Foundations: Grit

Trail Update: As I currently sit here on a cushy leather couch, sipping hot black coffee, and looking out the window over the lush gardens of a beautiful Seattle home, I am reminded that the rising sun is warming the outdoor world. That world included me only a week ago. The morning warmth from those first rays of sunshine are magical after a cold night. We have been graciously hosted here in Seattle for the last week (Thanks Sweetums! She thru-hiked in 2015) and it has been quite a relaxing vacation from the norm. Our last ten days on trail were eventful, challenging, partially frigid and soggy, but also sunny, warm, and gorgeous for the final days. We were given a fresh opportunity to experience nearly every feeling and emotion that we had already experienced on this journey again. Trash levels were low, likely because less people use those far northern trails, and the mountains were awe-inspiring. In the end, we removed 721.7 pounds of litter from the PCT over a span of 2,659 mil

Foundations: Efficiency

Howdy! Before I dive into this article about efficiency, I want to give you all an update from our hike the last few weeks. During our last check in, Spice and I had just begun our transition from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the Cascade Range. Since that check in, We have completed 2,380 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail and have removed 719 pounds of trash from the trail. We quickly glided through Oregon's diverse terrain, doing our best to balance the need to hike miles and the siren call of the lakes and huckleberries. Side cleanups and alternate routes resulted in some unique trash finds. Oregon was overall an incredible state. Sitting in a hotel room half-way into Washington, I'm wondering where the last 250 miles went. Then I remember that they went up, down and around some of the most incredible mountains I've ever seen. Looking outside at the coming rains, I'm reminded of how fortunate we've been to see only blue skies on our journey thr

Foundations: Strength

Before I get into this article I want to share a quick update from our recent days. We recently hiked out of the northern end of the Sierra Nevada range and have now entered the Cascade range that will take us through the remainder of California and Oregon, into Washington. In the past weeks, we passed by steaming fumaroles and boiling lakes in Lassen Volcanic National Park, hiked a 41 mile day across the notoriously dry Hat Creek Rim, and got our fill of views of the beautiful Mount Shasta. To date, we have hiked 1600 miles and cleaned up 628 pounds of litter. We also passed the PCT halfway point recently, marked by a nondescript little marker post alongside the trail. Now, on with the main purpose of this article, strength. Finding strength in the Sierra. There are many aspects to strength, both physical and mental, but for the purposes of this article we will primarily focus on the physical aspect because I find the mental aspects of strength to relate more closely to our u

ULD Hiking Shoe

Ultimate Long Distance Hiking Shoe I'll just go ahead and be frank; I may have an addiction to footwear. From running sandals to work boots, shoes are definitely the piece of equipment I utilize the most and seemingly have the most variety of. It seems each shoe has a specific job, but more often than not I find myself using one shoe for everything. Does anyone else find themselves doing this!? During long distance hiking efforts, o The Lone Peak is the one shoe we see most often on the Pacific Crest Trail. We literally starting chanting "Follow Altra" at one point because you could always predict which way the trail went by the Altra marks in the dirt. Paul and I have worn the Lone Peak 2.5, 3.0, and 3.0 mid tops and can't say enough about them! I wanna focus this discussion on these three things: fit, durability and function. The combination of these three qualities can either make or break a shoe, and in regard to the Lone Peak, these qua

Foundations: Form

Ill apologize in advance for our absence lately. The last few weeks have been incredible but we have not had cell phone service to share all of our thoughts. Alas, we are back to share our ramblings.  This week I will be introducing the first article of a monthly series we've decided to share. The series will be called the Foundations. The purpose behind this series is to share our primary areas of focus in regard to remaining healthy and happy while backpacking over 2,000 miles, again. The foundations include: Form, Strength, Efficiency and Grit. Throughout the remainder of this article I will focus on the first foundation, Form.  Form is a word you'll hear me say a ton on a daily basis. From the physical act of hiking well, to me nodding my head and praising others for doing an act with good form, it is a integral part of our daily lives. Form is the first foundation we strive for because it has such a profound effect on everything we do, including the subsequent foundations.

Granite Gear: Crown VC 60 review

This is not our typical post. This is not my traditional style. This is something that I must share. 

Nearly two years ago, when Cap mentioned the idea of Packing It Out on the Appalachian Trail, we immediately took action toward making that dream happen. At that time, we both had considerable backgrounds in backpacking. Cap's experience included more ultralight style and my experience came from a background in trail maintenance where carrying heavy tools, large group meals and gear were essential. So upon deciding to remove all the litter we found from the trail, we realized we would often be carrying unknown amounts of weight along our journey. We needed to consider the gear we carried with great care, especially our packs, which would be our truest workhorse piece of gear.

 Upon discussing options, we mutually agreed upon carrying Granite Gear packs for a variety of reasons including rugged durability, lightweight options, and comfortable load ratings. Now don't misunderst

A Farewell to the Desert

We're off to see the Lizard, the wonderful Lizard of Mojav, EH! Hello again! We've been singing that jingle to the sound of the Wizard of Oz for a few weeks now and figured we had to share. Our days in the desert are coming to an end soon and I feel the need to share some of what we learned while living in this powerful landscape. We have experienced weather of all sorts - much of which was unexpected, we learned how to thrive from the animals - primarily lizards, and have been awed as well as attacked by plants - quite literally. The very thought of a desert conjures thoughts of extreme heat and sun exposure for many, although for some folks it even comes to mind as quite cold and even snowy. It all depends on the time of day and elevation. In our month of desert travel we have experienced windless 100 degree days, waterless expanses stretching over 40 miles, windy nights below freezing that left our tents coated with ice and hoarfrost, and even thunder-snowstorms that we w