Saturday, April 28, 2012

Day 1: Here We Go, Totally Bonkers

A few words from the border yesterday.  Trav's camera shy and I'm a blubbering mess. (And I kept crying joyous/overwhelmed tears for the first mile.)  It was an incredibly awesome day. The sky was huge and blue, the energy was electric, and the community of hikers that we got to walk with was stellar.  Covered 20 miles back to the Lake Morena campground and then enjoyed some time with the Conleys and other hikers at Kick Off.

Looking forward to the next few days and being disconnected from the world, more connected to the trail. Wahoo!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Walking Man Walk

In my restless and excited state last night I laid in bed with every inspirational/psyche up/motivaitonal quote I ever read to students on Outward Bound whirling through my head.  The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step... The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and conveinece but where he stands in moments of challenge and controversy... There's more in you than you know... A mind stretched by a new experience can never go back to it's old dimensions... Even quotes that are entirely unrelated appear. Everyone laughs in the same language...Whaaaa? Where did that one come from? Anyway, my mind has also been racing with songs about walking. Particularly James Taylor's Walking Man. (Press play for the whole affect.)

Walking Man by James Taylor on Grooveshark

So today is the day that we head toward San Diego and then over to the Lake Morena campground for the Kick Off festival. I suppose my mind has fallen back on all of these quotes because otherwise it doesn't know where to go. How to wrap around the fact that TOMORROW we start hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. That for the last 6 years I've thought about thru-hiking. For the last year it's come together. And for the last two months it's utilized most of our brain power. And here it is. Tomorrow. I look at Trav. And I realize that he's hiking the whole thing with me. And it's perfect. I look at him and my mind races again about all the things that he will learn.  That we will learn and see and do. And we're ready. There's nothing left for us to do but walk. To take it in. To keep our eyes open. Laozi's quote is great and all, but I just keep thinking... our journey isn't a thousand miles. It's two thousand six hundred and sixty three miles.  Then my brain sort of short circuits and James Taylor chimes back in melodically. I smile. Trav smiles back. It's time to let our minds quit wandering and let our feet do the work. 

Quotes by Laozi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Kurt Hahn, and Oliver Wendell Holmes...and just a good old proverb.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Blog Bits And Updates

Still working on getting ducks in a row...
Just a quick and dirty update on some new stuff happening here on the old bloggarino...

1. We added a 'Pacific Crest Trail Information' page that consolidates important information and posts about our thru-hike. It's over there on the right, under 'This Is Us' (our very informative bio page).

2.  We have changed our settings for comments so you no longer need to sign in to post one.  Please do include your name so that we know you stopped by. Don't be shy! Comments make our day!

3. Because we do not know how regularly we will be posting while on the PCT, you can subscribe by email. There's a bar at the very bottom of this (and every) page.  You won't get spammed or anything, just an email with the blog post contained in the body. 

4. Once we start hiking, we will mostly be using our iPhone to update the blog, so formatting and photos won't be quite as sharp.  (It probably won't bother y'all as much as it bothers us.)

Alrighty! If you have any questions or comments on/for the blog you can always email us as well. Happy trails. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Care Package Mania

Hey there! We've decided to leave this up for reference for other Pacific Crest Trail thru-hikers.  This system worked pretty well for us. We were pretty right on with our dates and dividing mail stops between packages and letters was a good choice for us.  Be sure to remind your loved ones to stick to these guidelines so you don't end up with stuff you have to carry or throw away. Happy hiking/mailing! If you'd like more info on our system/mailing fuel/etc, email us at frontporchanywhere (at) gmail dot com. 

We've been so blown away by friends and family interested in sending us packages and mail along the trail.  Thanks so much for being pumped about our adventure and being interested in participating in it! Shucks, y'all sure know how to make these two goofballs feel special.

Below is a spreadsheet of places we will be getting mail along the way. Columns highlighted in green are places to send care packages, non-highlighted places are for letters only.  Please keep in mind that we will be carrying everything and thus, anything you send may end up being hiked with. Letters and cards are fantastic! Food and treats are fantastic-er!  The fact that you thought of us and went to the trouble to put ANYTHING in the mail is fantastic-est!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ducks In A Row

It's been a busy week as we've gotten all of our ducks in a row.  Our PCT start date is in plain sight and we are feeling very ready to leave the logistics behind, set our minds free and let our feet feel the earth, mile after mile.  

Food, glorious food has consumed our thoughts and days as we've separated, bagged and weighed.  We have organized 12 food drops and already have one box in the mail.  

The sight of all of our boxes lined up is pretty dang rewarding.   It's wild to think we won't see some of these again until September. 

We put our shelter up to seam seal it. Then stretched out to rest a spell. 

And those, my friends, are our long distance permits.  Many people have asked us about hiking/camping permits, and the beauty of thru-hiking is that you just apply for one permit, and carry it with you the whole way.  It's our hall pass for 2,660 miles.  Getting these in the mail was a total thrill.  

Today we'll take to the sky and head West. For the next week in Southern California we plan to get a lot of sun, some beach time and eat as much fresh produce as possible.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Whole Kit and Caboodle

Well folks, I know you're about to pee your pants with excitement... it's our gear list! Read on to find a scrolly spreadsheet with more information and detail than your wildest dreams can imagine... Enjoy!

Monday, April 16, 2012


Now you will feel no rain,
for each of you will be
shelter to the other. 
Now you will feel no cold,
for each of you will be
warmth to the other.
Now there is no more loneliness,
for each of you will be
companion to the other.
Now you are two bodies,
but there is only one
life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place,
to enter into the days
of your togetherness.
And may your days
be good and long
upon the earth. 

-The Apache Wedding Blessing

Marriage is a vital social institution, the exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family. Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition. It is undoubtedly for these concrete reasons, as well as for its intimately personal significance, that civil marriage has long been termed a ‘civil right.’ Without the right to choose to marry, one is excluded from the full range of human experience.  -Massachusetts Civil Marriage Act 2003

The sky cleared and these words drifted out over us and our families and our friends.  From where we were standing the air felt electric. We laughed and cried, people hooted and cheered. We felt proud to read our own words in front of such dear people. The wind was spot-on San Francisco. In the end we were pronounced 'buds forever, partners in life'. 

And off we went. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

What's In A Name?

In just a short couple of weeks we will find ourselves on the winding path of the Pacific Crest Trail. We'll be sleeping outside. We'll be eating instant and junk food. We'll be walking 20 miles per day. Along with the changes in how we eat, sleep, and travel, we'll also gain new identities (well, sort of).

Each year as PCT thru-hikers, both rookies and veterans, converge in Southern California for the annual kickoff and start walking North, names like Travis and Maggie become fewer and fewer during introductions. Most hikers will adopt a "trail name" and be known to most under this alias. Traditionally, hikers will receive a trail name from a fellow hiker at some point in time. Usually, a naming will have something to do with what you wear, eat, say, etc... It is exciting to think about what your trail will be and how it will arise, but I have chosen to go a different route and use a trail name in honor of a dear, dear friend whom passed away one month ago today.

While I was in graduate school in the North Carolina mountains I had the fortune to move into a house down the road from the Normans, Mr. Harold and Ms. Libby. I would walk and/or drive past their home several times a day. Each time I passed one or both of them would be sitting on the front porch, drinking coffee, and vigorously waving hello. Eventually, I stopped to introduce myself and from that day forward I had two lifelong friends, or as I called them, "My Southern Parents". During my two years in graduate school I spent countless hours sitting on that porch with Mr. Harold and Ms. Libby, drinking coffee, talking about the weather, counting airplanes overhead, and waving at every car that passed by their house. It didn't take long until we were family. 

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love the South. I love the food, the people, the weather, the beaches, the forests........ but I was born in Pennsylvania and Mr. Harold thoroughly enjoyed pointing that out. Every time a visitor stopped by the house, he would introduce me as Travis, his "Yankee Son". This went on for two years, each and every introduction (and there were many). When I got word last month that Mr. Harold has passed, it came as a surprise. When we last spoke there was no mention of illness and I had assumed we'd surely see and/or talk to each other again. I never had the chance to tell Mr. Harold of our plan to hike the PCT - something he would have thought was so very amazing. So, I've decided to dedicate my walk to Mr. Harold (and Ms. Libby) and honor them by using the trail name, "Yankee Son".  And while I won't be able to show Mr. Harold pictures from the trail, I know he'll be with me as I walk.

Mr. Harold with his buddies on Round Top. Sylva, NC

Friday, April 13, 2012

Final Countdown

Two weeks from today we start hiking. TWO weeks. 14 little days.

We're ears deep in organizing maps and food drops.  And it's beginning to feel VERY real.

That's our maps, organized by section, through California...  This planning processes feels like it brings out the best and worst in us both. We like organizing and, since we moved out of SF in September, we've gotten pretty dang good at logistics. We're getting a lot done, learning a bunch and getting comfortable with the information BUT our need to plan also leaves us feeling like we're not doing enough, that there is something we're missing or that we're simply making ourselves nuts. Time and trail will tell...  

The excitement for this wild adventure is either creeping into my dreams or keeping me up all together. 


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Who Dat?

Before we get back to boxes, gear and planning, I'd like to do some catching up on our trip to NOLA last week.  We had a fantastic time hanging with Hayhay who has settled in quite nicely since moving there at the first of March.  I have not been to New Orleans (except a quick stop over on a road trip once...doesn't count) and was pretty much enchanted with the place. It has a *something* that I have never experienced in the US and an energy that is... well... indescribable.


Double time, dollar beers

Front Porch Zephyrs Baseball

Hot daawg!

One thing we'll certainly miss while on the trail is baseball season, so we jumped at the chance to hit up the season opener for the New Orleans Zephyrs.  This minor league game was major league fun. Because it was the opener, we got a mega fireworks show at the end.  The three of us hooted and hollered louder than the little kids behind us. 

We sat on a patio in the fresh, but humid air and enjoyed refreshments.  The food in NOLA is outta this world, and we made sure to partake in a good bit of it (including a stop at Cafe Du Monde for some powdered-sugary goodness).  

Hayley likes to call this one 'Matching Outfits, One Way'


We walked around, chatted, laughed, ate, drank and told stories.  The visit was short, but oh so sweet.

Many thanks to Hayley and her new town for a great time, and these beautiful pictures. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Show And Tell

Walked home on a sidewalk of discovery. A sunny, breezy, perfect New Orleans day; spring in the air, humidity on the rise, with fresh green, hellos from neighbors, and verdant floral air drifting by. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Guess Who's...

This beautiful bearded man is thirty today. We're off to celebrate in New Orleans.  

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Shop Till You (Mail) Drop

Our resupply plan consists of mostly buying food in towns along the Trail, but for about 10 places we will pick up boxes (packed by us, shipped by my mama) with food and gear in them. Wheeling around Costco today was an adventure of it's own, staring at the backs of boxes, calculating calories per ounce.   

We have learned a lot about nutrition and hiking long trails after reading this article . Eating is one of the most important elements of every day on the PCT. We'll be snacking constantly, burning calories like crazy and trying to eat them back just as fast. We'll focus on a 50-35-15 diet: 50% carbohydrates, 35% fats, 15% proteins. At one point in Costco today, we overheard a lady say "I don't buy those anymore, they are too high in calories..." and with that Trav and I turned on our heels to head toward what she was talking about.

Doesn't that last photo look like a little kid dream box?!? 

(Sorry the photos are blurry... iPhones are imperfect robots)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Front Porch Friends

From coast to coast, and to the islands below, we're happy our friends are loving life with a view. 

Sweet Meg sure knows how to make the most of a California Spring.  From a cozy, introspective solo weekend in Point Reyes... a sunny, energetic reunion in Palm Springs, there are few people who revel in inspiration the way Meg does. She recently shared bits and pieces of poetry by Sapphro that embodied this pair of photos for me: You will remember / for we in our youth / did these things / yes many and beautiful things. 

Off the coast of Florida, and surely daydreaming about his baby girl, Jeff kicks back and waits for the fish to bite.  

And lastly... Alooooha.  One of the bravest ladies I know, Jen, packed up and moved from San Francisco to Haiku, Hawaii. Taking a huge life leap, she landed herself with a porch that is worth envying.  Can't you just smell the salty island air? 

Well, holy moly, it's April already. Whatever many and beautiful things you experience this month, live it up, and send us a snapshot if you have a minute.