Week 1

*** excuse the typos, it's hard to type on our phones***

Also, we plan to post every week!!!

Mileage: 20
Miles: 1-20 

 Feels sooooo great to finally be on the trail!!! This is the day we've been planning for and looking forward to for months!
We got to trail angels Scout and Froto's house at 5:30am which was a convenient short walk from Morgan's house. They had a lovely breakfast for all the hikers they hosted which consisted of French toast with strawberries and fresh whip cream, eggs, fresh fruit, banana bread, coffee, and other assorted pasteries! Once we got in the car to head for the border, it got real. The car was full of nervous excitement and the drive felt very long with our heightened anticipation. 
            All three car loads of hikers jumped out with excitement and rushed over to the monument. Many pictures were taken and we were anxious to get on the trail. We immediately met great people and the day started with ease. We didn't plan to do 20 miles but it felt alright so we did it! We experienced our first bit of trail magic at the campsite where Sherpa made everyone spaghetti. 
            My hiking confidence has been boosted now that I'm on the trail. I was questioning my physical ability to hike so many miles daily, and I know today is the first day, but I feel so so so good and loving this. Now when people ask where we are hiking to, I leave out the "hopefully" and just say "to canada!!!"  

Weather: sunny/ partly cloudy. Not too hot
Music : Metric
Wildlife: little bunny, lizards, horny toads, beautiful butterflies, bats.  
Blisters: ZERO

Mileage: 12
Miles: 20-32
               The second day started off with FREEDOM! There was lot of talk around camp about getting up at 5:30 am and pushing for another 20 miles. We said fuck that noise and decided to sleep until we were ready to get up and took our time getting moving in the morning. We did our first practice of our yoga sequence and it felt great. My feet were howlin at me a little so the yoga felt good to loosen some of my aches up.
              After yoga we made some coffee, ate some breakfast, and enjoyed a friendly conversation with our friend High Pockets. We hope to see him down the road, he was having some issues with his knee so we wish him the best on his journey. We packed up camp, cranked up the jammy pack to11 and hit the trail with smiles and good vibes. 
            Just before we left camp we were starting to feel slightly anxious about being close to the last thru-hikers from our crew (our crew being those who started the same day as us) to leave camp. We kept reminding each other that we aren't on anyone's schedule, but our own and that our anxiety could be expelled through our breath. One big sigh and we left it behind. We felt great about our first day and we were already ahead of our own schedule! 
              The first day was spent playing tag most of the way with our new friends Sunshine and Micheal and we were hoping to run into them again soon. Just as we were pealing out of camp we see them on the trail leaving camp at our same pace! Another beautiful day of tag and wonderful conversation with those two. 
              We stopped with a group of the early hikers at a camp-ground for a mid day break and then continued on to mile 32 to camp at a "dry camp" for the night. 
Met some new fantastic trail buddies and we are looking forward to a yummy meal in Mt. Laguna tomorrow. Yippie!

Weather: slightly cloudy with a wonderful cool breeze and a tiny sprinkle of rain. 
Soundtrack: Devil Makes Three and Railroad Earth
Blisters: Zero
Wildlife: lizards, red tail hawk, cottontail, and woodpecker


Miles: 32-43

It was such a lovely day on the trail today. We went through all sorts of foliage that was beautiful and surprising. One of our breaks was under an oak tree that was surrounded by pine cones. Didn't expect pine cones in Southern California. This morning was a steady climb over some hills and then was pretty flat until we reached the town mount Laguna. Really, we all raced to town because we heard there was a cafe with delicious burgers. We made it to the cafe in Mount Laguna around 2 and ate with fellow hikers. Burgers, salad and beer!
          Over lunch we talked about trail names and Michael and Seth both wanted to name each other Vibes, very funny that they both thought of that but Seth won and Michael's trail name is Vibes (for now). Michael also proposed Manimal to Seth... we'll see if it sticks. Sunshine and Vibes thought of the name Darlin' for me because I'm "small and sweet"... Not sure about that name. They  call Seth and me "Samy" Seth+Amy,  and because we have a lot of things matching, so silly. 
            We had intentions of hiking 16ish miles today but just got sucked into the town crowd. It ended up being a fun day and evening all camping together! 

Weather: sunnnnnny!!!
Soundtrack : my morning jacket, animal collective 
Blisters:  ONE. Hotspots: 2
Wildlife: rubber boa snake, tons of woodpeckers and blue jays, squirrels. 

Gear shake down at Mt Laguna store with Dave. 



              Another amazing day on the PCT! We woke up to an orchestra of bird songs and a cool mountain air. Our plans were to put some bigger miles in so we got up slightly early to get a head start on the day. We were camped at a picnic area on the north end of Mt. Laguna. We weren't supposed to camp there, but we are writing our own rules now......and the locals said it was ok. Packing up is still a long process for us so we saved time on gettin out of camp by eating bars for breakfast.
              Next, we said 'sélamisba' to our BFFs, Vibes and Sunshine, and hit the trail with a little grog in our step. After a short mile we both needed a poop break. We found a nice spot in the sun, dug holes, and relaxed into relief. Along with our bathroom break we also met a nice fellow that goes by the name of Bison. We played tag with Bison all day and had some wonderful trail chats with him. 
              After a few more miles, we took a late breakfast break where the forest ends and the trail starts it's plunge into the hot arid desert. The view was spectacular with the mountains below looking white hot from our cool mountain air perch. Amy did some beautiful Asanas overlooking the desert floor then we turned up Cheese to 11 and jammed down the trail. 
              We made a big push for another picnic area where we took a long mid-day break for much needed lunch and relaxation. The original crew that we left the border with was already relaxing under the big oaks when we arrived. The crew is complete with Fish, Dewey, Masshole, Zan, and Franklinstein. The break was a little longer than expected, but our spirits were high as we pushed off for our final stretch to camp. 
              Amy and I had a great conversation about the origin of thought and how every action is karmicly tied to everything else in the universe.....heady. The spark of this conversation came from an awesome Einstein quote that I read in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. "Evolution has shown that at any given moment out of all conceivable constructions a single one has always proved itself absolutely superior to the rest."
              We cut our hike a couple miles short of our goal so we could fit our daily yoga practice into the day. Our tent is now set at the top of a winding drainage among some flowing green grass next to a horse trough. The setting is some what sereal with rolling hills full of big pink granite boulders and green grass flowing in the early summer breeze. What a wonderful life. 
Weather:SUN, Son!
Wildlife: horny toads that were either making love or fighting, not sure which.
Soundtrack: string cheese incident (Hulaween 2013 first set, FIRE), fruition


Milage: 18
Miles : 59.5-77.5

           Woweeee this wind is wacky. We woke up with the wind blowing like crazy and it was hard to get the day going. After patching up our hot spots, fighting the wind while taking down the tent and quickly eating a granola bar, we hit the trail around 730. Most of the trail was down hill on rocks today which was nice but also put our knees and ankles to the test... Thank goodness we have our hiking poles. 
           We descended along the ridge line the whole way down into the beautiful flat desert. I love this rocky, prickly, flower filled land! Who knew cacti flowers were so beautiful?! 
           Our night ended at the Stage Couch campground where we tried to set up camp in a huge wind storm and our tent collapsed a few times. With frustration, we gave up for a bit and went and hung out in the laundry room which ended up being so great; ate dinner, did yoga, did laundry!! Wind died down and it's a wonderful night.... 2 hours after I wrote this post, we ended up packing up everything and sleeping in the laundry room. we were COVERED in sand and not very happy. 

Weather: WINDY, party cloudy in the morning. 
Wildlife: snakes, lizards, horny toads, lotsa bird. 
Soundtrack: Phish, strfckr 


Mileage: 14
Miles: 77.5-91.5

              Last night was a trip! We woke up at midnight after a couple hours of restless sleep from wind and dust slapping us in the face all night. We packed up our stuff in a rush and ran for cover in the campground laundry room. It was very nice to get out of the crazy wind and get some rest. I was quite worried about all the fine dust working its way into every piece of our gear....I'm a little anal about my gear. 
             After a quick breakfast of granola bars we packed up our stuff and headed for the rode to hitch to the town of Julian. After a few minutes a lady stopped and said she was acting as the local trail angle taxi for the day and gave us a ride all the way to Julian. She had lots of stories from her days of working in 17 of our countrie's national parks and of the years she has spent hiking sections of the PCT. 
              We got dropped off in the middle of the one street town and we went into the first bakery we saw. There has been a lot of talk about a pie shop in Julian that gives thru hikers free pie and a sandwich when we show our permit. The bakery/cafe we chose at first was not the right one, but we decided to get some breakfast and coffee any way. After coffee we talked to the town drunks who were totally trashed at 10 am and then went grocery shopping while we waited for the pie shop to serve the sandwiches. 
              While in Julian we were reunited with Masshole, Dewey, Zan, and Franklinstein, but they were just arriving for a 4 day layover to heal their aching bones. After we collected our free pie and sandwich we went to the road to hitch and there was the same lady that have us a ride in the morning! She drove us right back to where we left the trail the day before and we took off into the San Filipe mountains. 
               The trail was very exposed today and all uphill, but it wasn't a very hot day so the hiking was nice. We powered through the first 5 miles very quickly. With fresh water and food our packs felt a little uncomfortable so it took a little warming up at first. At our second break and around 9.5 miles we reunited with Fish who had broken off from the Masshole crowd. 
              After catching up with Fish and meeting his new hiking partners, which are two girls, Amelia and Nevada, we hit the trail again for the last 4.5 miles for the day. A mile later I rolled my ankle for the first (and hopefully last) time on the trail! It wasn't a bad roll so I wrapped it and kept going. There was some confusion as to where the water cache was, but after we found it we set up camp and made a dinner of rice and instant potatoes. Fish and the girls camped with us and Fish shared his version of a backcountry hot toddy. We Shared tunes, laughs, and drinks under a sky of stars at the end of another wonderful day on the trail. 

Weather: sunny, mild temps
Sound track: Katie's playlist!


Milage: 14.5

WE MADE IT 100 MILES!!!!! 

           I hate packing my pack!! If one thing is in the wrong place, the whole thing feels off and uneven. It can make mornings a bit rough, but it's getting easier! Packing, plus windy weather, plus a hungry tummy= a not very smiley Amy...
         The hike was pretty easy today, lots of switch backs and not too steep. We went from super dry desert down into a beautiful valley of flowing grass and beautiful wild flowers, it was amazing!!! We took it slow and took lots of pictures today, which I loved! 
       We are still taking breaks and nursing our feet, thank goodness! Everyday I am grateful for how strong my body is! 
       We are cowboy camping under the iconic eagle rock.  So, so beautiful!!! The sunset is unbelievable tonight and I got to talk to some friends from home which made me so happy. Definitely missing my lady friends and all of my favorite things in Portland, but at the same time I am loving meeting everyone on this trail!! 

Soundtrack: Of Montreal 
Weather: sunnnnnny and warm! 
Blisters: a couple. Whateverrrr. 

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

              We plan on practicing this sequence daily as a way of warming up or cooling down our bodies and stretching out any kinks, both physical and spiritual, that we feel throughout our hike. It is based on an extremely shortened version of the primary Ashtanga series with some added variations and asanas. 
              For me, Seth, I practice yoga primarily as a way to sharpen my focus with my meditation and to connect with the infinite. The Ashtanga lineage of yoga, for me, encompasses a perfect balance of the physical and the spiritual, even though the line between the two is vanishing in my life. The asanas (postures) only represent a tool that is used to get at something beyond the asana and the physical practice of it all, something that has many different names like God, eternity, stillness, or the void. 
              This practice will hopefully help me stay present with each incredible moment of our journey and give me space to surrender to the Great Spirit that is us all. I also look forward to the physical benefits of this quick, simple, and wonderful sequence that we both put together.
              I, Amy, practice yoga to connect with myself, tune into my body, and quiet my mind. It's my time to truly tap into what's happening with my body and also what's happening in my life and process it all. Whether it's through a slower Yin practice with deeper breathing and longer asana holds with a longer meditation, or a faster vinyasa  to get my blood pumping, yoga is my way to rejuvenate. 
              I look forward to having this practice be a part of our journey as it's a perfect way to get our bodies loose and our minds focused before the miles. 

Surya Namaskara A (x3)
Surya Namaskara B (x2)
Surya Namaskara C (variation)

Pada Hastasana (Forward Fold A,B)
Prasarita Padottanasana A,B,C (Triangle)
Garudasana (Eagle)
Tadasana (Tree)
Utthita Parsvasahita (Standing head to toe) 
Baddha Konasana A,B,C (Butterfly)
Janu Sirsasana (Sitting Head to Toe) 
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon)
Ardha-Matsyendrasana (Sine Twist) 
Shavasana/Closing Meditation 


Green pickled strawberries

              As I walked down the trail the other day, I had a thought about predestined actions. I thought about if destiny were real and if everything on my hike was already determined, when would the moment be that I rolled my ankle, IF I rolled my ankle. I imagined seeing my journey as one continuous image of myself and a little red blinking light indicating the moment I rolled my ankle. 
              Then I brought my attention to the present moment and thought about where my choice was in the matter? I believe in Karma, or the formation of a life path through the influence of  everything at work in the universe. Or, a life path that is formed by the influence of both genetics and environment. Karma is actually a difficult concept to sum up in a one-liner.....My understanding of karma is that everything in the universe is connected to everything else, including thoughts and ideas, and by thinking or acting we send ripples out into the universe that have an effect on everything else. The effect of your ripple will most likely be strongest to the things most directly in your life or closest to you. 
              Now with that understanding of karma, I still want control god damn it! Where is my choice? As I mindlessly hike along the trail I realize that my body is going through the motions while my mind is elsewhere, not present with where my feet are stepping. As my body mindlessly goes through the motions I get the feeling that my life's path is being played out for me according to karmic law or a bunch of ripples that I may or may not have started.
              Next, when I brought all of my attention to the present moment and focused on what I was doing, I felt completely in control. Mindlessness is where we fall into a karmic path and mindfulness is where we take over the controls and manifest our own destiny! The choice only exists if we are present for it.  True freedom only exists when we show up with all of our attention in NOW. 
                 Then the thought came up of the things that I don't and will never have control over like the forces of nature. The wind was howling last night to the point of being so stressed by the flying dust everywhere that I was exhausted. Our reality is co-manifested by all of the conciousness in the universe, which really is one continuous eternal force that is beyond seperation or dualism, but to wrap my head around where my choice is I am going to talk in a dualistic context. 
            The karmic ripples that effect me in my life that are out of my control are the ones like weather and what other people do around me. Though those things are out of my control, my reaction to those things are still in my control with enough presence. Our beliefs and our thoughts are what create our reality, or at least our perseption of it. An what more is reality but subjective perception? 
              As I say all of this I also recognize that all truths are but a half truth because for anything to exist, including a concept, it also has to NOT exist in order for the basic law of 'opposite and equal reaction' to apply. The fundamental understanding of eternity means that all things exist, therefore, all truths are true....and NOT true!! Woah. I mean the scientific community agrees that eternity is a real thing right? It's mathematics......
                Wondering thoughts from the trail to be continued........


Our kick-off party and departure

Wowee!!! We are overwhelmed with the amount of support and love we've been receiving from our friends and family! 

We are on our way to San Diego and the past week has been a blur of excitement and nervousness. Yesterday we ran around town finishing up our errands and making final checks on our to-do lists (I have probably written 200 to-do lists in the last 3 months). Just when I almost had a breakdown from being over-whelmed, my friends were there to make me laugh and make us dinner.  Laughter and yummy food certainly cure all!!


On Saturday we had a kick off party which ended up being a whole weekend celebration. 
Our amazing friends/roommates took us out for brunch at our favorite spot, Sweedeedee, and we savored every bite while thinking about how much we will miss all of the food in Portland for 6 months. 
Seth's work friends from Bend came up and all of our Portland friends came over to celebrate. We started the day with sitting in the sun  and playing a game of sloshball (kickball with a beer in hand at all time). Shortly after, friends showed up at our house, shared delicious food and drinks and enjoyed each other's company around the bon fire.  

Sweedeedee brunch with Brett, Aniana and Camille!

Really, the kick-off party has been going for weeks. My mom came the other weekend and we had the best time doing all sorts of things around Portland!

(Pittock mansion)
(Tulip festival)

Love From the Road

            It has been so incredible to experience all the encouragement from so many people . Our friends and family have been extremely supportive and encouraging throughout our planning and we appreciate that so much, but what was surprising was all of the excitement and encouragement we have received from strangers since we left Portland. 
              Everywhere we go with our packs people take interest and ask us questions about what we are doing. Once we tell people we are hiking to Canada via the PCT they always get so excited. Through our excitement for our journey they seem to catch the bug. We have had many conversations with people that seem to light up and tell us of some of the journeys they have done themselves. 
          Living out our dreams and living an inspired life seems to be lighting the inspirational fire of others around us, which in turn inspires us even more. It is like a magical blossoming of the communal heart. As we walked down the boardwalk of mission beach in San Diego we were blessed with conversations with many people that are from some of the small hiker towns along the trail. 
              We can't wait to get on the trail and surround ourselves with the PCT community! 

Blog issues!! FIXED!!

We are having some technical issues with blogspot and all of pages aren't showing up... They will be back! So check in in a few days.


"What's your base weight?"

Yes, I do want to be comfortable and have a light pack but the amount of time and stress than can be spent to cut every last ounce is overwhelming.

            (Seth's about 18 pounds)

We did the best we could by investing in light weight gear and putting so much time into picking the best. Once I loaded my pack, it felt light but not super light and I was slightly disappointed. 

             (Amy's about 14 pounds)

Our friend Colin did the PCT last year so he helped us out and completely 'wolverined' our packs. It was then apparent that the saying "ounces add up to pounds and pounds add up to pain" is relevant and we should seriously cut some ounces.  

We began by cutting off the handle of our cups... To save maybe an ounce. Then we took the following out of our packs; 2 solar chargers, heavy rain jackets, my camera case, the stove case, 2 head lamps, heavy stuff saks, my leatherman...

We went to Next Adventure and REI for our LAST trip and bought petzl e-lite headlamps, a sog knife to replace my leatherman, and light weight stuff saks. 

Making those little changes saved us a pound or two. We don't want to obsess over the exact weight because we will figure it out as we go and can send stuff home if we want to, but it is definitely nice to have a lighter pack now! 


Adventures in Blissland

Done with work!!
            I am done with my last shift at work in the Oregon desert! Now all that's left is to CELEBRATE! I am going to miss working with all my amazing friends at Second Nature Cascades; Second Nature employs some of the most incredible, supportive people with the biggest hearts I could imagine. I love all of my Wilderness Therapy family and I hope to see you all over the summer or in the fall! I am so grateful to have a job where most of the time I am excited to go to work and I am continuously challenged to not only support others as best I can, but also work on myself in a very profound way every day......and its in the wilderness! Thank You Second Nature for the opportunity for growth and LOVE!

                  Amy and I got the opportunity to go to the premier of the inspiring documentary called #STANDWITHME! If you get the chance to see this film I would recommend it. It is moving, encouraging, empowering, enraging, and beautifully done. Watching this documentary just further justifies all of the money and time we have put into planning this thru-hike as local, organic, and sustainable as was feasible. I only wish that we would have done more now; e.g. less plastic, more fair trade, and more local companies that care for our planet and the people that inhabit it. 
               The premise of the film is of a 9 year old girl, Vivienne (who was at the premiere!) who wanted to take a stand against slavery around the world by selling lemon-aid at a lemon-aid stand. It started as a huge goal of raising $150,000 usd to free 500 child slaves and evolved into a social movement and the creation of a social-progress lemon-aid company. The film also introduces an artist whose art sparked the movement and the founder of Fair-Trade who has connected us directly to the people who grow our coffee and chocolate and given then a fair price for their hard work. The film paints a picture of how the darkness can be transformed into light just by the actions of one little girl and that there is still a very long road that we can all have a part in building if we just take that first step towards a brighter future. 
Watch the trailer here:

              Two of my best friends, Brett and Alex, play in an AMAZING Phish tribute band, SHAFTY! They were very nice and let me write the setlist for my last show that I will be able to attend for the next 6 months. The set was amazing and some of the shafty crew women put together a choreographed dance that we spontaneously broke into during the song Split Open and Melt. 
              They have been playing out a residency at The Goodfoot for the past few months where they play every Wednesday! Their shows are complete with high screaming peaks, chaotic improvisations, heavy laid funk, low soaring bass bombs, heady fractalized space jams, a most fire light show, and an incredibly supportive and loving phan base that gets DOWN every Wednesday in the middle of a work week. My love for Phish is indescribable and I feel so blessed to be friends with these incredible musicians that have the ability to SLAY the music of Phish and get people out to celebrate the world's greatest band with dance and good cheer. Thank you guys so much for an awesome last show, it was one of the best! Let's do FALL TOUR!!!!