to Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Seattle and now Portland! It’s been a whirlwind and an awesome way to stay off my foot.
In Seattle we stayed with Emilie and Sylvan Lowens Trails Angels and the parents of Orange Blossom; a hiker buddy of Pinkie. His parents were a delight! They treated us just like family; opened their home to us for a few nights and we truly enjoyed their company. Only wish we could have stayed longer! Also, while in Seattle I got to visit with my friend Chad and hang out with his little girl Quinn and her Nana. We spent the day playing, reading and making blueberry cobbler made with blueberries from Nanas backyard. Yum. That evening I visited with my old college buddy Mikey and his wife Sherri and their little one Dylan. What a blast!!
Now, in Portland I’ve been able to reconnect with an old friend from Alaska; Alissa and her husband Neil, they were great to host us for a few days while visiting the city! As well I got to visit my friend Nicole’s Farm just north of Portland in Scappose. Exciting to see the new developments and growth from our last visit. Portland is a blast as always; food trucks, Voodoo Donuts, Powell Books, beautiful homes and a great vibe!
Tomorrow I’m thrilled to drive the Columbia River Gorge for the second time this year to drop Pinkie at Cascade Locks; the northern terminus of Oregon for her southbound hike of the PCT to the board with California. I only wish I could be hiking with her, however I’ve got more healing to do and plans to continue this road trip south. On Friday I’ll meet up with my brother Pete in Bend, Oregon. He’s starting a two week road trip of his own with his kids; Bella and Gavin as well as his girlfriend Terra and her two boys. I’ll tag along with them to Crater Lake then I’ll make my way to Ashland to visit another great friend from Alaska; Sue and her family.
Now, the sad news…
As my foot has not been healing as fast as I’d like it to I’m fearing I will not be able to return to the trail to finish the hike this summer. As of now with another 4/5 weeks of recovery ahead of me I’m focusing my energy on healing my foot for the second part of the journey: cycling the West Coast. If I am able to return to the trail sooner I sure as heck will, however would not want to risk re-injuring my foot. In the mean time I’m going to continue my road trip south to San Diego get my Subaru and head west for three weeks!! Hoover Dam, Zion National Park, New Mexico, Phoenix, etc! During that time I’m hoping to continue resting while also strengthening, I’ll have my mountain bike and try to swim often, yoga and work on upper body strength. I’ll also be looking for volunteer opportunities along the way. I’m open to any leads or connections you might have!
The past three weeks have taught me a lot about myself, where I’m going and how I’d like my future to look, but sometimes in the end ‘you just never know’ what’s going to happen or what life will throw at ya. So, you’ve got to keep moving forward, dreaming, planning, keeping an open mind and heart. I’ve been so blessed to have run into Ash and Pinkie when I did as the past couple of weeks have been a blast! In a few days Pinkie will return to the trail and I’m so thrilled for her journey south. She and I have talked a lot about ‘Hiking the PCT’ and how in our case it started out as a hike from Mexico to Canada, but along the way life happens and as my little niece Bella would say, ‘You make plans and God just laughs at you’. Sometimes plans change and it’s not your decision and you might not have any control but it’s what you do in that moment that defines you as a person. How do you handle change in your life? For me when my foot started to hurt I was very sad and cried a lot! I prayed, a lot. But in the end I knew everything would be okay and I’d have to make the most of this time off trail. Which is why I’m so thankful to Pinkie for being such an amazing friend and sharing this road trip with me. Thank you and I wish you lots of lakes to swim in as you Sobo Oregon!!
For me my PCT journey is not over yet, as there is always next year. However, my time has now taken on a new existence and I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to travel the west and breathe in the landscape. With any luck this recovery time will be just what I need and I’ll be back on trail or at the least hitting the road on my bike come September!