My Sunshine

A throwback to last April, watching the showers, hoping for some lightning or other exciting action.

Which may not have been smart, since we were on the highest point for several miles around.

But that’s what we do.

She’s looking at the last bit of last winter’s snow on Mount Ashland.  They’ve already received their first snowfall.  Here’s hoping that they have another great year.  They really need it.

Back to the Old

After almost a year and a half of strictly phone captured/created images, I am now back to importing images from my DSLR and processing on the computer.

It was interesting to see how quickly I was back in the groove of things, remembering shortcuts and keystrokes for tools in Lightroom and Photoshop.  I couldn’t tell you what I had for lunch yesterday, but I had no problems with my workflow.

I was pleased with that.

Long-time readers may recall that we finished our thru-hike last October.  By the end of the month, Goddess and I were down in San Diego to visit friends, pick up our car and all of my camera gear.  After that I was shooting not just with the phone, but the DSLRs that I missed so much on the trail.

Since then I have filled a few memory cards with images as we traveled across the US, hopped over to Europe over the holidays, back to and across the US, over to South Korea, then back to the US.  Once back, we did another cross-country round trip.

I actually reached a point last spring where I had filled all of my available memory cards.  In a panic, we were lucky to find an actual photography-focused store in Moab, Utah, where I was able to pick up another card.

A couple of weeks later, we swung into Ashland, Oregon, where we lived before our hike.  I tossed all of the full memory cards in our safe deposit box for safe-keeping.

That’s where they sit to this day.

So all of the photos that I took from November until March are stored away until we can get back down there to collect them.

Everything I have access to now is from late-March until now. So the pictures I will be posting here are completely random, unrelated to how we traveled.

Yet exactly how we traveled.

For those who we visited as we meandered the world, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Late March, Southern Utah.

After leaving Moab and the incredible beauty of Arches National Park (those pics are in storage), we headed southwest, camping in Capitol Reef National Park (pics in storage), then Kodachrome Basin State Park, where we set up base to explore the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Bryce Canyon National Park (guess where those pics are).

For days I had been excited about the prospect of Zion National Park.  It’s my favorite national park in the US and it would be Goddess’ first visit.

We had been flying by the seat of our pants, making up our stops as we went along.

This time it bit us in the butt.

Not having to worry about kids and schedules, we were not tracking that it was spring break in Utah.

Goddess’ first visit to Zion National Park consisted of entering through the east gate and driving right out the west gate.  A quick check of the campgrounds showed them all full.  One spot was available for the price of a decent hotel room, so we passed on it and drove a few hours to get an actual decent hotel room.

This was one of the views as we exited the park.

Signal Peak, shrouded in snow-showers.

I am always amazed when I hear folks say that the desert is drab and boring.  Then saddened, because they clearly don’t know how to look at a desert.  Some come around, but most often don’t.

If you’re one of those that don’t think that deserts are interesting, stick around.

I may just change your mind.

Who would have thought that I would have a more difficult time remembering how to use WordPress on the computer than Photoshop?  Guess which is significantly more complicated.

Final Stretch

It has been a crazy week since we’ve moved out of the house. But it has all been good.








In a nutshell, we tied up a few loose ends in Oregon and headed south. 

We spent the weekend with our resupply goddess getting a late delivery of food put together;

We drove south through California’s central valley.  We were planning on taking a couple of days to get to San Diego, but got word that there were just a handful of spaces left at our planned auto storage facility that were first-come, first-served, so we pushed hard to get there and get our spot.  We did;

Then it was last-minute chores of sending out resupply boxes and getting everything ready. But since San Diego is my old stomping grounds as a teenager and Jennifer has never been here, there was food to be enjoyed and places to see.

We will catch a breather before we hit the trail.

I hope.


The packing continues.

We got the entire house packed, cleaned and handed over the other day. We wanted to spend yesterday napping, but there is still plenty to do.

It doesn’t help that, thanks to a shipping snafu, that we are still waiting on delivery of about 120 meals worth of dehydrated vegetables and protein.

Here’s our hotel room right now. I suspect the housekeeping staff is shaking their heads every time they walk past the open door.


It’s a last minute sanity check, as we have realized that some important items are now somewhere in the storage unit. No show-stoppers, but things we will need to find (not likely right now) or replace.

Once this is done, on to the last minute packing of meals as tracking tells us that the food shipment is in town as of yesterday, but apparently too far from the mailbox to pick up.

The adventure begins and continues.


Wow, has it really been two weeks since the last post?

In the immortal words of Bob Marley, we’re jammin’.

We spent a week in Kansas experiencing what we’ve been missing here – winter.  A nice bout of snowfall and single-digit temperatures, made all the more enjoyable by spending the time with very dear friends.

Plus, they gave me the opportunity to shoot “baby bump” pictures for them as they’re just a couple of weeks from having their first child.  I’ve never had experience and it was nothing short of amazing.

Once we got back, we had to hit the slopes.  It’s late-spring conditions here, with the nights on the mountain not getting below freezing.  So we had a day of pushing slush and skipping rocks, but it was a great time.

Then a full weekend of trail-related activities.

Friday night had us at a local screening of a movie called “Only the Essential“, a documentary of a couple of hikers on their thru-hike of the PCT back in 2013.  It was a heck of a lot of fun to see the spots through someone else’s vision.

The best part was the Q&A session afterwards, when an audience member asked the producers what the most eye-opening moment was for them during the hike.  Colin Arisman responded, relaying the moment when he realized that he truly was house-less.   The look on Goddess’ face was priceless.

That part is really sinking in.

The rest of the weekend was trail work with the Siskiyou Mountain Club, building rock steps, build drains, clearing brush, clearing fallen trees and rehabilitating old, faded trail tread.

Misery WhipTaking a break.

Bean Meadow SunriseWatching sunrise on a morning when people were fretting over whether their clock was telling them the right time or not.  Sunrise is sunrise.

Boccard Point ViewView from Boccard Point in the Soda Mountain Wilderness.  That’s Pilot Rock to the left, Mount Ashland in the distance, just right of frame center.

We worked the majority of the trail from Pilot Rock to this viewpoint, skipping just a couple of miles of deadfall trees because it was late Saturday afternoon and we needed to set up camp before sunset.

Those will be taken care of next weekend.


PCT – Permits

Hello everyone.  It has been a while.  My semi-regular posting schedule has been much more semi than regular lately.

Things are rolling quickly.  In just over a month we hand the keys to the house back and we’re effectively homeless.

Not long after that, we’re walking.

Did you catch that? In just over a month…

I’ll let that sink in.

Mostly for us.


A trek like this isn’t possible without permits.  We cross a lot of public land that is protected for one reason or another, not to mention several National Forests and National Parks.  Each requires a permit.

PCT:  For the purposes of a long-distance hike on the PCT that is longer than 500 miles, the PCTA manages an interagency permit system that covers the myriad permits along the way.  That’s much easier and more efficient than  trying to coordinate with all of the different agencies.

Especially to summit Mount Whitney.

Due to the increasing popularity of the trail, they’ve had to institute a 50-hiker/day start schedule.  That move caused a lot of consternation amongst many hikers, folks who by their very nature are easy-going and just go with the flow.  The new quota meant that we hikers had to pick a date and stick to it.  For those that didn’t jump on the registration site right after it opened, their preferred date might not have been available.

That’s a bit problematic for folks that had already bought airline tickets.  The system is even getting press in The Smithsonian.

But it’s working out.  After the initial consternation, most folks are realizing that the system is the only way to minimize impact on the trail.  Our start date is already full, at the beginning of a stretch of two weeks where every day is fully permitted.  So we’ll see a lot of folks on the trail in those first few weeks.

Campfire: Since we’ll be camping mostly outside of established campgrounds in California, we are required to obtain a campfire permit.  It’s a simple system consisting of watching/reading a short fire prevention presentation, then taking a test.  A successful test completion means a permit.  Done.

Canada: Yep, we need a permit for Canada.  Why?  The final 9-mile stretch of the trail is in British Columbia, finishing in Manning Park.  But there isn’t an official border crossing there, so they need to know we are coming.  Plus, we need the official stamps to show that we aren’t in Canada illegally.

That makes sense.  Otherwise, I might take away someone else’s job at a Tim Hortons.*

Mind you, we don’t have to go into Canada to complete the PCT.  We could stop at the monument right at the US/Canadian border, take our pics and not enter Canada.  But that means a 30-mile hike back to the first US town south.

Since we don’t have anything keeping us from entering Canada (e.g., criminal record), we’re going to keep walking.

The added advantage of going into Canada is that a very good friend lives nearby.  It will be good to finally meet him on his home turf, as we’ve only been able to get together in Germany and here in the US.

That’s it for permits.  It doesn’t seem like much, but the PCT and Canada permits add a bit of stress to the process, as they don’t open for application until so late in the planning.  But it has worked out.  We’re fully permitted.

*Tim Hortons – my only experience with a Tim Hortons has been their furthest east franchise, a lovely garden spot known as Kandahar, Afghanistan.  I must say that they make a fine doughnut.  Hopefully I can get another one at the end of the hike and see if it tastes just as good.


There has been a lot of walking around here lately.  A lot more than usual.

We do live in quite a walkable town.

But we’ve got a longer walk to get ready for, you know. So it’s a lot more hours on the feet, more frequently.

Today was one of those days, complete with errands and appointments.  It helped that our errands and appointments in town today were spread out.  That forced us to get walking early.

It was also a great opportunity to test the rain gear that we have on hand (we’re still mulling over a couple of  items), plus check to see how the sock/shoe systems work while soaked (verdict: swimmingly).

The best part is that once the appointments were done and we were waiting for the shop to finish with the car, the walk delivered views like this:

We took the rainbow as a sign that our car was done at the shop.  Three hours later, we found that to not be true.  But four hours later, all was right.

That image was shot right after we stopped for our “lunch”.  I put “lunch” in quotation marks because we’re working on our feeding schedule on these walks, trying to stick to every 90 minutes or so for a snack, then keep moving.

This specific feeding was closest to noon, so that counted as “lunch”.

Just 90 minutes later, it was mid-afternoon and it was time for a break.  It had been raining pretty steadily and hard for several hours, not to mention all of the water blowing off of the trees in an increasing wind.  But we were comfortable.

Just a touch hungry.

As Goddess boiled the water for some hot tea, I snapped a couple of pics, which didn’t stop her from eating some of the salami and rehydrated veggies.  But her look here, a look that I did not notice at the time, is proof that if I didn’t act fast, I was not going to get any of it.

Now that’s what I call “hangry”.