A Tough Day on Trail

Miles 193-213 brutalized us.

The day before, we traversed snow chutes off of Mt San Jacinto where the trail was otherwise impassable, and hauled our weary bodies to a small campsite near a creek at mile 193.

The next morning we got up at 4:30 am, ready for a 4500′ descent into the desert basin. By 8am, the temperature was already approaching 90 degrees, and there was no shade or water until a small spigot at the base of the descent, 13 miles from our starting point: the only guaranteed water source for another 16 miles.

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150 Homes, Part 2

Mile 77.32 to 151.8


We’re now two weeks into our hike, and every day brings new refinements of gear and new ways to make our time more efficient. Our daily mileage has grown from five to ten to eighteen, helped in part by a shift to desert timing: get up before 5am, hike ten miles before the sun gets too hot, take a long siesta and then hike into the evening.

This has meant that we’re rolling into camp later. Betty gets the dinner going while I set up the tent and blow up our mats, then we have a little time to eat, watch the sunset and chat with other hikers before bedtime, usually 8 to 9 pm. This changes when things get windy, since the tent would fly away if both of us weren’t working together to stake it down.

This week has indeed been characterized by high ridge camp spots with exciting wind to match, but so far the tent has held up well. We also enjoyed a wonderful rest day in Idyllwild with some new hiking buddies.

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Goon on Pilgrimages

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licóur
Of which vertú engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye,
So priketh hem Natúre in hir corages,
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages
Geoffery Chaucer, Canterbury Tales

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150 Homes, Part 1

Mile 0 to 77.32, April 16th to 23rd

And we’re off! The first week of hiking has surpassed our expectations as we progressed through varied and beautiful habitats, from lush fields and pine forests through to the desert proper.

However, I would like to avoid the pitfall of only writing about the big picture: the huge scenery shots and massive miles traveled. My favourite part of other people’s journals is the home-making minutiae: what does your sleeping spot look like? What did you eat for dinner last night? What was the view from your tent door? This makes the story feel much more real for me.

That’s the purpose of this series, 150 Homes, which I’ll try to update once per week. Each day I’ll take a pic of our camp and describe our surroundings, sometimes focusing on the tiny details of long-distance living that might ordinarily be skipped in favour of the next huge vista. Please let me know if there’s anything you’re curious about and I’ll include it in a future post!

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The Precipice

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With nine days before we hit the trail, I feel like I’m leaning out over the edge of a precipice, held back by ties to our apartment,  a dozen little administrative tasks we have to attend to- and as I cut through each of those ties, I’m closer to an exhilarating free-fall into the unknown. SLICE as a project at work wraps up. SLICE as we’ve set up mail forwarding and canceled our utilities. SLICE and the movers are booked for next week, and we’ve got a whole apartment full of stuff to pack. Continue reading