Tuesday, April 24, 2012

She Jumps

So tomorrow embarks our big journey to start the Pacific Crest Trail. It hit me when I was walking down to my house in the dark looking up at Mars in the night sky. I realized that I would be spending 99% of my evenings for the next five months under the vast darkness above. Man am I psyched!
We are headed down to Campo, California tomorrow to start at the southern terminal of the PCT. Ryan, my boyfriend, is driving Lena, my hiking partner, friend and motivator from Oregon down to the boarder of Mexico in preparation for our journey north to Canada. It's hard to grasp the span of 2,663 miles... and I don't think anyone can until they've finished. With this in mind, I have wrapped my head around and mentally prepared for the first leg,to Big Bear after two weeks and 256 miles on trail. Little victories along the way will be one form of motivation.

This weekend Lena and I will be attending the annual ADZPCTKO which is a whole lot of weird letters mixed together, but to a PCT thru-hiker, this represents the PCT Kick Off annually held each year. Pretty much the event is hosted to bring some of the most amazing, daring individuals that have either completed the PCT, are about to, or have some sort of association with the trail (whether they help out with maintenance, provide water along the way, host hikers or are just interested) together for a big celebration of the new thru-hiking season. I am excited to attend this event and meet past and present hikers.

My bags are packed, I'm ready to go. I'm standing here outside my door. I can't wait to hike the PCT... I think that's what John Denver wrote. Either way, Lena and I spent all day collecting the rest of our gear, sorting food, and crammed it all into our packs. I made a pack cover for the rain out of a trash bag also because the weather for tomorrow might require such equipment, even for southern California. I haven't weighed my bags but I am guessing my pack, with food and water, weighs about 30-35 pounds. Not ultra-light but light enough to handle and appreciate all of it's contents for their simplicity and practicality.

I am one lucky individual to have to opportunity to spend the next few months outside and only outside. So many people now a days do not have or take the time to explore in nature. Organizations like SheJumps, a non-profit organization that increase and inspire female participation in outdoor activities, help promote awareness of the importance of mental and physical health in any community. "SheJumps creates a community of ambitious and compassionate women that are willing to take the 'jump' to reach their potential and help others reach their own." While Lena and I hike 2,663 miles, we would love to achieve a goal of raising one dollar for every mile, or 2,663 dollars in total on our trek. Please take the time to consider donating a few dollars to help our cause and help women test their abilities and find confidence in themselves through finding a love for the outdoors.

Donate here at : http://apps.facebook.com/fundrazr/activity/0910ea5951744d5bb760fc0174493141

Keep following and pictures on trail will be soon to come! Much love for all of you. The trail beckons!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Utah Adventures

Spring break is a holiday that many cherish to take some time to rewind, relax, and reflect on life. This spring break unlike those in college and this past year at HT marks the end of my employment. Yes, that’s right, I am currently unemployed and so proud of it! This means that I am that much closer to starting the PCT. April 26th cannot come any sooner… although I still have some things to purchase and my food drops to send out so it can wait the three weeks. This spring break I really wanted to spend my time venturing in Utah. I absolutely love this state for its vast open land, tall rock and some untouched spires, and the color. Utah is such a unique state unlike anything I had ever seen before out east where I grew up. I went to Zion National Park for the first time in the fall of 2010 and fell in love. So for this break, Red Rocks, Zion, Bryce and an unexpected trip to the Mojave sand dunes filled the last 9 days along with the wonderful company of four of my friends Eben, Carolyn, Adam, Jack and my boyfriend Ryan.

After climbing at Red Rocks outside of Las Vegas, four of us ventured off to St. George, which for some reason Eben and I really enjoy this town just on the boarder of Utah and Arizona and Nevada, to find a place to camp for the night. The next day we traveled into Zion in which I was really excited to show Ryan to. He had never been there before and this is by far my favorite national park I’ve seen in the United States. From towering sandstone rock walls, to desert flora, exposed hikes, and committing canyoneering routes, this park excites me in so many ways. I have yet to climb some of the big walls in Zion but once I learn how to aid climb you will definitely see me suspended up there.

We spent three days in Zion hiking Observation Point, Angels Landing, and the Subway. The four of us met up with two of our friends Adam and Jack, which of course are the most entertaining duo you can find at High Trails. From performing camp skits, serenading random strangers and heckling animals, we filled our memories with constant laughter.

The last two days of our trip after visiting Bryce Canyon and Zion were spent at the Kelso sand dunes in the Mojave National Preserve. I would recommend checking this preserve out to anyone traveling to southern California or the Las Vegas area. Ryan and I walked out onto the 700 foot sand dunes by full moon light and were amazed by the size and unexpectedly the sound the dunes made. When the sand would slide down the side of the dune, it would make a low humming sound like a jet flying above. I had never heard anything like this before but would encourage anyone to explore this rarity themselves.

I absolutely love traveling and my past job allowed for many explorations throughout Utah, Nevada, California, Arizona and Mexico. I’ve been blessed to see places like Zion, Arches, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon, although I feel more blessed from sharing these experiences with such a variety of beautiful people in my life. Great experiences and memories really develop from whom you are with rather than where you are.