Sunday, April 13, 2014

4 Days til Start Date...Final Preparations!

Ahhhh yeah! It's starting to feel real! I can actually feel the drum roll pulsing in my veins. I can feel the build up to this one and I'm ready. Feeling strong and prepared. My last post was a long post, so I saved a few of the most recent preparations for this post. Here are few more updates before I set off.

TICKS!
There's wildlife on each trail that people buzz about like rattlesnakes, bears, and cougars. On the AT, there are the dreaded ticks! Apparently ticks are abundant along the Appalachian Trail and many hikers get Lyme Disease which can become serious quite quickly. It's recommended to cover up as much as possible, do regular body checks, stay out of the grass, and treat clothing with the amazing product permathrin. My friend Why Not hiked the trail last year and passed on information for Insect Shield LLC, a company in North Carolina that sells and treats clothing with permethrin. Their repellency is invisible, odorless, EPA registered, and lasts for 70 launderings. I've heard it's amazing and mosquitoes won't even land on me! Here is the link to the form if you're interested in having your clothing treated. They were wonderful to work with! Now it's just the challenge of wearing pants and long sleeves in all that heat and humidity...

Umbrella
I've become a GoLite Chrome Dome fan! I have no idea how I've gone this long in the Northwest without a hiking umbrella. I have friends already on the AT this year who say it's well worth the 8oz of weight. I've been practicing with it and even have a hands-free setup that's working great! Fellow Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador, Joan West(now on the PCT), came up with the perfect way to rig the umbrella to a pack for hands free use. I've found that if you use her rigging and make the bottom loop tight and the upper loop loose, the umbrella centers much better over your head and can be adjusted to the best angle for your situation. Another ultra light rainy tip is to use powder free latex gloves over your gloves in rain to keep them dry.

Trail Haircut
As I usually do, I had my hair cut short to give me less to deal with on trail. I like to have it as short as possible and still be able to pull it back. Mission accomplished. I have developed a gray streak however. I'm choosing to liken it to Bonnie Raitt and a superhero, which I agree are same thing, ha! I have my dad's genes to thank for this. Maybe now less people will mistake me for a teenager.

Meeting Carol & John on the CDT.
Start Details!
I will substitute teach up until I leave on a red eye flight late the night of Tuesday, April 15th. I will fly into Atlanta, GA the morning of the 16th. There I will be picked up by Carol and John, a wonderful couple I met in Glacier at the end of the CDT last summer. I just love how these things work out! They live near Atlanta and offered to pick me up at the airport and shuttle me to the start of the trial. The Appalachian Trail starts at the top of Springer Mtn in northern Georgia. There are two options for starting. One choice is to be dropped off at the top of Springer Mtn. The other option is to do the 9mi Approach Trail that starts at Amicalola Falls State Park. It seems to be 50/50 split of hikers that do the Approach Trail versus those who choose to just start at the top of Springer. I want to hike the Approach Trail. It was once listed in Backpackers Magazine as one of the "Best American Hikes" and am looking forward to seeing the falls. Carol and John use to volunteer at a very popular lodge 5mi in on the approach trail called the Len Foote Hike Inn. They will hike the first half of the approach trail with me and we'll stay the night at the Hike Inn where there are showers and family style meals that are plentiful. I'll officially start the Appalachian Trail on April 17th after a hearty breakfast and four miles on the Approach Trail. I'll be heading out solo and chose mid-week to avoid crowds, but I'm sure there will still be plenty of people around to take my official starting photo atop Springer Mtn. So far, the weather for my start looks great as it will be sunny and 60s. SO PUMPED!!!

Training
I've still been training each Sunday on long hikes and the shorter ones after work if I get an open night. Here are slides from a couple of those hikes. Here are two of my favs from the past week...
During my last long hike in the Gorge. I turned a corner to see this as the sun tried to break through a thick fog. Took my breath away!

For my final training hike, I did the most challenging hike with the most weight! I took the three kids I nanny (7, almost 4, 16mo) on a hike. 2mi to Wahclella Falls in the Gorge. Exhausting, but so worth it! Good times:) I'm going to miss all the families I spend time with that have become my family here!

Here are slides from two of my training hikes. Again, if you're on a smartphone or getting this through email, you'll want to go to the blog for the slideshows to appear.

Oregon Coast Trail 37mi overnight from Nehalem Bay to Seaside on a SUNNY weekend with Fellow Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador Allgood. Friends Drop-N-Roll and Bridget each joined for a day too:)


Tanner Butte, a 17mi round trip hike. It goes up 4,500ft in 8.5mi. A day socked in by fog and rain, but some amazing mystical scenes on the way down.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Bonus Interview With Urbyville!

Leaving Leadore with Stopwatch & Optimist(center)
This past summer on the CDT, I overlapped with the married couple, Stopwatch and Optimist in Southern Montana for 5 days. Their last name is Urbanski so their website is called Urbyville.com. They have hiked the PCT, AT, and CDT and written books about all three trails. Their newest book, A Long Way From Nowhere: A Couple's Journey On The Continental Divide Trail, is about last summer's CDT hike and I'm a "character" in the book! Those that have read the other two books, written by Stopwatch(Julie), this one is different in that they have co-authored the book and alternate chapters. The book was released today on Kindle and paperback.
Camping with Optimist & Stopwatch.
We saw each other off and on for five days, which is a lifetime on trail, and it was refreshing to be with them! They are two of the nicest hikers I've been around and I would have loved to hike with them more. Sometimes there is a combination of energies that could combine to do something great and I feel that when I'm with them. I like being around people who enjoy challenging themselves and push me to be better and do more. They definitely do that for me and I hope our paths cross again on trail.

As part of Urbyville's book release and the start of my Appalachian Trail, Optimist interviewed me. The interview can be seen on their site and I'm excited to read my cameo in the book, ha! Here is the link to the interview, "Go Walking With Wired." Enjoy!
Screenshot of the interview on Urbyville.com

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

8 Days til Start Date...Appalachian Trail Planning & Prep

I've been procrastinating this post because, as those who have followed me for awhile know, I greatly detest the planning part of hiking. There is a lot here, but it's all really great information I know you'll all really apprecite! The good news about the Appalachian Trail is that there is very little planning required! I could have shown up at Springer Mtn, GA (the southern terminus) with just my gear and a few days of food and I would have been fine. I still like to be prepared and have a general plan, so here is what I've done over the last few months in preparation for walking 2, 185mi from Georgia to Maine.

Awol's A.T. Guide
The most popular guide used for the AT is Awol's A.T. Guide. Hikers absolutely LOVE this guide and most don't even carry maps because the trail is frequently blazed (marked) with a white blaze on the trees. You'll notice if you get off trail because the blazes will be a different color or not there at all. There is even a digital version that came out this year to keep on phones with direct links to sites and phone numbers. Before that came out, I had already scanned the book so I have the whole trail with me at all times and I don't have to worry if I lose a page or miss a resupply box. I will mention that another guide has been made by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in an effort to have the funds kick back to the trail more directly, but user reviews thus far say it is not up to par with the A.T. Guide and needs more improvements.

Here are two pages so you can see how the A.T. Guide is laid out. The guide can be bought northbound and southbound. The pages are the size of a half sheet of paper, printed double-sided, and can be purchased unbounded to use as loose leaf pages. It's like a data book that lists significant sites and locations for shelters, water, towns, viewpoints, roads, parking, side trails, etc. There is also a nifty visual of the elevation to see how much torture you're headed towards.  There are town pages with information and contacts for the major towns along the trail. So far, the only improvement I would suggest for the guide is for it to have a general overview section where hikers can see the order of towns and distance between them and page numbers to locate them. I don't know the area and it made organizing my resupplies and schedule very time consuming.


Resupplies!



Mountain Houses! Thanks Dennis!
On my previous trails, I've put together resupply boxes that my step mom, Robin sends me so that I don't have to take the time and effort to shop in towns. For the Appalachian Trail, sending resupply boxes to every town can cost you more than it's worth. My friends that have hiked the trail say there are many times that you arrive to town and still have an abundance of food due to all the trail magic and opportunities to buy meals as you walk through towns. There are only a few towns where it's recommended to send boxes along the AT, but for the most part, the trail goes right through town and by a grocery store that is stocked for hikers. It is very appealing to my side that hates planning to not do resupply boxes.
Thanks Corinna & Glenn!

However, I have the unique fortune of having many blog followers send care packages as a support and thank you for all the blogging. You all are AWESOME and it is really fun for me to get these care packages! After three trails, my Robin and I have this down to a science at this point. All care packages are sent to a PO Box I have posted on my site that Robin checks. She then spreads out over multiple resupplies. The strategy for the AT is to send boxes if there are care packages to be sent and I'll supplement the rest from the local grocery store.


Visiting my Care Package PO Box in S Illinois with Robin!

Resupplies with Robin & Bubby!
For Christmas I went home to Southern Illinois and visited my PO Box with Robin. I got to meet the post masters who handle all the care packages and even had a letter in the PO Box waiting for me. So fun!

In February, I went to Kansas City to visit family and took the opportunity to bring Robin some other supplies she could put in the resupplies like almonds, baby wipes, candy, etc. Even my Bubby (grandma) got in on the action and helped portion out things!



Thanks Malto!!!




I want to share two of the coolest care packages I've gotten. One of them is from a fellow PCT 2011 hiker named Malto who lives and works in Hershey, PA...at the headquarters for Hersheys Chocolate! Malto is going to give me the full tour of Hersheys when I go through PA and sent me a 12lb box of Hersheys chocolate products that I will gladly eat before they melt on the trail! 

THANK YOU DAN!!!
The most recent surprise I got is from my friend Dan, who is the father of a PCT 2011 hiker and has sent memorable care packages for each of my hikes. Just the other day, I got his most recent gift...two embroidered Wired hats in my Wired colors! I want to thank Precision Embroidery & Digitizing for finding a way to make these off a scanned photo of my Wired stamp. They are absolutely perfect! One of them I will wear on the trail and the other one is to be saved for if/when I finish and has the triple crown on the back...SO COOL!!! I also want to remind everyone that my stamp was created by my friend Funhog who is a wonderful trail angel that can make personalized stamps for other hikers too!

Guthook's AT Hiker App
I won't be carrying maps with me, but I like to have something to visually see where I'm at and help me out if I get turned around. Fellow Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador, Guthook,  has created apps for many trails including the AT, PCT, & CDT(coming soon). I've heard great things about his apps, but have yet to try them out. I now have his apps for the Appalachian Trail and Long Trail(trail I hope to do in VT after the AT) loaded on my phone and I love them already! Here is a visual.

The app is really user friendly, has a ton of features, and everything I could ask for in the palm of my hand! There is a topo map to see where you are on trail with icons of important landmarks/locations that correlate with the A.T. Guide so there is no confusion when using both.. Each icon can be selected for detailed information that includes photos, information, and a trail register where hikers can make notes for others. The elevation chart also has the icons. Excellent! Here is a video Guthook made if you want to see the app in action. For those viewing this in email or by smartphone, you'll need to go to the actual website to view the videos below. Go to Guthook's site to see all the video demos he's made. I know many of you cringe at all this technology on the trail, but watch these videos of how the app works in use and you can't help but be amazed at all it can do! I bow to you Guthook and look forward to meeting officially along the AT so I can bow in person!



Peanut Eater's AT Planner
Many who hike like to just be spontaneous and have no schedule. Each hiker is different, but for my circumstances and coordinating purposes, I like to have a planner. Triple crowner, Peanut Eater made his own planner for the CDT and AT that he has kindly passed on to other hikers and I am SO GRATEFUL that he's shared it. Here is a link for anyone that would like to download it. You will need to tailor it to fit your hike and where you plan to stop and you'll need to double check hotels/POs, but it's a good place to start! The planner helps me to see where I'll be when and lets me see how many miles/days it is between legs. I used it on the CDT and I'm able to adjust it through Google Docs as I go and it immediately updates for anyone I've shared it with, like friends I'll be meeting along the trail and Robin for resupply updates. I'll be posting a version of it to my Care Package tab so people can get an idea of my schedule. I love it!!! Thank you Peanut Eater!

Whew, I'm sure you're tired from reading all this. Now just imagine having to actually plan it all! Almost there!


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

14 Days til Start Date...Appalachian Trail Overview

**Note: Be proud of me! I resisted the urge to watch the return of The Mindy Project and the newest Survivor episode until I finished this post. That was a big test in self control, but the carrot of the shows as a reward was a great motivator. Can't wait to watch them tomorrow!

I've been answering a lot of the same questions lately as my start date for the Appalachian Trail approaches. I realized that I haven't given much background on this trail I'm set to spend 4-5 months hiking along. Here are the answers the most asked questions I've gotten lately...

How Does The AT Compare to the PCT & CDT?
Thanks to gravitysmith.com for this photo:)
-The Appalachian Trail is arguably the most known trail in the world and it is vastly different from the other trials (PCT, CDT) I've hiked in the west coast.
-It is 2,185mi from Springer Mtn in northern Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in northern Maine, which is hundreds of miles shorter than the PCT and CDT.
-It is known as the "green tunnel" because it is mostly forested.
-The highest elevation is at just 6,643ft, but the elevation profile is extremely steep with grueling ups and downs on rocky, rooty, muddy trail.
-It will be very hot, humid, buggy, and rainy.
-Most people don't even carry maps as the trail is clearly marked with white blazes on the trees.
-There will be A LOT(2,000+) of other hikers on the trail.
-The trail is much less remote with many road crossings and goes directly through towns frequently. 
-Most who hike the AT are first time thru hikers.
-There is an abundance of trail angels, hostels, and trail magic.
-The hiking window is much wider than other trails with many starting in Jan/Feb/March and less of a threat of snow preventing a finish up north.
-On average over the last 10yrs, just 10-30% of hikers who attempt the trail complete it.
-The AT goes through 14 states. Some states for just a day or even a few miles and others states for hundreds of miles.

Doesn't sound enjoyable, why are you hiking it?
Hahaha, good question! There are many reasons, but the main one is that it feels like the natural progression for me at this point. There is a wonderful build up of momentum and support as I will complete hiking's Triple Crown if I finish, but that is not the driving force for me. I'm interested in experiencing all types of wilderness trails and I can't see why I wouldn't hike on the most known trail of them all. I like challenges and I feel like each long trail I do will challenge me in different ways in which I can learn and grow as a hiker and person.

What will challenge you most on the Appalachian Trial?
The hiking is expected to be pretty tough and slow going with lots of ups and downs, but I think the biggest challenge will definitely be the PEOPLE! There will be over 2,000 thru hikers and since this trail is so close to civilization, there is a lot more access for more than just thru hikers. Those who know me know that I DO NOT function well in a group. I enjoy overlapping with others one-on-one or small groups when it happens, but I like to do things on my schedule and with my gut instincts. When I'm around too many people for extended periods of time, I tend to get very claustrophobic and downright pissy. I'm intentionally starting mid week and a couple weeks later than most starters to hopefully lessen the crowd, but I know I'll be hiking through about 2,000 ahead of me as I hike at a faster pace than most. My friend that started March 18th said he passed 75 people and camped with 50 in one of his first days! I'm not kidding when I say there are lots of thru hikers, day hikers, weekenders, and section hikers on this trail. My strategy is to start late and the crowd will have thinned a bit by the time I catch up as 1/2 drop out in the first half of the hike. Many already have! I know I'll have a month or two of working through the crowd, but it should space out some up north.

What are you looking forward to?
After doing the Continental Divide Trail last year, I can say I'm looking forward to being on a trail that is more developed and signed. Most hikers don't even carry maps on the AT because the trail is well marked with frequent white blazes on trees. This trail could be done with minimal planning and it's nice knowing I could show up without having planned anything with my gear and food for the first leg and be fine. It will also be convenient to have towns closer together which means lighter loads of food and more milkshakes and burgers! I am not looking forward to the quantity of people, but I am excited that I don't know who I may meet each day. It is a social trail and it will be fun to meet a wide range of people. I'm also happy to be hiking with many first time thru hikers. I like experiencing things with people for the first time because it helps me to see it through their eyes and remember how exciting and new it all was for me on my first hike. I think it will help me to appreciate the hike much more.


Will you be sleeping in the shelters?
Two story AT shelter at Gooch Mtn
A unique thing about the AT are the abundance of shelters. These are three walled shelters that sometimes are multi-level and are open to the public on a first come first serve basis. I WILL NOT be using shelters if I can help it. I'm sorry, but the idea of communally sleeping on floors with snoring and stinking hikers while mice run over our faces and Norovirus is passed in the air is just not appealing to me. I am in the minority on this and the shelters are a great safe haven and gathering for most hikers. I may tent nearby shelters as there are usually pit toilets and water sources nearby. I'm hoping my new ZPacks Soloplex tent will give me shelter from the rain and the space I need for a good night of sleep.



How do you plan to hike the AT? Is there a goal?
The main goal is to finish by September 1st as that is the cutoff for each yearly class of triple crowners (PCT, CDT, & AT) and that should be doable. I'd really like to be part of this year's "class" of triple crowners as I have many friends also accomplishing their triple crown this year. Those that know me know I tend to have some kind of a plan and I like having motivators. If I am energized enough I'd like to finish the AT and still have time to complete Vermont's Long Trail which overlaps some with the AT before the AT goes into Maine and finishes at the Canadian border. It is the oldest long distance hiking trail in America and would be an additional 175 miles to complete the part that doesn't overlap with the AT. I think it would be fun to finish the trip at the Canadian border like my other hikes.

I like hiking all day and rising fairly early. The mileage on the AT is much slower as a 20mi day is said to equate to a 25mi day on the other trails I've done due to so much elevation change. The ultimate hike would be if I hiked fast enough to complete both trails in time to stop in Chicago over Labor Day weekend when many of my family members will be there for my nephew's birthday, but I'd have to push for that to happen. I'll just see how I feel and if I get in a groove to do higher miles. I could have started earlier, but I like the challenge and I like working as much as I can before I leave. I try to strike that balance of work and play.

How do you feel? Excited yet?
Physically, I feel really strong and pumped to start hiking. Emotionally, I think it will hit me next week once I've really tied up most of the loose ends. Just the last two days I've had brief moments of excitement that wash over me suddenly. I've always said that I really enjoy my life here in Portland, so I'm not dying to leave. I'm just happy knowing I have another adventure starting soon.

What are you doing for planning and prep?
Again, a wonderful question!...and one I will be answering soon in my next post, so stay tuned! Two weeks left people!!!


Friday, March 21, 2014

26 Days til Start Date...AT Gear Update

I have gotten countless inquiries about my gear choices for the Appalachian Trial and my apologies again for not updating sooner. I've made a few changes from last summer on the CDT. My pack weight has actually increased a bit with some "luxury" items. On the AT, I will be carrying much less food and water than I needed to on the CDT, so figure I can afford a couple bonus items. I'm sure I'll be rethinking that theory as I go up those steep climbs exhausted by heat and humidity!

My final Base Pack Weight for the AT is 13lbs 0.4oz, which is 3.8oz heavier than I carried on the CDT. To see my detailed gear list broken down with weights and prices, you can click on my Gear/Reviews Tab. 

Here are the highlights of my updates and my thought process behind them.

Tent
ZPacks Soloplex!
Many of you will remember my experiences with the ZPacks Hexamid Solo Plus. I found it to be a very strong tent and loved that the cuben fiber stayed taut with wind and moisture. My consistent complaint was how drafty it was and that it didn't feel like a home at the end of the day. Well, this past fall ZPacks solved that problem when it came out with the new and AWESOME Soloplex which has a sewn in bathtub floor and storm doors to provide full rain protection. It solves my issues with the draftiness and provides even more protection from the rain with the option to have exposure if I want. Plus, it is somehow 1.9oz lighter! These tents are not cheap and I didn't even let myself look at it in detail as I could not reason getting another tent.

Then the most amazing thing happened. A blog follower offered to gift me with a new Soloplex! He wishes to remain unnamed, but I want to give a great big THANK YOU to this kind and thoughtful man for making me feel like a kid on Christmas. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Soloplex and now feel ready for those nights of rain along the Appalachian Trail. I'm sure I'll be thanking you every night! I still can't believe I'll be sleeping in this tent.

Shirts
Customized tech shirts in my "wired" colors!
Those who have been following since the beginning know that my colors are kelly green and navy blue. On the CDT and PCT I just inverted the colors choosing one t-shirt and one long sleeved. Since the AT is my triple crown hike, I thought it would be cool to keep the same lucky colors and have the shirts customized. I was very lucky to get in touch with a local manufacturer called Greenlayer that specializes in customized tech shirts. Greenlayer customizes larger orders, but offered to sponsor me the shirts I'd need to have a seamstress combine them into one multi-colored shirt. THANKS Greenlayer! I found the wonderful seamstress Mimi from Mimi's Alterations who combined the shirts to come up with what I'll be wearing for 5 months. THANK YOU Mimi!






Charger
NewTrent PowerPak+
I know that many people go onto the trail to get away from electronics and the internet, but I'm definitely NOT one of those people! Hey, we all have what makes us happy. For me, it's being able to post regularly from the trail, talk or Skype with family/friends, and watch a show in my tent at night if I get the time and battery life. I really liked the Suntactics sCharger-5 solar panel (7oz) for the CDT, but the AT is known at the "green tunnel" and a solar charger will be useless. After much research, I decided on the NewTrent PowerPak+ with 13500 mAh (10.4oz), which I will call my "BRICK." I reasoned this knowing that I won't be carrying a GPS on the AT, so it was a wash in weight. Most hikers who use NewTrent use their lighter Power Pak 11.0 (8.2oz).

I chose the Power Pak+ for many reasons. I want the extra POWER because I know I'll be getting lots of service along the AT with how close it is to towns. I love watching a show in my tent before bed, even for 10mins, and I hope this gives me the freedom to do that. You can see it has two USB ports so I can charge two devices at once and listen to my MP3 player all I want. A feature I really like is that it has a power indicator so I know how much charge is left in the battery and I'm not left guessing.

Umbrella
GoLite Chrome Dome
Believe it or not, living in Portland, I'm just now getting my hiking umbrella. On the PCT and CDT, I had very little to worry about with precipitation. I am NOT looking forward to the rain on the AT. I have plenty of opportunity to test out rain gear in Portland, so I decided to test an umbrella on my long training hikes. It enhanced my enjoyment infinitely! I decided to add the GoLite Chrome Dome (8oz) to my gear list to start the AT. I'm considering it a luxury item and if I find it to be dead weight, I'll send it back home.




Jackets
OR Helium II & Mtn Hardware Ghost Whisperer
I've gone back and forth on this one. Do I buy a heavier rain jacket? Do I use my lighter down insulating jacket or my synthetic one that can get wet and be washed easily? The AT is going to be very wet, hot, and humid. But it could also snow randomly. I've heard that many hikers don't even use their rain jacket most of the time because they are so hot they just go without it. I also worried about using my spiffy down jacket in such humidity and that it won't be as insulating if I ruin the down by getting it wet. After talking with others who have done the AT, I've decided to keep my setup, which is the lightest option. My rain jacket is the same one I've used on all the trails, but I do replace it every trail. It is the OR Helium II (6.4oz). Yes, it is an OR infinity product good for a lifetime, but I don't expect any rain jacket to last multiple thru hikes. I figure that with the umbrella I can get away with a lighter rain jacket. My down jacket is the super light and warm Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer (7oz). I don't expect to use it a ton and will keep it safe and dry. So no changes here, but I contemplated it and will change on the trail if these options don't work.

Hanging Rope
I never really paid much attention to my hanging rope, but I rarely use it and hated the room it took up in my pack. While hiking with Bloodbath and Rampage last summer, I found out about the Dyneema Ironwire. It's super light, thin, and strong. The only pain is that it can be tough on hands, but I was excited to update this small piece of gear. It is sold through ZPacks, but I was able to find it in my wired green color on another site. Score!


Food Bag
Another thing I was envious over that Bloodbath and Rampage had on the CDT was the ZPacks Roll Top Blast Food Bag. I was impressed with how durable it was and I like the shape of the bag. There are options to order it in two different shapes and I like the wider option so I can more easily get to things rather than having to dump out the whole bag. It is waterproof and I've read that people have had great results with it around mice. It isn't rodent-proof, but very resistant. 


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

30 Days til Start Date...Trainin' & Rainin'

First off, let me apologize to everyone for my lack of updates. I have been working A LOT and during the little time I have off, I've been trying to do big mile hikes with lots of elevation. I'm pretty tired, but in a good way. The other windows of time I have open have gone to hike planning, seeing friends before I leave, keeping up with my shows (Survivor's pretty good this season!), and just daily life chores. Unfortunately, that has left me with little time and energy to update the blog.

I've been getting emails and inquiries about my planning process for the Appalachian Trail. I will surely get more detailed posts up in a couple weeks about my updated gear (not much) and the logistics of planning for the AT (also not much, ha!). It WILL happen, I promise! I've blocked out time and written it on my calendar to make it happen.

I start on April 17th and it's really snuck up on me. Just one more month! The training hikes I've been doing have been perfect for the AT. Lots of elevation and RAIN, ha! Many people have asked me why I feel the need to train for the AT? My endurance isn't a problem, but I know I'm prone to ankle problems and shin splints on steep ups and downs, so I'm doing it to hopefully prevent injury early on. The AT does not start out flat. I want to have my body accustomed to carrying a full pack with lots of elevation change.  Those of you on my Facebook Page have seen many of these pictures as I've tried to post as I train.

Below are the slideshows of my training hikes so far. I only have Sundays as my full day off to hike, so I've been doing 16-18mi hikes with lots of elevation and ~24lbs of pack weight. During the week, I tend to have a couple evenings open and I've tried to do shorter hikes when I can fit them in. You'll see why I LOVE living in Portland, OR so much. There are never ending choices of hikes with pretty great scenery....even in the RAIN! I'm going to the coast for an overnight along the Oregon Coast Trail this weekend. LOVE IT!

If you're an email subscriber, you'll need to click on the title in the email to redirect to the blog to see the slideshows below. The slideshows DO NOT show on emails. So here are the beautiful pictures...

Forest Park on the Wildwood Trail from Lower Macleay to Council Crest and back on a COLD and RAINY day. 


Larch Mtn in the Columbia Gorge on another RAINY day.



Munra Pt in the Columbia Gorge with my local hiking twin (and PCT 2012er), Bacon Bit! 


Rock of Ages (long loop) in the Columbia Gorge....ending in pouring cold rain!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Kids, Presentations, and Moose!

This coming weekend I'll kick off my training for the Appalachian Trail. Over the next 7 weeks, I will start journaling about my AT prep and I'll be starting on April 17th. In the meantime, I wanted to update everyone on what I've been up to...

Live Interview With Rockin's Classes  
Click here to see my interview with Rockin's class.

Those of you who have followed this blog know my good friend and fellow hiker Rockin', who keeps the awesome blog Lady On A Rock. Rockin' is a teacher in Central California and last year she developed a curriculum that educates youth about the trail called tHInK outsidE. Rockin' is currently guiding two of her classes through this 8 week(on class a week) curriculum in which they learn about everything from choosing backpacking gear, to leave no trace ethics, and even get to hike on the PCT. As part of the curriculum, Rockin' and I set up times for the classes to interview me over FaceTime. It was great fun and I just love that Rockin' is doing this with her students. She even videotaped one of the interviews for public viewing on the tHInK outsidE blog, so check it out!

Moose Commercial
Another random fun event from the last couple of weeks is that an ad agency came across one of my Glacier Park videos of a moose at camp. They asked to use the clip in a commercial that will appear online in various places so you may see it somewhere. The fun part was that Bloodbath, Rampage, and I each got paid more than I make in a day of work for the short clip. That's gonna get me plenty of burgers and milkshakes in town this summer! Fun times.
Here is the commercial. I honestly don't get the theme of the commercials, but that is why I'm not in advertising! You can click on the others in the set (that don't have my video) displayed after this video plays to get the idea of the theme. Notice the "wired" green!


Here is the original full length video is you're interested...


Presentations
I had my final local CDT presentation this week at the Mazamas Mountaineering Center. I didn't expect much of a crowd having already done 7 local CDT presentations, but 100 people showed and it was a great way to say goodbye to the CDT! I have a special presentation on my 2011 PCT hike set for next week that is open to the public. Just a heads up that it will be limited to about an hour and geared toward those with little background in thru hiking and knowledge of the PCT. Here is the poster.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Wired TrailGroove Interview!

Lots of fun updates for everyone!
Next week, I will be doing my final CDT presentation...

In two weeks, I'm doing a rare presentation on my PCT 2011 hike too!

I'm excited to share with everyone the interview I did with the online magazine, TrailGroove! TrailGroove is a unique and beautiful magazine that comes out about once a month with over 100 pages of awesomeness! The magazine can be viewed by anyone online, and if you like it, you can subscribe for free to have it emailed directly to you. I especially like the plethora of photos, but that's not all. Each issue also includes detailed gear reviews, recipes for the trail, and helpful photography tips.  Click on the photo below to see the 24 page spread (starting on page 15) that includes my interview and many of my favorite photos from the PCT and CDT. This issue also includes a great article about the Appalachian Trail, so GET PUMPED!!!
*For full viewing pleasure, the magazine is intended to be viewed full screen by following the instructions on the TrailGroove site.
http://www.trailgroove.com/issue13.html
Click on the photo to see the full interview (p15).

Saturday, November 30, 2013

An Update & A Break...

Hi Everyone! I wanted to give you all an update on what I've been up to the last couple of months before I take some time off from the blog. Also, I have a possibly exciting new venture I am proposing below, so be sure to keep reading!
I'll probably return to blogging sometime in February when I start planning more for the Appalachian Trail, which I'll be starting in mid April. Those of you who have followed my journal from the beginning know that I tend to only write about my long trips and I like to take a break from blogging when I'm in the "offseason." I will still post updates and photos from time to time on my Walking With Wired Facebook page, so I won't completely disappear. In fact those of you already following on Facebook will find this post to be a bit of a review of things you've already seen.

Since I've been back home, I've had a great time giving CDT presentations around Portland. I still have a few left in the coming months that are listed above. The turnout and feedback from the presentations have been beyond anything I ever imagined.
I did 3 local REI presentations with all three filled to capacity. Love the big screen and the "Wired-posed" crowd!
Presentations and Gear Talk for the Trails Club of Oregon at Nesika Lodge in the Columbia Gorge.
I've been getting many inquiries as to if I will be doing presentations outside of Portland. Nothing is planned at the moment, but I really feel like I could take it to the next level given the opportunity. I've even thought about attempting a "Triple Crown Tour" that I could do next fall in which I could take a month or so to travel around the country and present to larger groups on a grander scale. It's one of those things that is easier said than done...but I've always enjoyed a challenge. If I were to do such a thing, it would require a grass roots kind of effort that I think we could all work together to create. I am just throwing the idea out right now to see if anyone has any bright ideas or suggestions. Feel free to email me if you do!

I've been working a ton to save up for the trail. A lot of people ask how I can afford to take off so much time to thru hike. Well, I work double in the months that I am home by substitute teaching everyday and then babysitting/nannying on weeknights and weekends. The one day I usually have off is Sunday and I've managed to get out on a lot of hikes since I've been home. The fall here has been unusually dry and I've been taking advantage of if before the rain sets in for the winter. I'm pretty worn out, but in a really good way. Really lovin' life right now! Here are some photos for your viewing pleasure to show you why the Northwest made me fall in love with hiking! Happy holidays to everyone and I'll be back in a couple months.
Click here to order your own customized stamp from my friend Funhog.










I went on a hike with Drop-N-Roll to find the Mt Hood Glacier Caves. Just EPIC!
Drop-N-Roll taking it all in.

I seriously think Drop-N-Roll Should submit this photo she took to a photo contest!
Another one of Drop-N-Roll's great photos!
I took a map and compass class with the local Mazamas that was really well taught. It was a full day class that was half day classroom and half day in the field for application. Click here if you're interested in taking the class yourself. Yes, it is ironic that I chose to do this after the CDT and before the AT where I won't even need to carry maps.
Putting my compass to use!
And I've gotten in a few more hikes in the Columbia Gorge and around Mt Hood.
The Columbia Gorge looking down on Bridge of the Gods.
I just can't get enough of the trees!
A hike to Devils Peak lookout tower with a view of the SE side of Mt Hood.





Friday, November 8, 2013

Goin' For The Triple Crown!

I'm making it official...My hope is to hike the Appalachian Trail this coming season in 2014 and complete my triple crown! I will be posting more details on this in the coming months, but for now I'm excited to make the announcement and share with everyone an interview I did with Actionhub.com. It's their feature article for the weekend and the writer, Ariel Black, has done a great job of summarizing how I've transitioned into the backpacking and blogging world. Very proud of this one and still can't believe that's me! Click here to read the full article on Actionhub.com. Here is a screenshot of the article.