Stevens to Snoqualmie by nigel grey

It's been a crazy 70 miles, lots of hills and talus covered ridges. About 19,000 feet elevation gained and 18,000 lost. We were surprisingly hungry this morning. 4 eggs, 2 English muffins, 4 bacon strips, 4 sausages, 2 fruit cups, 1 piece of cherry pie, 1 scoop of ice cream, 1 pitcher of water, and 2 coffees to top it off. 

Hitched into Leavenworth, bought new shoes, borrowed bikes, and went grocery shopping

Hitched into Leavenworth, bought new shoes, borrowed bikes, and went grocery shopping

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There were so many mosquitoes and flys on this stretch. At some points it felt like we were starring in a blood-sucking horror movie. Pretty views though and some invigorating alpine lake swims! Thanks for all the comments, they definitely help keep the spirits high for what seems like a long journey ahead! We will be in White Pass in a few days. See you then.

 

-n+c

 

 

Ten days on the trail by nigel grey

We just laid down in our first motel bed of the trip, it's very nice. 

 

Hiking

Hiking

Beers in Skykomish

Beers in Skykomish

Grizzly Peak

Grizzly Peak

I like to pick up any trash on the trail, also there are a lot of mosquitos

I like to pick up any trash on the trail, also there are a lot of mosquitos

Psychedelic mountain pass

Psychedelic mountain pass

Smiling for the camera, not the miles of brush

Smiling for the camera, not the miles of brush

Kiss

Kiss

Lots of crossing over, streams, creeks, rivers, logs, and snow

Lots of crossing over, streams, creeks, rivers, logs, and snow

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Still brushing twice daily

Still brushing twice daily

158 miles done. We are heading to Snoqualmie Pass next... Looks like a fun stretch! Tomorrow is our first "0" day. No hiking, just hanging out. It's been equally hard on the mind and the feet, more than we could have imagined. There's nothing like it. See you in a week or so!

 

-n+c

 

Steady Cruising by nigel grey

Made it to our first resupply in Stehekin ,WA. It's an incredibly beautiful place, we are having a beer and an ice cream sandwich on the lake before the next shuttle comes by to drop us off up the hill. Should be in Skykomish by Wednesday. Very fun times. And also hard. 

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There's no particular order going on there.  

-n+c

Southbound Itinerary by nigel grey

These are some estimated dates for our thruhike. If you want to meet up or send us chocolate bars, feel free! 

Start Seattle June 15 

Camp at Hart's Pass, then head North to the border depending on snow...

6/21--Stehekin

6/27--Skyomish

7/1--Snoqualmie

7/7--White Pass

7/14--Cascade Locks

7/17--Timberline Lodge

7/20--Big Lake Youth Camp (Sisters, OR)

7/25--Elk Lake

7/31--Crater Lake

8/4--Callahan’s Lodge8/10--Seiad Valley

8/18--Castella

8/22--Burney

8/25--Old Station

8/29--Belden

9/3--Sierra City

9/9--Echo Lake 

9/17--Tuolume Meadows

9/21--Vermillion Valley

9/29--Lone Pine

10/1--Kennedy Meadows

10/8--Tehachapi

10/13--Acton

10/19--Wrightwood

10/23--Big Bear City

10/28--Idyllwild

11/1--Warner Springs

11/4--Mt. Laguna

11/6--Campo!

 

--N+C

 

 

 

 

 

 

Packed Up by nigel grey

We've had a jam-packed last 3 weeks. We quit our jobs, hosted South Park's first Alley Sale, and moved out of our tiny apartment. Then we boogied at Nigel's dad's wedding, had a last surf, said goodbye to friends and family in San Diego, and headed to Flagstaff, AZ for the long-awaited "final prep."

The last 1.5 weeks have been filled with fun but mostly just vacuum sealing (thanks Grandma!). We made most everything from scratch (except the pasta). Muesli, jerky, bags of corn/quinoa pasta, potatoes, granola bars, spice packs, turmeric capsules, and a modified selfie stick trekking pole mount. All the work has amounted to some sweet money saving. After adding up the food costs to date, we've spent about $3.50 per person, per day for the next 4.5 months (we'll also supplement with fresh fruits and veggies along the way). Not too shabby. 

Thanks to our new Facebook friend Eric for the generous ride to come from Seattle to Hart's Pass. We will be there by Sunday night to start our hike. It's very exciting, also overwhelming, but mostly just exciting. We couldn't have figured this out without the amazing support from our friends and family. Thank you all! 

Maybruary by nigel grey

It snows in San Diego! I wanted to test out these La Sportiva Synthesis Surround GTX boots before stepping into the Cascades next month, luckily there was a ton (or more like three inches) of snow up on Cuyamaca Peak. I really like shoes, I know I'm not alone in this obsession so maybe this post will be interesting for some. There is a lot of information about footwear for a thru-hike. Before Ray Jardine re-wrote the standard for lightweight backpacking (sometime around 1992), heavy hiking boots were the usual choice for a long walk. The idea was that you needed a lot of support for the massive backpack you wear and to make you feel tough. Everyone feels tough with boots on. But boots are heavy and in effect every ounce you wear, you are carrying with you, sometimes unnecessarily so. I know this isn't a foreign concept, I just wanted to give some background and a summary because ever since that movie Wild came out based on Cheryl Strayed's book a lot of folks seem to think everyone wants to throw their shoes off a cliff after a few weeks on the PCT. This crucial piece of gear doesn't need to be an enemy. These days nobody wears heavy boots, or at least the classic leather Danners on the cover of Wild. Lightweight trail runners are now standard because a sub-twenty pound pack is relatively easy to achieve. Breathability is more desirable than support because a flexible dry foot is a happy foot. This is a difficult goal when it comes to potentially post-holing through miles of late season snow. So we come back to the idea of a protective waterproof boot. These La Sportivas are perfect. Super light (1 pound 10.9 ounces for the pair), breathable and just waterproof enough to keep your feet stoked. I hope this was incredibly interesting, I will do my best to talk about shoes as much as possible. Stay tuned!

North Fork of Big Pine Creek by nigel grey

Last weekend we cruised up the 395 to Big Pine, just outside of Bishop. Truth be told, neither of us have much real backpacking experience and it seemed logical to try some gear and techniques out before heading out for five months on the Pacific Crest Trail. It was a fantastic learning experience. We debated the pros and cons of bear canisters on the way to the trailhead, and both ended up on sort of opposite sides of the issue. Coreen's right arm felt like it immediately became dislocated when shouldering her pack for the first time. I ended up with some kind of evil headache from a lack of caffeine and oxygen (lots of elevation gain in the first two miles). So everything was going quite far from smooth for this test run. It was a little disappointing even. I felt like a total newb, we both did. The hours of preparation and research (what kind of shoes should we wear, how light is my fork, should I wear underwear, what kind of umbrella should we bring?) were all pretty useless when it came down to actually stepping onto a trail. I figured this would be the case though, there are no training substitutes for the real thing. At the end of the day, we made an amazing dinner complete with corn pasta and powdered goats milk. We had some salty chocolate while sipping hot toddies next to an icy cold creek. We slept soundly beneath the stars and dreamed of lighter backpacks and the imminent snow storm we would hike into the next morning. 

We woke with the sun, stoked that the clouds had cleared up ahead, made a quick breakfast and made our way up the trail. This place is super killer, so beautiful. We stopped by the creek and I tried to fish. I have pretty much no idea how to use a Tenkara rod but I look pretty pro in the photo. I successfully scared every fish away with the fly. Nailed it!

At this point all the clouds came back and it started to snow. We pressed on a few more miles to First lake, and decided to turn around and head back once the snow started sticking. It was a good call considering we had a car parked about 4 miles back, and as John Muir once said, "The hot springs are calling and I must go". For anyone else out there planning a thru-hike of the PCT this summer, I would definitely recommend driving to the hot springs near Bishop instead. It's super easy and you hardly have to walk at all. There is a great book called Eastern Sierra Hot Springs and its only $12.95. Way cheaper than quitting your job for half a year. There was a dude who lived in his van with two dogs over at "Little Hot Creek" he must have figured this out many years ago.

The next morning we crushed a sport climbing route in the Owens River Gorge. We usually climb super hard 5.14's and stuff but decided to climb this 5.7 left handed instead.

We camped out near the Buttermilks and watched the sun rise for Coreen's 26th birthday. Happy Birthday Sandwich!

I'm not sure if we are total geniuses or what, but we got this idea to go to a really cool place and go on a run. I don't know if this has a name, but I think it should be called "Cool Running" in the Alabama Hills outside Lone Pine.

I know we aren't entirely ready for what we have planned (can you ever be?) but we figured a bunch of things out, and now our gear looks slightly used. We are still accepting sponsorships, all reasonable offers will be considered. Stay tuned for details on the Super Radical Garage Sale Party! We are getting rid of many awesome things that you probably need. Thanks for reading, have a super bueno Cinco De Mayo!