Tag Archives: California

Amazing Places

We have had the pleasure of visiting some very interesting places over the last six months.  And most have been within half a days drive from our stay in June Lake, California.

We’ve been in the presence of the highest peak and lowest point in the lower 48, the largest (by volume) tree and the largest (by diameter) tree in the world, the oldest known trees in the world, the tallest waterfall in North America, and the tallest trees in the world.  It has been quite an educational experience for all of us!

The highest point in the lower 48!

Mount Whitney, located in the High Sierra Mountains.

Mount Whitney, located in the High Sierra Mountains.

The hottest, driest, and lowest place in the U.S and Western Hemisphere.

Death Valley NP

Badwater Basin

A view of Badwater Basin!

A view of Badwater Basin

The largest known tree by volume.

The General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park!

The General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park

Largest diameter tree.

The General Grant Tree in Kings Canyon National Park!

The General Grant Tree in Kings Canyon National Park

The oldest known living trees!

Located in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in California

Located in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in California

The tallest waterfall in North America at 2,425 feet!

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park

The world’s tallest trees!

Coastal Redwoods in Humboldt County.

Coastal Redwoods in Humboldt County

Coastal Redwoods in the Redwood National and State Parks.

Coastal Redwoods in the Redwood National and State Parks

 

Tim went for a walk

A really long walk on the Pacific Crest Trail is what the summer and fall revolved around for our family.  It has been a memorable experience for all of us, with many priceless lessons learned.  

Our family picture before Tim started his epic journey!

Our family picture before Tim started his epic journey!

Tim set out over a year ago with plans to hike about half of the 2,650 miles of the PCT.  Not really having any idea of what to expect once on the trail, except for what he had gleaned from the copious amounts of reading he had done about the PCT and long distance hiking.  So, we bought gear, made camping reservations for the kids and I, figured out resupply points and approximate dates for meeting up, how to communicate with us while hiking, and countless other logistics in our attempts to reach his goal.  Most of this was done before knowing about the high snowfall year (record setting in places), late snow melt, unforeseen foot problems, near record setting heat waves, wildfires galore, worsening sleep issues, and more homesickness than he had imagined.  

Figuring out the logistics...planning miles, resupply points, alternate routes, etc.

Figuring out the logistics…planning miles, resupply points, alternate routes, etc.

REI, happily accepted much of our time and money!

REI, happily accepted much of our time and money!

The gear, the food, the hours and hours of prep!

The gear, the food, the hours and hours of prep!

One thing Tim has mentioned in hindsight, is that he would have planned this adventure much like how it actually turned out.  Walking half the miles he had planned to, in the same amount of time.  And he would have done more cherry-picking in order to hike “the most scenic” sections of trail during the best time of year!

Walking behind Tunnel Falls.

Walking behind Tunnel Falls.

Views of the magnificent Mt. Hood!

Views of the magnificent Mt. Hood!

The kids and I are so proud of his accomplishments.

The kids and I are so proud of his accomplishments.

Just a walk in the fog-filled woods.

Just a walk in the fog-filled woods.

The beauty of mossy bridges!

The beauty of mossy bridges!

Lessons learned from the trail…

It’s unforgiving on the feet, which slowed him down more than he had anticipated.  He wore out 2 pair of hiking shoes and finished off a pair of hiking boots he picked up from a hiker box.  His feet had blisters on top of blisters in the first 2 weeks on the trail.  In hindsight, he realized that he may not have had these issues had he attempted this venture before his calluses from the steel mill wore off from being a stay-at-home dad.

Epsom salt foot bath after 400 miles of trail under his belt.

Epsom salt foot bath after 400 miles of trail under his belt.

Borrowed boots from the Burney Falls hiker box.

Borrowed boots from the Burney Falls hiker box.

Gorilla tape is superior to duct tape for all things long distance hiking.  This became evident when trying to keep his shoes from tearing up his feet.  And also attempting to keep the corners together of his (very used) tent.

Campsite views of Mt. Jefferson!

Campsite views of Mt. Jefferson!

Water is never hard to come by when hiking in last years “snow”, or as Tim puts it, ice in the mornings and slush by the afternoons.  However, finding the trail is much more difficult in the snow, and worse when you’re one of the first through the area for the season.

Finding the trail in the snow!

Finding the trail in the snow!

All the snow!

All the snow!

Finding a dry place to camp was difficult in the snow!

Finding a dry place to camp was difficult in the snow!

When your already poor sleep quality is exaggerated while on the trail, his reading material helped pass the time.  He was already an avid reader prior to this adventure, so he chose some classics to help pass the time while in the wilderness.

Books that made the trek along the PCT, minus Tom Sawyer: which was left in the hiker box at Burney Falls.

Books that made the trek along the PCT, minus Tom Sawyer: which was left in the hiker box at Burney Falls.

Homesickness was more apparent and at the forefront of much of his thoughts throughout his hike.  He thought seeing the kids and I once a week or so would be enough to keep it at bay; however, it ended up leading to more breaks from the trail.  And these breaks afforded us the opportunity to go on more adventures as a family and to really explore the places we were calling home along the way!  Not to mention, we added six more National Park stamps in the kids passport books.

Resupply trip for dad at Frog Lake.

Resupply trip for Tim at Frog Lake.

Seeing lava fields for the first time at McKenzie Pass!

Seeing lava fields for the first time at McKenzie Pass!

Building walls in Odell Lake!

Building walls in Odell Lake!

Sunset at Odell Lake!

Sunset at Odell Lake!

Camping at Burney Falls!

Camping at Burney Falls!

Exploring Lassen National Park, a beautiful place.

Exploring Lassen National Park, a beautiful place.

I could follow these three for miles!

I could follow these three for miles!

Learning how to purify water with dad!

Learning how to purify water with dad!

Swimming near Indian Falls!

Swimming near Indian Falls!

Learning about gold mining with dad.

Learning about gold mining with dad.

In the end, or maybe even the beginning, Tim knew he had no desire to be a thru-hiker.  After spending the summer and fall on an epic long distance hike he realized the journey was about way more than the amount of miles he walked.  All of the trials and joys he experienced on the trail were very much a part of the adventure.  And what an adventure it has been!

Mt. Jefferson

Mt. Jefferson

Camping amongst the Lava fields, apparently not the most comfortable place to sleep.

Camping amongst the Lava fields, apparently not the most comfortable place to sleep.

Pacific Crest trail, somewhere in Oregon!

Pacific Crest trail, somewhere in Oregon!

Many miles of trail.

Many miles of trail.

The beauty through the wildfire smoke!

The beauty through the wildfire smoke!

Near Lassen Peak

Near Lassen Peak

Water as smooth as glass.

Water as smooth as glass.

unnamed-34

In the midst of Desolation Wilderness near Lake Tahoe.

In the midst of Desolation Wilderness near Lake Tahoe.

What can seem like a never ending trail.

What can seem like a never ending trail.

Walking along the saddle of a mountain ridge.

Walking along the saddle of a mountain ridge.

Tim spent many nights sleeping without his tent.

Tim spent many nights sleeping without his tent.

The trail leading toward the high Sierra.

The trail leading toward the high Sierra.

The GPS tracking of Tim's hike.

The GPS tracking of Tim’s hike. Approximately 6 weeks on the trail walking 650 miles!

The mountains are calling…

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

To bring you up to speed, we have been traveling and living the full-time RV lifestyle for the last two and a half years.  I have been working various assignments around the country as a travel physical therapist.  And my hubs has taken on the role of stay-at-home dad, head chef, dish-washer, laundry-doer, dog-walker-feeder-caretaker, potty-trainer, swim instructor, and teacher of all things; to name a few.  Without either of us, this journey would not be possible; and certainly, a lot less entertaining.

Photo credit: personal photo edited in Canva app

Photo credit: personal photo edited in Canva app

So when your husband, who has played an integral role in the last two and a half years, mentions (on more than one occasion) he would like to attempt a long distance hike; you jump on board and support the h@&$ out of that goal.  Because, obviously I’ve had the easier job over the past couple years, since I get to leave our “tiny home on wheels” everyday and go to work.

THE GOAL: Attempt a 1,500 mile section-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in ~100 days

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

Our current transient lifestyle makes it easier to bring these “crazy” ideas to fruition.  Which also leads to greater flexibility when planning such a monumental feat.  Although preparation is a critical part of this goal, figuring out logistics and making concrete plans has been difficult, because…Mother Nature…she has been here long before us and will be here long after us.  Most of these uncertainties are due to the weather, snow pack, snow melt, miles walked per day, caloric intake/expenditure, unforeseen challenges, etc.

Photo credit: Pinterest

Author unknown Photo credit: Pinterest

I thought I would take a moment to answer a few of the most frequently asked questions and voiced concerns we get from various people we’ve told…

Is Tim going by himself?
Yes, his plan is to hike alone!  He is not afraid of the dark, creepy crawly things, or sleeping outside.  He has been preparing for this adventure for the last year and is looking forward to what the trail has in store for him…physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

What will myself and the kids do without Tim?
Our main purpose will be keeping Tim alive by supplying him with food.  We will be meeting up with him at various trail crossings every five days or so to make sure he has enough calories to make it to the next meet-up.  It should be a pretty adventurous summer and fall, for all of us!

How will Tim protect himself?
Having respect for the wilderness and being aware of his surroundings will certainly come in handy.  That and we’re pretty sure his smell after a few days will deter any predators from wanting him for lunch.  Various other backpacking tips of not cuddling your food at night or sleeping where you eat are also known ways to prevent creatures from visiting.  Oh, AND he will have a Delorme In-reach that can ping his location, provide him with gps maps, text his wife, and send an SOS…so no worries!

Many people, including us, enjoy life indoors with climate controlled environments and food easily attained from the local grocery store.  However, people have lived in and explored the wilderness for centuries.  And they definitely did not have any of our modern day conveniences to make their trek safer.

Dirt paths are usually the best kind of paths.  Photo credit: Pinterest

Dirt paths are usually the best kind of paths. Photo credit: Pinterest

While some people may think we’re crazy (which we may be), many have found our plans to be exciting.  And hopefully this journey will inspire just a few to occasionally live outside their comfort zones.

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

John Muir was a wise man!  Photo credit: Pinterest

John Muir was a wise man! Photo credit: PinterestWander

Salt in the air

As our time on the west coast is nearing an end (at least for the next 6 months), I’m already fearing a future withdraw of the coast and all it has to offer.

photo credit: Pinterest

photo credit: Pinterest

We have now lived on the west coast for nearly a year, and six of those months have been spent within a five minute walk to the beach.  The affinity I have developed for this place is difficult to describe, but I know it’s more than just the salt in the air.  I have no great literary language, nor am I a writer by any stretch of the word, so trying to put into words the feelings I’ve had living here is nearly impossible.

photo credit: Pinterest

photo credit: Pinterest

With that said, a word picture of my big feelings for this place would fail miserably.  So…while these pictures do not do it justice, I’ll try to portray some of the beauty that I have become so fond of and the reason it may feel so hard for me to leave!

(Photo credits: myself and an iPhone)

Mendocino coast

Mendocino coast

My daily drive along Highway 1 from Westport to Fort Bragg!

My daily drive to work along Highway 1 from Westport to Fort Bragg!

The view from our campground at Westport Beach

The view from our campground at Westport Beach

The big trees...nothing like the Northern California coast!  The ocean in your front yard and the redwoods in your backyard (photo credit: Tim, my partner in crime)

The big trees…nothing like the Northern California coast! The ocean in your front yard and the redwoods in your backyard (photo credit: Tim, my partner in crime)

A California coast sunset...never gets old!

A California coast sunset…never gets old!

unnamed-6

Along the PCH somewhere between Bodega Bay and Point Arena

Along the PCH somewhere between Bodega Bay and Point Arena

Westport Beach sunset

Westport Beach sunset

A view you will find all over the west coast...photo of a friend we met in Fort Bragg who ran a surf school!

A view you will find all over the west coast…photo of a friend we met in Fort Bragg who ran a surf school!

Footprints in the sand (photo credit: my gypsy soul sister, Autumn Gillen)

Footprints in the sand (photo credit: my gypsy soul sister, Autumn Gillen)

From the beaches of California to the beautiful mountains of Oregon!

From the beaches of California to the beautiful mountains of Oregon!

We spent the last year surrounded by great wineries!  The view from Cooper Ridge tasting room...delightful wine and lovely atmosphere!

We spent the last year surrounded by great wineries! The view from Cooper Ridge tasting room…delightful wine and lovely atmosphere!

Ruestle Winery in Roseburg, Oregon

Ruestle Winery in Roseburg, Oregon

Toketee Falls

Toketee Falls

Tioga Bridge over the Umpqua River

Tioga Bridge over the Umpqua River

Crater Lake...leaves you speechless!

Crater Lake…leaves you speechless!

The Oregon coast

The Oregon coast

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Heceta Head Lighthouse

The trail leading to the lighthouse

The trail leading to the lighthouse

The Oregon dunes at Honeyman State Park

The Oregon dunes at Honeyman State Park

Back to the California coast...Santa Barbara pier

Back to the California coast…Santa Barbara pier

Palm trees in Santa Barbara

Palm trees in Santa Barbara

The rugged coast along Montaña de Oro State Park

The rugged coast along Montaña de Oro State Park

Wildlife in their natural habitat...the elephant seals of San Simeon

Wildlife in their natural habitat…the elephant seals of San Simeon

Morro Bay, California

Morro Bay, California

The native flowers, the harbor, floating sea otters, and as Griffin puts it "our rock"!

The native flowers, the harbor, floating sea otters, and as Griffin puts it “our rock”!

Morro Bay, California...one of the many places we have called home during our travels!

Morro Bay, California…one of the many places we have called home during our travels!

I’m sure it’s difficult to empathize through just these pictures, but the feelings I have with just looking through them is amazing, and habit-forming, and leaves you wanting more!

photo credit: Pinterest

photo credit: Pinterest

Although our journey so far has been wonderful, it has done little to satisfy my wanderlust.  Quite on the contrary, it has only furthered my desire to go and explore more places, connect with more people, learn more things, and to grow myself along the way!

unnamed-29