Alexa’s Hike

This is Alexa’s first post from the trail.

https://thetrek.co/week-one-with-team-foot-stuff/

Week one with Team Foot Stuff

We’re five days into our six month trek, and we’re loving every minute of it.

Okay, maybe not the extreme hiker pains, and the occasional steep up or down hill, but the bad moments on the trail make the good ones that much better.

On day one we ended up connecting with a group of hikers at Lake Morena, mile 20. There were about thirty hikers at the camp ground that night but a group of nine of us seemed to have an immediate connection. Brooke and Don we had hiked with from mile one starting that day, and with their energy we found it easy to get all the way to Lake Morena. The remaining six had started about an hour after us, and we met them as we shared beers and goodies from a trail angel, Rod, who was staying for a week at Lake Morena to give back to the hiker community.

The first week has been a good array of emotions- lots of pain in various areas of our body, tons of laughs amongst our group self named “Team Foot Stuff”, and incredible views and scenery along the entire way. It’s hard not to enjoy every moment of the trail, it’s already chalking up to be an incredible experience.

We’re resting at mile 77 today in Julian. We’ll try to reach Warner Springs by Monday and take a nero. Until then, happy trails!

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Dense

IMG_0560Near where Fern and Tahquitz Canyons meet, south of Palm Springs, July 2013. On the Pacific Crest Trail.

Sadly, roughly one month later, this lush green ocean of ferns would be but ash. The Mountain Fire broke out July 15th that year and by the time it was extinguished about two weeks later, it had consumed more than 27,000 square acres including these incredible plants. This portion of the trail remained closed from all human activities for several years because of it. It only recently reopened.

Dense

Weekly Photo Challenge – Shadow

Shadow
One is never truly alone, not even on the trail.

Shadow

Weekly Photo Challenge – Solitude

Solitude
 What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be.
– Ellen Burstyn

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In the Mojave Desert, south towards Hiker Town, March, 2015.

As Long As You Are At Peace With Your Experience – aka: Hike Your Own Hike

The further away the stopping place on the trail is, the harder it is to get to. About two years ago it started to require more planning, more time off to hike. (A nine hour drive for a couple days isn’t worth it.) This also means more time between our major hikes. While we were doing at least two or three hikes a year when were hiking closer to home (Southern California), we’re now able to do only one. Our most recent big outing was our hike between Tuolumne Meadows and Taboose Pass.

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Clearly, we lose our hiking legs between our hikes. Not only do we need to readjust to the higher altitude, but also to the pains and blisters and sleeping on the ground. Bottom line, it makes us very slow at first. It’s really not until around day ten before we started feeling a better rhythm to our hiking mojo.

On this last trip, we found ourselves frequently comparing ourselves to our hikers. Many hikers we passed claimed, “I’m a fast hiker.” And indeed, everyone was faster than us. We noted though that in spite of their speed, we all usually ended up within a quarter to half mile of each other. Our response became, “We are slow, but we are steady.”

That said, there was a bit in us that wished we were a little faster. It would be nice to be done a little earlier in the day to just sit and watch the sky. One drawback of section hiking, while still trying to work and pay the mortgage, is that even though we are getting away from time obligations, time still rules us and we can’t lallygag too much to get back in time to go to work.

I’m not sure why we sometimes focused on our speed and compared ourselves to others on the trail. Was this the trail version of keeping up with the Joneses?

It is often said ‘Hike your own hike.” (HYOH) This phrase even came up between the two of us, as Lynn reminded me, again, to “Use your poles!” There are times I like to use the poles and there are times I don’t. And I fall either way. In talking about HYOH, I gently reminded Lynn that I read somewhere, in that definition, it included to use your poles as you wish.

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We started one day early to get over Selden Pass. I hadn’t finished my coffee in my water bottle yet. Anyone that knows me at all knows I am NOT a morning person. Never have been. There was a young man coming up behind us. I could hear him talking to Lynn first behind me. I couldn’t hear what was said but the young hiker sounded chipper. You know those kind of people (George..are you reading this?) that are ridiculously happy in the morning. They wake up that way, whistling, smiling, just too happy, if that is possible to be too happy. This guy was like that. As he passed me he said, “What’s shaking?” I couldn’t help but smile back as I replied, “This hill.”

He responded, “As long as you have that smile on your face!” And he scampered off. By now, Lynn had caught up to hear this and he rolled his eyes. “Good grief!”

We called him the Happy Hiker.

We finally got to the top of Selden Pass. In spite of an elevation of 10,910 feet, it wasn’t that hard of a pass considering other challenging passes like Glen, Forrester or Mather. It was less than a four mile hike to the top. Marie Lake sits to the north side. This lake was just beautiful, and large. It seemed to just keep going and going. Unbelievably clear water. It makes you realize how pristine and virginal these waters are with so little population comparatively near these waters. The view from Selden Pass was of even more lakes. Heart Lake, named so because of the shape was the first lake we saw. Smaller and it’s hard to see the shape from the top. Sallie Keyes Lake is close by which is where we stopped for lunch.

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At the top, we took a pause to take in the scenery. Leaning his back against a large boulder, facing north was Happy Hiker. He gave me a Hang Loose hand sign and had in his other hand, what I am sure of, was a tightly rolled joint he then proceeded to light. As he did he smiled again and said “ As long as you are at peace with your own experience.”

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Words of wisdom from the Happy Hiker that, timely, set the tone for the rest of the hike. Who cares if we’re slow, fast, stop early or hike on to darkness? This was better than HYOH which can sound confrontational at times. Good advice for trail and non-trail, alike.