Current location: Laying in my bag in between Hwy 58 and a railroad line, while the sun sets and my stomach feels full. This is the highway exit for both the Mojave and Tehachapi. We Nero'ed out of Tehachapi after a night hanging out with my Dad. He worked around LA this past week, and was able to stop by and be an incredible Trail Angel to Fly Ballz, Franklinstein, and myself... Stummy.
A little bit ago while in Agua Dulce (a small town with a bit of roadwalking as the trail) an amazing family sitting near a group of us smelly hiker trash inside a Mexican restaurant were both fascinated and excited about our adventure. They came up to us while we were eating to tell us they were so inspired by our journey, that they already took care of the bill to help us make it to Canada. Thank you strangers! You rock!!
Terry and Joe Anderson are amazing! These Trail Angels have been sharing their magic for many, many years. Their home is truly a hippie-daycare for hikers looking to kick back, laugh, and relax! With disc golf, a maze of trees to camp within, a water pipe, breakfast, dinner, and rides to the store, I couldn't help but stay 2 nights before continuing trail. Props to them for all their commitment and hard work supporting the PCT. YOU BOTH FUCKING ROCK!!
Life-long friend Krystin Moler (who blued my hair before trail) and her beautiful boy Kristofer picked me up from the Anderson's and brought me to her mother's place in Landcaster for a shower, shave, in-n-out, and ice cream! It was so awesome to spend time with her, and to relax and watch some tv while washing my clothes and catching up with Krystin. She's so amazing! While dropping me back off at the Anderson's, we picked up 2 hiker trash folks. Krystin is a Trail Angel for sure!
The killer Portland Thrash bands Weresquatch and Gladius met up at a KOA campsite and day-raged with us hiker trash. They played the night before near LA, and the PCT just so conveniently lay in their route to their next show. After we demolished a crap ton of pizza and beer and soaked in the hot tub, they went on their way to their final show. Such rad dudes! Ponder nailed the ultimate trail magic for me, and carried all the way from Portland Stone Brewing's Enjoy By 4-20-15 to share, as well as a Ninkasi Stout that had yeast that traveled into space! So sweet!
My Dad's visit was so awesome, and I was sad to see him drive away this afternoon as he dropped us off on Tehachapi Willow Spring Road. Last night, him and I stopped by Honey Wagon Brewery, he helped run errands today, and he kicked back with us hiker trash in the hotel room pounding pizza and laughs. It's amazing how much he has influenced me, and how I feel so connected to him. Music, foods, jokes.. We even look alike. He filled up an iPod for me, and today, while hiking, I both laughed aloud and shed a few tears as each song brought me closer connected to childhood memories. Everything from Counting Crows to REM, to Van Halen and Black Sabbath... It was such a good mix. Hey Dad, you're pretty fly, for a white guy, and I love you so much.
Trail Magic is real, and honestly, magical. From zip-lining to a margarita, I appreciate every little bit of it. Makes me reflect on generosity and kindness. Big acts and small acts. Heart and soul. I think heavily on some of the magic I have received in my life outside of trail. From the magic of Nan and her family, to my own family and the quality friends in my life. And magic I'm not sure if I said "thank you" enough for. The Kay's when they took me with them to Hawaii; Cortnie for dying my hair with her dye; Jonathan for the toy princess pony to sit on my desk; Maha for building me a custom table; Emily for the rooftop party; John for the skateboard... I'm not sure if I said "thank you" enough times to really express how grateful I am to those people for all that they've done. So, to you guys, thank you. And to everyone one else, thank you too.
I've hiked over 250 miles since my last blog post, and everyday feels like a whole new story to share. This trail is: hard, long, uphill, downhill, windy, hot, sweaty, beautiful, vibrant, calming, struggling, emotional, and challenging. I've found a pattern with certain tasks like: making food, washing socks, or setting up my tent. But even so, there are always surprises. Today, even when we woke up to dark black clouds rolling over the mountain toward us, we weren't expecting the gusty wind or hail... We just expected to keep walking through everything.
Idyllwild was super cute small mountain town, and provided a laundry mat with loaner clothes(!!), craft beer(!!), and a campsite with showers. Super sweet. Trailhead was a few miles from town, and the dude that Rachel, Bender, and I hitched a ride back to trail with kept bragging about his "Pink Lemonaid" saying it was the best is town. After a nice launch sharing some Lemonaid and laughs, we hit the hit full force.
The next few days led to Ziggy and the Bear (amazing Trail Angels who open up their home to hikers) after passing north over I-10. It's funny knowing that if I headed West along this highway, I'd end up in Santa Monica at the ocean. So close, yet so far. Leaving their home brought my first rain, and first time getting lost from trail.
Miles from Big Bear, Rachel and I somehow lost trail while taking a picture of a fallen tree. This hour of trying to figure out how to get back led us both up to a Y Camp, where they not only let us shower, but wash our clothes, and fed us burgers, and let us RIDE THE ZIP LINE! Craziest detour yet! I'll get some pictures from Rachel and post them soon.
So Big Bear Brewing was wonderful, and had an amazing Black IPA called Onyx. 5 beers later, I stumbled back to the hostle I was staying at and woke up to my first trail hangover. Was a hard morning, but totally worth the beer. And shit, I clocked 21 miles leaving Big Bear, so success!
Back on trail, another stop was these amazing Hot Springs with several pools, rad people, and a sandy beach that made life feel perfect. The wind was calm and the shade from the tropical trees made everything, including tired feet, feel perfect.
Other cool highlights, was the McDonald's in Cajon Pass and getting a hotel room!!! I shared a room with 3 awesome dudes, and felt like a queen after a long bath in the tub. The room rank of feet and body odor, but we called the local skunk to help fragrant the air. The food, well, I'm ashamed to think of how many calories I ate, but it all tasted amazing! Straight hiker trash.
I've found an awesome crew of hikers to roll with, who we all laugh, and share goods, and keep each other company during the long days. We are family now, and it is rad to think of all the other adventures that come our way.
Wrightwood was another cute town, where me and a crew of others proceeded to take a zero day and drink like the gods forced us. In this town, I decided to purchase more fresh groceries and carry them out on trail! I carried 3 avocados, one onion, and two tomatoes... All which tasted wonderful once on trail. Variety and freshness are key on trail to break up the monotony of packaged foods! Those, and snickers bar and emergen-c packets.
The things I think about while walking come from all sorts of nooks and crannies of my brain. The layout of my elementary school bathroom... The science fair project and that trip to Universal Studios. The more beautiful memories are the ones recalled by triggers while on trail. The fresh green tall grass that glows in the wind reminds me of my great grandparent's house when I used to sit in the backyard just listening to the wind blow. Or the golden flowers remind me of the wildflowers that covered Ulistac (this natural reserve area I used to volunteer at). Or today, the fridged cold wind while I cradle my fingers for warmth reminded me of years of track and field, waiting outside in the cold awaiting an event. The memories are long, and then, feel like they go silent. Then follows the chain of thoughts that flood my mind disabling me from thinking any one thought. Then when I noticed what I'm concentrating on, it is the trail. Walk. Walk. Walk. Step. Step. Step. How's my stride. Owe, my blister. Hmm, what will my next snack be. Then back to my grandparent's garden. Cherries from the tree. Carrots. Mmm, food. Mmm, steak.
A good round of "would you rather" the other day with Zanbino put my life into a perspective I haven't explored or questioned.
Would you rather loose your hair or your teeth? Would you rather give up carbs (including beer) or meat? Would you rather only have good sex but bad head, or bad sex but amazing head? Would you rather stub your toe or bite your tongue?
I learned a lot about myself during this game, but I feel like I am discovering more about myself in terms of goals, and boundaries each day. I think about so many things. I think lots about Adam, all trying to embrace the positive while not forgetting the pain. I think about painting. I think about teaching. I think about my tiny house. I think about guys with cute smiles, stupid flings, my favorite burrito in St. John's. I think about sex, and how good it would feel to be held or touched. I think about my family, and my friends who I consider family. I think about Nan. I think about my grad school thesis and how I want to visit Costa Rica. I think about my friends and what they are up to. I think about all the amazing people in my life, and how I wish they could be doing something at that very moment that would make them smile. I think about love. I think about loving myself more when I leave trail, and more importantly, today. I think about kindness and cruelty and how I want to live in the world. I think about you, and the Beasty Boys, and smoking in Disneyland. I think about Vegas, and New York, and all the places I've partied. I think of all the times I vomited from having the time of my life. I think of mistakes. I think about one night stands, and where are they now. I think about ex lovers, and where are they now.
I think about you.
Right now, I am sitting on a bed (!!) inside a ranger station around mile 436. We were going to camp outside, but were invited inside to avoid the rain and high winds. No joke, there were several moments today that I felt I was going to blow off the mountainside! Even without my umbrella open! I feel warm dry, and excite to sleep. Each night, one of the biggest highlights is jumping into my sleeping bag. That, and resting my feet.
So many miles, so many miles...