250 miles later

Hello dear friends!! I have been very negligent in posting on this blog!! Somehow 250 miles have slipped by and we are now in Wrightwood, CA at mile 369. So much has happened since the last post in Warner Springs, it’s overwhelming to think about trying to recount it all. I’ll try to keep it simple, and perhaps brief, as the Wrightwood Library computer is giving me a 30 minute time limit.

Wow, where to start? This has definitely been an adventure so far. It is an incredible opportunity and experience, but it has its fair share of challenging moments. I find I need to remind myself every day that we are CHOOSING to be here and that I should probably stop complaining about my heavy pack, hurting feet, or the boiling (or freezing) temperatures. The past few hundred miles have seen it all: high points and low points (both emotional and literal), 100 degree days and 25 mile waterless sections, snow and freezing temperatures, idyllic mountain towns, barren stretches of desert, and endless mountains. We’ll finish with one mountain pass just to round a bend and see that another awaits us, or finish descending 8,000 feet into a desert basin just to see that another, larger climb is next. The terrain is constantly changing and is constantly up and down. I have moments where I get pointlessly frustrated and mad at the trail, the rocks, the trees, even the little lizards that frequently dart in front of me. Why are we out here walking all day, anyway? What what will we gain from it? But, amidst the frustration, there are so many moments in each day that make it worth it. We’re seeing SO much of the West Coast, and we’re still only in Southern California. The beauty of our surroundings is overwhelming. All we have to do is walk each day, and that affords so much time for thinking and reflecting. It is really an incredible gift. And, we are meeting so many unique, interesting, and amazing people along the way.

After Warner Springs, we hiked about 70 miles through some of the hottest temperatures to Idyllwild, an extremely cute little town nestled in the San Bernadino mountains. During these days, I developed horrible blisters on the tops of both my big toes, and one blister started to get infected. We decided to take a day off in Idyllwild to give the infection some time to heal, which it did (thankfully!!). After Idyllwild we hiked about 5 days to the town of Big Bear (mile 266). AAHHH unfortunately my time on this computer is running short! I will illustrate the rest of this post through pictures. Sorry for the short post! I’ll try not to let so much time pass until the next one. Next town up is Agua Dulce, mile 454, where I think we’ll take a day off. I miss all of you dear friends and family members, and hope everyone is doing well. Thank you ALL for your support and love!!

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Beautiful evening light hiking out of Warner Springs

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Desert and mountains, mile 130ish maybe?


13 miles of the trail was closed due to a fire from last year, forcing us to do a very boring 30 mile detour

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Phil hiked to the summit of Mt. San Jacinto, the 2nd highest peak in southern CA at 10,800ish feet. It had SNOWED the night before.

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Phil with Mt. San Jacinto in the background

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COLD. Stark contrast to the stifling heat the day before.

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Dinner stop during a huge descent from the San Bernadino mountains, post-Idyllwild


Trail magic with SODA (I am obsessed with soda now) under the Interstate 10 overpass


SO HOT THAT DAY. Also hiking in sand is not fun.

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Too hot to walk uphill

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Beautiful evening, the night before getting into Big Bear, with San Jacinto in the distance.

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Yet another beautiful evening. Right outside Big Bear, CA (mile 266).

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Huge rattlesnake, chilling right on the trail in front of us. We waited a full 5 minutes before he decided to move and let us pass.

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SIGN TO MCDONALD’S. HAD BEEN DREAMING OF THIS FOR THE PAST 5 DAYS. Seriously. At mile 342 we cross Hwy 15 and there’s a McDonald’s and a gas station 1/2 mile from the trail. Micky D’s is pretty much the ONLY thing anyone talked about for the 5 days from Big Bear to this point. I’m not normally a big fast food lover, but my meal there was pretty much the most amazing thing ever. We had contests to see who could eat the most calories (I called it good after about 2,500)…

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After spending 5 hour at McDonald’s it was still 100 degrees out (literally). We gathered under the Hwy 15 overpass, where it was very cool and pleasant.

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Phil is fueled by his McDonald’s meal and ready to take on the 15-mile climb that is awaiting us.

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In Wrightwood, where I had Brooks Cascadias sent to me!!!! I had been wearing my trusty Mizuno running shoes, but they were done for at this point. I’m making an intense face because I ordered them in size 10.5 and they look like man shoes. My feet are swelling to humongous sizes…

19 thoughts on “250 miles later

  1. You may be complaining about your heavy pack and sore feet but the memories you’ll have will be well worth it. Thanks for sharing your experience.
    ps, looks like Phil is really enjoying everything!

    • Hi John!!! Thanks for your comment! I was in a particularly grumpy mood when I wrote this post, hope it doesn’t sound too complainy. Hope all is well back in Eugene. I think of you and the Wednesday night group often and miss you guys! -Julia

  2. Oh sweet baby girl…I know the beauty out does the snakes, lizards, and 100 degree temps, but I still feel for you. Phil kind of doesn’t look like Phil…Love you both and hope you stay well, happy, and full of life…may the force be with you.

    p.s. Today is Mark and my 29th wedding anniversary. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!

    • Jana!!!! Ohh thank you for your sweet comment. 🙂 I miss you. I know, Phil is morphing into more and more of a wilderness beast every day. CONGRATULATIONS to you and Mark, that is amazing!! Hope you did something fun to celebrate. Love you and hope all is well. Love, Julia

    • SISTER!!!! I am replying from The Saufley’s (aka “Hiker Heaven,” mile 454), which is a luxurious OASIS of pretty much anything we could need or want. It’s amazing. I just showered, my clothes are currently being washed, I’m sipping coffee, they have COTS for us to sleep on, and they have real computers!! I miss you and hope your Wednesday is going well. I would love a nonstop supply of soda! I obsess about it about half the day. Today we only had 10 miles to hike from an amazing KOA camp in Acton over to the Saufley’s in Agua Dulce (it was meant to be an easy day/day off). We just came out of a mountainy section and now we’re getting into real desert, and you would have loved the terrain today. Crazy rocks, sandy desert, it was so cool. Yesterday we hiked 31. We were only going to do 23, but then we heard you could get pizza and beer delivered to a KOA camp 8 miles away, so we basically ran the additional miles to get there. I didn’t want to leave. Tomorrow starts a 4-day grind 100 miles to Tehachapi. I LOVE YOU. Love, Julia

  3. Looks like you guys are really soaking it all in! What a great adventure! Think of you two often, can’t wait to hear all the details. Jen

  4. Hello my dirty, sweaty, hungry friends! I wish I could swing into your camp and surprise you with juicy bacon-avocado-cheese-burgers and cold beer. Reading about your adventure makes me smile and laugh thinking about the contrast between your life and mine at this very moment. May your sunburns be mild, your feet smell like strawberries, your coffee be strong, and your hearts be filled with love.


    F.Y.I. Falafel above 8,000 feet is not recommended.

    • Hi Sylvan! Sorry for the very belated reply. Thanks so much for your kind words and well wishes. I, too, wish you could surprise us with beers and burgers! We haven’t tried falafel yet, but we’ll keep your advice
      in mind. Thinking of you and hope all is going well!

  5. Hey! What a fun adventure! Nate and I just got a place in Bishop, but we are only there less than half time cause of work…..it would be so fun to meet you somewhere on the trail! Or if you need a house day, you would be welcome to stay any time!
    Maybe timing could work, maybe not….but in any case I am quite jealous! Sierras in the summer- perhaps there is nothing finer!

    • Hi Liana! We are in your house right now, and it’s so wonderful! Thank you so much for your amazing hospitality. I’m so sorry to have missed you guys, but i hope we can find a time to hike together sometime this summer. The Sierras have indeed been amazing – this is my first time here, and my mind is blown. I’m so jealous that you live so close! Thank you again so much for sharing your space.

  6. We found your names through YAMAdventure. I am also an RN (in Coos Bay) and an ultrarunner and am training for the PCT with my better half. We hope to do it in 2016 to allow for enough logisitical planning. We are super excited to see another couple doing the PCT and hope to follow your blog along the way. We have offered to pop over to Hwy 58 near Oakridge (Odell Lake) or basically anywhere in Oregon to help out Cannonball (April Noriega) if needed. We extend that offer to you as well. Cheers to both of you, and anyone you may be hiking near!
    -Tracy and Dan (tracyfawns@gmail.com)

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