Bye for now, Seattle…

Dear Seattle –

Over the past 15ish years of meandering your streets, you’ve been a bosom buddy, a mysterious lover, a constantly shifting schizo, and a real asshole. Your varying moods have kept things unpredictable, to say the least. I loved it, hated it, and sometimes I just put up with it. So it goes with love…

And so it feels strange to finally say farewell – Harpo and I are off to a new adventure in the high mountains of Colorado. I thought I’d never leave, but it feels like the right time – before I become an old timer myopically fixated on a nostalgic, nonexistent past.

I’ll miss the view north from the fishing spot before the Spokane street bridge, the grimy pockets of Georgetown & the smell of the Duamish. I (mostly) remember many nights spent scheming at Vermillion, doodling at the Hideout, getting vaguely creeped out at Double Header, or trying not to black out at Shorty’s. I recall running (and living in) the hype art space for 5 years and hosting the wildest parties (including that one where someone pooped in the tub & pulled the emergency shower at the biotech lab upstairs), and that one time we paid rent to the cops for a year while they secretly surveilled us.

My time in Seattle was formative as an artist and a adult human. While I proved that survival doesn’t depend on being good at either, I thank that city and the many people who helped, taught, punished, and taunted me for shaping the dirtbag I am today. I have no regrets, but I do have a bunch of great scars.

So it is with neither ambivalence nor remorse that I say BYE FOR NOW, SEATTLE. See you never? I doubt it…

Le Blob – a fond farewell

It seems weird to me having a crush on a car. I know, I know – it’s practically part of the American identity (cars & unrequited love both I guess) but still it’s a strange feeling for me, especially after not owning a car for 17 years. But here I am, bidding a lover’s bittersweet farewell to what’s essentially a bucket of bolts.

Meet Le Blob – a 87 Subaru GL wagon whose body has seen the better part of three decades and 300,000 miles, but who is still young at heart. O wait, that’s a transplant – the Weberized EA 81 is probably from an earlier era Subi, but only sports about 90,000 miles. Yung in Subaru years. It’s hard to know exactly what’s going on when, like many of us, this car has become somewhat of a monster (think Frankenstein) with age. It’s lifted, motor & tranny swapped, interior lights & ac deleted, somewhere lost the horn and the muffler, sits on 27s and looks badass. I’ve never got so many random dudes throwing up devil horns in town, or anywhere.

Kinda a slug on the street, Le Blob still shreds dirt like a champ. Over the past year it was my daily – I was living 10 miles down a dirt road so rutted the FedEx dude got stuck (long after the UPS van quit trying) twice. On hot summer nights, when the work was done on the weed farm, I’d drive out into rural Northern California – out towards Tahoe National Forest or out along the South Yuba river.

Drinking a road soda deep in the trees was sometimes my only solace – I was living with some nightmarish Bali hippies whose spiritual journeys were exhausting to hear about and surprisingly (and frustratingly) contradictory. I’d roll out towards Malakoff Diggins or out to Bowman Lake and run trails for hours, dispelling the negative vibes. Then I’d hit up my favorite spot in Grass Valley, the co-op – a strange vortex of trim culture; hand tooled leather festival holsters, asymmetrical haircuts, and the lilting strains of metaphysical dubstep. Did I mentioned I was also at least a half hour from anywhere on the farm? It was my first adult experience with commuter culture, and NEEDING to drive for basic services was disconcerting it best.

I poured money and blood into this vehicle. I suffered busted knuckles, strange forearm bruising, and curses flew freely from my tongue. I threw away money. Things broke (constantly) and as an amateur mechanic I spent countless hours watching YouTube videos, scouring forums, and scratching my head.

Despite all these difficulties and the weird place I was at in my life, this car maybe saved me; Le Blob offered me a safe space, escape, and groceries. And I’ll be sad to see it go… which is probably why I sold it to a good friend at a heavy loss. So it goes & goes & goes… ūüėČ

coloRADo trail report 

Starting in Durango we climbed, climbed, and continued climbing until it seemed we were passing through a gateway into the sky. Pine forest, yet untouched by the Western Pine Beetle, was lush and crept up the mountains around us interspersed with aspens just verging on the fall turn. Sweating up the Highline trail and across the Sliderock Traverse, all of this fell away – revealing row upon row of peaks scraping the sky. Finally we had arrived – at least at the first above tree line track of the Colorado Trail. There would be more as we began our northbound journey thru the San Juan mountains and onwards towards Denver…

The Colorado Trail Foundation likes to claim their trail as the most beautiful of the 11 National Scenic Trails. It’s hard to argue with them… You’ll find expansive pine forest, massive aspen groves on fire with fall color, beautiful trail towns full of friendly locals and delicious local beer, exquisitely maintained trail and miles & miles of views. Of course, it is the high Rockies, so you may also encounter thunderstorms, snow at any time, subarctic temperatures, and looooong exposed miles of trail. But like many adventures, the risk often heightens the reward.

I traversed the volunteer built 478 mile trail northbound with my friend Atrain and Ekho the dog in September of this year. Atrain, Ekho and I met in 2015 on the PCT, and had hiked for a few weeks together. After he and Ekho moved to Portland OR, Harpo and I kept in touch. In the planning stages of my hike, Atrain mentioned that he was looking for some late summer adventures as he drove cross country moving back to Atlanta. A plan was born…

New vegan trail snack by Harpo-mane – freeze dried strawberries with Dang original toasted coconut chips. Tasty!

LOGISTICS

We shared planning duties for the hike, tho to be honest logistics were pretty easy compared to some other hikes Harpo & I have done. There was some spread sheets covering mail drops, mileage, and shared gear – but not too much nerding out. Our resupply strategy was partial mail drops supplemented with whatever we could find in town. U could easily resupply 90% in town, no problem, and mail yourself a few boxes if you wanted to avoid longer hitches. Harpo and I had a bunch of homemade dehydrated meals left after leaving the CDT early in 2016, so Atrain and I chose to use as many of those as possible hence more boxes. Thankfully Harpo was willing to mail our resupply – being busy with the full time job thing – and hooked up the super surprise vegan snacks too!

The Colorado Foundation provides an excellent guidebook for the trail, which includes complete listings of trail towns, resupply options, and hitching distances (we found a used copy at a gear store in PDX for $5). National Geographic publishes a 3 part map series which is unnecessary (the trail is super well signed) but nice if you like alternates, blue blazing, and seeing context. We used the maps, along with the Guthook app for iOS, which provides info about water sources, lists trail miles, and uses GPS to help with wayfinding. PMags also offers a great overview and valuable observations in his “End to End” free downloadable guide. I also use the Gaia app for iOS, which offer offline available topo maps and GPS functionality. The trail is easy to follow, but it’s also nice to bushwhack for a couple hours and get off the beaten path…

Surprisingly wild flowers were everywhere – even in late September, probably the result of abundant summer rains.

Trail Conditions

From the first step to the last, the CT is meticulously maintained. Many sections rival Yosemite, not just in beauty, but in the sheer attention and time trail crews have invested in creating an exceptional trail experience. Wayfinding was easy as signs were well placed both NOBO & SOBO, and there was nary a blowdown to be found. Given, we hiked the trail at the end of the season (September 3 – October 5) so crews had all summer to clean it up, and we didn’t really deal with extensive snow.

One difference from the AT & PCT tho; be ready for mountain bikers. I also love a good shred, so it didn’t bum me out – tho there was a good couple of hours one day dodging dudes on a tour with poor trail etiquette, and a Saturday when we ran into and annual charity ride (and literally hundreds of bikes). On the whole everyone who shreds there seems to know the deal, is super polite and happy to share the trail.

(For u novice MTBrs out there, please use bell, voice or whistle well BEFORE u would like to pass. Don’t sneak up! Also, let hikers know how many are behind you on trail so we don’t keep getting surprised and can find a good spot to pull off for larger groups. Technically hikers have the right of way & yr supposed to dismount & walk or wait, but hikers know that’s bs & nobody wants to stop a good shred – so communicate & everybody winsūüėė)

In September we dodged the majority of the monsoon season, so we only had to hide in a ditch dodging lighting once. Score! Reports from SOBO hikers indicated that was not their experience. And we did catch a little early season snow coming out of Brekenridge – about 3 feet up top, which was enough to provide 5 hours of shin shredding post holing up Georgia Pass. Ekho, who is mostly husky, was LOVING it – especially after the sun set and the full moon started making monsters in the shadows.

I will say – it was not summer up there. The trail elevation averages 10,300 feet, with a high point of 13,271 and many passes over 12,000. NBD but prepare yourself appropriately, especially if hiking thru the monsoon season in August when u might wind up wet & cold everyday. We definitely got wet on several occasions, and our weather experience was mild compared to many SOBO reports.

Campsites were easy to find, often had spectacular views, and because of the plentiful summer rain many campfires were had.

Pre hike vibez in Durango, another great trail town (great co-op & gear store, breweries, cool downtown). It’s a little spendy, but I could have stayed for a weeks exploring the hundreds of miles of trail in and around town…

Trail Towns

It’s impossible to pick one when they’re all so awesome! Most had great resupply option, many had hostels, and people were totally down for the cause. In particular we had a great time in Silverton (great hostel, brewery & pizza), Lake City (long hitch but excellent hostel & full grocery), Salida (another long hitch, heard the hostel was good but stayed in a cheap hotel, great river swimming, good natural foods store), and especially Leadville (excellent hostel, short hitch, friendliest locals, brewery, grocery). Brekenridge was a little bobo for my taste. Twin Lakes would have been hard for a vegan to full resupply (we got a package) but the restaurant had an awesome black bean burger.

Epic views every day – and impressive variety of terrain. Just when you’re feeling too stressed about a long but beautiful exposed section, you’ll duck into some lush pine forest & find some of the coldest, clearest mountain streams ever.

Overview
I loved this trail. I want to go back and snowshoe it right now, then mountain bike it in the summer. ¬†I liked it so much I somehow convinced Harpo it would be a great idea to move to Leadville – and that’s where you’ll find us now. I think it’s logistically simple enough to make a great first thru, but rigorous and beautiful enough to challenge and amaze even saltiest dirtbag. So go forth & HIKE!!!

On the way down..

Walking thru a burn to Frisco, the bobo Lil brother of Brekenridge. Got some freezing rain, drank some fancy beers, woke up in the middle of a disc golf course. First time for everything, I guess…

Sorry for the lack of blogging about the CT – I’ll publish s full report when I don’t hafts thumb type it and have consistent wifi.

Needless to say, Atrain, Ekho and I haven’t frozen to death yet, and have maybe a week left on trail. More to come…

Colorado Trail update…

Along the way we found any number of mine ruins – you can often spot tailing piles in unexpected places on steep hillsides.

Beautiful clear water was a super feature of the Colorado Trail – except in September it was all too cold to swim!

We followed the aspens as they turned. Since we were headed Northbound, we lost elevation consistently, and the trees kept turning as we headed down towards Denver.

Hipster Packing

I’ll admit it – I’m a fan of fanny packs. I often used one with my hip-belt less packs when backpacking to carry a phone or maps, and like the hip pack for day hikes when I don’t really need the volume (or sweaty back) of a day pack, and tbh these are also great as hands free bags around town. I’ve been testing a few out in varying circumstances – following are my thoughts:

The Gossamer Gear Hipster
Material: Ripstop nylong
Weight 2.1 oz. with 1 in. x 45 in. webbing waistbelt
Size: 10 x 6 in – 40 c.i. (.7 L)
Cost $19.99

I used the Hipster extensively on my PCT and CDT hikes – especially in cold weather when I want my phone and maps somewhere other than my shirt pockets (too much unzipping!). I’ve also used it extensively for day hikes, trail running and mountain biking.

It’s perfect for hiking – holds a phone, maps and other daily necessities like lip balm or smoking supplies. I have an older version, and the volume really works best with EITHER a phone or snack, not both. The pack is also water resistant, so I feel confident keeping my phone there without a plastic bag, even in pretty wet conditions.

It bounces around on MTB or running trips, but is generally fine & secure as long as it’s not overloaded. I like the key hook – it prevents nightmares about being locked out at the trailhead.

The quality is excellent, I’ve probably travelled 3000 miles with mine and it’s not even showing wear, and washes up well. I also love/hate the design, which tends to keep the pack closed – if u forget to zip u wont lose your ish, however it makes single handed operation/getting a IPhone6 (normal size) out sometimes frustrating. It’s probably sewn in Taiwan, but you get what you pay for at $20.

Overall 7/10. Bummed about the overseas sewing, but profile is most likely to get used around town.

ThruPacks Astronaut
Material: Dyneema
Weight 1.5 oz + 2.5 oz for comfy hip belt
175 cubic inches, (2.9L)
Cost $60 (pack) + $20 (comfy strap)

A newcomer to the fanny pack market, Thru. is making some beautifully made-in-America boutique hip belts. The Astronaut is their flagship model, made of translucent Dyneema (nee cuben fiber) with a waterproof zipper and webbing pulls. A more full figured pack, it features an interior zipper pocket (with separated ID/loot slots) and an open back pocket. The volume offers enough room to carry a windshirt, any smartphone, gloves, hand sani & minor first aid, and smoking accessories on the inside, while also¬†comfortably accommodating a quart freezer bag of snacks in the open back pocket. Carrying this extra weight is all made possible by the awesome “Comfy Strap” – made of webbing and spandex, which helps reduce friction and fatigue with its wide footprint. Sure, the extra volume makes it too bouncy for running, and I wouldn’t trust the open back pocket for anything during an MTB shred – but this is a real winner for longer day hikes or as part of a hipbelt-less pack system for backpacking. I also use mine daily in the garden – I’m a profession flower grower- and it’s the best size for all the essentials; scissors, blade, twisties & zip ties, gloves and iPod with room for extras.

I also hafta say – I really love American made products, and this is made by backpackers for backpackers in Norfolk, VA. Having spent a fair amount of time hunched over a sewing machine, I’m¬†can say the Astronaut features superb construction, and I can see it lasting thru years of abuse. I look forward to finding out.

9/10 – awesome quality and functionality American made gear.

PS if u think $80 buck is large coin¬†for a fine American made product, it’s totes in the range of other similar products like the awesome, MTB specific Hunter Cycles Shred Pack. If you want cheap, think kids in China.

Mountain Laurel Designs Pack Pocket
Material: Dyneema X
Weight: .999 oz, no waistbelt included
Size: 4.5 X 6.5 X 1.75 (48ci / .78L)
$19

While not technically a hip pack, I often slide the MLD Pack Pocket on my webbing belt that keeps up my short shorts when I shred the MTBs, or when I’m¬†riding around town. The Pack Pocket is compact, waterproof, and just large enough to keep an iPhone 6, a couple of tire levers and patch kit, OR¬†maybe a snack &¬†your ID/loot. I’ll admit it’s not efficient for hiking (not quite enough volume without a backpack to back it up), and bounces too much for trail running. But it’s a great cycling tool. If you’ve ever tried to fish your ID and money out of a messenger bag (which happens to have the inside coated in wheatpaste, that’s another story) u know it’s basically a black hole. It’s nice to keep a few things easily accessible. The Pack Pocket is also super durable – I’ve scraped¬†mine on both concrete and dirt (I’m really good at falling off bikes), and it’s not even showing wear. Highly recommended. Also, I guess you could actually put it on a backpack hip belt, tho I’ve not tried.

Overall 7/10 Kinda awkward to use with a normal belt, but does work great for extra storage, and iz American made & super cheap.


Jansport
Material: Ripstop nylon
Weight: Heavy, best not ask
Size: about 1L
Cost: $2 at the thrift

The Cadillac of fanny packs, with 2 zippered pockets, key leash, external compression straps, and integrated water bottle (or beer) holsters. This thing is massive, and meant to compliment your full size gaiters. It’s also awesome if you want to stash 4 trail beers, tools, and some snacks for an afternoon shred – and they are readily available at the thrift (at least in the northwest). A definite contender, but too heavy for long distance hiking use, and too many features for day trips unless you’re biking. But check out that awesome gros grain!

Overall 7/10 Nice price, 90’s accents, but too klunky for everyday use.

Shelfies

IMG_0356.JPG

Harpo and I were on a mission not to pay rent. We succeeded (mostly) from May 2013 Рto November 2016, subleasing for about 4 months from friends, otherwise we sleeping outside or house sitting. We stayed in a lot of houses. I took photos of bookshelves; and every home, every collection, is a metaphor and a way of being.

The intimacy of a book collection, the utensils in the kitchen, ¬†contents of a backpack, and altar, or a shrine extend the image of our personal myth. It’s something about the entanglement with language – the romance of the unsaid – but also narrative form. A desire to explain ourselves, a poem made of objects, a mirror.

Belated journal: Harpo’s first solo backpacking trip

Sometime in August:¬†After hiking more than 6000 miles with Groucho over the past 3 years, and sleeping more than 300 nights outside, I realize I’ve never taken a solo backpacking trip. Sure… I’ve hiked and wandered by day on my own, but unlike so many friends… I’ve never shouldered the pack, set out on foot, pitched camp by myself and made it back home, alone.


Sometime in September

in the middle of Wyoming -a state of open spaces, bison, guns, dust, sun, solitude and wind – I feel like I need some space. I want to be more alone than I already am.

My thoughts are only directed at the misery and trap of the thru hike. I’m irritable and desparate. Turns out I contracted Giardia which maybe contributes to my fatigue and grumpiness as well as the smell of rotten eggs coming out of my butt. (Sorry mom).

But more importantly I feel a need to digest. Literally and figuratively. Literally I need to get better in order to digest food… and figuratively I want to settle down for a minute and reconnect with a sense of home and community and process what the heck am I doing with this little life. What does all of this mean?

I begin to talk to Groucho about my dreams of heading home to the NW. And as the weather worsens and my parasites take hold, my resolve sets in. I will head home. But not until I’d have a few days on trail by myself.

So we fly back to the NW. Grab some supplies. And with one week of solid rain predicted, we make a romantic gesture: we grant each other space and time. 5 days to walk away from each other. Then toward each other. Than away again. than toward. We resolve to hike the 95 mile wonderland loop around mount Rainer – in opposite directions.
Herein lies my journal:


September 19

Longmire to nickle creek

14 miles
We get to the trailhead at longmire around 10am. We have no issues getting permits but it is already drizzling rain. I have all the gear. I’ve already walked 1300 miles this summer. But I feel fear. This is new. I put on the brave face and stall at the cafe over breakfast which I can’t eat. Nerves or Giardia?
We set out around noon and take a half hearted video at the trailhead. I feel ready to be on my own …soooo ready. I’ve been with Groucho every day all day for months. But I’m scared too.

I speed down the path. Ready to be at camp and have my first day done. It turns out it’s not Groucho that’s my problem. It’s hiking. It’s me. I’m tired and sick and 10 lbs underweight and it’s cold foggy and damp. 14 miles feels like forever. This sucks. This is not Groucho’s fault. It’s me. I’m the problem.

I see a deer buddy. A river. A box canyon.


I make videos. Ones for YouTube and ones for Groucho. I don’t pick up litter even tho that would make our friend “FutureDad” sad. It’s not like me. But I just don’t care.

After seeing Rainer peek from the clouds my head is filled with gratitude and my heart suddenly misses Groucho. I stay optimistic and type in my phone “It’s like physical therapy for your heart. Sometimes it hurts to be apart. That’s how you know it’s working.”


The sun sets on my first solo backpacking night at the Nickle Creek campsite. I feel nervous but also confident. Set up is easy enough. Mostly i really am thinking about Groucho. I thought I might feel carefree or light without needing to consider his needs. But Instead I feel sort of blank and empty and depressed.

I pullout my gear and it’s damp; My pack has failed. I put on the layers knowing they will dry out overnight. I eat snacks and it takes too long. (Why does it matter how long it takes to eat?!) I make a video and cry a little. Why am I such a mess? I head to bed and sleep warm and well.

SEPTEMBER 20 -day 2

Nickel creek to white River

19 miles
A good day. I wake up calm and enjoy clear skies all morning. Tho I find frost at 5k feet and take pictures of Crystalline Entity-like ice structures. (Shout out: STNG)


I take long morning breaks to enjoy the sudden and surprising presence of sun.
I dry my gear in one such supercharge burst around noon. I’ve gone about 9 miles into my day. I talk to 3 men who treat me like a celebrity. Although they are ultra marathoners this is a big deal backpacking trip for them. They have too much gear and at noon they’ve only gone a mile or so today. They take my picture and I feel embarrassed.
Later in the afternoon I regret my morning breaks as the clouds condense. A storm approaches. I hustle.


In the highest points of elevation I encounter majestic marmot buddies keeping watch.


Food is a problem. I hate Giardia. My nateropathic remedies are frozen so the parasites are partying. All I can stomach are cashews. 5 at a time. the rest of my food bag sags heavy and useless. The uphill jaunts grow particularly gross as My body expels puffs of sulfur. I need rest stops far more often than a thru hiker should.
I decide to call dinner at 3pm, only 3 miles from camp, praying the weather holds. I Need to force food in for the power. A cool ranger checks my permit and chats for awhile. It’s nice to have company.
I get to the huge white River campground around 5:30. It starts raining right as I put up my tarp. Then hail. Then rain.
I think of my buddy Groucho….Now halfway around the mountain. Hoping his small poncho/tarp holds. Knowing he sleeps a bit higher elevation tonight. I feel luxurious spaciousness with our double tarp tent all to myself.
And it feels like Christmas Eve because -tomorrow morning- I will start to walk toward Groucho again. With any luck I’ll see him tomorrow afternoon.

SEPTEMBER 21 – day 3

White River to carbon river

17 miles

This day begins extremely cool and crisp. The ground crunches with frost and snow. Rainer is Large and in charge. And I’m powered by her presence.


Water at the high elevations sparkles with ice. My fingers are cold, even with gloves.


Around 11am I see a herd of mountain goats. And the descent back into the trees. It feels tough. I pass the campsite Groucho will sleep at tonight. ¬†I leave him a wilderness graffiti made of twigs. H ūüíõ’s G


I walk down down down. The wonderland is hella beautiful but the ascent and descents are no joke. Pretty steep elevation changes.
Around 3:14 I run into Groucho. We backtrack to a sheltered spot for a coffee break. I feel calm and happy to see him. We share snacks. I tell him about Giardia and he tells me about his xtreme allergic reaction.

At 4pm thunder claps and rain break up the party. We part ways. I am buoyed by our interaction. I get to camp and am granted a super cute site. I throw my tarp up just as it begins to rain. Eat half my snacks and then throw up. Stupid Giardia.


SEPTEMBER 22-day 4

Carbon River to Golden Lakes

18 miles

The First hours of the day are familiar! i’ve done this section before a few years ago.

I’m soooo tired. It’s a steep and long climb out of the carbon River valley. I really can’t wait to be done and keep fantasizing about cutting the trip short. I am dreading the ford I know will come at the end of the day.


At Mowich lake I try to dry my tent while conversing with some really nice ladies from whidby. They know my friends at MAHA farm. They are out here for a few days going off trail into the spray park! With just map and compass. So cool.

There are hella cool mushrooms


This is the day no one can believe what I’m doing (95 miles in 4.5 days) and so I keep feeling behind my schedule and then believing them that I’m not going to make it.

Then I ford this river I’ve been dreading for 4 days. And It turns out I am awesome. And smart about it. and brave. ¬†I see a man trying some Herculean stuff to help his gal cross and I giggle. He’s dragging huge logs trying to make a bridge for her as the current just keep sweeping the logs down stream.¬†They would be better off without their fear. I am a superhero.

The last uphill climb is long but feels easy and there is company as I take a snack break and Hercules and his lady friend catch up and we exchange stories. They are pretty cool.


I reach camp At 6 or so. Feeling happy. It’s the home stretch. I’m not hungry and fog is rolling. I pitch tarp too low and pray it holds in the winds and storm predicted for tomorrow.

——–


SEPTEMBER 23-day 5

Golden lakes to Longmire.

25 miles

I have a crazy Lucid dream. And then wake before dark. I’m hoping to get to the trail head early. I want to be done.

But the Day is super tough. Like everyday this week there is over 5000 feet of elevation gain today. And it’s relentlessly wet. And Cold. Mystic and foreboding. I’m Pretty lonely.

Around 10 I run into the three ultramarathoner men again. ¬†They keep trying to share their snacks. I keep rejecting their advances saying we shouldn’t share germs. They laugh it off. I want to say “no really you dorks I have Giardia” but I’m too tired. After a few photos and dried apricots we fistbump farewell.

The day feels long and interminable. The big lady always shrouded. I can’t feel my toes. My gloves are soaked. My fingers are numb. If I could feel… I’d feel bummed. Instead i’m coldly resolute. A depleted machine with a homing beacon back to the car. Only 5 more hours to go.


I run into a couple on a ridge. They are out here for days more. I feel sorry for them. It’s so damp and windy. I don’t know how they are staying dry. I care little about being wet. It’s cold but I’m headed to the car. The car. The car. And Groucho.

After a long climb I realize I need more snacks. I’m too cold despite the incessant walking. I have food. ¬†it’s not appealing….But I have to force it down if im gonna make it. In the rain I pause to grab something from my snack bag. It takes me 14 minutes to tear a small hole in the hazelnut butter packet. I try to press hazelnut butter out the hole but my fingers won’t squeeze anymore. Literally I can’t press my thumb and forefinger together. This is not good. but I still have teeth. I slobber and masticate all over the metallic packet until some nut butter warms enough to ooze out. This goes on for 3 miles as I continue to walk and slowly consume the minuscule calories seeping out, suck by slobbery suck.

I get to a suspension bridge. there are slats missing. It’s super Kathleen turner vibes. I pass 3 day hikers! This means the end’s in sight! ¬†Tho still 3 hours to go. ¬†I pass them and feel relieved they are behind me. If I die before the trail head at least they will find me. These are the irrational and morbid thoughts that go thru my brain in the cold. Biology of cold works hard to slow us down enough to gently accept death. Luckily my familial obligation is strong and for my mom and dad I feel resolute to continue. And if I keep moving I will make it


I run into two ladies at the end of the day. They say I’m close! As I descend the rain let’s up and it gets 10 degrees warmer. My fingers feel better. Then a trail runner and people wearing jeans!! I must be close.


Then signs. And I practically run to the parking lot. And Groucho is dry but cold I the car having beat me by 2 hours.

And I did it.