Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Van’

It started out as a piecemeal operation with a slew of texts. I was going on the PNT and thought I might be out alone for a bit. Then, I heard Karma was going, but slightly later. Then, Crosby decided that working was lame two and a half weeks before I wanted to leave. Then, ED got wind of this and put in her two weeks, booking a plane ticket for the 23rd. We started making a plan from there. When we weren’t leaving until later, Karma joined and booked a bus ticket for the 24th. After Crosby’s sisters wedding on the 26th, we would depart on the 27th.
Crosby and I picked up ED at the airport, then found The Darkness’s hide a key and started making dinner in her apartment. The next day, we meandered around Seattle until Karma’s bus got in. When it did, we grabbed him, went to REI, and caught the ferry over to my Mom’s house. Stumbling Norwegian and Honey Bee caught the same ferry to come over for dinner and let us pick their PNT brains since they had just hiked it in 2014.

After dinner and a bonfire, we had packed our brains full of pertinent information.

We had two more bonfires, helped Jane celebrate her birthday, went to Game of Thrones trivia, and left at 5:15am in Glen, my van. First stop was to pick up my Mom’s cousin Babs who was heading out with is to help my Mom get Glen back to her house.

Glen, the van.

All of us settled into the van, taking naps, listening to cassette tapes, Babs’ camp songs, eating, and taking to the road. Glenn drove pretty well and had plenty of space. He also had plenty of electric plug ins to continually charge phones which allowed me to finish keeping up with my blog.

Eventually we made it to Glacier where we took a out stop at the CDT at Marias Pass to say hi to the trail. East Glacier was only a ten minute drive away so we were at Serranos/Backpackers Inn quickly.

There we found Laugh Track, Anchor, Top Shelf, and Bard, some fresh CDT sobos. We chatted with them, got our packs together and went to bed for an early morning at the Two Medicine Ranger Station.

The bottom of our permit.

We dutifully got there before it opened and got the exact permits we wanted. However, our permit said “itinerary not recommended” on out due to snow fields and a “water hazard”‘and the ranger using the permit continually twisted that we were a month early.

Mom and Babs dropped us off at Chief Mountain Trailhead and we began hiking after the requisite pictures. The trail wound down toward a river snaking through lush fields of wildflowers.

We took several breaks to enjoy the river, some shade, or flowers until we reached a sign that said “waterfall.” Taking the short trail down, we found a beautiful waterfall emptying into a crystal clear blue swimming hole. We only hesitated long enough to take a picture before wading into its cold depths. It was definitely cold. Right as we got out, Laugh Track, Anchor, Bard, and Top Shelf walked up and we all realized we were set to camp at the same site that night.

Chilling with some CDT sobos.

When we finally moved on, we did reach the campsite in decent time and found Coyote. We set up tents and tarps, then headed down to eat. Coyote was also hiking the PNT and we had been told to keep an eye out for her from Stumbling Norwegian and Honey Bee.

The four CDT sobos came not long after and we all had a blast hanging out and sharing a few things.

Anchor: Man, you guys packed out and are sharing beer and whiskey and we didn’t think to bring anything out.

Karma: I remember my first hike…

In the morning, we got a decent start waking up, eating, and leaving before the CDTers even woke up. Coyote came with us and we began going up Stony Indian Pass. The trail was so well graded that out made for a good first big climb. We passed lakes, wildflowers, and were grateful for switchbacks. 

We took a nice long break on top of the pass examining the snow we were about to go through. There was some, but not a shit ton.

Almost instantly, we crossed snow and put on micro spikes. It was a bit of bushwhacking mixed with trail bits. Part way down, we had to cross a neat little snow patch on the corner of the lake.

The lake was so awesome, we took another long break before descending down to the valley bottom. 

The CDT monument visit #2.

We encountered pesky mosquitoes, flustered border patrol agents, and a few boost tourists at goat haunt looking at us in a peculiar fashion. Coyote stayed there that night while Karma, ED, Crosby and I went to visit the CDT northern terminus. It was an extra 6.2 miles, but it was worth it to see it again. We saw a boat there with scuba divers and we tried to scheme our way into a ride. It unfortunately didn’t pan out.

Crosby: How’s it going?

Boat dude: Great!

Karma: Find anything?

Boat dude: Some beer cans…

We walked back and all crammed into one campsite again at Waterton River. Coyote found us the next morning as she headed toward the monument and Canada. We headed off toward Brown Pass.

Right beforehand, however, we found the perfect spot. A glacial lake with a jumping rock hurting out with nothing underneath. We scanned around. We could see the bottom just fine with no ledges or oddly placed rocks. We saw two ways out back up the bank nearby. Jump!!!

Jump!

After quite a few jumps and brains seemingly turning into slushies, we hit the top of the pass in no time and took another side trip up to see Hole In The Wall. It was an extra two miles one way, but it too was worth it. The trail climbed at ghee pretext grade and we walked up to find a good spot to sit and admire the wall of waterfalls. We saw no one and could not count the number of waterfalls-there were too many to count.

On the way back down, we began seeing a few other people, two of which admired our umbrellas. We hit the campground by Bowman Lake, found a spot, and sat down to cook. We met some peyote from Boston and one from Mississippi who we later learned had hiked the AT, named Porch.

After an amazing star viewing night on the crystal clear lake, we trotted down toward Polebridge, Montana.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

**From September 2015**

Naturally, we stood on the side of the road sipping beers trying to hitch a ride at dark. When cars came by, we hid the beers behind our backs. In twenty minutes, two cars passed. Both had Texas plates. A work van passed. The work van turned around. We turn, chug the rest of the beer, and shove the cans in our pack side pockets.

Guys: No one else is going to pick you guys up. Can you squish?

Memphis: Yup!

We had a good ride down to Lake City where the guys dropped us off and we found Axel who had gotten about five miles ahead of us from Salida. We dropped our packs and immediately went for food and beer. Showers could wait. For us at least.

When we got back to the hostel, Alix was there to take money and show us the ropes. We met Lucky and chilled around an indoor picnic table somewhat thinking of the chore order for the next day. ED hadn’t been feeling well, so she was finally planning on going to a clinic.

The next day, while we were making a laundry plan, Crosby caught up and walked into the hostel. He looked like he wanted to stay the night, but we weren’t looking for a zero until ED came back with giardia meds looking miserable and curled up in a ball on her bunk. We zeroed. Axel left, planning to hike eight miles to a yurt.

The zero day became a lazy laundry, chatting, wandering around town day and catching up on phone calls to the other world. We asked Alix if she’d be willing to drive us up to the pass the next morning if we tossed her some gas money and she agreed. We got some San Juan’s updates from Jeff who had decided to slow to ten miles a day with a book to finish his flip in Chama. He was still laying in his bed giving us the beta for the next section at 10am.

The next morning, Alix drove us out of Lake City and we hit the trail anew, ready for the San Juan loop that we had anxiously been awaiting for pretty much the entire trail. Big thanks to Alix! She also has a really cool blog here.

Just past the yurt looking down into the valley.

We hiked over toward the yurt for a lunch break since it had a water source nearby and who doesn’t want to check out a yurt? Memphis beat us there and we eventually caught up and checked it out. It was the same one I’d stayed in on the Colorado Trail four years before.

The trail then climbs to the high point for the Colorado Trail at 13,000 and change. This also began the 40 mile or so section above 12,000ft entirely. Nothing but sweet, beautiful ridges with solidly built trail. We had the Colorado Trail for just a bit more before it split off toward Durango and we went toward Wolf Creek Pass.

The nicely signed Colorado Trail which we were about to leave.

We camped fairly high that night in a hidden spot that Memphis and Crosby found as the sun had just finished setting. At first with the low light, I thought instantly, “oh shit, a moose” until I heard the sound of someone blowing up a Thermarest. All of us had begun to notice the shorter daylight marked by decreases in mileage and colder temperatures. The weather report we saw gave us a six day window of awesomeness—exactly what we needed.

Good morning, Mr. Moose.

In the morning, we woke up to Memphis deflating his pad as usual and we had another glorious day. It was nice having Crosby along to mix up the conversations a bit during breaks. We wanted to stop frequently because each high point brought about a different view and usually none of us had tired of the previous view.

Continuing past the dirt road which would eventually lead to Silverton, Crosby reminded us that we could watch a lunar eclipse tonight. We knew we had to get higher for a better, unobstructed view. Part way up the climb my stomach forced me to sit and eat before dinner. I’d gotten to the point where I couldn’t ignore my stomach anymore. I impatiently ate a cliff bar and some chocolate to fuel me up the last climb of the night. ED, Crosby, and Memphis passed me while I ate.

The iPhone’s attempt at capturing the lunar eclipse.

They had found a good spot on a ridge around 12,600ft where we could see the moon and the stars. We set about cooking dinner and waiting for the eclipse. The temperature began dropping and we put on layers sequentially. Even with the full moon, we could see a brilliant amount of stars and no light pollution. We watched almost the full eclipse when a few clouds blocked the last bit.

At that point, we gave up on hiking more and laid down in a line to cowboy camp and watch the shooting stars on the other side. We listened to some tunes and tried to pick out the constellations we all knew. Memphis strategically placed himself out of punching range so he could snore uninterrupted.

That night was cold. So cold, in fact, that we woke up with the sunrise completely covered in thick frost.

Shaking off the frost and watching the sunrise.

Read Full Post »

My attempt to back-blog the CDT while trying to beat the snow through Colorado and then writing my Master’s thesis failed (obviously). Now that I’ve finished that and school (!!!) I’m finally trying to finish the story before the next one begins.

Yes, you heard. Or read. I’ll be hitting the Pacific Northwest Trail in the upcoming weeks and have begun preparing for that with some much needed gear updates and whittling down my “post-thesis to-do list.”

The most common conversation I’ve had since finishing my thesis with friends, family, and random people met along the way, has gone along the lines of this:

Someone: Now that you’re finished with grad school, what are you going to do?

Me: I just moved back into my car and I’m going to go hiking.

Someone: So, you have a job lined up for after your hike?

Me: No. I haven’t thought about what I want to do after hiking.

Someone: Where do you want to go to get a job?

Me: I just bought a van to live in when I’m not hiking. I’ll figure it out when I get there.

Someone: So…no job?

It’s really getting close to being as old as the “are-you-going-to-carry-a-gun-when-you-go-hiking?” conversation. (The answer to that is no, by the way.)

Until the next adventure begins, please enjoy and/or comment on the story continued from last fall where I left off in North/Central Colorado to the Mexican border.

The San Juan Mountains: coming up!

Read Full Post »