Friday, April 30, 2010

PCT update and vocab

The PCT gals has made it to Warner Springs (Milepoint 110.6), which is West of the Anza Borrego Desert, East of Hellhole Canyon and Lake Henshaw, in the Cleveland National Forest.
After re-supplying, they will continue North, crossing Highway 74 at 4,900 ft and then climbing the backbone of the San Jacinto Mountains.
The next town will be Idyllwild (PCT Milepoint 178.6), which they will reach next week, approximately May 4th.

As I'm following their progress on daughter's blog, I'm starting to learn the PCT lingo:

PCT = Pacific Crest Trail. Nobody cool ever spells this out!
Thru-hiking= Hiking the entire trail from end to end (CA-Mexico border to Canada, 2650 miles)
Resupply points= towns or post offices where hikers replenish food (from stores or packages shipped to General Delivery)
Bounce-box = Box mailed ahead to next re-supply point, such as chargers for camera, shampoo, etc.
Zero Day = A day spend not hiking: rest day
Slack-packing = not carrying your full load, such as when somebody gives your gear a lift to the next campsite, which must feel heavenly!
Ultra-light = Equipment pared down to lightest weight possible
Trail name = Nickname used while hiking the PCT
Trail magic = when people do nice things for hikers, which apparently happens alot!

And a little fun fact from the PCT website:
It was recently pointed out that fewer people have thru-hiked the PCT than have climbed Mt. Everest! Could it be that a thru-hike is tougher than climbing the tallest mountain on Earth?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dreaming of the desert flowers...

Spring is in the air, even in Alaska (nevermind that it snowed again just last week) -- and my tulips and rhubarb are up! Vicariously I'm enjoying the desert bloom, since my adventurous daughter on the PCT is currently hiking through the Anza Borrego Desert State Park, and the wildflowers are supposed to still be beautiful, especially after a rainy winter in Southern California.

These photos are obviously not mine (credit goes to the official Anza Borrego website,
Many many moons ago, hubby and I did camp and hike there one spring, back when our now nearly-16-year old was still in diapers -- and yes, he did end up with some cactus thorns in his tender behind at one point....

It truly is an amazing thing to see a desert in bloom!

The bears are out!

Started seeing bear prints in the snow last week. I'm definitely carrying bear spray on the job now, but I got the best protection possible: 20+ loud school children behind me... Fat chance of actually seeing one!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

...and my daughter is a Valkyrie

My older daughter, the one who's hiking the PCT (see post here) is searching for a trailname -- apparently everybody has one (or gets one), and she's considering "Valkyrie". She's also becoming known for having signed the mile 0 register as, "Looking forward to snacking, napping, and bearded men".

This past weekend was the big "PCT kick-off" at mile 20.8 in Morena, CA.
She and her hiking partner (trailname still t.b.d.), are meeting lots of interesting people! She's blogging from the trail at

You, dear reader, might be curious about what a valkyrie is or does:
they are female figures from Norse mythology who decide who will die in battle.
All I can say is: Watch out, bearded men!

Friday, April 23, 2010

I'm a Viking!

Conversation overheard behind me as I'm leading 6th graders on a fieldtrip at work yesterday:

Kid#1: She has an accent. I wonder where she's from?
Kid#2: Who? The guide?
Kid#1: Yes, of course. She talks like someone from another country.
Kid#2: You're right. I think she's like ... from Europe, maybe?
Kid#1: I know. She's from one of those countries way up there, in the North.
Kid#2: You mean, like a Viking?
Kid#1: Exactly. She's a Viking.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My daughter is tougher than your daughter!

My daughter, Eldest, is embarking tomorrow on an amazing feat: backpacking 2,650 miles (4,260 km) on the Pacific Crest Trail. It starts at Campo, CA at the border to Mexico, and ends in Manning Park, BC, Canada.

Time for me to get to blogging again (which I have been neglecting lately due to general busy-ness and a few too many good detective novels). But now I get to worry (mother's perogative) & follow my daughter's progress on this daunting task.

What posesses this child of mine, I can't say. Obviously I like nature, hiking, the outdoors, but carrying a big pack and walking 2650 miles!?! That just seems cruel on them poor feet -- but I'm supportive and admit to being very impressed nonetheless.

It's been my daughter's dream for many years, and together with her college roommate she's plotted and planned this for a few years.

Campo: April 20 is Day 0, Mile 0

Campo, CA is a small town east of San Diego (popn 3251, elev 2620 ft)
For the first 110 miles, the PCT passes through Lake Morena County Park and beneath Interstate 8, then climbs through chaparral, scrub oaks, and pines to the rim of the Laguna Mountains. They'll stop at mile 43 in Mt.Laguna, popn 80, elev 6000ft, to resupply.
The trail dips into Anza-Borrego Desert State Park at Scissors Crossing, then winds up, down, and around the San Felipe Hills and lesser mountains of the Cleveland National Forest.
(info from Wikipedia and Forest Service brochure)

Warner Springs, approx.April 30, Mile 110.6

Warner Springs, CA is a small outpost with a very limited store, which is also where my first package will reach them. From Warner Springs, the PCT continues through the Cleveland National Forest before crossing Highway 74 at 4,900’ and climbing the backbone of the San Jacinto Mountains.

For some peace of mind for the poor parents & loved ones, they'll be carrying a SPOT (Satellite Personal Orbital Tracker), which is basically a GPS tracking device. Each day, they plan to press the "I'm ok" button, and then we can follow their progress by going to

I shall try to keep you posted.
You can also follow her blog, Kitchensister, where she'll be posting her adventures along the PCT.