Friday, November 6, 2015

Poppin' Out Videos

My wife says I need to get a job, I think I need to make more videos!!!!!


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Let the Videos Begin

I know, I haven't even uploaded any photos into the posts that are already up. I'll get to it sometime soon. In the meantime please enjoy a totally self involved project "Something Like a Selfie a Day". If anyone out there enjoys my face as much as I do then it should be pretty entertaining.

Is there more to come? YES!

New Mexico
Awesome nature shots
...that's all I got.

So, enjoy the video.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Still Can't Feel My Big Toes

It's almost been a month since I finished and I still can't feel the outside of my big toes.  I'm not sure when I'll get that feeling back either.  All of my other ailments have heeled and I'm back out there running and cycling.  In what little free time I have these days I'm going to bag some of the peaks around Lake Tahoe to try to maintain this awesome level of fitness. I climbed Mt. Rose recently and it was somewhat of a joke, previously it had been somewhat of a challenge.

Lake Tahoe from Mt. Rose

Want to hear something exciting? I finally got my own domain name!!!!


Is all mine, how cool is that. You can also follow PAVETHETRAIL on Instagram.  I will be uploading a couple photos each day from the hike chronologically.

I'm going to make a few changes around here to keep this blog relevant.  I'll be adding quite a few gear reviews since that's really the only thing I can do anymore.  The CDT blog will still be up but it will have its own page in the near future.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

September 27th - Haven't Showered for 3 Days

September 27th - 2015

Phew, what a crazy couple of weeks.  I've done everything on my list of things to do when I returned to civilization and am slowly working my way back to "normal". Well almost everything, the lottery is still giving me a hard time about winning the super mega jackpot.

I made it to Seattle and spent a couple days there getting reeducated on bar tabs.  I spent some time with my sister, good buddy Chas and some of their friends. My sister, Courtney, spent some time as a bartender so we bar hopped like it was going out of style.  During the days I wandered around downtown Seattle like a homeless bloke and even took a Duck tour like a good tourist. By the last day I was ready to get home to Reno. I also brought the end of summer and beginning of the rainy season with me to Seattle.


Katie met me at the airport and drove me back to our house.  Boy is it good to be home but I'm still getting used to sleeping on a bed and taking daily (sometimes more) showers. Unfortunately she had to work the next day so I headed over to Zephyr Cover on Lake Tahoe to say hi to a couple buddies playing in the Nevada State Championships Disc Golf Tournament.  I got there during lunch and it was great, I am extremely grateful to have such a wonderful group of friends. There were hugs and high fives everywhere I turned. I did some caddying and headed home to meet Katie after work.

Since then I've spent a couple days playing disc golf and diligently worked on my honey do project list around the house.  My leg is still a little off so I've gone for a couple road bike rides to try and maintain my trim and sexy body. Guess what, it's working.  Some days I'm hit or miss with the eating normal human amounts but I'm failing miserably with my beer consumption. I've been told multiple times to stop drinking so much beer, my response "but I don't have to carry it, why can't I drink as much as I want". I seem to be losing that battle.

This weekend we did something a little odd and went camping, it was amazing.  There was a car ride to get there, a cooler full of food and drinks and a leaky air mattress to remind me of the trail. I cooked all of the food I couldn't hike out with on the trail and partied like it was 1999. All I can say is that car camping is totally the way to go.  I spent a little time walking around the place checking out the RVs....

Things have been pretty good and I feel blessed to have accomplished something so amazing in my life.  I spent a little time today checking up on my friends still hiking.  Most are finished and there are a couple still out there. The weather looks like it's holding off and I wish all of them the best of luck.  Hopefully over the years I'll have the opportunity to see some of these guys and relive our great adventure.

This will probably be my last blog post for a while.  I'm not sure what else to write about.  Sure, I could tell you what I did here and there but would you really be that interested? It would be epic stories of disc golf adventures and such.  I'm going to make reviews for all of my gear and add photos to all of the blog posts over the next couple of days. If you have made it this far on this post and have any questions about the hike feel free to hit me up.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

September 15 - Crusin On The Train

September 15th 2015

I don't really remember my last post, I think it was the night before I hit the border. I wanted to use a computer to write my last blog but I don't think I'll have one for another couple days. I'm riding the Amtrak from East Glacier to Seattle. A day early but the train was running 4 hours late because it hit a car parked on the tracks, who does that. Right now I'm looking out the window at the western Cascades and already wishing I was out there hiking. I think the the Pacific Northwest Trail is calling my name.

When you set out to do something epic you become immersed in the journey and adventure. As it progresses you realize that you just want it to end so everything can return to "normal". Over the last couple of weeks my fellow thru hikers and I would daydream and share our thoughts about beds and the comforts of civilized life with each other. It's funny that all we could think of was returning to our busy lives and cities as we walked though some of the most beautiful wilderness our country has to offer. It was bittersweet to say the least, it's beyond me how some hikers can stay out here for 6 or 7 months.

Back to my final day on the Continental Divide Trail.

I woke up a little late to cold and cloudy skies, overnight a front moved in and all of the mountains were covered it clouds. During the night I woke up a few times to see the endless stars silhouetted by the mountains on the other side of Waterton Lake.  It was like an upside down sea of clouds with mountains and a beautiful lake peaking out of the bottom. Still sore as hell I limped the 4 miles to the border, it was painful but my spirits were high. I'm not sure what I was feeling but I knew I would make it to that monument. Around 9:05 I spotted the border clear cut line and shortly after my dad standing there with his iPhone out filming, vertically for anyone that cares about things like that. I strolled up and gave him a high five and a hug. Awkwardly he kept filming as I embraced the moment. It was amazing and surreal, kind of like climbing to the top of a tough mountain, I don't think I realized where I was. A nice lady came down and offered us fresh trout and took some photos for us. I made a fool out of myself and took a bunch of well thought out photos. There was even Champagne, cheese and crackers! You know they speak French in Alberta Canada. After the celebrations were complete we hiked to the town of Waterton, Alberta to meet up with Vine. The hike was full of merry talk and epic stories. The rest of the day was spent celebrating and storytelling.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

September 12th - Waterton Lake!!!!!!!!!!

September 12th 2015

Wow, the day has finally come. I'm only 4 miles from the end of one hell of an adventure. Homer was thinking pretty big when he wrote the Odyssey but this is even BIGGER. I took a few moments throughout the day to reflect on the trip and more importantly the end of this trip. I really doubt it will all kick in at the border but when it does I hope I'm ready. I'm a little sad I don't get to share this moment with a bunch of my thru hiking friends I've made over the last couple months. That's okay though, I'm very excited to share the moment with my dad tomorrow morning, that's going to be very special. I have a list of things to do and pictures to take, it's a once in a lifetime situation and I don't want to forget anything.

Today was probably the last 30 mile day I'll ever do. It's a blessing that I'll never have to do another one but it's also kind of depressing knowing I might never be able to do another one. Either way, today wrecked me. The last few miles had me limping something fierce, injuries are totally overrated. Oh well it's over now! If I'm not better in a couple days I'll do the responsible thing and see a doctor.

Like everyday in Glacier National Park, the views and sights were spectacular. I met a few people along the trail and am staying in this odd shelter thing. It's a cube with 4 sleeping areas facing 4 directions and cement floors. Odd, but at least I don't have to set up my tent. There are a couple groups of friends here hiking together on their annual hiking trips. One group is from Orlando and that's pretty sweet, we talked about my home town for a little while and they congratulated me on the conclusion of my hike

Woot woot, 4 more miles! (plus 4 to Waterton Lakes but who is counting)

Friday, September 11, 2015

September 11th - You Know The Day

September 11th 2015

Another day in the books. I'm that much closer to the border and the end. I hiked with Banana Pants and #2 today after camping with them last night. Well not with them, but in the same "camp ground", they were close but my "campsite" was a ways from them. The morning was a nice climbing up to the triple divide, three mountain ranges converging. From there the views and sunrise reflecting off of hte rocks had me snapping pictures like a tourist. The rest of the day was down hill through long burned out forests. After lunch my new ailments kicked in and it was limp city. I got to St. Mary's around 3 in the afternoon, had a hitchhike and 15 miles to go. Wisdom or laziness kicked in and I decided to skip up to Many Glacier to my permitted campsite for the evening. Cheating yes, giving two hoots, no. Banana Pants and #2 tried to get me to stay and extend my trip by a day but the free employee shuttle won. Unfortunately Xantara Resorts sucks big one and the shuttle never showed. The lady from the resort said the driver was sick, I told her she was full of crap. So around 6 pm it was time to hitch. After a while I got a ride with some guys that ran a bar in Babb and they took me to Babb. I hung out in the bar as they opened it and they said I could sleep out back if I wanted to stay for the party and live band. I would have never survived so I left to go hitch. A little while later I got a ride to Many Glacier, a couple from Chicago picked up a lady in St. Mary's that was hitchhiking to the same campground, actually campsite, as me.  She kindly convinced them to pick me up as well. During the ride I found out she's a lobbyist for Best Friends animal rescue.  She and my wife seem to know some of the same people, small world... We also saw a couple bears along the road, more freaking bears.

Almost there. Question of the day, how much ibuprofen can one person take in a day? I'll tell you tomorrow.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

September 10th - So High, So Low

September 10th 2015

Motivated by an all you can eat breakfast, I woke up every hour last night in anticipation. The best comparison would be trying to sleep the night before Christmas or going to Disney. Up and out of the hostel by 7 I was down the street and at the lodge as soon as they opened. Israeli Tom joined me shortly after. It was some seriously tasty stuff and I ate my fair share. Plate after plate of eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries all topped with sausage gravy.  There were also a couple plates of pancakes and french toast.  The couple of weeks after I finish are going to be tough, I don't know how to stop eating anymore.

After breakfast I was on the trail and hiking my way to Two Medicine to get my permits for the back country. On the way I saw 4 black bears and 2 grizzlies. Welcome to Glacier National Park, I thought. The views today were stunning, everywhere I looked was another massive mountain with sheer cliffs covered in snow from the recent storm. Well, more like spotted in snow, it's been melting quickly. I can't imagine never coming back to this place, it's so beautiful and needs to be scheduled into my future life.

The low you might ask, it sounds like your day was amazing... Being a thru hiker I've become pretty tolerant of pain, it's a constant out here. The days that you don't have a little pain of some sort are like albinos, pretty rare and interesting to look at. As I mentioned before I have a little problem with my shin. I'm used to shin splits having had them before and I've always been able to run or walk and they've never cramped my style. This is something else straight from the depths of hiker hell, every step is like banging your shin on some low coffee table. I developed some weird flat footed limp causing the top of my foot to also scream at me. It's a recurring problem and I'm told it's a minorish sprain. I'm not really sure how I'm going to get through tomorrow and pull a 33 mile day out of my injured ass. As it is, I'm kinda stuck in the middle of no where at the moment, I'll have to hike at least 15 miles to get to a road. The following day I will be getting to the border after another 33 mile day, I will crawl if I need to.

So cool, glad I could end this epic adventure on a high note. There is also some red eyed demon mink thing harassing my campsite. That will keep things terrifying throughout the night.

Goodnight world.

Monday, September 7, 2015

September 7th - Winter Is Here

September 7th 2015

There was no warning,  no change in color of the leaves and no mercy. Sam, Picker, G, Funk, Delightful and myself took a zero day in Lincoln MT because the general mood of the weather was cold and wet.  We knew there was snow up here because we could see it! While in town other hikers used Facebook to share their struggles with the snow around the great state of Montana.  Hundreds of miles north and south hikers were complaining about the snow and why it couldn't have held off for a couple weeks.

Sam, Picker and I hit the trail around noon.  Our awesome hotel host offered to give us a ride to the pass, thank you! It was cold and windy, a trend that continued throughout the glorious day. There was a small chance of storms and around 6pm I saw them coming across the snow covered peaks that surrounded us. The temp dropped to freezing and the howling winds kicked it into high gear. I stopped and layered up, expecting the worst. I was lucky and the storms passed by south of me. It would have been beyond miserable if they reached me. In my best Gor-tex gear, which I have none of, I would have been cooold.

The views and hiking today were pretty sweet, I even got to walk through a couple miles of snow. Hopefully I'll live through the night as this wilderness is the most densely populated grizzly bear area in the country.

Yum,  hiker with his food in the tent. Crunchy snack.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

September 5th - Snow

September 5th 2015

As we expected, it rained all night long. Band after band of showers rolled throughout the mountains and kept things interesting. By some sort of miracle I was up at 5:55 and cooking coffee. A little while later and the day was in full swing. The clouds and rain bands moved around the divide keeping us soaking wet all day. The rain would turn to hail and eventually snow, although it wasn't sticking to the ground. Because it was cold and I was soaking wet there was no stopping. I ate and walked without breaks until I got to Rogers pass at 3 pm. The three of us stood there trying to hitch as the storm of the century quickly moved upon us. Within minutes we were in a whiteout of hail blown by jet stream force winds. As luck would have it we got a ride, a very cramped ride, with a nice family. During the couple minutes it took us to cram in there was an inch of hail on the floor of the car.

Lincoln is a cool town and everyone is pretty nice. There are a lot of locals that keep telling us how bad the grizzly and mountain lion populations are. It's very interesting, they seem to think we're all going to be killed by bears. The lady at the Blue Sky Motel was even kind enough to mail a package for me on Tuesday since everything is closed for labor day weekend. Overnight, the rain persisted and this morning all of the mountains were covered in snow. It was a unanimous decision to take a zero and stay another day. Woot woot! Unfortunately, the snow is still there and will be tomorrow when we hike out.

Friday, September 4, 2015

September 4th - Rain, Ice Cold Rain

September 4th 2015

The title sums it up, do I really have to write this blog?

It rained last night and continued to rain today on and off. I hiked with Picker and Sam all day and am currently camped, in the rain, with them. We hiked through clouds and the temperatures slowly dropped. At a couple points throughout the day I was genuinely miserable. Luckily it stopped raining for a couple hours and I dried out a little. I managed to stay pretty dry the night before and during the day, so I'm only half wet right now. The sun never showed its face so my tent stayed wet. Here's to a snowless night and easy hiking into town tomorrow. Thunderstorms are forecasted, who knows what that really means.

A little pointless rambling about the rain, I hoped you enjoyed.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

September 3rd - Let It Rain

September 3rd 2015

Blogging has taken a backseat to hiking and general town debauchery. I was in Helena for over 24 hrs and somehow managed to completely forget about all things blogging. Maybe I'll get my act together and get some blogs posted in Lincoln. I'm also told there are a few days missing here and there, not really sure why that is happening.

Helena was pretty cool, small town feel and lots of trail magic. A guy named Rick that previously knew Mountain Spice showed up at MacDonald Pass soon as she showed up. He gave us a soda and drove us to the PO in Helena. Then another friend of Spice picked us up from the post office and took us to her house. By that time Sam and Picker walked up and came along. Kelsey hiked the AT with Spice and was awesome. She had a nicely refurbished cabin in the back yard that we slept in. She also treated us to a solid veggie enchilada dinner.

Afterwards it was a wild night. We had already been at the brewery all afternoon and brought a couple growers back to the house. We walked back to a pool hall and met up with G and Delightful. Pool, pitchers, and more bars. Eventually my liver failed and I made my way home, everyone else stayed out until the wee hours of the morning. Man I'm getting old. We slept in until forever and getting out of town was tough, think herding cats.

We left town in a light rain and it's supposed to keep getting worse. Thunderstorms are predicted for day 3. We met up with G, Funk and Delightful on trail. Sam and Picker, who asked to be mentioned in the blog, made some tasty as hell trail fajitas and we all feasted. It's been a pretty good day and the trail is finally starting to get fun. Maybe too much fun, it's too bad it will all be over in a few days.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September - It is September!!!!!

September 1st 2015

I recently read someone else's blog and was impressed with how many adjectives and how much descriptive wording they used. They mentioned the colors of the trees, the sweat dripping down their face, and even described the foul odors coming from their feet. By the way, the trees, plants and other green things are all trying to turn yellow and red. It is not very noticeable yet but nature is telling me to hurry up. Well, unfortunately you have me and I'm way to freaking lazy to type all that on my phone. Heck I'm not even sure I could describe what I see every day in that kind of detail. Besides, after the first couple of days everything would sound the same, because it is... I usually don't even put the name of hikers I'm hiking with because I don't like using the uppercase arrow. I do plan to revisit all of the blogs to add relevant pictures and as many details as I can remember. Maybe that will make me a better blogger.

I'm lying here in my tent shaking like a leaf. The silence outside is a bit eerie and I'm pretty sure there isn't another human around me for miles. As manly and brave as I generally sound in this blog, written by me, I do tend to get terribly scared of the dark. Maybe not the dark but out here a mouse running around my tent might as well be a grizzly bear. I left Mountain spice after a break this afternoon, maybe it was lunch, and haven't seen her since. I took a couple breaks to wait for her but she never showed up. She is getting a cold and I think its hitting her pretty hard. But don't worry, I sent her a text to confirm that's she's still alive and I got a response saying she is.

Today was nice and flat and I got a few miles of hiking in. I really do wonder what would happen if I hiked just a little bit more. I am usually on trail by 7:30 and stop at 8:00. Today that equated to 33ish miles, with some nice and long breaks. Imagine if I could get up and on trail by 6:30 and goto 8:30, 50 mile days!!! It gets light out later and dark earlier, it will never happen.

Here is a deer and two fawn and my new favorite chip flavor. Enjoy your evening Night Vale.

Monday, August 31, 2015

August 31st - Anaconda and the VMAs

August 30th - 31st 2015

Yes, I watched the VMAs. The first time I watch TV in over a month and I watched that crap. I was just as surprised with how many new artists there are that I've never heard of. That can't be a recent development. Anaconda was a cool little town and we had a good time at the Trade Wind motel. I even did my laundry at a casino, that was a fancy touch on laundry. I enjoyed a good bit of McDonalds, a whole bunch of donuts from an Albertsons, and had some chips and salsa. I can't believe it either, there are still Albertsons around.

More crap TV and hanging out with trail friends followed. Eventually we all dispersed and our hiking group is no more. Mountainspice and I yellow blazed a few miles of asphalt today and then hiked a bunch on dirt roads. There were cows everywhere and I would herd them up the dirt roads for miles. All they would do is moo obscenely and crap explosively all over the road. It was like walking through mine fields. There was a creek but since there were so many cows I didn't drink it. As camp time rolled around I was out of water and all of the guidebook sources were dry. Luckily we came across a sweet water trough with an inflow pipe and I drank my fill.

The smoke has cleared from the area for now and there is supposed to be some rain soon. I just learned that I'm going to have some visitors at the end of my hike. I'm extremely excited and my finish day just got moved up a couple days. There are still quite a few fires to navigate and 400 miles to go. Before I know it I'll be finished.

Yep, Anaconda casinos.

Camp for the night

Saturday, August 29, 2015

August 29th - 5 Passes

August 29th 2015

What a great and challenging day! We passed the bluest alpine lakes, giant treeless mountainscapes, walked through rainforest like areas and dry pine forests. There was also the little challenge of climbing five 1000 ft passes. Some statistics are better left unknown until the end of the day. Everyone rumbled about the climbs and I knew they were coming but I tried to keep my head out of the game. Sometimes that strategy works and other times it doesn't.

All of the passes had unique names and some had great views. I passed a hunter with a chocolate lab scouting the area for Elk bow season in a week or so. He mentioned that he saw a grizzly sow and two cubs, how thrilling. We planned on ending up near Storm Lake for the night but somehow walked much further. The group split up, for the first time in a while. Dayman, Lala, and Mountainspice are camped a couple miles from the lake while Picker, Sam, and I are camped a few miles away. Dairy Queen is a strong motivator, if all goes well we will be in Anaconda tomorrow. It seems like just the other day I remember speculating about Anaconda vs Butte and wondering if we would ever be there.

Friday, August 28, 2015

August 28th - The Pintlers

August 28th 2015

Today was about as exciting as a $1 bill. The vegetation consisted of burnt out forests and blazing heat. The water was spread out and the hiking was dusty. I'm trying to think of something to share but it was just one of those days. I have noticed that the deer in this area are a different color than any deer I've seen in the country. They have underlying brown and tan tones but are all covered with a grey splotches. In some cases they are almost completely grey. Weird, I haven't looked up why they are greyish.

At the end of the day there was a nice climb and I plummeted into dense coniferous forests on the other side of the pass. The night culminated in a pretty nice campsite on a lake. Everyone is here and we all ate dinner together. I'm just excited by the mileage on days like this - supposedly I hiked 31 miles from 7:30 to 7:00. I have my doubts but if that is what everyone is calculating I'm more than happy to agree.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

August 27th - Sula, Darby and back to the trail

August 26th and 27th 2015

So much happened over the last couple of days, I'll try to get a little of everything covered. Some is for my own memory and I'll try to keep the rest entertaining.

Yesterday, the 26th, everyone (Picker, Dayman and Lala) woke up early as heck and started hiking to cover the 10 miles to the pass and town. I managed to wake up as they were leaving camp. I really don't like waking up early but sometimes will try it out to hike with other people. This whole last section I woke up 30 minutes later than everyone and I had to use my long legs to catch up. I like walking by myself and camping with others, taking breaks with others is nice too.

So I headed to the Sula Mountain Resort and ate all sorts of food, the breakfast burrito was tasty. They also had my resupply boxes, everyone at the store was very nice and helpful. From there I decided to hitch down to Darby to meet up with all of my hiking buddies.

Darby was also a nice little town with friendly locals. Another thru hiker that had finished 2 days earlier on August 24th knew Mountainspice and invited us to his parents place. The Reverend and his family were extremely hospitable, everything was amazing and I even got to sleep in a giant RV. His parent's set up is pretty nice with amazing views of some mountains. The property and surrounding properties were all designed by some Hollywood types for other Hollywood types. Supposedly they have some famous neighbors, pretty cool. On that same note Dayman and Lala saw Viggo Mortensen at a store in town the day before. You know, Strider from the Lord or the Rings.

Eventually we had to get back on trail and The Rev was kind enough to give us a ride back to the trailhead. Hiking is hiking and about 6 of us set up camp together after getting some miles in. The smoke is so bad that everyone is coughing up phlegm and other deadly carcinogens. It's really bad, so bad the trail is closed in about 20 places north of here. Hopefully the fires will go out and the smoke will go away.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

August 25th - Shut Up Legs

August 25th 2015

32 miles of hell....

There are so many terrible things I could compare today to. Well, maybe not the whole day. There was a good amount of climbing all day, we would go way up and way down. There was a pretty serious climb to Big Hole Pass and I had help from God to zoom up that one. Literally, the Holy Spirit entered my body and moved my legs. He came back for round two in what I would like to call the 6 miles from hell.

It was about 6 pm and we decided to hike another 6 miles to a spring. This would leave 10 miles to hike in the morning to get to the pass from which we would hitch hike into town. I had just done a bunch of speedy hiking but for some reason wasn't spent yet. The section started off smooth and and easy, a really nice ridge walk. Then out of nowhere the trail went straight up, I mean vertical. It stayed like that for a little while and once I drug my spent body to the top it went straight back down. That was mile 1. Needless to say things got much worse. At one point I came up on an older couple out here hiking and the woman told me that she is really starting to hate thru hikers. Encouraged by her negativity, I ran up the rest of the climb.

There were several more really nasty climbs before I finally made it to the campsite. Over the next 30 minutes everyone else rolled in exhausted and wondering why we were just put through that kinda of torture. During the last couple of climbs I kept thinking to myself of the pro cyclist, Thor Husshovd, that has the term "shut up legs" on the top of his bike for encouragement. It was a tough section, probably the most difficult of the whole trail, and I got through it relativity unscathed. The most challenging part was that it was at the end of a big day at the end of a BIG section from town to town.

We're kicking some butt out here and the end is getting closer.

The beginning of the end.

Does a very good job of summing everything up.

Monday, August 24, 2015

August 24th - Day 106 and Da Bears...

August 24th 2015

Everyone was talking about how many days they have been out and until 5 minutes ago I had no idea. With some simple trig calculations I figured out that I've been on trail for 106 days. Not too shabby, I think there are about 20 days left.

The smoke went away a little today and turned into mountains. If there was a good day for things to get clear it was today. The grassy mountains gave way to pine forests and eventually rocky mountains and alpine lakes. Despite the strenuous climbs, the change in terrain had been a welcome one. With all of the forests around, the bears have been rampant. Before yesterday I had only seen 4 bears on the whole trip. Then, yesterday I saw a mom and 2 cubs. Today I saw a black bear in the morning and another one mid afternoon.

Still it was a great day culminating in a cleansing dip in Lena Lake, a group dinner, and a pretty good camp fire. The icing on the cake, a double dinner and whiskey lemonade. Things are getting physically tough out here but I would like to think that I'm doing it in style. I'll be crawling the last few miles into camp tomorrow from exhaustion but it will be okay. There is going to be a hot tub at my resupply in Sula the next morning, hot tubs fix everything.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August 23rd - New Hiking Group

August 23rd 2015

I thought I'd spend a couple minutes and go over the dynamics of making friends on trail and hiking with new people. The majority of people come out to trail by themselves or with a significant other. As you hike along, most people (weirdos excluded) make friends and form loose hiking groups. The CDT is a little different because most people know what they like to do and are not as willing to make compromises to their hiking styles. The PCT is clique city, groups will form early on and stay pretty much the same until the end.

Over the last few days I think we've formed a little trail hiking group. Technically there are 5 of us but I have a feeling one guy will leave to hike with his friend at any given time, we'll have to see. We camp together, break together and sometimes even walk together. Hiking into camp yesterday Dayman and I had a pretty in depth conversation about the different hikers we hiked with and what we liked and didn't like about them. I guess it was our way to feel each other out and see if this was going to work out. We all want to hike the same milage, 30 miles a day, and want to get to Canada as quickly as possible. Heck a couple of us even want to take the train back to the west coast. Everything seems to be working out with minimal compromise. It would also be nice to have a large group when we reenter the thick of grizzly country. So, a little explanation of hiking groups, when I get home and revisit all of these posts I think I'll expand. It's a really interesting subject and I could write a bit about it.

We left the grassy hills today, even yesterday, and entered some pretty nice mountainous terrain. The trees are prevalent and there weren't as many PUDs (pointless ups and downs). A couple more days and we will turn away from the Idaho/Montana border going into the thick of Montana and grizzly country. I can't wait to get to Glacier National Park, I'm just praying that the fires and trail closers will go away. As of now the trail that goes to the border is closed and there is no way to hike to the end monument and into Canada.

Me dominating the headwaters of the Missouri River, Fountain Spring.

I took pictures of several of these signs, Lemhi Pass is full of Lewis and Clark history along with a Sacajawea memorial. Really interesting stuff and I was told that I should check out some books on it all.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

August 22nd - in and out.. Burger!!!!

August 22nd 2015

After months of writing blogs I tend to get a little complacent and lose all creativity. This might be an interesting 30ish days of blogging. You should probably stop reading now for your own sake. I might even just stop writing, I know thousands of you would be very upset and protest but what other options are there. There was no burger but we did manage two 20+ mile days and spent 24 hours in town. That's my kind of hiking!

The whole town of Leadore, ID.

The smoke rolled in overnight and today has been a total white out. When I woke up this morning the cows were going crazy and I though we had a nuclear Holocaust on our hands. Luckily, that was not the case. I think a cold front moved in and pushed all of the smoke our way. Did I mention that it's getting cold? Days are pretty nice but nights and getting out of my sleeping bag are terrible!

Anyway, made it back to the trail and put in some good miles. I lost Picker when he randomly decided to hitch out of town and not tell anyone. Now I'm with Dayman and Lala, and Mountainspice. The plan is 30 mile days to Canada, hopefully I can stay with Dayman and Lala until the end. Fingers crossed to not being that awkward 3rd wheel... Lol.

Friday, August 21, 2015

August 21-22 - the great hustle

August 22nd 2015

Yesterday was a blur, a blur of hiking. We made it to the pass by 12:45, covering our remaining 18 miles with unnatural speed. Best of all it only took an hour to get a ride to Leadore, ID. It was also extremely windy on the divide, hard to stand at times.

Resupply was easy, Katie sent my food box from a couple hundred miles away. It was easy but expensive to use the priority flat rate system since the destination was so close. I stayed with a bunch of hikers at the Leadore Inn, a tiny place with only 4 rooms. Here's the lowdown or who's who: Dayman, Lala, Mountain Spice, Roland, Picker, Seth, Jen and some random guy that ended up staying in the house. A whole lot of hikers.

As I went to bed, the smoke was meandering across the sky and moving into our vicinity. It looked like it finally cleared up a little yesterday. Unfortunately this morning it has taken over my life. It's so thick that the sun is a dim glowing ball. I'm a little worried that my lungs are going to be destroyed. I'm going to eat some pizza for breakfast and wait for the ride back to trail.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

August 20th - 2000 miles!

August 20th 2015

Sometime today I probably hit 2000 miles. It's not definite thing because of the multitude of different routes that could have been taken. Picker, whom I've been hiking with the last couple of days hit his 2000 mile day yesterday. Being that we've done pretty much the same thing I took that honor today. We also pretty much hiked a million miles today and conveniently 2000 falls within a million. We left Seth and Jen at camp and never saw them again, it was nice hiking with them for a couple days. Today we met Lala and Daywalker and are currently camped with them. We all cranked out some late evening miles and sat together for a group dinner, something so rare on the DTC. We reveled in our on trail accomplishments and the hikers we've met and love. It was great conversation and I hope we get the opportunity to do another group dinner in the future.

The wind is howling around these mountains. The tall grass that touches my rain fly constantly makes a noise all too similar to mice chewing on my stuff. I can't stand it. The smoke cleared up a little today, my throat, eyes and lungs are really starting to hate the smoke. Some amazing views have been misses because of it too.

My creativity is, or never was, there, turning into pointless rambling. I'm off to sleep with a super early day planned for tomorrow. Not happy...

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

August 19th - Along the border

August 19th 2015

Captain's log...

In a smokey wasteland a few brave hikers meandered through the grass and sage covered mountains without an end in sight. There were devastating thousand foot climbs and caves full of cow and buffalo bones, maybe even weaker hikers. The orange tinted sun was relentless and the water was scarce. Motivation was strong but we slowly lost members of the group to the grueling miles. Who am I kidding, thru hikers will leave others for dead to get a couple more miles in. Eventually we made it to our final destination, Deadman Lake, in the fading light. Life saving nourishment came in the form of savory mac and cheese enhanced with powdered milk, olive oil and crushed bacon. It was washed down with chemically treated water and Knob Creek whiskey. Dessert? Why yes, cow tails.

All and all not a terrible day, tomorrow is going to be a big one to make Friday a little easier. There are over 50 strenuous miles left and the goal is to get in Friday afternoon. We've been hiking back and forth on the border of Idaho and Montana along the continental divide, pretty cool. If the smoke wasn't so bad I'm sure the views would be amazing.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

August 17th and 18th - Lima, MT

August 18th 2015

Before today I got all of my motivation from the fact I was about to see my wife.  Now that she's gone I'm still grasping at the memory of our short lived time together,  too short.  When she first pulled up at the highway tunnel I was hiding under the dogs didn't even know who I was.  I would like to think that they are super sad now that I'm gone but I really doubt it.


We had a great time and did all sorts of stuff.  Repaired a nail in the tire,  went to a really muddy reservoir and let Kahlua roll in cow poop,  ate super greasy diner food and finally cooked steaks at the Peat Grill and Bar in Lima.  There were also some trail resupply efforts and town chores,  heck I even shaved with a razor!


As always all good things must come to an end and that's how our short visit ended. Katie drove First Man and me to the road/trail and we rejoined our path to Canada. She took off on her exhausting drive home. The trail vigorously climbed giant grassy knolls and was pretty scenic.  There were 5 other hikers in town that left before us and we caught up with them mid afternoon. First Man must have taken some crack because I saw him hike faster than I've ever seen him hike, he left all of us in the dust. I met up with Picker and we took a side trail and are currently camped together.  We heard the others holler at us from a couple hundred yards away so they should be close... Ish...

Time to rock Montana and finish this little trip.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

August 16th - Into the Smoke

August 16th 2015

The forest fire plague that makes every west coast summer a bit smokey has finally reached the DTC. It started south of Yellowstone in the Winds but just made the sky a bit hazy lowering the picture quality. Yesterday after the big thunderstorm it started to become very noticeable, and in the evening we got one of those smokey orange sunsets. This morning it was everywhere and the views were gone, maybe 10 miles of visibility at the best.

Last night, the 61 year old Ryan (or Richard) Lane, rolled into our camp around 8:45, super late by most people's standards. He was out before us and I caught back up with him an hour or so after leaving camp. He asked me to hike with him for a while, he recorded me and took some pictures. Maybe he's going to make a book, I'm not quite sure. It was a good chat, afterwards I took off to make some miles in the smokey wilderness.

Miles were difficult to come by today but we managed about 25. There were some serious climbs, it was also smokey and hot... Wahwahwah. Camping at a spring called rock spring in grass taller than my tent. There are also two southbounders here. Smokes was here when I got here and Periwinkle rolled up at 9pm, seems like a popular place despite the lack of places to put a tent.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

August 15th - back to the mountains

August 15th 2015

Sawtelle Mountain Resort saved out butts last night and the camping wasn't so bad. I might actually be getting spoiled by nice and groomed campsites.

I hiked with First Man today - it looks like we'll stay together until Lima, maybe longer. We have slightly different hiking styles and alone would end up a couple miles apart every day. Maybe we'll both compromise to continue to hike together... Montana might get lonely otherwise since everyone both of us usually hike with are couple days or more behind us. Besides, he's good company and enjoys many of the same hiking comforts I do.

We ended up being on a pretty spectacular ridge for the last couple hours of the day and camped in some old mine. It got windy and cold so the protection is appreciated. Tomorrow will be a long day to get as close to Lima as possible. That gives us more of a break on Monday if things work out.

Friday, August 14, 2015

August 14th - Idaho!!

August 14th 2015

Around mid morning I made it to Idaho! Over the next week or so the trail will go back and forth over the border of Idaho and Montana. The trail followed roads into Macks Inn and I made it to the post office on time, my Yogi guide book said it closed at 5 and it really closed at 4. Good thing I was early or else... We sat through a couple huge really nasty bands of torrential thunderstorm rain. After dark First Man and I went and set up our tents.

Only 70 miles and 2 1/2 days until I get to see Katie for a few hours! And she's bringing the DOGS!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

August 13th - AYCE Geyser Madness

August 13th 2015

Just saw a skunk before getting to camp at Summit Lake. It will be our last campsite in Yellowstone as the park boundary is only a couple miles away. I set chase to the skunk and he was fast, running and taking pictures I couldn't catch him and my only photo was blurry. As I got to camp and started setting up my tent with First Man the wolves started going crazy. First Man saw the wolf across the lake while he was getting water and by the time I arrived it was howling and circling the area. A little later the howling turned into a cacophony of death threats. We're both sleeping without food in the tent and have a pact to bear spray the other if he is getting attacked by blood thirsty wolves or bears. It's the new backcountry bear strategy.

The Yellowstone geyser basic was pretty spectacular and I got to witness a few of the geysers going off. We missed Old Faithful twice but got to see it on the 3rd attempt. Beehive geyser went off minutes before Old Faithful and it was pretty sweet too. We took care of the town chores and met up with Reststop and Focus for lunch. And yes, the AYCE breakfast buffet was filling, very filling. The food wasn't even that bad either.

Pretty good day, here are some pictures.

Lone Star Geyser

Beehive Geyser

Campsite with the wolves stalking us

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

August 12th - Grants Village Yellowstone

August 12th 2015

I learned an important lesson about waking up early, I can't do it. But I can walk fast as lightning for a couple hours to make up for the extra sleep. I made it to Grants Village by 10:15 with the intention of getting in and out and making it to my campsite 20 miles away. The problem, the post office doesn't have my package. I've seen it happen dozens of times to other hikers, but this is the first time it's happened to me and it sucks.

I headed over to the diner and enjoyed a solid but overpriced breakfast, it also took them 30 minutes to make it. Katie finally got out of surgery and was able to give me a tracking number. Due to unforseen circumstances the package was sent to Lake Village instead of Grants Village. The lady at the post office was very helpful and forwarded it to Old Faithful Village for next day pickup. Satisfied, I took a $4 shower and went back to the general store to get some food.

We're all lazy to some degree and I'm particularly lazy. Over the last few days Reststop and I would joke that it must be nice to camp early and enjoy yourself whenever we saw cottonbacks camped at 2 in the afternoon. Realizing that I wasn't going to make it very far I bought some beer, cheetos and a butterfinger and headed to the road to hitch. I was on a side road so cars could be going to the south exit of the park, or practically anywhere else in the park. I was going to take the first ride available, whether it was to the trail or old faithful village. The difference of 15 miles of hiking, an all you can eat breakfast and seeing Lone Star Geyser. Destiny led me to the Geyser and a 3 mile hike backwards. Even better, I already have a campsite reserved for the night less than a half a mile away.

Things always work out and while I missed some hiking and a few cool geothermal sites I get to see something I otherwise wouldn't have. I'm by no means a purist or continuous footstep hiker for reasons like this. I also know better than to get used to days like this, if I wanted to hitchhike around the country I'd just go home and get my car.

It was awesome!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

August 11th - Hiker Terminology

August 11th 2015

I survived the night and didn't get eaten by a bear, I even hung my food for the first time this hike. I did see my 3rd bear of the trip this morning, a smaller grizzly that ran away like a huge sissy once he finally saw me. Who's the king of the mountains now?

A day or two ago when I was talking on the phone with my wife she casually mentioned that she was taking too many zeros. Slightly confused I asked her what she was talking about. She explained to me that if she doesn't go running on any given day that it's a "zero". Secretly I was super proud that she's using the term zero. Here are a few of the terms I can think of...

Zero - no miles hiked
Nero - some miles hiked but no defined amount
Nobo - northbounder
Sobo - southbounder
Snobo - someone that started in New Mexico and flipped north to hike south and avoid the snow, can also be called a flip-flopper
Yo-yo - someone who hikes a long trail then goes right back and hikes it the other direction
No cook - a hiker that doesn't use a stove and cold soaks all of their food or just eats lots of tuna....
Cold soak - puts food into a sealable container to let soak a couple hours before camp
Ultralight - generally means you have a base weight under 10lbs and don't have any "luxury" such as a down jacket
Luxury item - stove, stereo, booze, rain pants, french press, spoon, knife, water filter, binoculars, etc....
Yellowblaze - hitchhiking north/south instead of walking
Pinkblaze - hiking with a woman with the hopes of hooking up

Anyway, those are just the couple I could think of. I'm sure there are dozens more. I'll leave you with some pictures of the grizzly.

Monday, August 10, 2015

August 10th - grizzly country

August 10th 2015

While black bears are more prevalent and technically more dangerous, they don't scare me nearly as much as grizzlies. Hiking out of Togwotee this morning I was in constant fear of walking up on a grizzly. I know it's all in my head and there is slim to no chance of having a grizzly encounter but boy does it wear on me. It's also funny that black bears instill no such fear in me. Heck, a couple weeks ago I chased one down to get a picture, but he was too fast. To fight this fear I use my speaker box to blast NOW country hits volume 8 as I walk, you see bears don't like country music. I was also given a free can of bear spray from my new friend Bobby who works at Togwotee Lodge. Long story short I can now hike by myself with a little more confidence.

Tomorrow I'll enter Yellowstone and all of it's thermal awesomeness. I met a couple southbounders and they had nothing but positive things to say. All that is left to do is to survive my big baby fear of sleeping by myself in grizzly country, like right now.

I got a view of the Tetons today, pretty cool.

August 8th and 9th

I've spent the last day or so at Togwotee Lodge in Wyoming just south of Yellowstone National Park. Hiking here was a bit rough as the trail sucked and consisted of a considerable amount of terrible trail and bushwhacking. The lodge is a pretty cool gem in the middle of nowhere. I paid $5 for unlimited hot tub access and spent the night in a nearby free campsite. The employees rock, giving us free beer and good times. I played some disc golf on a home made course with two employees, Bobby and Dale. Getting out of here has been really difficult and I think we're finally about to start hiking, thank God. If you're ever in the area check this place out.

I also trimmed up the beard to look less homeless...

Friday, August 7, 2015

August 7th - cow country

August 7th 2015

Trying out a new blogging app, let's see how it works. The Google app doesn't let me add photos and this one is supposed to.

Well, did it work?

After a couple miles of hiking I totally zoned out and hiked a mile and a half up some atv tracks. When I realized my mistake I cursed out loud a bunch and hiked back to the trail. A little later I walked through a ton of cows. It was a bit creepy as there were hundreds of them. The worst of it was the single bull sitting on trail a few minutes later. It's amazing how strong those guys are, nothing but pure muscle. So naturally I gave him his space.

I met back up with Reststop and Focus after lunch. Focus has an injured ankle, she stepped in a rabbit hole in the basin. Hiking until 8:30 I came across a couple deer growing nice sets of antlers and a moose with some huge head gear. I made it to a spring and set up by myself in a nice grizzly bear prairie. Food in tent and ready to fight for it... Cough cough.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

August 6th - glacier lakes and the Secret Yosemite

August 6th 2015
So, there is a place that easily rivals the majestic granite walls of Yosemite, and its name is the Winds. I never thought I would say this, but Yosemite has been replaced in my mind.  Imagine Yosemite without all of the people and boom, there you have it.
Along the trail today we met back up with First Man, I saw Bigfoot and Elinor a little ways back around mid morning.  We also came across a couple southbounders and a few flip floppers. Every group stopped and talked to us for a while,  it was slow going and we talked about all sorts of stuff with other hikers.
The terrain was very easy and the views were absolutely stunning.  I never thought anything like this existed, especially in Wyoming. I'm already planning a trip back with Katie and the dogs.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August 5th 2015

August  5th 2015
I need to get ahead on my journaling.  I'm laying in my tent cold and tired without much imagination right now.  Looks like I'll have to finish this tomorrow.
I'm back. 
I packed up from the Koa and headed to a diner with a dozen pickup trucks out front for breakfast, it was tasty. Subway for sub and the outfitter for some antibearbag rope and new socks.  I met up with reststop  and focus to use their shower and spent some time at the laundry mat for some self cleaning. It was great to finally catch reststop and now I have someone to hike with in grizzly country.
We headed to the end of town and hitched back up to Elkhart trailhead. The hiking wasn't bad and we climbed back into the Winds. Day hikers and "cottonbacks" were everywhere.  Cottonbacks is a term I just learned for the all cotton wearing backpackers out for the weekend. The rain started and cold windy air moved in,  the fun had started. A few miles later and we decided to set up camp in the freezing rain,  50mph winds and sub  zero temperatures at 11000 ft. It was my first super windy setup with the new tent and it was a challenge. 
Nothing too exciting today and it's really great to hike with Reststop again. Focus came to the trail from Reno and worked with my buddy Joe who started the trail with me. He mentioned trying to catch her in the beginning and it took me 3 months, the trail is funny that way.