Outsideways was designed from the ground-up for people who want to remember the tiny details of their adventures
Day 4 - Midday Break. Check out this resting spot! That awesome campsite from last night? How was it you ask? Beauty aside, it was a terrible spot! Still were mice despite the firm wind tugging at my quilt and blowing icy breath into my headwrap all night. But think only if the stars and the lights of the distant city - how the desert below was like a bathtub filled with sand, with overturned pails of various sizes for mountains scattered about
My bags strap broke. Well, came undone, it had been broken for years, but my hack tie job recertified the scenario, both then and now.
A shout out to Kevin Boredman for Dj-ing my tunes. Yes, Jason, the new hop along album is good, get the playlist from Kevin.
My tune: Abc's of New York My podcast: an exploration of the commonality of religious ideas My favorite: this rest site
Well, I passed mile 300 and had a pretty tough night and next day. It was raining pretty hard in the morning when I started out from the Hemlock Hollow Hostel. Most of the hikers had decided to stick there because of bad weather on the way. It rained early in the morning but as the day wore on the rain let up and the wind dried my clothes. I as feeling pretty good despite the wind and went over Firescald Bald instead of taking the Bad Weather Bypass. That might not have been the wisest decision I have ever made! Between the rock scrambling and the howling winds on unprotected ridges—it was downright scary. The views were stunning though and I did take about two photos on the highest ridge. I was too terrified to linger very long. Luckily, I’m from NC and I definitely want to come back someday in safer weather.
All was going ok until I reached about mile 300 and the torrential downpours started up again. I got completely soaked again, so when I got to Jerry’s Cabin Shelter I threw up my TarpTent Notch in a hurry. Only expecting rain, I did not stake the tent out as much as I should have. Most of us were sleeping peacefully when we thought the rain stopped! LOL, but it had turned to quiet snow and I woke up with lots of condensation in my tent because there was two inches of icy snow weighing down the sides. Fortunately, I had dry clothes to change into but my sleeping gear and tent were soaked.
I got up without eating or filling water bottles and headed down the trail to warm up by hiking. That might be the fastest I have ever hiked! Most of you know I am a very slow hiker. My role model is John Muir who is quoted as suggesting that we “saunter!” But I flew that day and I am not kidding when I tell you that Laurel Hostel at mile 311 was a real lifesaver! Laurel Hostel is just 150 yards off the trail and a lot of us hikers filled the place up, shivering and wet, and grateful to be out of the snow. We got a ride into town to resupply at Walmart and we all ate Mexican food till we thought we would bust!
It was a tough night and day that ended well. The next night was spent in the Natures Inn Hostel where I waited for my son and his family to pick me up for a visit in Knoxville. It was so good to see family and especially my little granddaughter Anna who is now two. As I write this, I’m back at Natures Inn and will get back on the trail tomorrow. I’m eager to get back but today there was a high wind warning and I decided to be cautious.
I think I am still on track to make Trail Days in Damascus and I hope to meet a lot of new and old friends there. Until then, happy trails! Peace is green, Slosh
One of the conflict areas where I worked was Liberia-a country largely modeled after the USA. Rural areas suffer from a lack of clean water. As hikers we know how much work it is to collect our liter bottles of water—but imagine that you have to provide water for all uses for your extended family, elders, littles, the disabled and all. This arduous task usually falls to the women of the family. So I am supporting this project in Liberia. I know the groups involved and have met them personally in Liberia. Please read about the project for its interest when you have time. Donating is appreciated but not required. None of the funds go to my hike. Only to help the project get on its feet with an ultimate goal of self-suffficiency. GoFundMe.com/cleanwaterforliberia
Day 2. Mile 15 to Mile 31. After cowboy camping the very first night in a beautiful spot, I struck out late at 8am in search of water. Lake morena at mile 20 supplied me with water that "probably is worth filtering". The group I've been leapfrogging and a guy from Israel were there, the latter of which overheard someone speaking in a language he knew and in effect scored a few classic Israeli treats for us to share. I am still uncomfortable with the continuing passing of this group. I wish to hike alone, but be polite and open. A difficult balance to strike. This man finds it difficult to explain concisely what his desert soul trek is meant to be without sounding anti social. For now, let them all be content with my stock answer regarding topical questions about my robe: "It is a simple, silly reminder that our path is at once physical and spiritual." My first trail magic lead me down a .8 mile dirt road that could chew the tire of a rushing car like a great Dane and a new toy. Ain inter generational gathering of family was hosting hikers with beer and hot dogs. The other group arrived a few hours after me. Fate, it seems, wishes us together. I felt some hikers were rude by not masking the pretentiousness, but the family was relentlessly kind. Classism is no stranger to life nor trail.
Day 3: 31-45 Forgot my dang poles at campsite, ran back to get them. Forgot my dang poles at the creek where I aided another hiker who had a leak. Word was she was thinking of quiting yesterday, so I didn't feel bad losing my contractor bag in a bid to help her past these tough early days ago adjustment to trail life. I made piece with the awkwardness of the leapfrog group. A member had fallen behing, crying in a pine forest, an enchanting respite from the desert heat. She was taken by the beauty of the forest and memories of pine cones at home. I started to share my memories of my mother collecting pine cones in yosemite, but decided against it. I didn't want to jeopardize her moment of connection with the trail. But I carried one with me to facilitate the dredging of memories assumed forgotten. And gave water to the desert. I find myself skipping events, this is not so much a journal as a shared space for my meditations. But the sun sets over the most beautiful camp site I have ever seen, and I just write in my journal before sleep. The desert slips off into the horizon below this mountain I'm on. Alone at the top, the wind steady but firm, I wish you good night with my newly accepted trail name - "Pilgrim"
At 8am I began, by 5pm I arrived at the lovely solo camp spot at mile 16. Not the pace I wanted but gotta go easy on first few days!
The forecast states there's a 100% chance I get very used to devouring peanut mms.
This site is stunning though, just laying down watching the sun filter through the bushes that the light, consistent breeze is forcing to dance slowly. Creates a hazy, Smokey yellow oldtimey filter over the space between these two mountains.
This still doesn't feel all that big of a deal, so for now, I'm just focusing on having a relaxing first few days. Approx 15-18 miles each day is the expectation before bumping to 20 or so.
The good: trail is beautiful, California sunsets The bad: I'm not fricken leg ripped yet The ugly: passed the same group of three over a dozen times. This one's brutal, folks
I am not a super confident swimmer, and I hate cold water. Good thing that Thailand snorkeling is WARM and the choral and fish are so beautiful! We don't dive, but one of Thailand's best dive site is not too far from here. Snorkeling in Thailand has always been easy - just reserve from wherever you're staying, and a long tail boat shows up with a local driver to take you out to the spots. I found that here around the Surin islands it wasn't crowded at all, probably because the Thai New Year holiday has just passed, and we're entering the hottest part of the hot season.