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C.R.E.A.M. – On Trail Edition

Hi. I’m Harpo. Before I hiked the PCT, I hiked the AT. Before that I was a responsible human who made plans, budgets and spreadsheets for a respectable living. I know it’s gauche in some company to talk about money. But I’ve never been a totally elegant human (sorry mom.) HERE IS A SPREADSHEET OF EXACTLY HOW WE SPENT MONEY.


Photo of Harpo with vegan pizza by J Fleck (aka Twinless)

I see lots of questions on forums about how much money it takes to thru hike. That depends gear you have and what you want to purchase. Even after obtaining your titanium spork, you still need cash$ to spend on trail. Many sources estimate $1000 / month for trail expenses. Everyone tells you to prep for these expenses but it’s hard to visualize. On trail expenses range from lodging, showers, gear replacement, camp ground and park fees, town food, hitches (always offer gas money!), coffees (‘free’ wifi), town food, booze, and food resupply.

I hike with my buddy Groucho. For our 2015 SOBO Thru Hike of the PCT we spent about 4.5 months and about $7500 in on-trail expenses.

Our figure isn’t 100% accurate. Groucho carried some cash – spent on forgotten booze/hitches. Also parents and friends mailed us several resupply boxes and care packages. And occasionally when you end up hiking with budz you inevitably trade picking up the tab… you get the idea.

Check it all out… and give us a shout in the comments if you have any questions.



Interview on Nourishing Journey

This week we were interviewed about our veganism by a section hiker we met on the PCT for an article called The Rise of the Vegan Thru Hiker. We met BUG, aka Anna Herby at Donner Pass, and quickly learned she was not only a badass 2014 SOBO Thru Hiker, but also a VEGAN AND PROFESSIONAL NUTRITION EXPERT.

IMG_3068Over the 900-or-so miles we hiked/traveled with Bug, we learned much about trail nutrition, recipes and overall wellness with a plant-based diet.

As a graduate of Bastyr University, Bug holds a Masters of Science in Nutrition and currently works as a Registered Dietitian in the Seattle area. In addition to consultations, Bug maintains an awesome blog  that you should check out (and not only because she just interviewed us.)

Thanks for the write-up Bug!

Gold Teeth & Adult Time on Trail


Thruhiking is like engaging in an eternal youth machine –  like many bad ideas, it frees you from anchors (like rent and a career) that tie you to ‘adult’ life. Freedom from responsibility and the liberation of deciding your own fate on a daily basis makes you feel like you’re on an endless summer vacation. 

But let’s be real – we’re basically on the candy bar diet out here, vegan or not, and at some point you gotta grow up and take responsibility for what’s happening in your dirty mouth.

Personally, I really like brushing and flossing on trail – it’s my adult time. The one time each day when I get to feel responsible for my own health. Also, trail hygiene is not only attractive but necessary if you don’t want to alienate yourself not just from society but other hikers. Please – shower, do laundry, swim in lakes whenever possible, wash your butt AND BRUSH YOUR TEETH.

Pictured above is my basic dental hygiene kit, which contains: 

  • a mesh bag for drying the tooth brush
  • Child sized fluorescent toothbrush from Big Lake Youth Camp (why not keep it fun?)
  • Dental floss
  • 2oz bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Mini toothpaste 

Most of these items are self explanatory. You might have some questions about what olive oil is doing in my dobb kit tho…

I recently got my first root canal (boooooo) resulting in my first gold tooth (finally!) As much as I like the gold tooth, I’m trying not to go back to the dentist for a while. I realized that I was experiencing some temperature sensitivity in another tooth – enough to bother me even drinking tepid water. Bummer, right? I had hear about oil pulling at yoga camp, but thought it was to woo-woo for me. However I was willing to try anything to stay on trail, so I tried it. 

Every morning I swished about a tablespoon of EVOO (tho unfiltered sesame and coconut oil also work) for 10-20 minutes, followed by a water rinse and brushing. And you know what? IT TOTALLY WORKS DUDE. I experienced far less tooth sensitivity when I kept up the practice, tho it takes about 10 days to start being effective. So I guess 6000 years of Ayurvedic medicine can’t be wrong…

Gear Shakedown: New sleep system

I love sleep. On the Appalachian Trail, I can’t say I slept well. Perhaps it was using a zlite for 5 consecutive months (they compress beyond usefulness after only a month or so of daily use) Perhaps it was the 20 degree nights in a 39 degree bag. Perhaps it was my knees painfully knocking together throwing my hip outta whack.

Well enough senseless suffering! For the PCT I’ve upgraded and never felt better. Meet the new system:

Mountain Laurel Designs Bivy

A new addition to the system to make cowboy camping more pleasant. Water proof sil nylon bottom acts as a groundsheet, extra layer of sleeping bag material on top adds 5-10 degrees warmth and protects from winds. Zipper system keeps out bugs and spiders. I LOVE THIS PIECE OF GEAR.

One note: In 30-degree weather, condensation from my breath occasionally builds up on the inside of the bivy, leaving me with a damp face/head if I’m not careful. I often sleep with my head covered, and in that situation, I made sure to sleep so there was at least a little tunnel for air from my mouth to more directly escape through the mesh of the bivy.

Mountain Laurel Designs 28 degree quilt

Lighter than a sleeping bag and just as toasty. Read my review here

Thermarest NeoAir xLite Torso Length pad

Child sized for extra lightness. Blows up quickly. Infinitely more comfortable than zlite. Never had any issues with punctures or loss of air because of my….

Gossamer Gear foam pad

Laid out under Neo lite to protect blow up mattress from pine needle punctures. Also works well as a sit mat!


Placed under my feet to elevate swollen feet and compensate for torso-Lenth pad.

Stuff sack with extra clothes

As a pillow Or between my legs Or to insulate my feet more


Last chance to Send Us Mail: Cali edition

*update* please send packages via USPS (ideally priority mail). We’ve had trouble receiving FedEx and UPS. Thanks!


 Hi friends! This week we are 2 months and 1330 miles into our trip – half way done with the PCT. We can’t believe it! 

There are only 4 opportunities left to send us mail. So for those who would like to send us a postcard, newspaper clipping or vegan snack… Here are your last chances. Again- thank you so much!! 

If you hate the post office, you can support our journey by contributing to our Eternal Pizza Party. Thanks to Marc at MAHA, Jim & Char, Megan, Alan, and Angel! Our latest EPP Heros!!


Sara Edwards (thru hiker ETA 8/28)C/o General Delivery
10050 Bridge St
Truckee, CA 96161


Sara Edwards (thru hiker ETA 9/2)
C/o General Delivery
950 emerald Bay Road
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150


Sara Edwards (thru hiker ETA 9/12)
C/o General Delivery
3330 Main Street
Mammoth Lakes CA 93546


Sara Edwards (thru hiker ETA 10/5)
C/o General Delivery
54391 Village Center Drive
Idyllwild CA 92549

Photo by our friend Martin aka Huckleberry Hound