Storms, Unlikley Hitches, and Tramily (Miles 1322-1049)


Peace in Desolation Wilderness

Desolation Wilderness was the first time I truly felt I was in the sierras. The goregeos granite peaks, the icy blue lakes, and the runy trees felt a bit like home. We swam in Aloha lake and just took it easy that day.

The Sierras are truly the main reason why I wanted to hike the PCT. They have become a symbol of refuge and peace for me. When the world seems like it’s going to crap (pandemics, fires, hateful media) I often just imagine myself in the Sierras. They are not just a place of peace for me, but they are peace. They seem to be unchanging, steady, and reliable. I think that’s why I’ve struggled so much watching the Sierras be altered due to fires, heat waves, and cold spats. For me, the effects of climate change are present. I don’t have to imagine how ill be effected by climate change, I am effected. My symbol of peace catches fire each year. I’ve seen so much beauty these past few months, but there is still a building climate grief I carry while I experience this walk. Each turn in the trail I feel the need to appreciate because, in my mind, the trail will change drastically in the next few years and over my lifetime.


Calm Before the Storm

The trail magic that we were spoiled with in the early days is now few and far between. I’ve found that many people don’t know what the PCT is when we get into town. I don’t mind this at all, it’s actually quite enjoyable to explain to someone that I’ve been walking in the woods for almost 5 months and see their expression. But when someone understands thru-hiking culture, or offers any sort of trail magic, it becomes even sweeter.

I was entering a popular trailhead and saw a visitor center. I went in and found two of the most enthusiastic volunteers I’ve ever met. They showered me in snacks, gave me a cold drink, and filled up my water bottle. I saw a little box of discarded hiking poles in a box and started rummaging through them. ‘Are these up for grabs?’ I asked. One of the volunteers then began helping me find the perfect hiking poles. My hiking poles no longer have a tip and have been pretty beat up over the past 2000 miles, but I ended up walking away with brand new hiking poles made of carbon (arguably the best material for poles).

We left the volunteer station well-fed and ready for whatever lay ahead…until the storm hit.


Blown Away…literally

When I got to camp later that night the boys alerted me that there was a big storm coming our way. There had been huge gusts of winds on the ridges that day, bit I hadn’t thought much of it. There was a forecast of up to 85 mph wind in our path and a mixture of snow and rain. We made a plan to walk as fast as we could to the next town, 22 miles away. One of the boys has a really difficult time sleeping with howling wind so we decided if he couldn’t sleep we would all start walking together at night.

Around 1:30am Lab Rat woke me up and Pineapple Boy and I began to pack up our tents. I was tired, but giddy with excitement. We were walking by the light of a full moon in the high sierras, wind howling around us, with the trail all to ourselves. For me there is no doubt that those moments will remain in my top 5 memories of this whole trip. The wind was so strong at times it would blow me straight into the face of one of the granite slabs that surrounded us. I’d try my best to fight it, bracing myself in a linebacker stance, hiking poles spread to keep my balance, but the wind was simply too strong. After one face plant into a granite wall Pineapple coached me through standing up again. I would struggle against the wind trying to get up as quickly as possible, but he just said ‘Take your time’ and then I was slowly able to get up.

We started climbing a magnificent ridge as the sun started to creep across the horizon. Easily my favorite sunrise so far. I was kind of delusional at that point from lack of sleep, exhaustion from fighting the wind most of the morning, and hunger. Every turn on the mountain I would look back at the boys and just yell ‘It’s so beautiful!!!’. I doubt they could hear me over the wind but it truly is lovely being able to share these moments with great friends.

Eventually, after a spat of hail and rain, we made it to the road and began trying to get a hitch. A lovely man let us ride in the back of his truck. Other than the begenning when we were flying down the road with rain pelting our faces it was a spectacular time. It felt like a Rollercoaster that lead to a destination we all wanted. A local pub with an old friend.



At the begenning of this journey, there were a total of 5 people in my tramily (aka trail family). Through a series of sidequests, differing timeliness, and crazy mileage days are tramily was split in half around southern Oregon. BUT we have now been rejoined by Glitter. She flipped down to see us and then booked it to get away from the storm. We finally reunited at a bar in a small town and will be walking together until the Southern Sierras.

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Comments 1

  • Francis J Roix : Sep 2nd

    You are an amazing person! I really like the stories that you tell and the adventure of it all!!!


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