I have to admit, I got very lazy with blog writing this winter. And by lazy, I mean my blog became pretty much obsolete. To my dear readers who care about what I’m up to, I apologize for not maintaining. BUT! I’m getting ready to start another thru-hike! That means that I will be posting lots of updates again! Here’s whats coming up: In just a little over one week, I will be flying to Arizona to begin a thru-hike of the Arizona Trail – an 800 mile National Scenic Trail from the Mexico Border up to the border of Utah. Immediately following this glorious walk, I will head down to Southern California, to the Mexican Border once again, to venture out on a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. Woohoo! I couldn’t be more thrilled about my upcoming adventures. However, before I go into detail about what’s to come, I would like to take some time to update everyone on what’s already come and gone. After all, the last blog post I published was about my last day on the Colorado Trail, last year, in the fall of 2014. A lot has happened since the last day of the Colorado Trail, on August 9th. I don’t know that I’ll be able to give you a proper update, but I will at least do my best to share with you the important stuff, the big stuff, and the awesome stuff. Here goes:
When we got off the trail in Durango, Colorado, Squat, Bibbs and myself ended up heading back to Silverton to hang out with a few hooligans whom we had met just a few days prior when passing through Silverton the first time. We anticipated staying only a day or two then finding our way back to Denver, but Ian invited us to stay and play for 6 days, and we couldn’t turn down the offer. That next week was a whole giant load of shits and giggles, ranging from climbing, to biking, to getting high and hot-springing, to flashing and mooning the tourist trains, to driving the adventure-mobile (Randall’s trailer/truck/home) up into the mountains for lots of random explorations, to drinking a lot, maybe too much, at the brewery and rum bar. After a week of more laughs and crazy times than I maybe have ever had in such a short period of time, we all drove up to Denver together and said goodbye to the crew.
For those who followed my blog last year, you may recall that Simone and I had to skip a 36(ish) mile section of the trail close to the beginning, due to major foot problems for Simone. I wasn’t about to leave Colorado without fully completing the CT, so we drove back to Kenosha Pass to do one more overnight trip in Colorado, thus finally, OFFICIALLY completing our thru-hike of The Colorado Trail. It felt nice to get that out of the way- it had been somewhat hanging over my head the whole time we were adventuring in Silverton, and I am NOT one to skip a section and then claim that I hiked the whole thing. After our official completion, It was finally time to say goodbye to Colorado. Over the next several days we drove across the states of Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California, and then back up to Oregon, stopping in Moab for a day of hiking in Arches, and then Reno for two days to visit a good friend of ours. When we arrived back in Oregon, it had been 7 full weeks away from home, and one wild, crazy ride. My adventuring was not over yet, however.
My mom and I had a pre-planned trip around Mt. Rainier which turned out to not sound so appealing- the weather was supposed to be in the 40’s and 50’s with rain most days and a few chances of snow. We decided to go find the sun. In just two days I checked out the permit system and the water reports of the Tahoe Rim Trail, and 3 days after leaving Reno, I was driving back down to Reno with my mum. The Tahoe Rim Trail was flippin’ awesome. I LOVED that trail. The weather was perfect the entire 11 days- 70-80 degrees and totally sunny. There were some dry stretches, but only bad enough to make me carry 4L of water. Totally do-able. My mom is not a super-turbo hiker, but she is a total bad-ass hiker for her size and age. I couldn’t have been more proud of her for the mileages we walked- mostly 15-18 mile days! Go mom! I was also excited because we happened to be on the trail to witness the first annual Tahoe Rim 200 trail race, which was a 4 day endurance running race. Runners were passing us around mile 120, so we got to see them when they were totally delirious and past the point of exhaustion. After we finished our trek I went back to run a 19 mile section of the trail, which happened to be the very last section of the endurance race, so I ALSO got to run along side several racers who were about to finish traveling 200 miles in less than 4 days, on foot!!! It gave me a massive amount of excitement and craving to do something like that. Yes, one day I am going to run an ultra. Yes, one day I am going to attempt the Tahoe Rim 200. I was so refreshed and happy after this trip in the sun, not having to worry about thunder storms or when I might have to wake up or go to bed wet and cold.
I had been in contact with my buddy Ian from Silverton, and after figuring out a plane ticket would only cost me about $100, I said “fuck it” and decided to fly back down to Southern Colorado for another week of craziness with my Silverton people. We spent that week repeating some of the same adventures as before- biking, drinking, slack-lining, hiking, and adventuring into the mountains. Per my request, we summited one of my favorite 14ers in all of Colorado, Mt. Sneffels, which was a suuuuper fun climb with almost 6,000ft. of elevation gain and some really awesome scrambling up to the summit pinnacle. Looking back, this week-long trip holds a very dear place in my heart and I am so extremely happy that I decided to take this trip for reasons that I didn’t know at the time. Everything happens for a reason, I truly believe. Lucky for me I got to spend some quality time hiking, drinking and laughing with my buddy Wes, who later on in the winter was involved in a tragic snowboarding accident. This trip was the last time I would see Wes’s goofy grin. Love you my dude.
Over the course of these last few weeks which I have just wrote about, I spent much of my time thinking about all my options for the upcoming winter, and trying to decide where I might move. I had options- I could move back to Durango, a town that I really fell in love with instantly, I could move to Lake Tahoe and room with a friend of mine from High School, or I could move to Northeastern Washington to house sit with my cousin for the winter in the Northern Cascades. Lucky for me, all were great options, and no matter what I chose I knew I would be happy. In the mean time I did some day hikes and summited a few more mountains- Mt. Adams, the Middle Sister and the North Sister. My sister flew out to visit from Massachusetts and I spent a week with her wine tasting, brew-touring, shopping, and hanging out on the back patio in the sunshine (a much different but very enjoyable type of vacation). I slowly made my decision of where I would occupy for the winter. It was a tough one to make, but once my decision was final and I had a job and living arrangement set in stone, I felt totally at peace. And, of course, looking back I have not a single regret.
(Update Part Two coming your way soon!!!)