30 May 2008

Aqua Dulce to Mojave



A dog pee’d on my pack before I left Hikertown. Bummer the odor clung to my chest strap for the last two days. I’m glad to have had the time in Mojave to wash and soak my pack with vinegar. Hopefully the odor will pass with miles ahead. A moment can change a lot.

This section has been unseasonably cool. I’m grateful for the beautiful 60-80F temps instead of the 100+ the norm. I’ve hiked many of the past 100 miles with Joanne, Andrea and Senator. Having company is a support, but sometimes group decision making is a headache. Each are lovely and supportive of my journey and helping me care for my turbulent hear. The miles have been fun, playing with sand art and sidewalk chalk.

I purchased new shoes in Agua Dulce, using a car at Hiker Heaven to shop at REI. The Invo-8 fit great. I had a neat opportunity north of the Saufley’s to run 7 miles w/o my pack. A group of us drove our gear 25 trail miles to a road-crossing where trail angels, the Andersons, host hikers. As my day hike was wrapping up, I came upon Mr. Joe Anderson restocking the Hiker Oasis: water, beer, soda cache. He took my pack and I ran on. Running was exhilarating, getting up my heart-rate and engaging my mind in a ????? way.

I rested at the Anderson’s for two nights. Watching movies and feasting on Terri Andersons taco salad was spirit lifting. I was glad to have been at the Casa de Luna (Anderson’s) on a slow night. Only 15+ hikers made for a low-key evening. The night prior had 40+ and tequila was the power of a rocking hiker party.

News travelled the trail 200 miles south from Kennedy Meadow to my ears. Uncertainty and doubt led me to call Mom to mail additional gear. Reports are that KM has been 20F below average making the Sierra snow covered passes at 10000 ft potentially below freezing. Plus the snow melt has slowed and an additional foot or two gathered over Memorial Day weekend. I’m dreading the added weight I’ll be carrying during those miles (bear can, ice axe, micro spikes, and more clothes).

My body is feeling better where it once ached. So my heel and ankle are healthy and strong. My right knee, started having a new pain. Maybe this acute tendonitis won’t grow beyond management. The tough part is I have all day to dream disastrous storylines. Other comments on my body come from various female hikers; apparently, I’m in the running for sex trail legs of ’08. My calves have elicited specific admiration. A reoccurring nuance is that my nose is peeling from sun burn again.

Today I took some time to investigate in prayer continuing my hike. My discernment, prods me onward. However, my mind has been throwing tantrum once in a while with my aching knee and heart-mind I know many of the potential bail out points ahead. I would say that I am as emotionally and mentally raw and sensitive today as I was after 6.5 months on the Appalachian Trail. Making for a roller coaster of a hike inside me.

I miss Burnett summer gatherings and Emily. I dream to be finished hiking in season to join Dan and you on a fall weekend trek. My future plans are still unclear, but ideas of graduate school are being toyed with in my head. My priority shortly post-hike will be family and Emily. May I be patient in my PCT journey and my life.

Thanks Tony for posting photos and journal pages. I sent new photos with this page [Ed: I think Mom has the photos. I’ll get them up as soon as I get them].



24 May 2008

Wrightwood to Aqua Dulce (Saufley's)

5/24/2008 (assumed date)


Simplicity is a gift when I am able to relax into it. Leaving Wrightwood, I was struggling to ride the life wave. I was awake and packed by 6am, however Joanne, Andrea and I didn’t make it to the trail until noon. Ah! I’m working with this stiff attitude of mine. After this rough transition, the hiking has been beautiful. Simple sounds of birds, sights of canyons, creeks and flowers are beautiful.

Sunday’s miles north of Wrightwood, the aroma of Sierras was in the air. As I marched up Mt. Baden-Powell, the trail disappeared often to snow patches. The white stuff slowed down my pace and made the miles harder. As I headed up late in afternoon, caravans of day hikers passed me returning to their cars going to their homes. Here I am being a space-age nomad with no address. Andrea and I left Joanne on a ridge top and descended into camp.

Little Jimmy springs camp, was full of PCT’ers. I made dinner by spare moonlight beneath towering pines. Later I spread out my Tyvek groundsheet to cowboy. Sleep was weak as bugs feasted on my exposed skin, so at midnight. I arose and pitched my tent. Rest was peaceful until 6am wake-up.

The trail meanders through pines and down into scrub brush. The variety has been wonderful and the weather too. As I descended in elevation, temperature cooled. I camped alone after sunset. Having very little water I hiked early to north fork ranger station before making breakfast. As I washed up I was struck by the life lessons my mom trained me to do and take care of myself, as I cleaned behind my ears at a water spigot.

Wednesday, I paced myself slowly because Thursday I would nero (low-mileage day) into Aqua Dulce to resupply. Wiz caught up with me and we hiked together. I spent a gorgeous morning hour at Mattox Canyon creek in a recovering burnt forest. Surprising me in that afternoon the trail intersected a road near a campground with a pool. So Wiz and I spent hours for $5.00 resting in sun and swimming. At 5pm we moved on.

The trail dipped into a rocky canyon famous for being scenes of movies. The sunset behind a foggy haze, reminding me of Star Trek. Wiz and I duck off trail to a patch of ground and shared camp with Sly, Tailwind and Tahoe Mike.

Thursday, the PCT shared a road into Aqua Dulce when I stopped for breakfast before going to Hiker Heaven.

The Saufley’s host hikers. There are cars for use and I caught a ride to a bigger town and saw “Indian Jones” in the theatre. Friday, I went shopping to buy 20+ days of food to mail ahead throughout the Sierras. New gear adorns my feet, with new Inov-8 shoes I’m hopeful my inserts help my Achilles in 500+ miles.

I’m with many hikers and its dinner, so I’m signing-off. I miss Dad and you very much. I may be done with my hike before Canada. My body is well, but I miss friends and family. One day at a time.


20 May 2008

New Posts and Photos pending...

Casey sent me several new blog entries along with 300+ new photos. I'll post the photos and begin entering the blog entries tonight. So, check back in a day or so for more updates (make sure you scroll down as they will be entered on the date he originally wrote them).


PS. I'm all caught up. I added 2 journal entries (5/10 and 5/16) and a slide show (5/16). Guess I wasn't as far behind as I originally thought.

17 May 2008

recommended read

Here is my hiking friend Andrea's online blog. Definitely worth reading as she has a persistence for detailed journal keeping that I do not.



click here

I'm in Wrightwood for a zero day. Enjoying the hospitality of two wonderful local trail Angels, Walt and Laurie.

Rested and well feed, I'll start hiking north tomorrow morning.


16 May 2008

Big Bear to Wrightwood

You asked me a few weeks ago if the trail was difficult to follow. These past three days I’ve referred to my maps more times than before. The PCT hasn’t been hard to follow when I’m on it, but there have been dozens of jeep trail crossings, where I’ve gotten turned around for a while.

Sunday morning leaving Big Bear city, a day later than my last letter said, I strolled north from Hwy 18. I took breaks to sit or climb rocks. I meet up with the guys I was dropped-off with near a small creek near Van Dussen Road. We moved on after joking of taking a ride trail back into town.

An hour later, undesirable choices were to be mad. The PCT was temporarily re-routed and I doubted the route and hiked back to the last trail sign, frustrated and impatient. Somehow Gopher, Naught Eyes and Sweekfish all took a wrong turn and how we met up. A decision was made to hike the reroute after maps were consulted (later I learned dozens of hikers ignore the reroute and enjoy water and clear trails).

Hours of 4x4 road walking, seemed uneventful until Naughty Eyes turned to us and said “If I see a ranger, I’m getting a ride.” He had been sick 3+ days in town and though he was better. Yet now 15+ miles into our day and with no known water source or distance to the end of reroute we marched on slower but with focus. Gracefully, a jeep drove by and I flagged down the driver. After calming and accommodating Julie, who was alone, she agreed to help Naughty Eyes (we introduced ourselves with our given names).

Now I was alone, because Gopher and Sweetfish pushed ahead as we’d slowed down. I was left with many uncertainties and ½ liter of water. The sun was setting I the rock filled habitat, very suitable for mountain lions. I walked waving my trekking poles and comforting my rising fears and fatigue. My pace quickened, until I arrived to the end of the reroute water and friends.

I had been on the trail for 12 hours and was moving for 8.5 of those. I properly did 26-30 miles. My feet were sore that night. Even then I was grateful to have been available to offer the little aid I could to Naughty Eyes. Plus, I had put myself within a half-day’s walk to the Deep Creek Hot Springs.

Monday was peaceful, listening to the creek beside me come in and out of earshot as the trail ducked into gullies. I made it to the Hot Springs and spent the night after 15 miles. Strangely, I had a hard time relaxing, in hot pools or swimming the creek.

I awoke slowly and again the trail snaked above a canyon carrying(?) bird songs and water-on-rock melodies. The beauty of this area may be an echo of God’s love for all of humanity. I found it a challenge to allow nature’s full-acceptance and non pretentious gaze wash over me. Still, even I knew that the “Good Book of Nature” was teaching grace and redemption.

The canyon emptied into a valley, but a dam has been constructed. Losing the trail before 9am I retrace my steps and try again. I bush-whack through an overgrown streambed and cross over on a well placed log. Continuing uneventfully along rolling hills until I meet Marlene(?).

Trail angel Marlene, has stopped at a road crossing and is serving up root beer floats. Even though its only 9am and a stiff cool breeze has me in a windbreaker, this local pastor’s “water to the ??? of ???” was a real treat. I had two.

I carried on alone for the remainder of my day. Near Silverwood Lake State park, I took a wrong trail for a wee bit before correcting my error. I paused for a brief foot soaking before my body craved to move-on. I made dinner in the park, but pressed on after 6:30pm to find camp.

Atop Cleghorn Ridge, the PCT crossed a 4x4 road. A small pull-out was my floor space. As I settled into my bag I watched the color show of sunset, and the rising taillights in the distance; tomorrow’s destination.

I awoke after sunrise and made the steep down-hills into Cajon Pass in 3 hours. The tread seemed to be cut into a giant sandbox. I wondered how, at the horizon, an interstate could be held up by these.

I took a half-mile side trail and treated myself to McDonald’s Yogurt, OJ and a hash brown. I laughed with BBBedop and Gopher who had been there an hour before then went to see about prices at the motel. Gopher and I split a room and spent the afternoon out of the blazing sun relaxing.

Thursday, I left anxious for the 22 mile uphill and exposed trail that laid before me. Yoga and a special letter from Emily before leaving settled my nerves. God helped by offering an overcast sky and a windy day as the temperature and I climbed.

The route provided views to the south of San Jacinto and San Gorgonio, plus I was nearly on top of San Antonio. I made camp with Arno, Gopher, Thrust, Just Ben and Prison Rob. Conversation was lively and warm, even though the temps plummeted with the setting sun, winds and 8000+ feet of elevation.

I’m now in Wrightwood at a trail Angel’s home resting. I’m not going anywhere tomorrow and will enjoy a zero.

I miss you and mom.

Photos: Kickoff thru Cajon Pass

Full Screen Slide Show

14 May 2008

Motivation - follow-up (5/14)

Thanks Tony for your encouragement and others who have emailed.

I'm feeling better, now 84 + miles north of HWY 18 and Big Bear City. As with all things, things change, my attitude has. Below are some of my comments on my mental / emotional swings.

I knew to expect vacillating emotions during hike. Typically mental / emotional security can be established with familiarity to a group of people or geographical location (I've heard adjustment takes 3-6 months, e.g. moving to college often 1st semester is extra trying). Since nearly everyday these change for me, I'm continuously going through transition.

On top of environmental changes, I'm exhausting my body most day with 6 - 8 hours of hike for 12-14 hours of being awake. Removing possible physical support that often carries the burdens of a stressful day.

In addition hiking for extended time, begins to simplify life, and thus allowing sometimes ignored / unnoticed feelings to rise up (read can amplify experience of feelings). I'm learning my cycles. I can almost tell you what time of day it is by what 'thoughts' / 'moods' enter my mind. (Doubts at 8 am, excitement at 9, day dreams at 10). Stopping in town places new stresses.

Towns are a rush of stimulation and to-dos for me. I'm still learning to ride the wave. I have also noticed that some resupply visits are flooded with fears. On the trail, I'm focused on shelter, water, foot placement / health, etc. suddenly in town, I don't need to worry about these. What I'm calling a mental / emotional dam opens up and I'm flooded in town. Clean-up can be slower than I like.

In conclusion my brother's comments are in response to one or more of these possibilities culminating on me. I'm ever trying to take care of myself (eating healthy, meditating, self-awareness, etc). Yet, I'm learning being emotionally healthy involves feeling all my emotions and learning to ride the wave with more skill.

yours in love

13 May 2008


It seems as though Casey is having a few bouts of doubt (and/or loneliness??) while hiking. I'm not privy to the exact cause, but Mom has had first hand experience on a recent phone call.

So, if Casey gives you call, please encourage him. Every little bit helps. Eventually, he'll run into a few nice folks that will provide a good self-support group along the trial. But the first leg of his journey has people a bit dispersed. This will be remedied soon as he enters the Sierra mountain range in a couple of weeks. At that point many hikers bunch up in groups to help with the potential navigation issues that can occur in that snow covered mountainous region.

Good luck Casey and keep going,


10 May 2008

I-10 to Hwy 18

I’m resting a few final minutes in Big Bear City, CA’s fire station. The 50+ miles here since my last resupply have been diverse and majestic.

Wednesday, Caitlyn dropped Joanne, Andrea and I at the I-10 overpass where we headed north starting at 6:30am. Looking west a rainbow was visible under a dark cloud blanket. Almost exactly at the trail’s line the rising eastern sun was diffusing the ominous cloud into blue sky. I felt only a few sprinkles and had a sun with me all day afterward.

The PCT headed across a gusty open valley before tucking into gold Canyon. Even at 8am, I started to bake between these rock walls. A few miles later I crossed a small saddle, saying goodbye to San Jacinto to my south and the Mesa Valley Wind farm between us.

Northbound I traversed above Teugon Canyon, looking into its jagged and steep gorge walls. At one switch back, I stepped into a dragonfly ascending, as 15+ bugs, hovered above the grass. Beyond the canyon, was a wide (500+ yds) watermelon boulder field which held Whitewater Creek. After, soaking my feet and meeting Senator, OPA and JS, I hiked on. My camp chose me. I rounded a bend and said this place is special. I had come upon Mission Creek. Small cascades and the resulting foliage invited me to camp. In the night, hearing the running water, I felt deeply rewarded.

Thursday, I started early, but walked slowly as I paused often to receive the love gaze of nature so pronounced along the 10+ miles of Mission Creek. After lunch time nap, the trail began to climb. Thankfully even with sun on me the air cooled as I shifted around a bend. With the increasing elevation vegetation grew to new heights offering shade.

By dinner time I had gone 19 miles, but wanted to go a bit further, than where Senator and OPA had stopped. I was glad I moved on as 750 yds north there was an open cabin which protected me from the chilly winds at 8600 ft. as other hikers arrived, a fire was built. I reminisced about Eric Ryback (at 18 years of age, he was the first to thru-hike the PCT back in 1970) saying a fire was his friend each night. Sleep was peaceful.

Down, down, down. Most of Friday was spent losing elevation under tall pin groves. Knowing the PO in town was closed Saturday, I wanted to get in. However, I was mindful to be safe and enjoy myself. I happened off trail to a small knob where I could see both snow covered peaks of San Jacinto and San Gorgoio(?).

As I neared town, small 4x4 roads had caches hosted by town service providers, promoting their place. I enjoyed a banana from Big Bear Hostel. And I did end up spending a night there. But my favorite cache had Jones soda. Yum!

Town was partially hectic, partially restful. I was glad to have a bed for the 1st time since April 16th and do laundry. I was grateful to Gypsy to for her stew she shared along with an apple-cobbler. Yet, I’m rarely rest filled with a to-do list in my head.

I wanted to thank you for the surprised filled care package. Also thanks for sending me the heel pads last week. My Achilles is feeling stronger. From your advice, I did soak my feet in bleach to kill a potential fungal growth. Hiking is sometimes more than full-time work, as I can never leave my body.

I’m anxious as of this moment. Daylight hours are dwindling and hitching can be slow. I look forward to relaxing again on trail. Especially, I’m looking forward to Deep Creek Hot Springs between here and my next resupply. Life is simpler between resupplies.

I miss you.

04 May 2008

Fuller Ridge Remote Camp to I-10


Last Wednesday’s news about Apache Peak fire was an unavoidable invitation to flexibility. It seemed reasonable to switch my recently added side trip to Joshua Tree to this past weekend and hope the PCT would be reopened by then. The unforeseen hook has been an increasing challenge to make plans as more heads and desires are put together. See after joanne, andrea and I were picked up by cathyn, we were now four, later caitlyn’s partner made five. So I’ve felt a wee bit trapped now by my past choices.

Thursday in Joshua Tree, CA

After taking care of business of laundry, cleaning and a visit to the local library, my go-go attitude struggled to settle to the unknowns. “Will the trail open in 3, 5, 7 days, more?”, “When can I finalize my chore list of shopping and shipping?”, “are we going climbing in Joshua Tree Natural Park?”

On Friday, getting news the fire was only 25% contained, skipping 40 miles seemed most reasonable. I felt comfortable at the time with this decision and I think this helped ???? to quick of our mounting options my group kept imagining. Now in motion to climb at Joshua Tree and then return to Idyllwild I expected greater sense of ease. Instead about an hour later I felt deep disappointment at having a hole in my PCT hike. Not until hours later, climbing and looking at the wondrous landscape in Joshua Tree did I have much inner peace.

Climbing at Joshua Tree is almost a religious mecca. Mom and Dad had generously taken time to search for my climbing shoes and harness then mail them to my host. My foot work and body felt strong. And Nico (Caihlyn’s partner) was an excellent guide.
Later that night we arrived back in Idyllwild. We were heading for pizza when I saw Gazelle and the ever-witty sasquatch in the parking lot. The seven of us enjoyed beer, pizza and laughs well past hiker’s midnight [9pm or sunset whichever comes later].

Saturday, unwound itself slowly. My usual early rising self, joined sasquatch for breakfast in town at a small diner, the Red Kettle. Inside the place was hoping with hiker’s bottled necked as a result of fire. Soon a new, vibe energized conversation. Reports were out that ½ the closed trail would be opened by noon. “Ah, now what? Shall we change our plans?”

Thinking through options, our plan to ride up to Fuller Ridge Remote camp and hike north to I-10 still was wisest. Sasquatch offered a ride for andrea, joanne and I up Black Canyon road. At the pull off, we crammed in Canadians—Collin, angela and partway up an 8 miles of jeep trail we picked up Trail dude. The ride was slow, however Sasquatch kept us entertained with his reported big foot encounter in 1996.

I didn’t start hiking until almost 1:30 pm and made camp @ 7pm. The continuous descent didn’t wear on my knees too much, but I do have new blisters on my feet. In my mind I kept imagining, how I might hike on and somehow, hitch or drive back and fill in the 40+ miles before I enter the Sierras. Thankfully the switch backing trail, jarred my mind into the present moment with stunning raw views of snow covered head wall of San Jacinto.

Sunday (today), I have only a few miles prior to our pick-up at I-10 (so I’ve been resting for several hours). I’m a bit troubled as joanne reported she desires to take several days off to spend with Caityn. I’m confused by my reaction as I have plenty of wiggle room in my schedule, but I have some wish to hike-on ASAP. Part of it for me is that I enjoy moving and hiking as much if not more than scenery and accomplishment.

A positive of this additional time is maybe the PCT will re-open and I can summit San Jacinto sooner rather than later and have a continuous thru-hike.
Thankfully for all this logistical angling(?) of plans the weather has been light and breezy, making the exposed sandy open trail more bearable.

May we all be at peace with our thoughts,