Day 34. Tomorrow I hit 400 miles. The last 3 days have been full on survival mode with drenching rain, powerful winds and highs in the 40’s. Yesterday the trail was basically a creek for over 10 miles. It’s either hike to stay warm or get in the sleeping bag. But I love how rain brings out the colors and simplifies the forms. It truly feels special to experience these wilderness areas in all of their moods. Every day brings a new and unexpected challenge. The climbs have been relentless and the weather punishing but the beauty has been profound. Most of my days are spent alone seeking a perfect rhythm of breath and footsteps. Usually I’m looking down to navigate the rocks and roots. When I can I raise my eyes to take in the landscape, then return them to the path, my main companion on this journey.
Left the comfortable bed and best shower ever with some reluctance this morning... But the day turned out great! Trail magic at an old school building, burger at a restaurant ón the trail, campsite wíth privy, and most importantly not that much rain! Because I can handle the occasional shower (rain), but just continous rain does me in... #appalachiantrail#at2018#thruhiking#northbound#thetrek#wandelen#rain#goodday
This fab tree decorated with hiker shoes greeted us at Neels Gap, our first stop along trail, as well as the best frozen pizza of my life, and a great little outfitter with everything a thru hiker could desire! #appalachiantrail@mountaincrossings
4 603 hours ago
Benton Mackaye Trail|Day 16-17|31 miles|Total 586|
We woke up to rain through the night. This was as predicted, and Kelsey and I took every precaution we could to keep our belongings dry. The rain was forecasted to last through Wednesday morning, the last time we were able to look at the radar.
It rained on us, off and on, for both days and eventually soaked through our rain jackets and backpacks. With so much moisture in the air, it is hard to keep anything dry.
The trail has been phenomenal through the smokies, so far. The elevation has been manageable on all of our climbs with wide smooth trails, and for the most part does not make you pointlessly climb, to then descend.
We circumnavigated much of Fontana lake on the lakeshore trail, before switching to the Noland creek trail. The lakeshore trail was very flat and allowed many wonderful views of the lake itself, as well as the spillways off the mountain feeding into the lake from multiple valleys. We encountered 3 more wild boar 🐗 on this trail, that ran off as soon as we came into sight.
The Noland creek trail provided a good gradual climb with 2500ft of elevation gain over 9 miles. The climb was not bad and gave us a constant view of the rushing, cascading river next to us.
We crossed dozens of rivers, creeks, and streams today. On 2 of the river crossings, we did not have a choice but to ford the river. With much of the rain we had been receiving, the water levels were certainly high and moving faster than normal. The water came up around mid thigh to waist deep and caused the need for us to jam our trekking poles out in front of us, before we planted the next foot down in the rushing water. The experience definitely got our hearts racing. .
The last few days have been wet and muddy. The bad thing about mud is it’s slippery. The good thing is that it’s soft on the feet. Our mental game was upped as we safely calculated every step.
Yesterday morning had enough steep ups to remind us that we were still in the mountains. Thankfully, the temperatures warmed and wind died down so I tackled it without tears. The afternoons terrain was much more forgiving so we decided to make it a 15 mile day in order to position ourselves for a shorter trek into Fontana Village today.
1 mile before arriving at the shelter last night, after an afternoon of no rain, the sky opened up on us. Thankfully, most people decided to sleep in tents that night so we great-fully slid into the shelter for a warm nights sleep.
Glad we pushed through to have the afternoon for chores.
1st stop was lunch. Our hiker hunger has kicked in and a burger was all we could think about. We checked that box and moved along.
Back in the room, we cranked the heat up to dry things out before heading back at it and are looking forward to a good nights rest in a real bed! Back at it tomorrow. Smokey’s here we come!
4 504 hours ago
An old Jupiter tree near the peak of Cathedral Rocks. The twisted roots seemed to be growing straight through the sandstone. It’s deep roots keeps this tree thriving in these harsh conditions. Being deeply rooted,in my opinion, is so important for anything to thrive in life.
12 1724 hours ago
Oh, Hey Girl! Episode 9 of @backpackerradio features our bud and Sounds of the Trail Correspondent @ljfromvt (aka Hey Girl). Check the link in our profile to learn what it’s like to have spent the last two years hiking ~5,000 miles while interviewing hiker trash along the way. #trekthepct#thetrek
04/03/18 - Nerves and smiles for Brandon Kuehn at the Pacific Crest Trail Southern Terminus a few week ago.
We are excited to share out the first of many images after a successful trip following Brandon to the #pct trailhead for our new film “Constant Thought”. The film follows outdoorsman and Iraq War Veteran, @gingerbeardoutdoors, as he attempts to hike the PCT and engage with the outdoors as a way to manage his PTSD.
Unfortunately, a little after a week and 100 miles on the trail, Brandon sustained a serious injury to his knee. Now off the trail for several weeks and on the path to recovery to continue hiking, we are continuing to follow Brandon and his ever evolving story. More updates soon! #pacificcresttrail#hiking#film#constantthought#thetrek#rei
If he were hydrated enough, there’d be tears in his eyes.
The first 700ish miles of the PCT are desert, which means long waterless stretches in the baking heat. Its not uncommon to have to carry 6+ litres of water at a time.
Luckily, ‘trail angels’ keep caches of water well supplied to make life easier. This one was at the end of a 20 mile dry stretch yesterday.
Here’s the clothing I’ll be bringing along on my thru hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. Bini, hat, and balaclava-like piece for neck and head. From front to back on torso I’ve got a long sleeve silk sleep/very cold weather shirt, a short sleeve synthetic (that I could probably do without), my long sleeve synthetic base layer for hiking in, a thicker wind shirt/synthetic, my down puffy, and a hard shell rain jacket. I’ll hold off on describing it all but let me know if you have any gear questions! The only material items I feel attached to either help me survive or teach me something! #pct#pacificcresttrail#pct2018#thetrek#hiking#gear#hikinggear#brookscascadia#darntoughsocks#stayingwarm#patagoniapuffy#patagoniadown
My little home that changes location every night. Who knew I’d grow so attached to this little dome. Or that sleeping in town, in a bed, would be so hard.
1 1559 hours ago
Staying for the night at mile 246, inside a deserted cabin in the woods.
Then this gorgeous sight shows up in the night skies ✨✨✨
14 2451:27 PM Apr 3, 2018
Day 17, early morning. Left Hillbilly's and back on the trail.
First couple of miles led us through a small community in the desert, then through a wind farm
7 1681:36 PM Mar 31, 2018
At the peak of Mt San Jacinto.
All was covered with snow and ice 🏔️❄️
8 1549:24 PM Mar 28, 2018
Hiking from Idyllwild to the peak of Mt San Jacinto.
First signs of deep snow and gorgeous colors all around
4 1113:11 PM Mar 28, 2018
Around mile 166, came across this wild scene of snow covered burnt out forest.
Still can't believe how the same place can get snow at times, and get consumed by wild fires at others
1 1046:43 AM Mar 22, 2018
~mile 106. Coming nearer to Warner Springs.
Still amazed to be crossing so many different climate zones through last 7 days.
Finally getting the natural power of mountain ranges. They play a major role in setting the climate.
9 1724:02 AM Mar 16, 2018
A 24 mile day ahead.
Dropping down from the forest hills all the way into the desert in one day.
Proving that hiking is an all terrain full body activity! How I wish I’d done more arms day at the gym 💪🏻🏔 #NorthCarolina#AT#TheTrek
2 378:04 PM Apr 14, 2018
We start the PCT tomorrow and here’s our gear! We also got around to publishing our blog. See the link in my bio. *
Pic 1 = Jarrod
Pic 2 = Jess
We got a gear shakedown from the pros at @ourtrailingthought and finally feel like we have everything dialed in. *
No, we’re not carrying two tents 😁 Let us know if you’re curious about any of our gear. #milesbehindus
DAY 14: Certainly the highlight of the day and our hike so far was making it to the summit of Mt. San Jacinto at 10,834 ft! This was the highest mountain both Miles and I have ever climbed, so it was kind of a big deal 🙌🏻
One of my friendships ended last night. We made it all official by deleting each other on social media 🙄 lame, i know. It’s a weird sensation to lose someone that is still alive. But there comes a point when enough is enough. I am glad that this person is doing better than they have, and they have a support system which makes it a bit easier to let go. But it’s weird to have to decide when something (or someone) important to you is not healthy for you anymore. Friendship is a mutualistic relationship, and when someone chooses not to make an effort to care about the other’s feelings and concerns—time and time again—then it cannot move forward. Communication is so key to relationships and to love, whether romantic or platonic. And if there is no communication despite multiple attempts, then it should be re-evaluated, and in this case, it should end. I am not angry, or upset, just a bit disappointed that things could not have been resolved. But I can’t force someone to care, and I can only respect their choices and leave them be. #thegnomadheart