Day 22: Zero Miles Was Never So Tiring

Most of our learning happens along the trail, but, today, we learned quite a bit about what it’s like to be in town. Big Bear is the first (of four or so) stops along the trail where we decided to buy food to resupply, instead of picking up a box that had been mailed to us. We chose this because there’s a real grocery store in Big Bear (Vons — pronounced “Safeway” to Northern Californians), so we knew we wouldn’t have to subsist on just convenience-store food.

Turns out,

Day 20: Trail Names!

Rally. Treeman. Squatch. Hedgehog. Dude. Etch-A-Sketch. You’ve heard me referring to people with these names…but, no, the PCT isn’t completely overrun with hippies. When you’re hiking any of the big tree long trails (Appalachian, Continental Divide, Pacific Crest), people end up taking on trail names — nicknames based on their character, appearance, experiences, or anything else about them that’s identifying, charming, or simply unique. Getting a trail name is part of your “rite of passage” to hiking these long trails.

And, recently, we got trail names! I’m known as

Day 19: Sunshine and Desert Canyons

Oh, what a joy it was to look outside our door this morning and see blue skies! After getting rained out all day yesterday, the sun looked so, so good. When we returned to Ziggy and the Bear’s place, it was completely unrecognizable from just twelve hours before: sunshine everywhere, the carpets were all drying, and almost not a hiker in sight — they’d all left for the trail! And, so, with nothing more than a brief farewell, we did, too.

One of the cooler things we’ve gotten to do this trip:

Day 17: Descent to the Desert

Our descent down Fuller Ridge was both brutal and incredible. Brutal because we spent eighteen miles going down the side of a mountain; incredible because the views you get from a trip like that are just spectacular. We woke up this morning at 8,800′ with 31° chill in our tent and ice in our water; we’re falling asleep this evening at 1,700′ and a balmy 61°.

We had it all laid out before us today:

Day 14: It’s Finally Cold! (Just in Time For Us to Be Indoors)

Our hike this morning was the strangest yet for this trip: it was cold! It’s the first morning yet that I actually wanted to leave my hoody on for a while after I started hiking, and, even hiking up hills with a big pack, there were times I was a little too chilly. It was wonderful.

Not only that, but the world was beautiful in a completely different way than it has been, too:

Day 9: Technology and the Trail, Part 1

Three days ago, my backpack tore itself apart. Or, at least, tried to: the long metal “stay” running up and down the spine broke free of its enclosure, and punched a hole through the bottom of the bag. It wasn’t trip-ending, but it was concerning: not only did I not have the support I needed from the stay, but, well, holes in the bottom of the bag containing all the possessions you need to survive are generally frowned upon.

So, I did what any enterprising through-hiker these days would do: I hiked about ten minutes up the trail, pulled out my

Day 7: Parting’s Sweet Sorrow

As I lie down beneath the stars tonight, I’m filled with a kind of sadness — because I’ve already felt such friendship with so many fellow hikers out here, and because it’s obvious that some of those connections will be lost soon enough.

It started this morning in Julian, when, after showering (again, just because we could!) and a two-course breakfast (waffles, mmm!), Clare and I went out to sit on the front porch of the hotel…and suddenly found