Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sierra City, finally!!

Well I have finally made it through the vortex that was 'home'. From Hw 88 > Hw49 in Sierra City is roughly 130 miles and it took me 19 days to pass through it! Granted it only took me about 7.5 days of actually hiking, the rest of the time was spent making awesome memories with some of the most awesome people in my life! I got to see most of my family, and (only) some of my great friends.
I was able go to the ocean, through Berkley, San Francisco,
and most the way to Santa Cruz on the PCH. Another day ripe with great conversations and good times! (thanks again Lauren)
I had a hell of a time at a pizza dinner catching up with about 10>15 great friends! Thanks for coming to all who showed. Matt and Jason and I rocked a few bars after that happened, and I was also able to have a great day relaxing at Folsom Lake. (thanks again Kat)
Breakfast at Sweetie Pies with my favorite moose Summertime, some biscuits and gravy have never done this hungry-hiker wrong...
The trail magic and BBQ my parents put together before I got back on the trail was epic! It's great to be able to share something with them on this adventure that they could feel part of as well. Thanks grams, dad, Alesia, Kristen, Bro Case, doug and Pam! That was awesome, and I can't thank you enough!!!
Once I got back on the trail, I wasn't heading far because I was getting right back off the trail in Truckee to catch up with an old friend from high school. Megan hosted and showed me one hell of a time in Truckee! Chilling out at Donner Lake with the dogs, floating down the Truckee river in the downpour/sunshine, great talks over dinner, a little jamming, every moment was so special and inspiring. A truly 'good for the soul' time indeed...It was such a treat and couldn't have been any better. So thank you Megan, you are amazing.

It's unreal to me how many awesome, deep, philosophical conversations I have been having in the last three months. It's truly amazing to me how something so simple as hiking all day has made me such a better/happier person, and how it seems to inspire so many people to strive for happiness as well! I could easily have got off the trail at many points, but I know how many people are intrigued and inspired by what I am doing, that it gives me reason to keep going everyday. I don't know what is in store for me when I am done with this hike, where I'll land, live, love, but I do know I have about 1465 miles left to figure it out. Thus far I have walked 1200, so mileage wise I am not quite half way, however time wise I am certainly half way. My pace will be sped up for sure, I have a ton of hiker family a week or two ahead of me I need to see again, so I will be trying to realistically and safely catch up...hopefully by Oregon/Washington border.

So, I think that's about it for now, I hope you all are enjoying your summer!!!!

I'd also like to give a shout out to all the trail angels and awesome day hikers I have shared conversations with along the way who I may have directed to this site....The ladies climbing out of Donner Pass who gave me fruit and beer, and the awesome people I met at the P.Grubb hut~ thanks for the good conversations and memories!!

Until another moment in time...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Our Own Back Yard.....

From Sonora Pass to Donner Pass is about 150 miles of the most beautiful hiking you will ever do. That is from about an hour north east of Sonora on hw108 until you reach Donner Summit on hw40/80 near Truckee. It also crosses hw140 at Ebbets Pass, hw88 at Carson Pass, and hw50 at Echo Summit, so there are lots of options for short overnights or daytrips galore. Not only are the mountains, rivers, creeks and lakes insanely gorgeous, the hiking itself was a piece of cake! There were no more huge mountain passes, there were a few grinding climbs here and there, but nothing like the High Sierra or when leaving Yosemite. All this hiking is at elevations high enough to stay cool, but still low enough you can catch your breath super quick and keep going. But man, the views! We are so fortunate to have as many places as we do in the Amador/El Dorado/Placer county areas, to be able to get out and enjoy this beautiful planet. North of Barker Pass (just after the PCT crosses the Rubicon4x4 trail) until hw80 at Donner was about 25 miles I recommend to every hiker that has ever hiked near Tahoe. You spend most of it hiking along the ridges atop Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl ski ranches. You have the sweetest views of Lake Tahoe and can see for what seems to be 100 miles in every direction! It was pretty breath taking.

I started reading/listening to Dharma Bums by Kerouac a little bit ago and I forgot how much I love his writing. The book has really been speaking to me, and now I have been taking time each day to try and meditate a little, and to pray and work towards some type of enlightenment, it has been extremely refreshing. Being able to start practicing and pondering Mahayana buddhism in such beautiful places has really made such a difference. It is something I am looking forward to continue to practice and learn, and I am excited by the thoughts of becoming a more conscious and balanced human being.

Hope you all have a great weekend! This summer is flying by, so spend some time with your favorite people doing some awesome things and seeing some awesome places!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

I finally feel 'back' on the trail...

It took longer than I had hoped, but I finally feel back on the trail and not mentally distracted by all that I just left behind. Today I saw my good buddies Matt and Jason, they hiked into Lake Aloha for the afternoon and we kicked it for a while. I left them feeling low, wishing I wasn't on the trail anymore, so I could spend the summer kicking it with all you awesome people. I was feeling the pull to go back with them, but I knew if I kept going, the trail would call me back, and like it has EVERY time thus far, almost the moment you are feeling the lowest of lows, something happens and it all flips back in your favor. Today I caught Hee-Haw and Wolverine, two amazing and awesome guys who basically renewed my spirit right there on the spot. All I needed was a little trail-family love again and I went right back to knowing the trail is exactly where I need to be... So thanks guys.

Kristo Out.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

the nature of things... (see what I did there)

I've been saying things are 'bittersweet' all week...
Well I just got back on the trail and during those first few miles I started doing some introspective work about my week at home and I was focusing on the how's and why's of what has been so bittersweet. It's amazing to me, this chance to dive so deep into some existential reasoning and introspection, and the lessons that become so obvious, that have probably always been right in front of my eyes. Only now that I am out here, alone with my thoughts, away from the modern distractions and surrounded by nature at its purest, are the lessons so crystal clear that they almost can be learned, and stored, and put to the ultimate test almost immediately.
I was home for about 8 days. It was relaxing, also trying and altogether amazing. I felt a lot like a fish out of water. So many memories recalled, and already so much change has occurred in only my short time away, that I felt even more disconnect from the life I had led before starting this adventure. I have lost and drifted away from some of those people that were very crucial in my life, but I have also became closer to, and created stronger bonds with some unexpected people as well. I have so many amazing people in my life. For the first time, living in the present, and learning and moving on from the past has become easier to handle and manage and my overall outlook is a much healthier, much more rewarding.
So what really makes it bittersweet? Leaving my family, my friends, it's tough walking away from them again, walking away from being able to see them everyday. But getting back on the trail makes it worth it because I know when I see them again, the feelings and reunion will be so amazing. Yeah, rough life, leaving amazing people just to return before to long and continue building stronger and more amazing relationships with them. :-p thanks for following and supporting my crazy life and making this such a special time for me.

Until next time.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

my week off...

Well my week off has been amazing. I have been able to spend good time with family, and some great friends. Time with my father, brother, nephew, seeing my grandma, aunt, best friends Zack and Matt, and the rest of the amazing people in my life that made time to see me on my brief stay. Everything is SO INCREDIBLY different since I left three months ago. It is so awesome the response I have had, and how much support I have. My friends and family are some truly amazing people that make my life so much richer and full. Being on the trail, away from them, really has left me with an appreciation for being able to share time with them. It makes every minute away more that much more special, because I know how amazing it will feel when I see them again. It is going to be hard to walk away from it all, again. On Saturday the 14th, I will head back to the trail. Some friends and family are going to join me and BBQ at the trailhead for all the other hikers that happen to be coming through that day. It is our little way of giving back to the PCT community. All the love and trail magic I have recieved so far has been unreal. I can't do enough to payback the love, so having a little BBQ is the least I could do. So when these thru-hikers come through Carson Pass on Saturday, hopefully we can fill their hungry bellies with some meat and liquids, and send them on their way to Tahoe. I am excited to see if any hikers I know are going to come through, and even more excited for my family and friends to be even more a part of this adventure. I know it will be a day they will never forget, because the hikers are so thankful when they come across trail magic that the feeling of helping out will feel so good, not to mention all the crazy awesome personalities they will meet, it will give them a better idea of what I have been going through on the trail for almost 3 months now. WOW almost 3 months. about 2.5 more to go. What a long, strange, amazing trip it has been, and I still have so much left to experience. Thank you all for following along, donating to my cause, and inspiring ME to keep going, to keep hiking, to keep on with this lifestyle. I don't know what my next adventure will be after this hike, but I am 100 percent confident that no matter where the trail leads me, I have one HELL of a support crew watching my back, and living vicariously through me. It feels so good, and you guys have left me feeling like a rockstar. I am truly grateful from the bottom of my heart for each and everyone of you following along and making me feel like I am doing something so special. The support has been amazing.... And sorry, there will be no pictures until a later date. I have not only ruined my digital camera, but broke my iPhone as well since I have been home. Most of my possesions are deteriorating, but not my will. Those are only things. Things come and go. The love and support is raw and pure and lasts forever. Thanks a million. Kristo

Sunday, July 8, 2012

some pics

These are just some pictures I took on my cell phone when hiking through the High Sierras, Kings Canyon NP, John Muir wilderness, Ansel Adams wilderness and Yosemite. I hope to upload some of my higher quality pics from my broken digital camera this week during my time off...

Hope you enjoy...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

once again, really sorry...

Well, I am home. I made it 1078 miles from the border of Mexico/Cali and literally walked all the way home. It was probably the most emotional moment of the entire hike when I climbed up over Carson Pass and could hear the traffic on HW88. I started crying like a little baby. Thankfully, no one was hiking with me for the past 3 days and I was all alone, I was able to literally slap myself back into reality. I am once again sorry for not posting more often. For the last month or so I have been in places far from cell service, hiking some difficult trail, and loving every moment of it. Unfortunately, I have had very little time to sit and reflect electronically. I wish I was more diligent in keeping up with my blog posts, but this last month was one of the best of my life, and honestly, typing about it on my tiny iPhone keyboard at night when I was going to sleep was about the last thing I wanted to do. I am much more content trying to find and recognize new constellations, watching for shooting stars, checking out the Milky Way and enjoying the natural state of things when I am so far away from the grind of the modern society. This last three months has been trying, I have went through so many life changes, and I feel stronger, healthier, and more balanced than ever. I have a new confidence about me, I no longer feel as dependent on others to find happiness, I am finally back to being 100% comfortable with being completely alone, which is something I somehow got so far away from. Not that I am 'alone' out there, I have been hiking with a pretty solid group of people for several hundred miles now, but at the same time, I am alone in this. I have lots of support, and those of you who follow and inspire me to keep going are truly some amazing people. As far as hike details go, I am not quite half way with the mileage, but in the amount of time on the trail, I'd say I am very close to half way done. I need to do some major resupply and gear change/exchange this coming week. I rolled in to town with everything breaking: my bank account(ouch) my backpack, shoes (2nd pair), digital camera and other random gear stuff is all pretty much done for and needs to be replaced or replenished is one way or another. I haven't been able to take pictures for about a week now due to the digi-cam breaking and the battery levels of my cell phone and battery pack being at critical lows... It took me 77 days to hike from the border back home. I took 8 'zero' days in that time where I did not hike any miles at all. I hiked numerous 'nearos' where I hiked, but not a full day's worth of miles, usually somewhere between 1-12 miles. I also have substantially picked up my pace. I was doing 15 miles a day or so at the beginning, but now I can easily hike 25+ miles a day, and get up and do it again the next day if need be. I have lost 50 lbs and am sitting right around 200 now, a weight in which I have never been since I was in high school and started getting bigger, filling out, and gaining a substantial gut. Being healthy has been the most rewarding part of this whole experience. My heart is stronger than ever, my muscles are more toned, I look better, and feel better, both mentally and physically. I weigh less now with my backpack on and full of 5 days worth of food, than I did naked before I left. I am super excited to get my travel guitar back now that I am in shape, do not need to carry along a heavy and bulky bear canister, and have crossed most of the rivers that may have needed to be forded, which may have proved difficult to manage with a wooden guitar in tow. I have been writing some stuff out there that I hope I can translate to some quality music here really soon, and I am excited to be able to play around the campfire on those nights where we can have one. I am more comfortable in my own skin than ever before, and I can only hope that I can use that as a starting point for being myself as a musician, and creating my own style or niche that is refreshing and most of all gets good response from those who I share it with. Once again, thanks for all the support, and thanks for following along. Sometimes I forget how many of you are checking this page out on a daily basis sometimes just hoping I have posted something new. I am going to try and do a better job at keeping it up now that the toughest part of the hike may be behind me. If anyone of you ever have questions or want to know more stuff, or specific stuff I fail to touch on, please email me or leave a comment and I will be more than glad to do what I can to give you the information you are looking for.... thanks again. Kristo