Tuesday, September 16, 2014

800 Miles To Sea; A Paradigm Shift

Hiking the PCT was supposed to be my defining moment, wherein I would discover myself, become a member of a group of people that I finally fit in with, and where I would find my new path in life that would be lined with wildflowers, butterflies, golden sun rays, and life would be amazing, forever and ever and ever... 
...Yeah, not so much...

I didn't know I wanted the hike to be all of those things when I started, I only realized it when I was weighing the pros and cons of quitting while descending Glen Pass. That's a tall order for one event, even if it is as epic as walking 2,660 miles in one shot, and barring the fact that many have had that exact experience on the PCT.

Josh and I had spent so much time on trail longing for the ocean that when we arrived home the first thing we did was go to the beach. Even in my disappointment with myself about bailing out on my dream of so many years, it felt right to be in the sea. I started to process the trail, myself and my direction in life.

It was clear that I was not going to be one of the cookie cutter PCT hikers with 30 mile days, pancake challenges and friendships that would stand the test of time. Who knows, maybe I could have had all of those things if I made it passed the 800 mile mark, or if I went solo, or if I went southbound, or if I went to Kick Off or if I wasn't so socially awkward, or if I was in better shape, or if I...

Lets go cliff jumping.

Honestly, I think I spent a lot of time being angry, afraid, and judgmental of everyone on trail and online because they we're not feeding into my delusion of what I thought the trail experience was supposed to be. Maybe I only wanted the cookie cutter experience (edited to remove the hard, boring, painful bits) or I didn't want it at all. I'm still not sure about that, I still want to hike the trail just as much as I don't want to.
So, now that I don't have the PCT to think about, plan for, bitch about, dwell in, train for...what do I want to do?

I want to have fun. 
Fuck all of this seriousness, thinking and searching. 
Lets go play.

After cliff jumping and hanging out at our local beach we went to Anza Borrego Desert State Park. There we found a herd of Big Horn Sheep, a canyon covered in sparkling calcite, and a flock of Turkey Vultures that lead us to a dead baby Big Horn that we promptly poked at with a stick while contemplating our own mortality in the heat.

It was hot in the desert, damn hot. So we decided to go to Knott's Soak City to cool off. We bought one of those old-school underwater cameras and the quality of the pictures wasn't as bad as we thought it would be! We laughed at the fact that we were having a legitimate kid style summer vacation at the ripe old age of 32 and 41 respectively.

It was here we decided to go to Mexico and have a proper vacation. Josh set up all of the arrangements and we planned to go to Cabo San Lucas for a week. 
Josh wanted to take me snorkeling as I have only ever been once before in Florida. We headed over to House of Scuba to see about renting the gear and a GoPro camera for the trip. The staff at House of Scuba were super helpful and after doing the math, we figured it would be more cost effective to just buy the gear outright as opposed to renting. 
We are now the proud owners of snorkel gear AND a fancy new GoPro camera.

I was so stoked to have the snorkel gear I didn't want to take it off! 
We headed out to Solana Beach to try everything out but I had a hard time getting passed the breakers and getting used to the gear at the same time. 
We ended up at La Jolla Cove where we had a great first snorkeling adventure. Interestingly I got out of the water a little sea sick, and Josh almost got bit by a huge Sea Lion but we had a fantastic time! Here is our first GoPro edit of the adventure set to one of my favorite Bob Marley songs.

After that trip I was hooked in a whole new way. You couldn't get me out of the ocean. We were in the water religiously nearly everyday snorkeling, body surfing, cliff jumping. 

While in Cabo San Lucas we jet skied, snorkeled and I even went scuba diving for the first time! I was so scared when we were getting ready to dive but once I was down and figured everything out, I loved it. While we were there we experienced our first tropical storm and absorbed the local culture.
It was an amazing trip and it really changed my perspective on life, travel and adventure. 
You can see some of our trip here:

When we arrived home we swam with Leopard Sharks in La Jolla,

I got my brother and his girlfriend hooked on snorkeling,

and we swam with feisty sea lions. 

We also drove up the coast past San Francisco seeing starfish, dolphins, dead elephant seals and other crazy marine life.

We visited the Salton Sea in all of its decrepit, botulism coated beauty and brought home fish bones to add to my collection.

I also started drawing again and finished a portrait of John Muir for Josh and one of Grace Neutral, who is a tattoo artist, for my brother Eli.

In the end, I found out I basically walked 800 miles to be reminded that I have more interests than just hiking and that I want to share them with you. I discovered I really like where I live and that there are so many more adventures to be had here. I've found that I love the ocean which is something new for me; I liked it before but once I kneeled on the bottom of it, I found want to be there all of the time.
I have come away with all of the things that I hoped to get from the PCT but they are different than I expected.

If you've read to the end of this post I guess you're coming with me on this new adventure. 

Thank you for sticking with me, I love you all; even those of you I've never met. 
Hold on to your butts! Here we go!


  1. I'm glad to see that you're posting again. Did you make it out of Cabo before Odile hit? I saw pictures of the damaged airport and man, did it look bad. Looks like you're doing well. Here's to any and all of your new adventures.

    1. Brewella! You're still here!! I'm so glad!
      Yes, we were there in August and were hit with a small tropical storm that came out of the blue. Josh made a cool video edit of it.
      You can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qENrBzo0HPM