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.