The Flip Flop (Mile 1322-1497)

A Miricle Hitch

So, I’ve reached Canada (the normal end point of the PCT) but have decided to go back to the Sierras to finish up some miles. The big question on my mind the week leading up to traveling back down to the Sierras was ‘How in the world am I going to get back to California?’


Well, the plan for my tramily was to get a series of hitches in the remote Washington wilderness that would lead us to Seattle. From there we would catch a series of Greyhound busses to our chosen destination. However, as we were walking thr 30 miles back to a Washington road to find a hitch Recon (a friend we met on trail) said his dad may possibly be able to give us a ride. Recons dad met at us the trail head with pules of fruit, loads of beer, and an assortment of candy. After chatting with him he offered us a ride all the way to Seattle! That’s 4+ hours in a car with stinky strangers he just met. I couldn’t believe the generosity, and he saved us from multiple days of hitching on the side of the road. We ended the day in a hotel in Seattle, freshly showered with full stomachs, eagerly awaiting the continental breakfast that would be served the next morning.


The New Plan

As mentioned, I’ve reached the Canadian border but still want to finish up the miles I skipped early on. I had skipped from Kennedy Meadows South to Chester, essentially the beginning of the Sierras to Northern California, due to high snownconditions and potentially deadly river crossings. Now that most of the snow has melted, it’s time to enter the promised land: the Sierra Nevadas. I’ll be walking south bound from Chester with my new final destination being Kennedy Meadows South. I’ll keep updating the blog with north bound (or NoBo) miles to try to minimize confusion. At this point I only have about 500 miles left of the PCT! At the beginning of this trip 500 miles would have sounded like a feat, but now 500 miles just sounds like one last month of good times living in the woods.


Back to the Burn

The last section of Washington was quite cold. Most days I would walk uphill for a couple of hours with my puffy jacket on just to warm up. Northern California was just the opposite. Starting from Chester going south means walking through a burn zone for 3-4 days. There’s minimal shade, the ground is ashy, and the sun provides no mercy.

The hottest day was definitely walking up the hill out of Belden. In the heat of the afternoon, we climbed 5000 feet over 6 miles with minimal shade. There was a point where I had to stop every .2 miles because the heat was simply to much. Eventually I came upon a small trickle of a stream and layed there for about an hour and a half, trying to cool my body down.

The Burn zones can be brutal in the heat, but I’ve come to enjoy them. Burn zones are always speckled with small signs of life and rebirth. For example, at the tiny stream where we rested there were loads of wildflowers, with butterflies and bees busy at work pollinating them.


Alone in the Woods

Long story short, the tramily I’ve been walking with each had different plans for this section, so starting in Quincy I began walking by myself for about a week. I was a bit nervous since all throughout the PCT I’ve been surrounded by people and I’ve never had to camp alone while I’ve been out here.

I’ve absolutely loved the section of hiking by myself. Since most people have decided not to go back to the Sierras this year, the trail is mostly empty. I would see about 2 people a day (and we would both be so eager to chat with someone it would often become an hour break in the middle of trail). This allowed for loads of wildlife to come out and many serene hours of introspection.

My favorite night alone was at the top of a mountain that I had all to myself. I watched the sunset with a goregeous panoramic view of mountains on every side and had dinner on a small rock table I created for myself. When I retreated to my tent to watch the finale of the pink sunset I heard a funny sound. There were small chirps coming from all around my tent. I couldn’t quite see what was going on, so I poked my head out to find the largest family of California Quails I had ever seen, curiously inspecting my tent.


Sierra City

I had heard about Sierra Cuty when I began seriously looking into the PCT. Many folks say it’s there favorite town to visit along the trail so I had to stop in.

I was greeted by the most hiker-friendly town I’ve ever been to (which is saying quite a lot). The Red Moose Cafe let me charge my devices and served an excellent breakfast with service that made me feel right at home. Since I’m alone and because not many thru hikers are completing this section of the PCT I felt I was treated like a celebrity throughout the town. At breakfast folks would come up to my table and ask me how the hike was going. I relocated to the public restrooms to have a bird bath and charge my devices and was greeted by an incredible trail angel, Nord. We talked about the culture of thru hikers and I explained how grateful I am to be traveling/interacting with such genuine people. She laughed with me, saying ‘You simply cant be an asshole when your out in the woods for that long.’ Without even asking for it, she offered me a ride back to trail.

One Rainy Day

While I was eating breakfast in the Red Moose Cafe they were playing the news in the background. I was alarmed to see that there was a hurricane hitting California and I was about to be walking into a large rainstorm due to the hurricanes path.

The First full day back on trail it poured. I packed up my tent around 6am and began the long, cold, wet walk to where I was meant to get picked up by Lab Rat and his lovely mom, Katrina. I’ve been backpacking in rain before, but this was different. There was so much rain that most of the trail I was walking on became a river. I couldn’t stop walking for 18 miles because when I did I would become so cold moving became difficult. But then, about around 2pm I smelled smoke. I looked up and was able to see a small cabin with smoke rising out of the chimney.

I quickly ran over to the cabin and started banging on the door. ‘Can I come in?!?’ A voice answered from within and I soon found myself by a stoked fire with another solo female hiker who was taking shelter. We laughed, talked, and dried our clothes for about 30 minutes. I couldn’t belive my luck, I had escaped the pouring rain and was slowly thawing out by the fire.

‘Well, I better keep going’ I told the other hiker, mournfully looking out at the rain. As soon as I said that, the rain stopped and the sun began to shine. I then finished a beautiful 4 miles and was greeted by Lab Rat and Katrina who had graciously brought a dry towel and shirt for me to use and a piping hot cup of hot chocolate.


One of my favorite parts of trail is how quickly a miserable day can turn into the best day ever, and this was definitely one of those days.



I’ve spent the past 7 days resting in Lake Tahoe, thanks to the generosity of Katrina. I’ve loved every second of it, been able to fatten up a bit, and caught up on loads of sleep. My tramily and i head back to trail soon and I’m quite excited to be back in the wilderness. This rest was well needed, and just the thing I needed to be reinvigorated to get back on trail.

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