Holy cow, with minimal reception, and wanting to save battery power, I've been behind on blog posts, but ahead on amazing adventures and building memories that I can't even begin to explain every story at the moment... But let me try to sum up some of them for you...
South Tahoe was an amazing rest day! Stinger (my hiking buddy since Kennedy Meadows South -- triple crowner, veteran, total babe, and friend for life), has amazing friends in Tahoe, and they totally rocked the stay with their awesome hospitality. Everything from driving us to the grocery store to resupply food, going with us to see Jurassic World, driving us to In-n-Out in Carson city (where I conquered my first 4x4... Look it up), and partying generously at their home.
I slept at the hostel, which was the coolest place for some personal time. I got my own room, baked thumb drop and sugar cookies like Betty Crocker, made an amazing breakfast with other hikers, received the book, The Alchemist (which I have since finished and passed on to Stinger), and showered and laundered my dirty clothes. Recharge and relax.
One of the evening, we walked out to some marsh land along Tahoe lake, and starred at the lake while the sun set over the rim. The lake reminded me of the ocean, and warmed my heart. No photo unfortunately, except the one I keep in my heart. Priceless.
Hot weather hit hard once back on the Tahoe Rim, but lakes and rivers made afternoon swimming a normal thing if the wind wasn't too strong. Wild flowers are WILD and so beautiful in their many colors. Sierra City was awesome, because Christina (life long friend from middle school) visited with her mom and cousin Brooke. They brought beer, and hung out all afternoon in a swimming hole with myself and other hikers. The hikers have become family to me, and it's so rad when friends from home can come out and meet these other incredible people.
Ladies Man, Nude-o, Fly Ballz, Franklinstein, Nips, Face, Easy Rider, Suds, Growler, Double Puff, Night Shift, Copenhagen, Tarzan, Pocahontas, RADish, Hawk Guy, Tangled, Houdini, Occupy, Rattles, Ace, You Again, Lebowski, Phoenix, Beetlejuice, Hawaii, Courage, Beer Goddest, One of Us, Rebo, Nominal Toast, Foot Hawk, Skunk Ape, Bender, Fun Jumper, Wormwood, Ram, Wind Screen, Buds, Garbelly, Stan, Delux, Giggles, Simba, Puppy, Lone Wolf, Herro, Legs, Weekend, and of course Stinger.. All trail family, even if I don't know their real names. Ha! We all share such a bond because we are going through the same physical struggles, and are connected by our determination and common goodwill.
Stinger and I summited Mt. Lassen AND IT WAS SO AMAZING! We hitched out of Old Station to the front of the park, and then luckily hitched to base camp from someone from Costa Rica! We hit the trail before sunrise, and climbed to the top for one of my favorite views on trail yet. So beautiful -- I love being high up in elevation, especially for sunrise. We could see Mt. Shasta from the top, and since then, it has been a frequent distant mountain in the landscape. We were going to climb that too, but conditions were not good (even though a few other hikers did it, and I was jealous).
Thunder and intense lightning hit hard the days following our summit. Perfect timing.
Burney Falls was beautiful, and they sold beer in the State Park! Good craft beer too! Major score :)
Stinger is tall, but not next to these trees! I left Stinger at Castella because he was waiting for a package, and it's amazing how I miss him! We got into this solid rythem, from making coffee to setting up camp. Hopefully he catches up to me soon!
I ran into Nude-o (who I haven't seen since before Tahoe!) while leaving Castella and Castle Crags State Park. Beautiful volcanic rock that jets out of the mountainside made my trip epic. Wink. Nude-o and I camped on this beautiful hillside, and the following days hiked 28, 27, and 27 miles into Etna. That's over a marathon everyday! My feet were so sore hitching into Etna, but Etna Brewing Company, their IPA, Jalepeno Burger, and brownie ice cream desert made the long mile days worth it. Also, the company.
So, I'm over halfway.
Almost to 1,600 miles.
Almost to Oregon.
I'm currently in a motel room, with Easy Rider, Nips, and Nude-O. These dudes are the coolest, most hard working, passionate, driven, creative guys... Much like most people on trail. We talk ideas, brainstorm the future, share adventures, laugh about living, smile about life, and drink like sailors. Last night, we passed out on a lawn in the RV park in town after a fun night including bike riding, shotgunning Olympias, and smiling at the miles we accomplished just before. We earned last night's partying session, which led to today's rest zero in the AC motel room.
This has gone from a vacation to a lifestyle. Talula (my backpack) and I have been through blood, sweat, tears, snow, rain, lightning, and some serious sun.
I think I have fallen in love...
With the trail.