We were seeking some adventure, a change of pace and simplicity. Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is the plan. We will begin the hike on June 15, 2010. The trail dips, dances, swerves and rides across 2,658 miles of some of the most magnificent, breath-taking mountains in the United States. It begins at the border of Mexico, and goes through the back-country of California, Oregon and Washington, coming to an end in Manning Park, Canada, just a few miles across the border. We will be beginning this journey below Kennedy Meadows, CA, (about 650 miles into the trail) and hoping to complete the remaining 2,000ish miles up to Canada. We anticipate completing the trail in 4 months and end around September 15th. Wish us luck!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Timothy Gulch - Forest Road 8/20/10 27.6 miles

We got out at about 6:30am to push for a long day and try to make it to the post office tomorrow by 1:30pm, before it closed. WE passed Kiwi, Bacon and Meander as they were packing up from camp. They were again surprised to see us that early. We saw our first bear today as it came barreling down the hill, about 20 yards ahead of us. We continued on through a pass and on to climb a beautiful ridge. Saw another bear. What a day! We took lunch at a nice meadow with a huge rock in it. We still had 15 miles to go. We passed Paradise Lake, which it was, but the water tasted dirty. Came around a corner and heard a nice creek, then I heard something in the bushes. Another bear and a cub! We kept walking quietly and then they saw us! The cub ran up a tree, right next to the tree. We backed up slowly to avoid exciting the mama. We watched her for about 20 minutes, before the cub came back down the tree. They ran back into the bushes and we continued on. We couldn't believe and my heart was thumping! We sat down on a log to take a break later and heard something up in the tree. Bear #5 and he was just snorting and sniffing us, as he hung out in the tree. We decided to move on before we had our snack. We sat and ate on up the trail and two Sobo's sat down and talked with us, Jason and Kasandra. We traded North stories for South stories and continued on. We had 9 miles to go. It was going to be a long afternoon. We stopped to get water and then saw another bear rustling right before the trail. Total count today - 6! I promise that was the last one! We walked until dark and put on our headlamps, walking about 5 minutes later. We set up, had dinner, which I burned just a little, but it kind of tasted like fried chicken. We are tired after our longest and possibly most exciting day in the Marble Mountains!! -CM

Etna - Timothy Gulch 8/19/10 14 miles

It was completely wonderful to sleep in a real bed last night and to have gotten such a good night's rest. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my cozy sleeping bag, but I would take a bed over it any day! We started the morning with phone calls to family and some friends. Chris and I pounded an entire box of large doughnuts (8 large ones to be exact) for breakfast while laying in bed watching t.v. Ahhhh, I love it!! We checked out a little later than we had planned, but that was alright. Picked up some supplies, ate lunch and began our hitch out of the cute, picturesque town of Etna, at around 1pm. Our friends had waited about 2 hours for a ride out of town, but we got very lucky. We waited for about 14 minutes and Jimmy pulled up. It was about a 20 minute ride up to the top of the mountain and he talked to us about living in VA for a while and gave us some interesting facts about the area. He as a very nice, very laid back guy and we both loved talking to him. He dropped us off at the top and he gave me a fresh avocado that had been floating around in his truck. We began our walk and accepted the fact that we wouldn't be able o get our planned 20 miles in. with only about 6 hours of daylight left, we would just have to compensate over the next two days. We called and ordered some new shoes while on top of the mountain and receiving cell reception. We had a great dinner when we arrived at camp, cheese and crackers and some Mountain House lasagna with avocado mixed in. We may have just been really hungry, but our concoction tasted awesome! -KB

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Etna 8/18/10 O miles

We started the morning by laying around in the tent for a while. It felt good to waste time and not worry about miles. We did our laundry and lots of math planning for the next month and the finish of our hike. We have less than a month left and only about 500 miles to go. We headed downtown to get our box and do some shopping, ate lunch at a nice little diner and had sandwiches and split a great chef salad. We ran into everyone there and talked a while. Dude and Trouble were taking off, don't know if we'll catch them again. We were hoping to go to the library for research and to update the blog, but they were closed, fortunately that meant we got to take a nice nap in our cozy hotel room, the best nap in a long time. We woke up to Kiwi knocking on the door to say that they were heading to the brewery for dinner. Sounded good, so we got ready and met them there. We started with 6 people at our table and had 9 by the time dinner was over. It was a really good time. Jean, the section hiker we had met the Day before picked up the tab for all of us! Wow, trail magic! We stopped by the store on the way back and grabbed him a thank you card and left it at his door. We had a couple more drinks and made phone calls at the room. -CM

Wafford Cabin Trail - Etna 8/17/10 26 miles

We actually were both wide awake this morning at 4:30am! With the fly off the tent, we were stunned with the intensity of the bright stars in the sky! We got out by 5:30am. It was a beautiful morning walk. The sun had just began to light up the horizon, but just on the mountains' edges. The mountian tops glowed with pinks and oranges, with the sky still dark and full of stars. Like nothing I had ever seen!! We walked for an hour and passed Kiwi, Meander and Bacon as they were just beginning to get started and out of their tents. We all laughed and they were shocked that we were going to early. We were usually the last ones to begin walking. We continued on and took a short break with snack after six miles. We walked on and were able to do 11 miles by 10am! Woohoo! At our next break, we met a section hiker, Jean, and talked with him for a while. He was the first person we had met who also shared our Virginia, so we had a lot to talk about. We walked past many cattle, black Angus with cowbells on. We heard the bells from a distance and did not know what to expect, especially when we're not used to hearing loud noised other than birds, wind and water. Chris actually thought it was techno music from a distance..hehe. The Trinity Alps wer eso beautiful, very remote and reminded of snow-less Sierras. They were very rocky and rugged and some peaks were mildly spotted with snow. Our Eric the Black guidebook showed that we would have minimal climbs today. Wrong! It was most definitely a day of climbing up and down and up again. We reached the trail head at the road at around 6pm. Shew, what a day! Fean, Kiwi, Bacon and Meander all arrived within minutes of us . We knew when we reached the road that it would be a difficult hitch. About three cars passed in an hour's time. They either waved or stopped and talked, but were unable to give us a ride due to their cars being packed and full or going in the opposite direction. Finally, a huge 15 passenger van pulled up. They hopped out and informed us that they were heading home to Etna after a day of rafting with their kids and would give us a ride. They already had 13 passengers though-10 very young children including one in a carseat and three adults, and a dog! They all laughed, shuffled around, and the six of us piled in with our huge packs in our laps! what a trip! They were such a nice family and had the CUTEST kids ever! They talked with us and then gave us a tour around the very small, Damascus-like town and then dropped us off at te Motel Etna. The mom (cannot remember her name,) told me that her kids had whispered to her, "Mom, can they come home with us and have dinner?" How cute! We all rolled out of the van. Chris and I stuck with the plan, saved our money and headed to the RV Park to camp, with intentions of staying in the motel tomorrow and taking a full zero! Talk about having some will power! It was hard not to just give in and sleep in a real bed. It was now about 8pm as we set up camp and showered. We both agreed that we felt like we were jet-lagged from being awake for so long and exerting so much energy walking. But, it was such a good day! Met some more amazing people and got into town! -KB

Bull Lake - Wafford Cabin Trail 8/16/10 26 miles

Started the morning with a great sunrise on the lake. We got out at about 7:30am and started with a nice gentle downhill to our first break at a nice spring. We continued winding around ridges until we approached Highway 3, the border of Klamath National Forest. We met Foghorn, a SOBO. Twelve miles by 12:30 and we decided to push another 4 miles up the hill to avoid a long afternoon. We ran into Kiwi, Bacon and Meander at the stream where we took lunch. It had been a while wince we had seen them, so we traded some stories. They had seen two mountain lions! We had Mountain House beef patties and potatoes for lunch. Pretty good! WE finished lunch at 4 pm and still had 10 miles to go. It was slow going. Kristi's feet were tired from walking over so many rocks on the trail. We finished our day on the beautiful ridge over a town with a nice sunset. Twenty-six miles into town tomorrow. We were excited to get to Etna and take much needed zero day. It has been almost one month since we had gotten a hotel room to totally relax. Hopefully we'll get an early start tomorrow morning!! -CM

Seven Lakes Ridge - Bul Lake 8/15/10 26 miles

We woke up to an amazing sunrise this morning on the ridge. The mountain tops were pastel shades of orange, pink and red. Good way to start the day. Weknew that we had a big day ahead of us so we got going. The morning was nice ande cool, which helped the walking. We again were mostly on ridges today and had some gorgeous views of Mt. Shasta. By lunchtime, we had walked 13 miles. We ate at Deadfall Lake, which was really nice, with a firepit adn lots of logs around to sit on. Some chipmunk spectators joined us, awaited any drops of crumbs. Some day hikers came by and chatted for a while adn excitingly asked many questions about our hike. They asked how long we'd been out and when we responded, "since June 15th," I myself was even surprised. It definitely doesn't seem that we've been out here two months today. We took a couple of nice breakes for the remaineder of the day and then headed down to the lake. There sat Trouble and Dude. They had intended on hiking two more miles and tstayed near some trees on the lake when it began to hail. We totally missed that! The sky had looked dark all day, and we had gotten sprinkled on, but no hail! It was good to catch up with them and hang out for a while. They are for sure some good folks. Nice, flat campsite tonight, right by the lake. -KB

Castle Crags - Seven Lakes Ridge 8/14/10 22 miles

Woke up ready to go after a refreshing evening. We packed up and headed back down to the store for some breakfast burritos and to make some final calls. We headed out about 9am for the walk up the road to get back on the trail. Finally got to the trail at about 10:30am. It was already hot and we had a 4,000 foot climb ahead of us. We took our first break at a beautiful creek in a little canyon ,. We got to the climb and it was entirely in the sun. We climbed for what seemed like forever. We got to a spring that had some nice shade and we were so happy to drink some cold water. We met Palamino, a SOBO section hiker and shared some great conversation while we ate lunch. We headed back out and got some great views of the Castle Crags and Mt. Shasta as we walked the ridge. We sat up camp at about 7:30pm, just in time for sunset. The tent site was quite rocky and slanted, but was worth the great views after the hard climb. -CM