Ashland yiup

Haha another title I don’t even understand.

Today should be pretty good, looked like a nice downhill into town.  I hit a small patch of snow and that nice Sheep Spring within the first hour, where I saw some other hikers.  Of course they all passed me, oh well.  But then I was alone, except for the TONS of weekend dayhikers out to see wildflower wonderland.  I was too eager to get to town to take pics but it was great!  Except I kinda wanted someone to give me props for being a PCT hiker, but I think no one knew bc I wear a dress, and have a small-looking pack.  Ugh.  Even as dirty as I was which you could see in the border pic from yesterday.

I reaaaally wanted to get to town so started zooming on the downhill.  However, there were distractions!  About halfway I hit a perma-trail magic with a cooler full of sodas and a lounge chair!  Don’t mind if I do!  Also I had reception so I sent some txts to 2 of my friends.  Not really sure what the plan is for tonight, but I saw there was a hot springs and it was cheap and I luuuuurve hot springs.  There’s a hostel also but not sure if it’s booked.

Ok- resume zooming!  Except, again a distraction, there was a water faucet in another couple miles with a picnic table and again reception.  I don’t know why I was wanting to text today- maybe it was getting into Oregon?  IDK.  I ate jelly beans for way too long and finally set off again, maybe at like 3 or 4pm.  I got to the Callahan’s turn off path which was a lil sketch, but actually just fine- just a lot of overgrowth.  I learned later that a lot of hikers don’t do that alt bc HIKE EVERY SINGLE STEP ON THE PCT TO CANADA!  For me, oh pleaaaaase.  IDK, you do you, but don’t judge me.  I like my Adventure Time when I can take it thankyouverymuch.

When I got to the road Triple S and Chipmunk were there trying to hitch.  Yay!  They had already been to Callahan’s and said it was meh.  Also- the hostels were full, bummer- but luckily they were down with my hot springs idea. Yay, Europeans!  Other Amerikanski’s didn’t seem too thrilled by the hot springs.  I didn’t want to go straight there tho bc I was super hungry and wanted to get some shopping done if I could.  They already ate.

We managed to get a hitch from a friendly outdoor adventures type lady.  I called the hostels but they were both full, so made plans with the boys to meet at the hot springs later.  I asked if I could get dropped off in town.  Went into an outdoor store and bought a new canister, but couldn’t even concentrate for whatever else I needed so went downstairs to a Thai restaurant.  I had a huge bowl of Tom Kha AND Pad Kee Mao which tasted amazing but was way too much.  So I went outside and was trying to figure out what to do, I literally could not even sit up bc bloatathon.  Maybe there was some MSG going on, who knows.  Sometimes rice f’s me up too.  So I’m lying down on this park bench taking pictures of the hippies


bc I literally Can’t Even and then this lady is like, uh, are you ok?  Great, I am being mistaken for a homeless person.  Except, I’m not!  It’s a lady who works at Seiad Valley, who recognized me from 2 days ago.  She had just driven some hikers from SV up to Ashland who I guess were skipping?  I was really surprised how many people were trying to skip that section.  It was hot and a lil smoky, but not THAT bad.  Plus I think uphills are the Worst (most hikers think downhills are the Worst) but even I did it without a crazy amount of fuss.  U-du-U.  Anyway I guess the dress gave it away.

“My mom said, ‘Does that girl know she has a bunch of holes in the butt of her dress?’  I told her probably, and it likely doesn’t matter either way.”

Word.  Tho I was about to get a new outfit since there were additional holes higher up giving me slight pack sores.

Anyway she said she could give me a ride to the hot springs, which were located out of town, in about an hour.  I basically laid there digesting and then we were good to go.

The hot springs outside Ashland were pretty much the perfect way to get into the local vibe.  I got checked in by a dude with a giant straw hat with feathers in it, who was also wearing a t-shirt about medicinal mushrooms, and a sequined skirt (also no shoes).  He gave me the lowdown and then I went over to set up my campsite.  I saw Triple S’s and Chipmunk’s tents so setup near them.  The “hot springs” were just a big pool that was heated, not even that hot really, but I still dug.  I like to go nude usually at hot springs but it was a weekend and a billion people and co-ed, eh, meh.  To be honest a lot of people there who were subtly checking each other out, especially pervy old men and women.  I hate that so was glad I left sports bra and underwear on.  Eventually I got out, grabbed a sparkling water from the snack shop and then went over to my camp.  I saw that I’d gotten a text from Quickstart/Grouse, she was down to camp at hot springs!  Yay!  Finally she came and we spent first night cowboy camped and giggling and being silly, catching up.  I was very stoked to have a hiking partner for the first time really.  We will see if it works, I was nervous because her group was very fast, I caught up with them in towns mostly.






Looking forwards and backwards


So for the 5 people or whatever who read this blog, what’s up!   Happy Christmahanakwanzika!  I dig this holiday because it’s gigtime for musicians.  Even for a year like this, where I have been making about 1% effort to network with people, I just moved back here (Philly) after 7 years, at least half of which I wasn’t playing at all, and it seems like there’s less work than ever, still had at least 2 gigs a week.  Which is good because it took forever to get my acupuncture licenses (STILL don’t have certificate in hand but I at least have a number now, for PA anyway).  Anyway have been spending a whole lot of time working towards that, buying Things and Stuff, so figured I’d try to schedule in a break from that by writing a bit about the PCT last year.  I’m not going to do a daily blog from it at this point- I’ve lost whatever notes/pics I had when I smashed my phone about 2 hours after Mather Pass- but I’ll throw out some impressions and memories.

Also!  I am looking forward to some adventures next year.  I think I kinda need to keep having adventuretime in my life, both for health and restlessness reasons.  This year is a super bad year for me to have adventuretime as I am opening a business (something I’ve never done before) in about 120 hours from now.  This is also probably why I need adventuretime.  I figured a couple shorter ones would be the way to go.  Plus I did a horary astrology reading and it super said it was a great idea to go hiking in the desert this spring.

So in April I’m going to head out and do the AZT.  Really been hearing a lot of great things about this trail.  It sounds very organized.  My body feels the best in the dry heat of the desert, it calms down my tendency to have water retention (also, I am a quasi-camel).  If you didn’t read my last post, I did a section of the trail about 5 weeks ago.  It was dope and cool to do it in the fall when I didn’t see many people (did run into a thru hiker and section hiker once).  It sounds like I’ll be towards the end of the pack in the spring tho maybe catching up to them, whatever size pack there is.  I’m aiming for a month which I really don’t think is a problem, I also don’t really plan to spend a lot of time in towns this trail apart from visiting with a friend in Tucson.  At this point I also plan to skip the section I already did from Flagstaff to Tusayan bc as I just said, I already did it?  Instead I think I’m going to do a little add on in Utah- Buckskin Gulch.  MAYBE Antelope Canyon as well.  Depends on finding a flight somehow for as little as possible using miles which I’m doing riiiiiiiiiiiiight now.

Okay I guess that’s all for now, folks.  Look forward to desert funtime in a few months, short PCT ditties in the meantime, and a hike or two if I can find someone to give me a ride out of Philly.


A Quick Reprieve


So I hiked most of the PCT…at least most of it that made sense.  Like, 2400 or whatever miles is good enough for me/fuck you Oregon fires/all the other nonsense that was thruhiking in the West this year/guess I’m still addicted to the outdoors tho.  I don’t know what to think anymore but I’ve been reflecting.  Found an apartment right away in Philly, which I’m airbnbing.  Thrust from 5 years of homelessness, to providing a deluxe home to others.  This is a genius move inspired by the folks @ travelisfree.  Seeing people who I haven’t in a while.  Back in the thick of the music scene/cool peeps.  How am I 36 without a boyfriend EVER or husband or whatevs- is it too late.  WTF is wrong with me/otherpeople/who even is responsible for this.

All I know is I want to keep wandering, and playing music, and doing alt medicine sometimes.  Where can a man fit into this and where can I find that man who fits into this with me.  Increasingly feeling like I’ve missed a boat I didn’t know about.  As the Dude never said, “Fuck it, let’s go hiking”.

Lil’ section on the AZT.  100 miles, no big.   But people are either too confused to know what I did in 4 days, or totally overwhelmed by the scope of it.  For me tho, it’s nice to walk- nice to be amongst the sand, flat grazelands, sometimes some pinyon-juniper funtime.  Maybe even a sage or two.  Moon and startime at night.  I meet up with my friends and their family at the Grand Canyon.  Despite family issues and some controlling people- I feel so lucky to be amongst them.  I chill out in the GC, everyone abandoned the idea of R2R2R (I would’ve done it, but really just wanted to roll with whatever people were into, which apparently wasn’t that).  So thankful for friends like Erin and Jay.

I don’t know what the future holds, but hiking will be part of it.  It’s balancing my squarepants self with my bohemian self.  The bourgeois meets the dirtbag.


Adrift a few more days


(I’m in the labcoat) When in doubt, jazz hands?

Well.  Time for ending my contract with six days at sea.  Even though I’ve actually been quite lucky with this contract (awesome and unusual destinations for a cruise, including places with good hiking, nice colleagues, no crazy managers, never hearing anything from the acupuncture department people/regional sales managers generally equaling less stress.  Although it also means no help at all as I was told there would be, and also I’m less than a week from returning to the US still without any idea about my flight details back to NJ.)  I am so.fucking.ready. to be off of this ship.  I know it was necessary to make money, and it was a pretty sweet setup to be basically a guaranteed hire, and not to have any startup fees other than the money for medical exams needed to get on the ship, but man, I really feel like I mostly put my life on hold for 7 months.  I don’t feel like I learned much about treating patients, I don’t feel like I learned much about public speaking/giving seminars even though I did a ton of both of these things.  I guess some of this is due to growing up doing a fair amount of public speaking, and having some good professors in school that I super paid attention to how they spoke about medicine, both to us and to patients.  Acupuncturists/Chinese herbalists can get really stuck in their particular jargon and I think it very important to use the words people know, although in this case it’s basically Western medical terms.  But I know how to translate things, generally.  Will I do another contract?  The temporary nature of it is certainly appealing but damn, 6 months is a long time.  Alaska is really the only other place I’m interested in going to.


A photo record is crucial on the ships as you may not recall what happened in the AM (I was busy sleeping during this particular party…)

Socially, life on the ships is not really my bag.  I DO have standing offers to sit in with the various bands on the ship, which is definitely unique, but I don’t really know a lot of pop or whatever you call this music, and I don’t like most of it, and it also means I’d have to stay up late AND get up early for work.  Well, maybe if I do another contract I’ll bring a Real Book.  I never really played straight ahead jazz, I’m honestly not really interested at this point, but I also was pretty bored as well and it would be a useful skill to have, something new to learn.  As my friend put it, in order to survive on ships “one becomes either an alcoholic or a cabin recluse, or gets one a fuck buddy”.  I selected door number two, folks…altho there was this random body-builder 21-yr-old type down the hall from me who super sweats older women that I could have probably pulled a James Brown with whenever?  I just couldn’t get excited about that.  Actually, to be honest, overly muscular men make me nauseous a bit.  If I have to pick a physical type to be attracted to, it’s somewhere between soccer player and emaciated starving artist.  Besides the fact that I just can’t get myself to hook up with people unless I am into having a relationship with them and I feel (always in my life, misguidedly) that they might be interested in that also.  Also also! this would mean I am officially a cougar if I hit that, I’m not ready for this.

Speaking of that!  It’s a hiking blog apparently.  I have this idea in my head that it will be much easier for me to find a compatible partner in Trail Life than Real Life.  I have no idea why I think this.  I hiked the entire Appalachian Trail in a dress, and probably even the last 1/3rd with no underwear whatsoever (f the chafe, yo).  There are supposedly many more men than women on that trail.  I got hit on an approximate zero times during this 4.5 months’ time.  The only thing that can explain my empty love life, I am convinced, is that I have some sort of rare pheromone disorder.  It’s really the most logical answer.  So I plod on, clad in another merino dress and my unusual personality (conservative-seeming activist-aware hippie-hipster travel-hacking ex-musician Wunderkind eclectic quasi-autistic genius who belongs in a Waldkindergarten).  Will the PCT be the time I meet some soul-mate person?  Based on my life to date, no, but I try to remain unjaded and hopeful.  Certainly it’s more logical to meet someone here than say in corporate ‘merika.  I just wonder, again, Universe, what exact lesson am I supposed to learn from all of this sort of experience.

In the meantime at least I will keep my health somewhat ok.  Desert heat to dry out my acne-prone skin and prevent edema!  Mountain breezes with negative ions!  Pure spring water that may or may not have strange pathogens lurking in its midst!  Avoiding the scourges of Modern Life, insulin resistance…diabetes…obesity!  I look at my parents’ generation in my family, I’m not willing to settle for that.  So in my own way I plod towards health or the small weakening of the scythe.

God, I’m so dramatic, aren’t I?  I promise this whole blog won’t be that way!


Couple training hikes


Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in ‘Nam anymore…

So…right.  I seem to do my training hikes in the conditions least like the trail I am going to hike afterwards.  Such as hiking in Central Asia and Nepal before hiking the Appalachian Trail.  That’s called cross-training, right?


Hiking at 3000m in Kyrgyzstan July 2015.  Pretty much exactly like the AT, right?

On Monday couple of the boys and I tackled the Cross Island Track in Rarotonga (Cook Islands).  Because the best way to train for crossing a country in 5 months, is to cross a country in 4 hours.  Super awesome hike with a nice little rope/scramble up to “The Needle” with amazing views.  The waterfall at the end was out of water though which was a super bummer.   However, we did get to take a little dip in the ocean at the other side of the island, the water was transparent and just perfect temperature.  Then we almost immediately got a hitch back to the boat in the cab of a cement truck.  Why have I not had adventures like these more often?  Mostly people on the ship don’t like to do stuff like this (two of the guys were newer).




After a day in between we took another hike (minus the guy from South Africa, because Holland America are jerks and wouldn’t go to the hassle of applying for a visa, which they wouldn’t even pay for, for people from ZA like they have on other ships, so they could get off in French Polynesia).  This time it was Les Trois Cascades to make up for the  missed waterfall on Rarotonga.  Typical tourist-French-Euro BS, “You can’t possibly get there on your own, you need a guide”…”There’s no way you can find it by yourselves” etc.  It took forever for us to get a hitch out of the main town of Uturoa, and we ended up roadwalking most of the 7 km to the start of the trail.  Two ladies picked us up with a km or so to go and they were super nice!  Also, they let us know that apparently we just missed the Obamas (and perhaps other people like Oprah, Bruce Springsteen, and That Guy Who Owns Oracle) in the marina.  Hob-nobbing with ex-presidents…that’s how we roll, people.

Anyway almost immediately upon finding the trail we acquired two super friendly dog guides, who led us on the way and also protected us from some other dogs belonging to another farm we passed.  There WERE a couple stream crossings, but nothing gnarly, certainly not in a warm “dry” (it was humid as a hammam) environment, and the trail to the waterfalls was easy enough to follow.  One of the guys who luuuuuves taking pics of everyone, especially himself (cue Carly Simon) actually got some cool shots of me, which I’m thankful for as I am only remotely photogenic when in an action shot I don’t know about.  After taking a swim in the pool at the base of a pretty epic waterfall, we found out there were some type of crawdiddies in there.  And eels.  Sorta hangry-looking eels.  Who tried to jump out of the water.  I got eaten up by mosquitos and continued to be envious of the skinny guy from Belarus who managed to be unscathed yet again.  Anyway, all in all another really great day.


Eat your heart out, Herbal Essences shampoo

Unfortunately the guys didn’t want to hike again in Bora Bora (at least on day one), then there was drama later on with someone’s purse getting stolen from a five star resort, but I did make friends with two lovely ladies who were just a breath of fresh air for me.  Talking about careers as musicians, and politics, and travel, and life in your 30s-40s, and making strange noises, and shite.  I was pretty tired though and also revved up from another colleague who almost got fired that day, so I just took a lie-in and read old posts from blogs I’ve downloaded.  Which meant by the time I got around to it, it was too late to hike on Bora Bora before going to work.  Well, hopefully some more hikes await on the next few islands – I’ve off on Moorea, Rangiroa, and Nuka Hiva.  The end is near and getting off this boat will really make the reality of thru hiking in less than a month more real.


It’s actually On.


Paraphrasing Shawn ‘Pepper’ Forry, who this past Winter achieved the first ever Winter thru-hike of the PCT with his buddy Justin ‘Trauma’ Lichter, said true adventure is when you are uncertain of the outcome, or the outcome is unknown.


Two months (how is it still that far away?) and I have been going back and forth over whether or not I can pull this whole PCT thing off, in a heavy snow year.  Some hikers have decided to go SOBO to ease into it a bit more; I think I will explode if I have to wait that long and anyway, it fits so well with when my contract is over.  It’s interesting- I really didn’t have any doubts about whether or not I could finish the AT.  Even to do the PCT in a more normal (well, more normal for recent times) year, I feel fine with.  Heck, I might even perform better than on the AT – the PCT is full of things I am actually less sucky at.  Deserts, dry heat, little water, high altitudes- I’ve never have a problem with these.  The PUDs of the AT- no bueno para mi.


I seem to have become an adventurer in recent years.  Maybe I always had this yearning, but it’s taken a little while to see it in action.  As a child, I spent countless hours exploring the woods, reading cast-off national geographic magazines, fantasy novels, playing the Oregon Trail game on my computer, building a miniature version of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s cabin with popsicle sticks and doll’s accessories.  A far cry from the real thing, but in retrospect I’m not sure how many of my contemporaries were really in that head space.  And my “adult” life- pshaw, who even knows how to describe what I’m doing.  I decided a couple years ago to have a new policy of “doing what’s interesting to me” and basically not wasting any fucking time on the rat race.  Well, I can’t say I *really* got sucked into that, not with my life in my 20s as a musician (ok, as mostly a musician playing Romani music of Eastern Europe?  Who does that?) but after 3 degrees (debt-free, thank Universe/family savings/me) and thousands of job applications and practically being on the streets, I sorta called bullshit on the whole American Dream, ya know?  “Because you have to be asleep to believe it!”  Thanks, George, always putting a laugh on the sad obvious.


Getting a degree in acupuncture and Chinese medicine after all of that was as much trying to buy myself some time and learning a useful skill to help people (want to go into the rant-hole?  Try talking about the problems with conventional Western medicine in the US) as it was just trying to do something interesting to me.  Leaving straight after school for a year of worldwide adventure-time, going to all the places I never really thought I could go to?  Same.  How about tagging on a thru of the Appalachian Trail?  Ditto: things are starting to get interesting.  But with all of these things it occurs to me that I never really thought there was something other than money or time preventing me from doing this; other than that, I was pretty durn confident.


Reading this excerpt from Dirtmonger’s site (just go ahead and read his whole blog; some of the best trail writing I’ve come across, and I’ve come across a lot being isolated at sea) shows me what I need to do this summer.  Deep down this outcome IS unknown, and I guess that’s why it’s worth pursuing.  Other trails will be there still in other years, but 2017 snow conditions will only be here this year.

I’m not gonna lie; there’s a part that feels like it needs to prove something.  I missed some miles in Maine.  I aquablazed for a day in Virginia, which I don’t regret, and I hiked the Virginia Creeper Trail which I also don’t regret.    I am certainly not a purist; I had a date to be done by, but I wanted to enjoy doing what I was doing while I was out there.  I hiked 98% of the trail.  I was doing the trail for cultural reasons when it came down to it.  But there is a part that inside is saying that I took the easy way out.  With the Sierras looking like how they are looking, there’s a chance for redemption nigh.


AT Gear List 2016

Hey gearheads,

Here’s my budget-ish gear list for my hike last year on the AT.  I don’t know how to get wordpress on my computer.  So I tried to use some dubious cut ‘n’ paste job from the interweb. Hope it looks ok!

You can also see it at this link:

Hope this helps in your planning!

Category Item Name desc qty weight
Big 4: Shelter/Sleep/Sack Big Agnes Fly Creek UL no stuffs/stakes $195 1 26.3
Big 4: Shelter/Sleep/Sack Neoair Xlite Women’s $119 (Amazon credits) 1 11.6
Big 4: Shelter/Sleep/Sack Wilderness Logics 15F quilt $240 1 23
Big 4: Shelter/Sleep/Sack Zpacks Zero M (belt, roll top, 2.9 fabric, mesh pouch, diy cordage and seam seal) $140 (they gave me $25 off order) 1 9
Big 4: Shelter/Sleep/Sack 6 titanium stakes $18 (Amazon credits) 1 1.2
Big 4: Shelter/Sleep/Sack Trash bag Free 1 2
Clothing- Carried Uniqlo ULD coat $28 1 11.2
Clothing- Carried Goodwill galaxy leggings $3 thrift 1 4
Clothing- Carried Spare socks $10 1 1.6
Clothing- Carried Cloudveil Run Don’t Walk powerdry hoodie $24 1 10.6
Clothing- Carried Frogg Toggs $15 (Amazon credits) 1 9
Clothing- Carried Smartwool bikini $14 1 0.85
Clothing- Carried DIY camp sandals $2 1 2.8
Kitchen Mini Bic $1 1 0.4
Kitchen Plastic spoon free 1 0.1
Kitchen Starlyte stove + foil windscreen $18 (Amazon credits/free) 1 0.7
Kitchen Fuel bottle free 1 0.4
Kitchen Granite Gear 13L dry bag (food) Free- trail magic 1 1.4
Kitchen EpiGas 800ml titanium pot, diy lid $15 1 3
Kitchen Zpacks bear line 25′ $11 1 0.7
Water Sawyer squeeze $15- used gift card 1 3
Water Platypus 2L $8 (Amazon credits) 1 1.3
Water Sawyer squeeze bag 1 1
Water Smartwater bottle 1L add more as needed 1 0.9
Misc Mini nail clippers $1 1 0.42
Misc Deuce of spades (extra stake for tent) $20 (Amazon credits) 1 0.6
Misc Comb $0 1 0.1
Misc Phone Samsung S4 mini 1900 $69 1 3.83
Misc Charger 1 1
Misc Mechanical pencil/paper $2 1 1
Misc 1st aid + dinky + acup stuff (incl razor) 1 2
Misc Spare phone battery Samsung S4 mini 2500 each $9total 2 1.1
Misc Ziplock wallet cash cards free 1 1
Clothing- Worn Icebreaker villa dress $18 1 5.5
Clothing- Worn Darn tough merino socks $13 (Amazon credit) 1 1.76
Clothing- Worn Fizan trekking poles $60 1 11.5
Clothing- Worn Altra lone peak W’s 11 $22 ebay 1 18.2
Clothing- Worn Velocity visor $10 (Amazon credits) 1 1.9
Clothing- Worn Some Turkish sports bra with awesomest straps $8 1 3


Hey guys,

Almost a month ago my book became available for download on Amazon.  You can check it out here!

Check it out and leave a review!  This helps writers like me have our books be more visible on Amazon (as things like the category “Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > Japanese & Haiku” are not exactly popular (my book is currently #7 there).

I’ve had to remove my posts here because the book’s been published, but I hope in the near future to add some other bits and ends about the hike, such as miles hiked each day, my mail drop plan, and gear list.

I do believe that it’s a really different look at a travelogue- summarizing an entire day’s events into its very essence, just a snapshot.  And that’s super relevant considering the twitter lifestyle of today.

Speaking of twitter!  We have a lot of twits who are just now assuming office.  I’m not in the US anymore, I have mixed feelings about this.

From my 7/4/16 entry:

The National Holiday


I’m from this place but

not Of it; I pass through but

no longer live Here.

We have some crazy stuff going on right now and I’m not sure what actions to take, living at sea, nationless.  And then basically spending my time in the US this year again in The Nature.  Well, I guess I can encourage thought, empathy;  try to be a kind person and an open one and importantly, an informed one.

In the meantime I am preparing for my upcoming PCT hike where I again hope to do some writing.  Will I write haikus again?  They are very low pressure and succinct, I sort of like that.  Or regular poetry, so I can say more?  Or even blogging-forrealskies?  Well, I’ve got a while before I even get out there.