Disconnect to connect.

It’s been another wonderful week in the mountains. It started off with one of my favorite populations…. BOY SCOUTS. Yeah, always a good time with copious amounts of spaghetti and pancakes. While some times they can get on my nerves, I really like to chat with the boys. I love to ask about their hikes, celebrate their victories (no matter how small) and impart my favorite words of wisdom. These words you may ask…

“This is your forest, you can come back here anytime you want.”

I know, I know not what you were probably thinking but seriously, these youngins’ are the future voters, future congress members, future policy makers. I love this place and I hope that it is here for future generations to love. They need to be just as connected to nature as they are to their iPhones. So that is why I say, bring your children outdoors, let them get dirty and make these valuable connections to nature. Fresh air is good for the soul…(and so are organizations like the scouts that get our kids outside.)

So here is my plug… Get yourself outside. Bring your kids, your dog, your friends, your partner, your Grannie (especially if she is nearing the big 9-0), your neighbors, your imaginary friend(s), anyone, because everyone, and I mean everyone benefits from fresh air. You don’t have to go on a thru hike, start small. Walk around a park, your neighborhood, then expand to your state parks, explore your national parks and forests. Make connections, join a club meet others, donate to organizations like the PCTA, but whatever you do, get outside.

Okay that random rant is over, and now back to matters of the PCT. New news.. My dear friend Hobbes is also planning on thru hiking this year. It looks like we might be starting together in mid April! This is uber exciting! I love hiking alone, but I also love sharing an experience with others. Since the desert is a new environment for me, I say the more the merrier. Yay, Hobbes and Beamer causing a ruckus on the PCT.

Also I bought my plane ticket to San Diego. It is all falling into place… Awesome!

Okay, now get outside;)

Advertisements

PCT mind control?

Hello, my name is Sunbeam and I am an addict. Yes, I am addicted to all things PCT at the moment. I remember this stage from my AT days. It is what I think about most waking hours and sometimes in my sleep. Topics of life these days: Will this dehydrate? Is it to early to buy my plane ticket? Am I annoying all of my friends with my constant talk and thoughts of the PCT? Gah, waiting is so hard!

So here it goes. I bought a dehydrator and immediately had buyers remorse. Why was I wasting $65, that I could use on something else, such as buying food on the trail? Well after over thinking it I decided to keep it. I can always try to resell it before I hit the trail or keep it for future dehydrating fun.

So much dried goodness.

So much dried goodness.

I have spent the past week dehydrating EVERYTHING I can get my hands on. So far I have dried: green beans, peas, red peppers, black beans, chickpeas, carrots, onions and celery.  I am also planning on adding quinoa, rice,  noodles and some great sauces and curries to pizazz my meals and  to save on fuel and cooking time.  While I really loved the “buy as I went” method on previous long trips (this is where you hit grocery stores or convenience stores and get all the food you will need for the next section each trip into town), I think it will be really nice to add some more healthy items rather than the usual delicious junk and added sodium to my diet. So my approach is going to be a hybrid of  buying as I go where there are ample options and send myself food in the places where there are limited options.

Another thing I have been mulling over was when to start. I am really thinking of hitting the trail on April 11th, for the sole reason that I started my AT thru hike on March 11th.  Another reason is the fact that there is a Lunar eclipse on April 15th. I think it would be really awesome to experience this on the trail. Often guidebooks and former thru hikers advise against an early start  due to the snow conditions in the Sierras.  Too much snow makes traversing this section a nightmare. However, so far this year it has pretty dry (yes, I hope for snow and know there is still a lot of winter left) I think it will be okay. I want to start early to give myself time to get my trail legs as well as enough time to finish. In 2013 many thru hikes were cut short due to an early start on winter in Washington. Also I want to be a head of the huge bubble of hikers that normally start at the big Kick Off gathering at the end of the month. So that leaves me with the question: to buy the plane ticket now or to wait? Just another thing to consider.

Lastly, I sure hope my Pacific Crest Trail talk isn’t annoying those around me. I know I love to talk about the Appalachian Trail a whole lot too. But this is what I love, I am so passionate about this journey that I can’t control myself. I first noticed it might be getting out of control when two separate neighbors asked me about it this week.

triplecrownlogos

One even asked about the possibility of a triple crown attempt… (the triple crown is when you complete the three longest hiking trails in the U.S.. The trails are the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail. ) My answer, “one day at a time.” I remember finishing the AT and listening to my fellow hikers talk about their dreams for the PCT. At the time I wasn’t there. I needed a bit more time to fully understand what the AT journey meant to me and my life. After my section hike in 2011, I knew it was time to get back out there. So right now, to answer this question I will say this: My AT journey changed me, I hope this next adventure on the PCT will also help me grow as a person, into the best I can be. But I will take it a day at a time. Right now I am happy with what I have accomplished. If I can complete a thru hike of the PCT that would be pretty cool too. So in other words, don’t count it out yet. 😉

thoughts on a lifestyle

So here I am sitting in my sleeping bag at nearly 11am( don’t judge it’s gross outside, and all my “work” is done) thinking about this crazy lifestyle I live. Some might consider me a slacker or someone who is not using their full potential. You see I am a caretaker, my main responsibilities consist of making sure people clean up after themselves and don’t burn my hut down. Life is good, I love where I live and what I do. My office window has the best view, and the commute is hard to top.

 I posted before about life after the AT, my priorities changed, I changed. I’m not sure if this happens to everyone who hikes a long distance trail or takes grand life adventures but it did to me. I personally think it made me grow into the “real” me, not just who society wanted me to be. My lifestyle is not “normal” sure I work, but where I work and what I do isn’t what I went to school to do. But its as though life, maybe even the trail had other plans. I work seasonally, which means up until the Affordable Healthcare law came into effect I didn’t have insurance. My 401k is pretty measley and I don’t make anywhere close to that of what I would if I actually used my degree. But you see, I am happy. The type of happy where everyday I feel lucky that this is my life.

I learned very young that life is short. You can’t know what tomorrow brings let alone 60+ years from now. So that is why I live as I do. Why wait until retirement? I don’t even see myself ever actually reaching it any way. The time to live is now, and that is just what I am doing.

So that my friends, is why I am heading back to the trail. I feel more alive, more healthy, more connected, and even more happy when I have my pack on and a destination in mind.

Mountain Life

Well, here it is January 7th, the winter winds are blowing hard through my windows. There are light flakes falling from the heavens. It sure is beautiful. I have spent my morning looking up sleeping bags, do I want a quilt or an actual bag. I have decided to upgrade my bag as my old 15* Phantom seems to be losing it’s loft. I guess that is what happens when you live out of it for months on end.

I spent the end of December up at Zealand Falls Hut, I had a lot of guests. I love the fact that nobody seems to ever ask “Why don’t you get a real job” when they are at the hut. I think they actually get it, they may even wish they had chosen the woods over offices. Being a caretaker is wonderful, I love waking up every morning and look out into the beautiful mountains.

I have a bumper sticker on my car that says: “The AT ruined my life!” People often ask about it. I just say, it didn’t really ruin it, it made it so much better. I have since lived the life I have imagined. I have spent the last five years being outside in the sunshine, and taking life as it comes. I don’t think money is what living is about, rather I think living is what life is about. My pockets may be “empty” by many standards, but my level of happiness is beyond capacity. I guess that is why I am so excited for the PCT, I am excited to live in the sunshine. I am excited to meet new people, see new places, and breath in that air. Life my friends, is pretty darn cool.

-Sunbeam