Pacific Crest Trail California Section

PCT SoBo: and so it goes…

PCT SoBo: and so it goes…

Noelle here: Steve and I ambled along, making our way back to the van. He read the group texts from his siblings and the individual texts I had with them separately. I told him about the hikers who'd ended their hike that day due to weather. We hiked along. I could...

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PCT: Day 192: In it to win it! Part 2

PCT: Day 192: In it to win it! Part 2

Miles today: 20Trail miles sum: 2016.8SOBO Trail location: 1322.8Elevation: 5051Spinning on the turntable: Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466. Seong-Jin Cho While I was hiking in the afternoon I had cell reception for a few moments. I saw 30+ messages...

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PCT: Day 192: In it to win it! Part 1

PCT: Day 192: In it to win it! Part 1

Miles today: 20Trail miles sum: 2016.8SOBO Trail location: 1322.8Elevation: 5051Spinning on the turntable: Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466. Seong-Jin Cho It was 26 degrees this morning when I started hiking. Just a tiny bit nippy! I’m such a sucker...

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PCT SoBo: Old Station to Chester

PCT SoBo: Old Station to Chester

Noelle here: It's cold. Holy smokes, it's cold! This morning was supposed to get down to 26. I believe that's probably true. Steve just left the van for day 2. Yesterday he did 27 miles and today will be shorter around 20. I hiked a bit over six miles and realized two...

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PCT: Day 191: Going for broke

PCT: Day 191: Going for broke

Miles today: 27Trail miles sum: 1997.8SOBO Trail location: 1302.8Elevation: 5651Spinning on the turntable: U2: The Joshua Tree It’s so good to be back on the trail! The air is crisp and clear. When we bumped north from Kennedy Meadows to Old Station in June I recall...

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PCT Southbound: Old Station

PCT Southbound: Old Station

Noelle here: Well, we did it! We started our journey back to the trail. While my sister, brother-in-law and I were at the hospital, busting Dad out, Steve was packing up the van. He met us and we all made a little parade down the hospital corridor and to the front...

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PCT: Day 113

PCT: Day 113

Miles today: 24 Trail miles sum: 974.4 Trail location: 1649.5 Elevation: 1718 Spinning on the turntable: Andrea Bochelli: Si' My camp site from last night was close to a snow field and my tent fly was soaked today. The sleeping bag was moist as well. I camped next to...

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PCT: Day 112

PCT: Day 112

Miles today: 25.7 Trail miles sum: 950.4 Trail location: 1625.5 Elevation: 6551 Spinning on the turntable: Waren Zevon: The wind This day was guaranteed to be a long hike right out of the gate. I want to bump up my daily miles and the only way to do that is to hike...

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PCT:  Day Hiking

PCT: Day Hiking

Noelle here: I either hike out with Steve in the mornings if it's a "travel" day for me or I hike out to meet him in the afternoons to come back to the van together. In this particular stretch, if he did 20 miles a day, I got to see him for four days in a row. How...

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PCT: Day 111

PCT: Day 111

Miles today: 19.7 Trail miles sum: 924.6 Trail location: 1599.8 Elevation: 5977 Spinning on the turntable: Boston: Boston The past few days I've been ricocheted up and down the mountains and today was no different. I started the morning with a sharp climb right out of...

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PCT: Day 110

PCT: Day 110

Miles today: 20.0 Trail miles sum: 904.0 Trail location: 1580 Elevation: 6188 Spinning on the turntable: Fitz and the Tantrums: More than just a dream This sign was about ten feet off the ground. I guess big signs equal better target practice? I have noticed several...

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PCT: Day 109

PCT: Day 109

Miles today: 20.3 Trail miles sum: 884.9 Trail location: 1560 Elevation: 6860 Spinning on the turntable: INXS: The very best I started the day on a spicy note. A benefit of the camper van is the refrigerator. I keep a few yogurts handy and eat a banana and yogurt for...

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PCT:  Trinity Alps

PCT: Trinity Alps

Noelle here: This last week has been so beautiful. Steve is trekking through the Trinity Alps. Oh my goodness, the views, the trail, the sunrises & sunsets and the hikers! It's been a good time. I met Bull and Bull Rider as I was meeting Steve to go into Mt...

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PCT: Day 108

PCT: Day 108

Miles today: 18.6 Trail miles sum: 864.6 Trail location: 1539.7 Elevation: 6860 Spinning on the turntable: Audio book: The other side of history: Daily life in the ancient world Nice view to start the day huh? That's Mt. Shasta peeking over the rim. ("Shasta, Shasta,...

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PCT: Day 107

PCT: Day 107

Miles today: 19.9 Trail miles sum: 846 Trail location: 1521.1 Elevation: 6496 Spinning on the turntable: Coldplay: Parachutes Over 4000ft elevation gain today. Let me say that again....4000ft....up... I started at mile 1501 and worked my way to 1520. Woof. I must...

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PCT Van Life: BBQ at the Dam

PCT Van Life: BBQ at the Dam

Noelle here: I met Steve at Centipede Gulch Trailhead yesterday. It was only a short walk from the van and I spent the afternoon relaxed and at peace. We were planning to van camp but it turns out the road is now closed and has been turned back over to Mother Nature....

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PCT: Day 104

PCT: Day 104

Miles today: 16.6 Trail miles sum: 826.1 Trail location: 1501.2 Elevation: 2102 Spinning on the turntable: Coldplay: Parachutes ...and another climb to start the day today! Both yesterday and today I've been able to find a relaxed mentality for hiking. It may be that...

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PCT: Day 103

PCT: Day 103

Miles today: 13.7 Trail miles sum: 809.5 Trail location: 1484.6 Elevation: 2653 Spinning on the turntable: nothing So the poop lab tests indicate that I have c-diff colitis but not giardia. Yeah for me! I'm now taking antibiotics for a week. Yesterday I (yet again)...

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PCT: Day 101

PCT: Day 101

Miles today: 23.9 Trail miles sum: 795 Trail location: 1470.9 Elevation: 2380 Spinning on the turntable: Audio book: The other side of history: Daily life in the ancient world The day began with a climb at 6AM. Early morning climbs are good and bad. Good to get it out...

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PCT: Day 100

PCT: Day 100

Miles today: 18.8 Trail miles sum: 771.7 Trail location: 1447.7 Elevation: 5426 Spinning on the turntable: Audio book: The other side of history: Daily life in the ancient world Have I mentioned that the flowers are magnificent? I found this single bloom down a hill...

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PCT: Day 99

PCT: Day 99

Miles today: 10.8 Trail miles sum: 760 Trail location: 1428.8 Elevation: 2994 Spinning on the turntable: Beach Boys: Pet Sounds We spent last night at a campground. It's a festival atmosphere with everyone flocking in for the 4th of July holiday. After the backwoods...

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PCT: Burney Falls

PCT: Burney Falls

Noelle here. It's July 3rd right now and I'm at Burney Falls State Park. Steve got here yesterday and this morning we viewed the Falls. So I'm a Northwest girl, through and through. I may have been born in the South but my heart definitely belongs in the Pacific NW! I...

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PCT Hat Creek Rim

PCT Hat Creek Rim

Noelle here: We started out early today. It was a cool evening which is great for sleep. Our goal was ambitious for me but the terrain looked doable. And it was so nice out. The Hat Creek Overlook was beautiful. We could see Mt Shasta towards the North. Burney...

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PCT: Day 98

PCT: Day 98

Miles today: 20.8 Trail miles sum: 749.2 Trail location: 1418 Elevation: 2994 Spinning on the turntable: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Best of everything I started hiking at 6AM this morning with "Free falling" in my earbuds. Iconic music with spectacular views...

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PCT: Day 97

PCT: Day 97

Miles today: 19.9 Trail miles sum: 722.1 Trail location: 1397.2 Elevation: 3946 Spinning on the turntable: Sinead O'Connor: I'm not bossy, I'm the boss This is the view out of my tent as I write this today. Today we started hiking the Hat Creek Rim area outside Old...

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PCT: So close to Old Station…but so far away

PCT: So close to Old Station…but so far away

Well...The vans drive shaft is now repaired but I'm a bit sick. Unbelievable. I had a week to be leisurely sick while the van was being repaired and I'm lucky enough to get sick right about the time we'd be returning to trail. I'd been feeling a bit of stomach...

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Van life. Transmission 2

Van life. Transmission 2

Noelle here: We were both feeling so excited. Steve even said he felt giddy with excitement! We figured out a plan to go around the Sierras and get back on to the Pacific Crest Trail. We drove from Kennedy Meadows to Bakersfield and spent a night in a hotel for Fathers Day. We both got […]

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Lunch & Dinner with Rosie’s

Lunch & Dinner with Rosie’s

Noelle here: I had lunch with Rosie today. She's been following our blog and I'm so glad we were able to meet! What a wonderful thing when two strangers can become a part of one another's lives. We met for Mexican food, because well, margaritas and tacos. What a...

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PCT: Hiker Trash & Hiker Town

PCT: Hiker Trash & Hiker Town

Noelle here: I now seem to be collecting trash from hikers. It takes the term Hiker trash to a brand new level. 🤣 I met a couple German women yesterday, who I shared some of Donna's hard boiled eggs with! And I ended up taking their garbage. It's the small things that...

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PCT: Van life

PCT: Van life

Noelle here: Well the nice thing about the van is that I can stay inside when the weather is cold and rainy. 😏 Steve's has some crazy rain-filled days. I saw this group of hikers one afternoon, so darn cold out! I've almost finished my third book this week! I've...

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PCT: Day 59

PCT: Day 59

Miles today: 16.8 Trail miles: 452.9 Elevation: 2482 Spinning on the turntable: The Cranberries: Stars The morning started with clear skies and sunshine. It was a nice change from yesterday! I ditched my jacket and pants within a half hour of starting to hike and...

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PCT: Day 58

PCT: Day 58

Miles today: 17.5 Trail miles: 436.1 Elevation: 4169 Spinning on the turntable: David Gray: A new day at midnight Today was a long, wet, cold hike. When we woke the rain was falling and it really didn't look that inviting outside. Noelle was planning to hike a few...

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PCT: Day 57

PCT: Day 57

Miles today: 15.6 Trail miles: 418.6 Elevation: 4915 Spinning on the turntable: Lizzie: Back to forever With mutual assurances that we wouldn't get ourselves killed today, Noelle and I split up after breakfast. I had a nice relaxing five mile downhill hike. I really...

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PCT: first day back on trail

PCT: first day back on trail

Noelle here: This morning we woke up and were freezing, so we turned on the heater. What a crazy thing! Steve made us some coffee and oatmeal. It was a great start to the day. We drove down to the trailhead, and started out. We returned to where we left off last week,...

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PCT: Day 56: Hiking

PCT: Day 56: Hiking

Miles today: 13.2 Trail miles: 403.0 Elevation: 5867 Spinning on the turntable: Derek and the Dominoes Together we hiked a side trail up to the PCT after a long week's absence from hiking. We parted company at the trail junction with mutual assurances of not getting...

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PCT: Hiking again

PCT: Hiking again

Noelle here: Today we head back up to the mountains and the trail! Last night we stayed in a hotel to watch the finale of Game of Thrones. We may have had time recently to binge this season and catch up. 🤣🤣🤣 A park near us is gearing up for Memorial Day. It was a...

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PCT: Day 56

PCT: Day 56

I camped on and off during my early twenties with my friend Tim. We drank far more than we camped. Fortunately there aren't any pictures to document those expeditions! After camping with Tim I took a few years off from camping to allow my liver to recover before...

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PCT: the smell of wet dogs

PCT: the smell of wet dogs

Noelle here: We woke up at our mostly normal time between 5:30 and 6. The rain was still pouring so we closed our eyes again. Around 9, it seemed dry enough to start packing up. We donned our wet clothes from yesterday amid a fair amount of squeals and laughter from...

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PCT: Day of Reckoning

PCT: Day of Reckoning

Noelle here: I woke up sore from all the falls and sliding yesterday. My shoulder is super stressed. It was a beautiful morning though as we were above the clouds. As we descended, we were in them. I could smell them. Kind of like the smell of rain. Soon it turned to...

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PCT: fav trail town: Wrightwood

PCT: fav trail town: Wrightwood

Noelle here: So admittedly I came here by Uber, bypassing the two-day uphill grind. That already had me feeling relaxed. But this town!!! Everyone asks about our hike, if we have a place to stay and if we need a ride. They really seem to love hikers. 💕 You come to...

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PCT: Day 42

PCT: Day 42

Miles today: 12.2 Trail miles: 369.2 Elevation: 8400'ish Spinning on the turntable: David Guetta: Nothing but the beat Another slog of a day, hiking up, up and up. My ankles are still sore from yesterday. Thankfully my camp mates departed at 6AM and missed the...

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PCT: Day 41

PCT: Day 41

Miles today: 15.3 Trail miles: 357.2 Elevation: 6467 Spinning on the turntable: DMB: Away from the world A very long day of hiking and elevation gain. Gaining 3500 feet over 15 miles hurts my body. I ache tonight. I carried five liters of water to start, and then...

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PCT day 41: Hiking, then not

PCT day 41: Hiking, then not

Noelle here: After a few days of recovery, we started out again this morning. I was excited to get going and we were packed up to leave early.  We passed long trains...or they passed us. We went through a tunnel under the tracks. That was really neat! Then we...

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PCT: Days 38, 39 and 40

PCT: Days 38, 39 and 40

We spent the past three days hanging out and taking it easy so that Noelle could recover from a UTI. We're in a motel in the middle of nowhere. There's a gas station, McDonalds and a Del Taco. We Ubered to a nearby town and did a little shopping and saw a movie. I...

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PCT: Day 37

PCT: Day 37

Miles today: 12.3 Trail miles: 341.9 Elevation: 3055 Spinning on the turntable: The Hooters: Nervous night Green hills We started our day with a humid 500 foot climb out of camp. The landscape is very green. It's a nice contrast from the brown rocks that we spend so...

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PCT:  Wooden Bridges and Buddy

PCT: Wooden Bridges and Buddy

Noelle here: Steve does a great job of writing daily. Me not so much, as I seem to cover more of the major events on my mind through out the week. One of my recent highlights surrounded the grieving of our good, best friend, Buddy. Oh how I miss his tiny little face,...

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PCT: Day 35: Hot springs

PCT: Day 35: Hot springs

Miles today: 14.1 Trail miles: 318 Elevation: 3280 Spinning on the turntable: Keane: Hopes and fears PCT marker Today was a busy day! We headed to Deep creek hot springs (clothing optional) and made it in time for a few hours of early morning soaking before it was too...

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PCT: Day 34: 300

PCT: Day 34: 300

Miles today: 13.9 Trail miles: 303.9 Elevation: 4007 Spinning on the turntable: U2: Slane Castle The priority topic today is hitting 300 miles! It's hard to believe that we're at 300 miles! We both slept terribly last night, so this was a nice bonus to a long grind of...

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PCT: Day 33: Joy?

PCT: Day 33: Joy?

Miles today: 13.3 Trail miles: 289.9 Elevation: 6067 Spinning on the turntable: Yo-Yo Ma: The Essential This morning we passed a young man around 8:30 as he was breaking down his tent. We waved, he waved back, and we continued down the trail. I wish I had stopped and...

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PCT: Day 32

PCT: Day 32

Miles today: 10.5 Trail miles: 276.7 Elevation: 7732 Spinning on the turntable: Bleachers: Strange Desire Big Bear lake was a dud for me. Too much walking between stores and our motel. Food prices (prepared) were crazy high and the quality was so-so. This has been my...

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PCT:  Big Bear

PCT: Big Bear

            Noelle here: We did a pretty quick ten miles down to the highway and then got a ride into Big Bear! Went to the Post Office for our resupply and while we loaded goodies into our backpacks, my Dad called. It was the first reception we'd had in a couple days...

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PCT: Day 30: Rest & Weight loss

PCT: Day 30: Rest & Weight loss

The weight loss results are in from our first 30 days of hiking: Steve has lost 18 lbs and Noelle has lost 14 lbs. I think we're both hungry when we arrive in a town, but we both agree the rumored "hiker hunger" hasn't hit just yet. Soon. Supply package from friends...

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PCT: Day 29: Heading into another trail town, Big Bear

PCT: Day 29: Heading into another trail town, Big Bear

Miles today: 10 Trail miles: 266.2 Elevation: 6832 Spinning on the turntable: Mumford and sons: Babel Today we hustled to make it to the trailhead quickly so that we could go into Big Bear to pick our bounce box up from the post office. We had a nice bit of downhill...

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PCT: 250 miles

PCT: 250 miles

Noelle here: We celebrate with everyone since there seems to be some uncertainty where the real mile marker is! That first one written in the sand, we showed at 249.2, but we still took a picture! I think the last one is the real one. Also Steve said I don't know how...

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Side trip to Urgent Care

Side trip to Urgent Care

Noelle here: We made a rookie mistake and forgot to turn off our GPS for a ride over to urgent care, so it showed all of you that we took a trip to the hospital and we started getting messages about it. No need for alarm though! It's actually my second stop in a week!...

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PCT: Day 28: thinking about resupply

PCT: Day 28: thinking about resupply

Miles today: 16.7 Trail miles: 256.2 Elevation: 7595 Spinning on the turntable: Kid Rock: Born Free Today we needed big miles to make it to the next water source. On the map below we stayed at the arrow on the lower left and we needed to make it to the water symbol at...

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PCT: Day 27:

PCT: Day 27:

Miles today: 7.4 Trail miles: 239.5 Elevation: 7922 Spinning on the turntable: Alanis Morissette: havoc and bright lights Tonight I'm sleeping in two pairs of socks. After the rain/hail/snow it's downright cold. [wpvideo g6Bzmsul ] I've not yet acclimated to high...

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PCT: Mission Creek to Big Bear

PCT: Mission Creek to Big Bear

Noelle here: Traversing through the Mission Creek area was super fun in the morning. It was hot. The creek was cool. We had to use GPS to stay on track a couple times but mostly as long as we roughly followed the creek, we were headed in the right direction. We must...

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PCT: Day 26: Trail?  What trail?

PCT: Day 26: Trail? What trail?

Miles today: 8.6 Trail miles: 232.1 Elevation: 4835 Spinning on the turntable: Coldplay Live in Beunos Aries Today we hiked into the Whitewater river area. Around 9:30 we stopped and chatted with a man named Bret who was hanging out under a tree next to the river....

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Siamese twin lizards

Siamese twin lizards

Noelle here: Yesterday I saw a Siamese twin lizard. I'm not even kidding! It was insane. It would not, however, pose properly so my pictures aren't great. Lizards One was bigger than the other, you can see it's longer tail. Siamese twin lizards They had two complete...

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PCT: Day 23 I-10 Oasis

PCT: Day 23 I-10 Oasis

It’s crazy difficult to hike from freezing conditions to heat stroke conditions within a 24 hour window, but that’s what this PCT section was all about.

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PCT Snow Day 21, Noelle’s perspective

PCT Snow Day 21, Noelle’s perspective

We got a ride from the post office to Deer Springs trailhead from a nice lady. And then we climbed. Climbing up Deer Creek Trail And climbed And just for fun, we climbed some more, till we got this great campground, Strawberry Creek, where we set up for the night. We...

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PCT Trail Names!

PCT Trail Names!

Noelle here: Well, Steve got his trail name! It’s Toboggan! He earned it on Mt San Jacinto as he kept slipping and sliding on the snow and ice. But first, let me back up to a beautiful hamburger at Paradise Cafe! We sat with "Roger That" and ate nachos &...

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PCT: First day without work email

PCT: First day without work email

Making the decision to leave my job was one of the most difficult decisions I've made in my life. Walking away from money on the table was not logical. The safe financial answer was to hunker down and enjoy the benefits of years of hard work. When I announced that I...

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Blues on the trail

Blues on the trail

A couple days last week were super hard for me, as I contemplated quitting the trail. For the better part of one full day I could not get it out of my mind.

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PCT: Day 16: snakes, flowers and scorpions

PCT: Day 16: snakes, flowers and scorpions

Rattlesnake sighting Once the snake had slithered into the brush we high tailed it through this area and put some distance between us and the rattler. After the rattle snake sighting I was on high alert for the rest of the afternoon looking for additional rattlers. It...

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Trail Magic & Hitchhiking

Trail Magic & Hitchhiking

Noelle here: A few days ago we hitch hiked from Scissors Crossing up to the town of Julian. It was an experience! Hitchhiking to Julian On our way up, a very nice man (Scott) picked us up. Steve tried to put his window down a little, just because we smell, but the...

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PCT: Day 14: It’s all about the feet

PCT: Day 14: It’s all about the feet

We started the day with a trip to the post office to mail home shoes and socks. We discussed which child could most easily handle the stench that will assault their nostrils upon opening the box. Guess it's like a lethal lotto for our kids! Who will have the pleasure...

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PCT: Day 13: Zero day diet woes

PCT: Day 13: Zero day diet woes

Today we're zeroing in Warner Springs. Edwardo, my blister, is happy for a day of relaxation and rejuvenation. We walked to the local community center late this afternoon. They host hikers and there's a trail gear company nearby. We wanted to look at different tent...

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PCT: Day 12

PCT: Day 12

Last night we camped close to the Montezuma trail crossing after seeing our daughter/son-in-law and grandkids. It was great to see them so early in the trek! They were in San Diego on holiday so they made the trek out to see us! Family visits on the PCT It was great...

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PCT: The kindness of strangers

PCT: The kindness of strangers

Noelle at a Water Cache Here we were, parked in the middle of nowhere and running low'ish on water. our trusty trail application, Guthook, told us that there was a water cache up ahead. We located the water cache and replenished our supplies. Who fills up the water...

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PCT: Day 8-Windy city

PCT: Day 8-Windy city

Our day began at 2AM when several tent stakes dislodged due to the high wind. Our ultra light frameless tent is great for being light, but wind isn't its strongest suit. [wpvideo 8ng9hukv ] Somewhere around 5:30 we gave up trying to shore it up and just waited for...

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PCT: Day 7

PCT: Day 7

Today was our first resupply package pickup. We had the package shipped to the local post office (thanks JMc!) and retrieved it today when the post office opened at noon. First PCT Resupply The main resupply was vitamins and a few prescription meds. We intentionally...

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PCT: Relax day and kinda sad morning

PCT: Relax day and kinda sad morning

Noelle here for a change: Yesterday we arrived at Mt Laguna. It's a sleepy tiny town with two inns, two restaurants, a post office and one store. We ate dinner last night with two groups that we've really gotten close to in a very short time. Oddly enough it's two...

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PCT: Day 4

PCT: Day 4

It was near freezing last night. Slowly, throughout the night I added additional layers of clothing. I ended up tightening the sleeping bags face cord to minimize my skin exposure. I tried sleeping with my face in the bag but my own body odor was too strong and I gave...

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PCT: Day 3

PCT: Day 3

This was one of those days where it all makes sense. Glorious hiking and lots of new friends. We slogged up the Hauser Creek Canyon early this morning and were treated with great views of Lake Morena. We stoped for a early lunch at a Malt shop near the lake and hung...

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PCT: Day 2

PCT: Day 2

We're still moving things around in our backpacks, looking for items that we thought were here and are not, finding items that have magically appeared and we have no idea why we packed them. Soon we'll figure it out. We cranked out a ten mile hike today. There's some...

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PCT: Day 1

PCT: Day 1

It's hard to believe that we're here, on our PCT journey. So much planning, preparation and a massive amount of nerves have all collided into a sweaty, stinky mess. Today I focused on starting the hike in the right mental zone. I listened to Yann Tiersen and enjoyed...

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PCT: Burning the boats

PCT: Burning the boats

It's 3AM and I'm wide awake. We'll start our day in a few hours; breakfast followed by a car ride to the trails southern terminus. Someone will shoot a few pictures to capture our wide eyed enthusiasm and clean clothes. Shortly after arriving the transport crew will...

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The Journey Begins

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining us!  Today is our 17th wedding anniversary, so it seems like a great day to start sharing our journey.  In a couple days we begin hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.  We're excited and apprehensive, all at the same time.  We hope you'll enjoy following...

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