At Least I Got the Sierras Done…

I’m 98 days into my SOBO thru-hike, and there are many things I’m proud of: I was able to walk continuously through Washington and Oregon.  I’ve been able to enjoy various side-trails, waterfalls, and natural wonders not on the PCT itself.  All in all, I’ve completed about 1200+ miles, including my most recent month, walking north through the Sierras.

My thru-hike has not been “normal.”  Yet, it seems apropos.  2021 has not been a normal year. Wildfires. Detours. Smoke. Closures. Early season winter weather.

The planning, alone, has been difficult.  It wasn’t early on, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post.  But, as I went against the grain and hiked north through the Sierras; as early-season winter weather rolled in; I had no choice but to adjust accordingly.

My hope was to be able to walk north, past Tahoe into NorCal, all the way back to Medford, OR (which was where I first flipped.  That was my “hope,” anyway.

But, you don’t always get what you want, and I think the real beauty of a thru-hike is your ability to roll with the punches.  That’s what I am trying to tell myself (and actually believe).  I couldn’t control the wildfires/smoke before, and I can’t control the early-season winter weather.  (On a side note: I am happy that the areas that so desperately needed the moisture are now the areas getting pummeled with rain and snow.)

Life finds a way if you ask me.

Yes, that means my NOBO intentions are now dead. It’s the END of my NOBO trek.  Oh well.  I will have to save the NorCal section for another year, hopefully next July, if I can make my economic and professional plans work.

It’s frustrating; not gonna lie.  I have the time/space now for this hike, but due to these factors beyond my control, I have to think about a later date to “finish” the PCT. Ugh.

I tell myself: I cannot control Mother Nature.  If I was slightly insane, I guess I could go out in the snow, but I’m not.  I’m not a winter-weather mountaineer, plus I’m alone.  I know my own boundaries.  Safety first.

At least I got the Sierras done.

I got the big passes complete. I summited Mt Whitney. I got in some extra miles getting off/on the PCT.  Winning!

As I write, I’m coming off a week off, staying in South Lake Tahoe (thanks to the generosity of an amazing trail angel).  I’m rested, well-fed, warm, and dry.  But, I miss the trail.  I’m bored.  I miss walking. I miss the adventure.

I’ve never felt more ready to resume my SOBO hike, so back south I go.  I’m gonna ride out this most recent (record-setting) storm, and then finish off the SoCal sections (700+ miles) of my Pacific Crest Trail hike.  I’ll do what I can do, and from the groups on social media, I may not be alone!

I still plan to end my trek by mid-December, and now that I’ve had to cut hundreds of miles, I’m no longer pressed for time!

Home, here I come!

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Comments 5

  • WD : Oct 26th

    Ahhh, yes, I know this feeling… I’m just hitting about a month out from the end of my AT Thruhike…the end of the trail leaves lots of time for the mind to wonder (or wander, Ha!). Don’t ponder it much, but instead, just go find things to keep you busy for a bit. Go to the beach, visit a friend, fix broken stuff… that’s what I’m doing. In time, you’ll know exactly what the next step is. 🙂

    • Janine Abdallah : Oct 26th

      I hear that, WD! Thanks for reading!

      Congrats on finishing the AT!

    • Janine : Nov 4th

      Perfectly said, WD! Congrats on finishing your AT hike!! What’s next!??

  • Calzone : Nov 3rd

    I can relate to this a ton! I bailed out of the Sierra in 2019 with the huge snow pack and raging rivers, then attempted to SOBO that section from Chester to Kearsarge after getting to Canada. But some early October storms near Tahoe pushed me off the trail.

    But having a section to come back and finish was like a built in reunion for me and a few members of my tramily. It was really special. But it felt a lot like failure going home from Tahoe without finishing. But it wasn’t failure – it was just the trail changing my plans.

    • Janine : Nov 4th

      Well done, Calzone! You are so right, the trail knows what’s best and it will dictate what’s safe and smart. Glad you were able to get it done! 2019 was a gnarly year!?


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