An unexpected twist July 25, 2017 (the day after Rob’s birthday!)

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Back on trail

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Everything is so green

Its hard to walk away from someone with whom you spent every day and night of the last four months, hiked nearly 800 miles through the desert and snow, took a three week road trip across California and made some the best memories of your life with. Even harder when it is your husband. This is the very struggle I went through. Daddie Gizmo and I discussed the very real possibility of one of us sustaining an injury while hiking before we even left Dallas to begin the PCT. We agreed that if one was injured, the other should finish. When it came time to put this thought into practice it was much easier said than done. I am in love with the hiking lifestyle, the simplicity and peace it fills me with, the beauty I am constantly surrounded by and the camaraderie found on the trail. DG and I shared some of the best moments of our entire relationship while hiking this year and grew in ways I never expected, both individually and as a couple, a team. Last week we decided that I would go back to where I feel more at home and myself than I have in my entire adult life, to trail, and Rob would go to LA temporarily. He would work on buying a vehicle and I would continue north to Canada. Early morning on Friday we put our packs back on for the first time in a month and traveled the mile from our campsite to the bus stop in Mammoth. Here we would each board a separate bus. Rob would go south and I north to Reno. I opted to begin the trail again in Sierra City, skipping any snow. Our farewell at the bus stop was quick as we were both getting emotional about parting ways. A four hour bus ride and 90 minute drive from a trail angel later I was dropped off at the trailhead at 3. It only took as long as getting out of the car and sitting on the side of the road to put my hiking shoes on to begin to feel a deep sense of heart break that I was going back out without my partner. All the memories and feelings of what we have experienced together flooded me as I hiked that afternoon through tears. I know I am capable of completing the hike without him, but I had not expected to be so emotional about being apart. Not knowing when I would see him next made it even more difficult. I hiked five miles in that afternoon straight up the mountain and set up my tent where I had a wide view of the Northern Sierras and could watch the sunset while laying in my tent. As I lay there I felt so comfortable and at peace feeling the wind blow on me, watching the sky turn pink and listening to the chatter of birds. That didn’t alleviate the pain in my heart I felt being there without Rob.

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Stunningly beautiful campsite

6174597616_IMG_09026174597616_IMG_0904IMG_6772The next morning I was roused by a fierce wind that indicated it was time to get up and moving. On trail and climbing by 7:30 I was still missing Rob terribly. I am not usually the sappy one in our relationship and my overwhelming emotions were actually really surprising. I thought I would get out and be so happy, hike my heart out and call him in four days when I got to Quincy to say I was continuing north. That’s how I envisioned it, but the reality was as I hiked that morning I was beginning to doubt that I should continue north. I turned south to head off trail then north again as I struggled with what to do. Finally, I sat in the corner of a switchback looking over the valley and Sierra City.

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Sitting in the corner of a switchback

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Taking in the scenery as I hike off trail

IMG_6779I bawled and thought long and hard. An hour later I had made a decision to turn back, hitch back to Reno and somehow – by bus, flight or car – return to Rob and meet him in LA. I told the trail goodbye for now and that I love her so much but I want to come back to it it with Rob. I hiked very slow back to town, savoring the last moments on trail and stopping often to just soak in the quiet and scenery. This really is a beautiful part with how lush and green everything is. The mountains are covered in manzanita. I saw a massive deer ten feet from me munching on some grass before I popped back out on the road at 1:30. The way things fell into place from there made me believe I made the right decision. As soon as I got to the road a passing car offered me a ride for the mile into town. Within that time I mentioned I was going to Reno today and they replied that they are going to Truckee after eating some lunch and I am welcome to join them. Amazing! Truckee is an hour drive from Sierra City and only 30 minutes from Reno. I didn’t even have to hitchhike which was a great way to start the 491 mile journey to LA. We arrived in Truckee at 3 where things continued to go my way when I was able to hop on a 3:50 bus to Reno. While I waited for the bus I looked to see if I could get a flight that very evening to LA. With all stars aligning I booked a 6:40 flight from Reno that would have me in LA and in my husbands arms by 8:30. I couldn’t believe how all the pieces fell into place so effortlessly. I had fully expected to have to stay in Reno Saturday night and get back somehow Sunday or Monday. When I told Rob I was coming back he was really really surprised but very very happy. We are turning our PCT journey into a section hike now. We won’t be able to complete it this year, but with any luck we can get back out there together before the season changes. There is always next year..and now that we are living on the west coast (though currently homeless) it will be easy to go back. So now we choose the next step of our adventure and continue to make memories together.  Today we are looking for a place to rent for a month anywhere in the country that is out of the city. We want to cook, relax, rehab the knees and be connected to nature and each other. Life is good 😊

Hello Again!! July 17, 2017

IMG_6751We owe all our Friends, Family, Fellow PCT Hikers and Everyone traveling along with us on the Blog an update. Sometimes these are easy to write and other times, like this, maybe not.
Completing our Thru hike has been in jeopardy ever since the second meniscus tear hit my right knee about 4 weeks ago. Now, just getting back on trail anytime soon may be out of our hands. My left knee meniscus tear accepted 3 weeks of therapy and responded very well letting us restart after Kennedy Meadows. After almost 4 weeks of rest and just a little therapy, my right knee has taken 2 little steps forward and then somehow regressed to the original pain level and difficulty just walking while it tries to lock-up in certain positions.

 

We camped on the edge of a bluff in Mendocino and fell asleep to the crashing waves below us. Bright green sea anemone awaited our discovery the next morning.

My thoughts and emotions are all over the spectrum. Guilt, that I am the factor that caused our hike to stall out. Frustration, over the pain and injury itself. Depression, over the failure of reaching our goal and losing contact with such a wonderful sense of camaraderie we had with the whole trail community. Happy that I’m not pounding away on a laptop, airplanes and a mobile phone for 60 hours a week.IMG_6747.JPG
Hiking the PCT everyday has kept our lives simple and incredibly rewarding. You achieve a big physigcal goal every day in a settling that is absolutely spectacular. Figure 8 and I have felt our relationship and marriage grow broader and deeper. Sure, these temporary question marks do cause stress. We traded the chaos and negativity of the daily news for conversations about nature, waterfalls, flora and fauna. We had successfully replaced the hustle and bustle of traffic and city noise for deer quietly moving through our campsite like we weren’t even there. We’ve had scary moments, amazing sunsets, lots of love and aches & pains but I’d still do it all over again given the chance. We’ve met the most kind hearted Trail Angels along our journey and received the support of our truest Friends and Family in the form of places to stay, logistics, care packages and encouraging words.

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We enjoyed an unbelievable view over Lake Tahoe at this campsite

Where do we go from here? For the last 3 weeks we have enjoyed the continued freedom that renting a little Jeep afforded us. We continued exploring the Eastern Sierras, circled Lake Tahoe, laid on the beach in Santa Cruz, camped on a bluff in Mendocino and wine tasted in Anderson Valley.

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Camping in redwoods in Anderson Valley

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Crazy photo booth at Bonny Doon

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Seeing a familiar face in Santa Cruz💜

Figure 8 would prefer to be back on trail. I could follow her in a car but that wouldn’t quite be the same as us experiencing things together. After being so close together for 4 months, I have a bit of separation anxiety just thinking about it.
#Vanlife is an idea we have talked about often. Buying a used Sprinter or Transit Van that we can up-fit to our own functional yet simple design and use to continue our journey. This is pretty appealing and does make some sort of logical sense.IMG_6741.JPGIMG_6748.JPG
Another option which could serve us well now is to find a month long place to stay inexpensively to rest, heal and make our best plans while I can cook for her, get beat up in Scrabble games and she can still be out on day hikes in the mountains or coast. Where… is the question? Anyone need a Paris trained personal chef for a month?
When we started our sabbatical year, we knew we would begin with our PCT hike. Then likely outfit a van to further travel in Canada or maybe even up to Alaska for another six months. We would’ve used much of this time to scout out a place on the West Coast (combination of mountains and coastline) to start a new business and a new life after the corporate world. Maybe the timing has just been jumbled up? The near term uncertainty is difficult although we still have good plans later in time.

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We looooove the coast in Mendocino

One day, in the not too distant future, we will have a B&B, little cabins to rent or something similar to make our living and continue a lifestyle we have grown to live in and love. Everyone will get a Family and Friends rate because everyone we will meet and greet will be a new Friend.
I share all these thoughts, in part, because it’s therapeutic for me to get it all out in the open. But truly, all suggested spins of the Twister Board Arrow, Compass or Map will be appreciated for our life’s next steps. We have camped most of the last three weeks and are enjoying a night in AC and wifi to try to get a game plan together. We have plenty of time and a willing ear as we sort through all sorts of options right now.