Thoughts on 1000 miles, stories that aren’t mine to tell, and more?!

Oops, this was supposed to squeeze in a while ago…

A. Trail Talk

{I wrote this September 15-ish}
Since returning to the trail on July 3, Matt and I have hiked over 1000 miles, for a total of 1619.9miles! That’s, like, a shit ton of miles! Back when we hit 566 miles I wrote a post about random thoughts and stories from the first section of the trail, so I figured I’d do the same now…
1. Location. As obsessed as we(thru-hikers) are with makin’ miles, we often talk about location of people in days, not distance. So many times I find myself saying, “oh, {he or she} is probably 1/2 day behind us” or “our trail fam is about 10 days ahead of us.” Others have told me, “you know {so and so}? Well, they are probably like 2 days behind us…” or, “you’ll probably see them in a day or two…” It’s so very interesting to me! Why don’t we say, “our trail fam is currently around mile ____” OR, “I last saw so and so at mile ___.” Weirdos, all of us!!!
2. Town Food. We get SO excited for Town Food- like, wake-up-and-start-hiking-before-the-sun excited. One day I was talking to a muggle about Town Food and he interrupted me and asked, “wait, what’s town food??” It only then dawned on me just how weird it was that we call it Town Food. SO, really, what IS Town Food? It’s what you folk call food: restaurant food, baked goods, homemade meals, fruits and veggies, ice cream, etc.- anything readily available and consumed in town. Sometimes when we are feeling crazy we “pack out” Town Food- I have personally packed out a burrito, sandwiches, and an orange, while many others have packed out McDonalds, avocados, and fresh veggies.

Nomnomnom…

3. Did somebody say food?? Speaking of food, our taste buds have changed!!! I used to be a diet soda drinker & would often crave an ice-cold, extra carbonated, chemical-filled bottle. Since being on trail, however, I have lost the taste for soda & instead crave lemonade and the original Arizona Iced Tea. Mmmmmm!!

Matthew, on the other hand, who never drank soda, has been craving orange soda! It’s so funny! But he definitely isn’t alone- so many non-soda drinkers have been craving soda on-trail. Strange!!
Probably the biggest surprise for me: I have been eating cheese. Not, like, blocks of cheddar or anything strong and fancy and gross, BUT if a piece of American cheese finds its way into my omelette or onto my veggie burger I will still eat it and enjoy it! Heck, I might even ask for it! Cheese used to be a meal-ruiner for me. Columbia and I had bonded over this: if it was melted on pizza or that fake-ass Kraft Mac & Cheese or nacho cheese, count us in- otherwise, eewww! Now?? I don’t recognize myself anymore! Our bodies are pretty amazing- I’m wondering if my body has been craving salt and fat?
4. Pee-eww!! We smell bad. Like…really, really bad. So bad, in fact, that we never actually smell good, even after showers and laundry. Luckily, for the most part, we cannot smell ourselves and except for the occasional extra smelly hiker, we cannot smell each other. We can, however, smell a day hiker!! A whiff of fresh laundry and dryer sheets and sometimes even perfume or cologne is a dead give away that we are in the presence of a day hiker. You can’t fool us, day hikers and overnighters!
5. I have yet to pee without spraying my shoes….

B. Now, stories (and photos) that I have collected that aren’t mine to tell(/share):
1. One day Raspberry arrived to a water source completely parched. A man helped her pump water from a notoriously difficult spigot and she chugged it down without hesitation…or filtration. About a mile down the road she realized her mistake and for fear of giardia, she stopped to make herself throw up…and she succeeded…in throwing up…a tadpole.
2. Arc was apparently notorious for hiking and snacking and dropping some of her goods. One day Woodpecker trailed Arc and helped Arc abide by LNT principles by picking up and EATING Arc’s dropped jelly beans. Another day Woodpecker commented on Arc’s dropped Skittles that Woodpecker had been eating, and Arc informed her that those weren’t hers!!
3. The bees- they had a vandetta against far more than just Matthew, apparently! (But Matt was the only one who received unprovoked attacks!)
One friend accidentally peed on a wasp’s nest and…well, you can imagine. Another friend accidentally dug a cat hole into a wasp nest…that, too, didn’t go over well. (This friend had an allergic reaction but had previously run out of Benadryl- she and her husband had to hike back to the closest town to get meds.) ANOTHER friend set up her dinner too close to a nest and got attacked- she, too, had an allergic reaction and had previously run of Benadryl. Poor girl, her face was SO swollen that I didn’t recognize her photo! Thankfully she had cell service and was somewhat close to a dirt road and her boyfriend was able to come get her. She was prescribed a course of steroids… Fuckin wasps, man.
4. The rodents in Northern Washington were savage! They ravaged through any food bags left unattended (and sometimes attempted theft right before our eyes!), they scampered all over people’s tents, over lounging people’s legs, AND they even chewed holes to get INTO people tents! While most people we knew had a mouse IN their tent at some point, some unlucky folks had mice crawl INTO THEIR SLEEPING BAGS!!! No! Just No!!
Matt and I were careful to hang our food, but one girl had a mouse chew through her hanging food bag- ahh!! Another couple we met not only had a mouse in their sleeping bag, but they also had a mouse chew through their food resupply in one of the trail town’s post offices! Eww!
(Shared with permission from Tanner!)
5. Flashback to the mosquitos in Washington…for me, this was hands down the WORST part of the trail.

(Shared with permission from Tanner!)
6. On July 5, Ridgecrest, CA was shaken by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake. The day before, a 6.4 quake rattled the town, causing some minor damage. The town movie theater made the decision to close on July 5, which might have saved a bunch of lives: that evening, on what would have normally been a crazy-busy Friday night, the roof of the theater collapsed during the 7.1 earthquake!
(Only one death was reported- a poor man in Nevada had been working under his car when it was believed that the shifting of the earth caused his car to fall on him…)
7. Another summarized story from Amy:
Locamotive was a Swiss hiker who finished her 2,653 mile flip/flop thru-hike at Kennedy Meadows. Upon completion of her hike, Locomotive required urgent dental care. Yogi (remember her?) reached out to the Walker Pass Trail Angel Facebook page asking for assistance and within minutes, Trail Angel Sandy (you’ll meet her later!;) ) made Locamotive an appointment while Trail Angel Amy(you definitely know her!) jumped into her car to drive the hour to KM to pick up the poor hiker.
The next day, Locomotive told Amy that her brother, FROM SWITZERLAND, had mentioned that he would like to meet up with her to celebrate the end of her hike, but he never confirmed or solidified any plans. Locomotive couldn’t get in touch with her brother, but she had a feeling that he had arrived to Kennedy Meadows to surprise her. Amy reached out to the local businesses in Kennedy Meadows, and it was discovered that somebody fitting the description of Locomotive’s brother had been there…but was he still there?
Amy drove Locomotive BACK to Kennedy Meadows, searching for Locomotive’s brother at all of the typical hiker spots. As a last resort, they headed to the Kennedy Meadows campground. They found the campground completely empty, except for a man sitting at a picnic table, facing the trail, holding a Swiss flag he had hung from a stick… Locomotive’s brother had sat at that table for TWO days waiting for her, telling anyone who passed, in his limited English, that he was waiting for his sister- oh my heart!!!
Picture stolen from Amy!!
C. Bonus!
1. I meant to add this to my post from our Ridgecrest Zero Day: When we were doing laundry in Ridgecrest, a man came over to me and asked if we were “part of that big group of people that were doing that big hike from Mexico to Canada.” When I informed him that we were, he was shocked and said, “wow! You guys are really behind! Most people came through months ago!” Hahaha!
2. To pass the time on long days, my mind stayed busy “writing” my blog posts, novels, and song lyrics. You see the results of my blog writing (thank you for following along!) and I have shared a few of my short-songs before (“are you afraid of PDB? Yeah you know me!” “I got, poison oak to the left of me and poodle dog to the right, here I am stuck in the middle of hell…” and my hotel song, that I’m actually not sure I added to a post:
Please sing to the tune of Old McDonald:
Ali and Matt are at another hotel
H-O-T-E-L
’cause there’s a vortex here and a vortex there
Here a vortex
There a vortex
Everywhere a vortex!
Ali and Matt are at another hotel
What the friggin hell!?)
Anyways,
On one particularly hard section in the Sierra I started the following song, and I finished it over the course of the next 10 days…
Some of my lyrics were a stretch, & she uses the “f” word more than I do, so I followed suit…
Sung to Halestorm’s “Here’s To Us”
We could just go home right now
Or maybe we could stick it out
For just one more week, oh yeah
Fill up on shot bloks and bars
And eat all the shit
While we’re in town
we got just one more week, oh yeah
Here’s to the bugs, and the bees
and to the whole damn PCT
Here’s to you, fill my glass
‘Cause the last few miles have kicked my ass
Yeah they gave me hell
But I walked ’em just as well
here’s to us, here’s to us
Stuck it out thru shitty weather
Matt had his jaw wired together
Let’s toast, cause things got better
And everybody shed weight so fast
I stayed the same but had a blast
I wish this could last forever
Here’s to the aches and the pains
And all the times it fuckin rained
Here’s to you, fill my glass
For all the damn bugs that bit my ass
Yeah they gave me hell
I wished they’d go fuck themselves
Here’s to us , here’s to us
Here’s to the trail going up
And the trail going down
All the miles we walked
When we got out of town
Here’s to the angels we met
That we’ll never forget
And all the badass friends we made
here’s to us.
Here’s to you
Here’s to me
Here’s to the whole damn PCT
Heres to us,
Fill my glass
’cause the last few months
Yeah they kicked ass
All troubles aside
It was one hell of a fuckin ride
Here’s to us… Here’s to us ..
Cheers.

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