Monday, August 26, 2013

Together is Better!

So at this point in time, Breeze and I have been hiking together for over 2 months and have hiked more than 1000 miles together. If you think you know someone, I dare you to spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for more than 8 weeks. For the majority of our time, we have been no more than 15 feet apart, and until Green Flash joined the hiking family, Breeze and I only had each other for company. Over the miles, I discovered some perks:

1. We share everything.

Occasionally this backfires when I don't want to share my Haribo Happy Cola gummies, but typically Breeze has WAY better snack food than me and I get the tastier half of this deal. He gets hot cooked dinners and snack bars from me though. And once we run out of food by day 4, this usually seems a more appealing trade than day 1!

2. Lighter pack

Once we decided to hike together, we were able to cut any duplicate items from our packs. And while this, in theory, makes us move faster and lighter, we have actually started hiking slower. Breeze acquired a fishing pole, and I carry butter and foil for cooking his catch. I want to make a bow drill set to make friction fire. We take long breaks, sleep in late, and aim to camp in idyllic spots with campfires and scenery. We might be set up to hike fast, but we aren't in any rush to!

3. Split the chores

In the past, I have always resented hiking with couples because they always get camp set up SO DAMN FAST. It is not fair. But now, I am 50% of a highly efficient hiking machine. Or more like 38%. Breeze runs the efficiency part. Mostly I get in the way and slow things down. But after 2 months I can almost do most things correctly, so we sail a fairly smooth ship.

4. Someone to share the trail with

Okay this is the sappy one. But honestly, I've done A LOT of things alone, and I don't mind it for the most part; I'd rather go alone than not go at all. Yet being able to share these experiences with someone is really fantastic. The mundane becomes hysterical, the misery becomes entertainment, and the fun is multiplied. He has carried me when I have been down and out, and I have literally pulled him up hills when he gets tired. Hiking together has turned this hike into a stroll through the woods with good friends. I'm glad I get to end my hike this way, it seems like a fitting end to a great part of my life.

The theme that my hike is ending must be getting old so soon before the end. I still have hundreds of miles and weeks to go, but in the grand scheme of my Triple Crown, I am nearing the end. I only have about 500 of nearly 7,000 miles to go. I will turn north from here and work my way away from the Idaho border and cross my final state. yay!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Lima, Mt

Breeze, Green Flash and I are weak. We got talked into a zero after about 2.7 seconds. So after a relaxing break watching TV and eating, we are headed back out to have another lovely stroll in the woods. As long as we make it to Canada before winter descends, why not slow down and enjoy? This could be last time in my life that this transient hiker lifestyle is normal and acceptable! So I'm going to enjoy the lakes more, sleep in later, and enjoy traveling life at 3 mph.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Random thoughts

So first and foremost, to shush Kelly from her pestering, here's the attention she's seeking! Hi Kelly, congrats on your engagement, now send me food. And thanks for your last care package, keep it coming!

Now for a quick side topic, this blog made the rounds on Facebook and it was too good to not share. Pretty spot on!

Fifth and final state!

But wait!? What happened to the fourth state? For the first part of Montana, the trail crosses into Idaho a few times, but most of the time we never really notice. So I can officially say I'm on my last state!

I'm attempting the blog update from my phone again, fingers crossed it doesn't fail me and frustrate me again!

So I last left off as my Dad dropped me off after Yellowstone. I had a super fun visit, got to explore the park more, and ate lots. Better yet, the wonderful and charming Breeze decided to stay behind and wait for me! So instead of entering into a long section alone, I would have my fearless defender from lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my!!! Oh and someone to hang out in the amazing Winds with!

And the Winds were spectacular! So far, this has been favorite section of the trail. Huge glacial bowls, granite peaks, and endless lakes and meadows. This is a pace I want to come back to.

By the time we finished this leg, we were awed by the mountains again, and really, really, REALLY hungry. For the last two days of the section I had to ration Breeze's food so he wouldn't run out. He didn't trust himself to not eat it. Really hungry. I even busted him trying to sneak food behind my back. But we survived! And when we got to Dubois, we ate our hearts out.

We were hanging around town getting the last of our chores done when we ran into Green Flash. We did some laundry together then went off to grab a bite to eat. Our first and second choices for lunch were a no-go, so we wandered into a bar for burgers. Oops. One drink led to another, and the guys started playing pool while I sorted Yellowstone permits. Due to scheduling in the park, we had to pick a slow pace, so we ended up getting an extra night in town! We even wrangled a sobo hiker for the night and swapped stories.

Once we managed to leave town the next day, we were loaded down with tons of delicious food, including over half an apple pie,  and Breeze and I were strolling along with Green Flash. The hiking was super easy, and the trail sees lots of use in this area. We ran into another hiker, Pat Burglar, that the guys know, and we ended up camping with him all the way through Yellowstone. We built fires, took naps, and really enjoyed camping again! And on our longest day in the park, 28 miles, we still snagged an insta-hitch from a 2012 PCT hiker that brought us to the store for booze and hot dogs, and got us back to the trail pronto!

Yellowstone's backcountry was awesome. Geysers and vents dotted the ground next to the trail, and we found a perfect spot to soak in a river near the run off. We quickly learned that we needed to agitate the water constantly or risk getting burned by the scorching hot surface water! But it sure felt good!

We walked through Old Faithful, and commandeered a table in the fancy lodge from which we ran logistics. We were able to watch about 4 eruptions over the course of the afternoon. We elected to walk the longer "Henry's Lake" route in the section to avoid a lot of road walking and to hit up the town of West Yellowstone for food and beds. And that's exactly where I'm at right now! The final push is under way, and I'm enjoying every minute! :)