Days 102-108 (Mi. 1541.7 to 1716.2)

Bahbyyeeeee California. 👋👋👋👋👋

Day 102: Mi. 1541.7 to Mi. 1571.3

Last night I had a little mouse crawl around my sleeping bag. I love friends, but he wasn't invited to the party. Also, it rained last night for just a sec. Didn't rest too well. But it's aight.

Man, o man. What a fun day! Though we just did 29.6, the sentiment of a 30 was definitely there. Definitely the most about of miles I've done in 48 hours (63.3). Oh!! And the combination of altitude + lingering thunderstorms brought in a nice cool front. We were spritzed on for a bit in the afternoon, and overall never faced tough heat today! Booyeah!!

Again, just grateful for this little trail family I've joined. It makes a great difference. Right now we (Unger, Wasabi, Lady, Olaf, Karaoke, and myself) are all cowboy camping on an exposed ridge. Wasabi just made us all falafels and we're dreaming of what the next few hundred miles will include. Happy happy. Listening update: today I binge-listened to My Favorite Murder. Ohhhhhh myyyy gosh. So good. Shelbi, I believe you recommended this podcast to me. Thank you. Day 103: Mi. 1571.3 to Etna (Mi. 1597.2)

Today just rocked. 26 miles of rolling hills through super cloudy (and later stormy) weather with the best crew around. I'm a lucky guy!! Here are some highlights from the day:

These hills

This DOPE lunch spot. Lots of laughs on this ridge. Meat chicken forever. 

These flowers.

This lake we swam in.

This storm we were caught in.

[wpvideo WokVXt2D]

Unger's friend, Al. In short, Al is just an all around bad A older man who loves the Lord and wants to host and love on others. He graciously picked all seven (Bamboo caught us later) us up at the trailhead at Etna Summit and took us home. He cooked us meals, allowed us to sleep, watch movies, and do laundry. Seriously. What a dream. Thanks for EVERYTHING, Al. You're a rockstar. 

Day 104: Etna (Mi. 1597.2) to Mi. 1607.9

Chill day!!!! U

^ I fell asleep while writing that last night. Long story short- we woke up, ate a WONDERFUL breakfast from Al, drove to Walmart (shoutout to Arkansas !) for resupply, gorged on food, and headed back to the trailhead for a simple 10-15 miles to camp.

During the hike we officially hit 1600 miles (whaaaaaat), so that's fun!! I can't believe we'll soon be less than 1000 miles to Canada. Is this hike ending that soon? Someone throw on the brakes.

Anyway, another happy day on trail. Still can't believe this is my life. Hike all day with a bunch of badass lovely people in some of the most incredible Creation I've ever laid eyes on. I will never forget this feeling.  Day 105: Mi. 1607.9 to Mi. 1639.2

Woa. Today I was introduced to the magic of cold soaking meals instead of cooking them and my mind is BLOWN. Right now I'm celebrating a 31.7 mile day with hot mashed potatoes and cold soaked cuscus (100% guess on that spelling. That's the beauty of no google to spellcheck.... completely vulnerability). Life is goooooood.

Lots of ups and downs today physically, but pretty much all 👍👍👍 mentally. I listened to some rad podcasts (seriously, the Liturgists is SO good. Dang.) and dreamed about post-trail career. I know this isn't really Trail related, but I need to type out some thoughts. -98% sure I want to move to NYC

-I love the outdoor scene, want to be in the industry long-term, but not sure I want to jump in it quiiiiite yet.

-I love graphic design, marketing, copywriting, and photography

-passionate about the environment, food sustainability, and how to reduce our footprint on our fancy little Earth

-love art therapy and the healing it can bring

-Grad school ?????

If you can find a job that includes all of the above, I will give you a high five. I'm not stressing about it, but mainly curious how to find that dream job. My position at May Designs was that "dream job," so I'm excited to try and find that again.  

I should probs get back to my cuscus. Thanks for reading (and being patient with) this dang thing. Thoughts are v scattered. Day 106: Mi. 1639.2 to Seiad Valley to Mi. 1665.2

Today was our last full day in California!!! We're also less than 1000 miles until Canada. So much to celebrate!!

^ once again, I fell asleep writing this last night. Going to try and do a quick wrap up of yesterday before jumping into day 107.

Hike hike hike down into Seiad Valley! A lot of the morning was hiking down dirt + paved roads through town. Nobody enjoys road walking, buuuuuut this one wasn't too bad. There were blackberry bushes THE entire way!! So enjoyable!!!! Also, we walked by a guy's house who owned the largest pig I've ever seen in my life. Her name is Molly. 😮

Crossing through Seiad was fun! The heat was juuuust starting up (we arrived right around 11:20a), so the break at the General Store & Cafe was beautiful and very needed. We all scarfed down our burgers and milkshakes in record timing. So, so good. Cheers to the last town in California. (Oh- and everyone in Seiad is in support of the State of Jefferson, so just about residence or business had a mural or flag or emblem with the State. So strange).

I picked up a package my friend Emilee had sent to me and HOLY SNACKS. I've never seen this many snacks in one box. And they were all so, so good. Think beef jerky, all the chocolate covered things, trail mixes, candies, etc. I feel bad for the employees of the Plano Target, because they must be seriously running low on snacks after a Emilee's visit. THANKS EMILY.

The climb out of Seiad is infamous. It's 5k+ feet of elevation gain in just a few miles, making it one of the steepest parts of the trail. Because we hit town just before lunch, our departure time was in the blistering, muggy afternoon heat. I planned to head out around 1pm, but it got pushed back to just after 3. Oops!

The climb was hands-down one of my least favorite parts of trail. I have nevvvvver sweat this much- not even at a Pine Cove dance or opening day (no, really). I blame it on the 748292 lbs of snacks on my back. (Just kidding, Em!! So worth it!!!)

After a few hours, the climb was complete and our gang had nestled into camp. It was a sobering feeling knowing it was my last night in California. What an incredible journey and challenge this state has been. So much love.

Also, Olaf made me a wonderful dessert taco to celebrate our climb. Thanks, girl. 

Day 107: Mi. 1665.2 to OREGON (Mi. 1693.6)

Today's post is dedicated to OREGON!!!! Goodness gracious, what a dream it was to cross the border into a new state. I've officially hiked the entirety of California- all 1689.2 miles of it.

In classic California fashion, the state just showed off in my last moments with it. Here are a few highlights from today:

  And then we crossed the border!! Onto new domain, no sales tax, and lots of forest fires!!

[wpvideo 2oIykm10] Happy day. Thankful for hardships and milestones and wonderful hiking pals. Day 108: Mi. 1693.6 to Ashland (Mi. 1716.2)

I love the final stretch into town. It's easy to feel untouchable, flying by the few day hikers and knowing "I get to eat whatever I want in just a few hours."

As much as I rag on towns, I really do love this feeling. It's like the PCT is built of a hundred little marathons. (No really, it kind of is).

I love Oregon. I mean, the terrain hasn't changed at all. But just the feeling of having the entirety of California in the rear-view is overwhelming. Both Oregon and Washington are experiencing crazy wildfires on the PCT... so things are about to get tricky... but OH WELL. That's the trail. 

In town, I was able to grab dinner with the amazing Eliza Hunter!! Eliza and I juuuuusst missed each other at SCAD, the university I went for my freshman year. However, our friend group was the exact same... so we've both heard each other's names for 5 years now.

Eliza is in the middle of a solo roadtrip spanning the entire United States, from Georgia, through the south, and up the Pacific Coast. She's currently in route to Portland, Seattle, Canada, the Tetons, RMNP, Chicago, and back around east. So so so so so cool.

Being able to talk faith, solitude, and the gift of discomfort was wonderful. Sure, our journeys look a little different, but there are some core themes that are easily shared between the two. Thank you, Eliza, for treating this hungry hiker to dinner and a warm conversation. Full in so many ways!

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Cheers until the next update!! It will probably be in 2 weeks when I'm in Portland. Can't believe I'll hike all of OR in just over 2 weeks. So nuts. 

As always, thanks for the incredible encouragement these few weeks. I'm just blown away. 🙂🙂🙂