Friday, March 23, 2012

March 22, 2012

The night was cold. I woke with frost on everything. D=rt was the only one to put up a shelter, which proved to be smart. Last night the route had us walking through the creek in the canyon. This led to wet and sandy feet. That led to frozen shoes this morning. Frozen solid. Socks, gaiters, shoes, all frozen together. So we had to slowly stretch the shoes until we were able to get them on our feet. Talk about cold!
We finally got to hiking around 8 and made good time through the canyon. So beautiful, and something new around every corner. Such great color, and deep pools of dark green water in stagnant pools. It was amazing! We got to the road to Moab around noon and quickly hiked to town.
We decided to overnight at the Rodeway Inn. D=rt has chaffing, Zach has a blister on the bottom of his foot, and we won't be in a town for 2+ weeks. Mexican food, ice cream, and a bed. This trail is not so bad after all.
I did get a lot of town chores done, and we will be back on the trail early in the morning. This journal may not be updated for a couple weeks!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

March 21, 2012

Finally i am camped under the stars. Last night went later than planned, dinner at 10 pm with Eric, a friend of d=rt and Zach. We began the day by taking the rental car back at 8. Then after getting a permit and breakfast, we were on the trail by 1 pm. Thanks to Eric and his wife for putting up with us for the night and taking us to the trail.
   We started by hiking through Arches, past some amazing rock features. So amazing. We were quickly off trail though, following a natural gas pipeline through open sage brush land. This country is desolate and the feeling of isolation comes quickly once you leave the main highway. I found coyote scat several times in this section. It really felt great to have something else to look for, and i look forward to finding more en route. Of course that means carrying poop for days on end, but it does give me some more purpose for this trip.
    We dropped in to Courthouse Wash this afternoon and found amazing, crystal clear water. I treated it, but only because there was cow poop right by the source. It tastes great though, and i am constantly reminding myself to not take any water source for granted, soon we may be drinking out of standing pools of water.
    The wash is beautiful though, there are walls on both sides, probably 200-500 feet high. We walked in the stream for miles, sinking in deep quicksand from time to time. The biggest threat is losing a shoe, no laughing matter, but with tightly laced shoes, it can be fun to play in a little bit!
    I have thought about Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire a lot today. This backcountry of Arches is what he often spoke of. It is quiet, peaceful, and everything is trying to kill you, sharp thorns, cactus, snakes. If it doesn’t kill you, it will make you suffer. Cold nights, hot days, no water, and the sand has a way of getting into everything!
    Tomorrow we will be in Moab for a quick re-supply. We then will immerse ourselves into some of the most remote sections of this trip. Yeehaw!

March 20, 2012

Here we go! We are en route to Grand junction, Colorado. It still does not feel completely real yet. I think it will feel real once i am out there walking and sleeping under the amazing stars that fill the sky of  the southwest.
Yesterday was an exciting and completely full day. I had conference calls with Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation and two scientists. I will be working on two data collection projects during my trek on the Hayduke Trail. One will be collecting coyote scat for a project with the department of ecology and evolution for Stony Brook University. The second project will be marking populations of Yellow Monkeyflower. I am more than just a little excited to work on both of these projects while hiking and know this data will be useful for the 2 groups.
   Yesterday I also finished moving. Amazing how easy it is to get so much stuff. Not sure how it happens but it does happen. Its all in storage now, and my backpack will have everything needed to survive the next 800 miles. Of course we will get more food in towns. But only the stuff on my back will leave each town with me.
   In today’s world, the more stuff one has, the better off they are seen. I feel free and excited to have the opportunity to do this.
   Now 6 more hours to Grand junction...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

2 days until Utah

  Things are coming together. I finished my exams for the quarter, the storage unit is getting full, freezer is getting empty, apartment is getting empty. All is coming together. My job ended on Thursday, I said goodbyes, and was even given a great going away party.
   Its bitter sweet getting ready to leave on Tuesday. I will miss my apartment, the town of Helena, my coworkers, but most of all I will miss Lauren. I keep reminding both of us that we will be hiking together for 3+ months this summer, constant non-stop contact. Not sure if that makes it any better.
   I am also extremely excited. I have not done a long distance hike since 2007, on the Continental Divide Trail. I can't wait to feel completely free. The weights of the world will be left behind, my biggest worries will be about having enough food and water to get me by.
   I am also excited to see more of the wonderful southwest. I've been to the area before, but now it will be more real than ever, I will be out in the desert for 800 miles and hopefully once again slow my life down to 3 miles per hour. Find myself once again, in the middle of nowhere.
   A couple more days here, and much more to do.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

March 8th, 2012

Well here goes! I  am going hiking leaving March 20th. I am super excited! The last week  or so here has been tough. Its been full of packing, working, and studying. I have told a lot of folks that i am going hiking. I love how different the responses can be.  Some are worried about what i will do for food and water. Others worry about bears and snakes. Many are worried about me having a job after the trail. I am most worried about coming back and having to put gas in my truck $!
  I also run into the folks who are full of support. Some have done something similar, know someone who has, or are wishing they had. They aren't worried about my insurance, 401k, or what i will do when i get home. They know, like i do , that things have a funny way of just working out.
   I have three sponsors for my hikes, all providing their goods for the trip. Superfeet has been so generous, giving me three pairs of insoles, as well as a shirt for my hikes. Balance bar gave me nearly 50 bars and a great shirt as well. Gu has given me a prodeal and is going to send a care package! I am so lucky to have some great support for this crazy summer of hiking!