Photos from my Oregon Desert Trail trips so far – 425 miles of awesomeness


I’m hiking the Oregon Desert Trail in sections this year, and will be uploading photos periodically to the Oregon Natural Desert Association Flickr page. You can see the slideshows here:

Section 25

Section 24

Section 23

Section 22

Section 21

Section 20

McDermitt Alternate

Section 18

Section 17

Section 16

Section 15

Section 12

Section 11

Section 10

Gear on the Oregon Desert Trail

I just updated my gear list for what I have been and will be using on the Oregon Desert Trail this year. I’ve copied it below for your convenience! My next section will include mostly packrafting, so I’ll be using specific boating gear. I’m still working out my system, but I’ll share that info soon. It will add quite a bit of weight: packraft, frame pack (Six Moon Designs Flex Pack), helmet, paddle, PFD, throw bag, dry bags, water shoes; but once I’m floating the weight won’t be on my back, unless portaging…or “packing” the packraft. I’ll also be hiking some side canyons and exploring more ways for hikers to hike from rim to river.


Hike in, boat out!

Did you know I have a packrafting blog too? Kirk and I have loved being able to hike into places to boat, and I’m really excited that the Oregon Desert Trail has so much boating potential in the Owyhee Canyonlands.

I’ll get more photos up from my 250 mile section of the Oregon Desert Trail soon, but until then see them on Flickr.

2016 Oregon Desert Trail Gear

Item Specific Item Weight
Backpack Six Moon Designs Fusion 50 2015 49 oz
Six Moon Designs Flex Pack (for packrafting) 51 oz
Sleeping Pad Gossamer Gear Air Beam 3/4 Wide (Air Beam is not available anymore) 11.7 oz
Sleeping Bag Western Mountaineering Ultralight 29 oz
Ground Cloth Tyvek 5 oz
Shelter Six Moon Designs Deschutes Cuben Fiber 7 oz
Stakes TOAKS Titanium stakes x6 1.3 oz
Poles Black Diamond Z-Poles 17 oz
Cook Pot TOAKS Titanium 1100ml Pot 4 oz
Spoon Oboz plastic spoon/spork 1 oz
Stove TOAKS Titanium Backpacking Wood Burning Stove 7.9 oz
French Press I bought at REI 10 years ago, I use plastic inner cup
Water Containers Platypus Hoser 1.8 liter 3.4 oz
Vapur 1 Liter Bottle 1.4 oz
Water Filter Sawyer Mini 2 oz
Water treatment eye dropper of bleach
Camera/Phone Galaxy S5 5.1 oz
Lifeproof Case 1.6 oz
External Battery Anker 2nd Gen Astro E5 10.9 oz
Headphones Generic
USB charger & 2 charging cords Verizon 7 oz
GPS/Beacon DeLorum InReach 7 oz
Umbrella Six Moon Designs Silver Shadow 8 oz
Headlamp Petzel Tikka RZP Rechargable Headlamp 4 oz
Stuff Sacks OR UltraLight Dry Sack 1.6 oz
Six Moon Designs cuben stuff sack
Knife Gerber US1 1 oz
Bag Liner Trash compactor bag
Jacket Montbell Alpine Light Down Parka 11.8 oz
Patagonia Hoodini 4.3 oz
Outdoor Research Helium II 5.5 oz
hat Hikertrash trucker hat 2 oz
Outdoor Research Pinball Hat 2.7 oz
First Aid Misc
Long sleeve shirt REI polertec zip sunshirt (old!)
Tank top thrift shop tank
Skirt Purple Rain Skirt
Long johns Outdoor Research Essence Tights 5.2 oz
Socks X3 pairs Point6 merino socks
Shoes Oboz Luna 12.6 oz
Chaco Z2 Sandals
Gortex Socks Cabellas brand
Rain skirt trash compactor bag
Mittens Gordini Stash Lite Touch Mitt
shorts spandex shorts (chaffing protection!)
Gaiters OR Gortex Gaiters 10.2 oz


Oh, and I shared my thoughts on why hiking with chocolate is important. Salazon Chocolate was one of my sponsors last year and their organic dark chocolate with sea salt was delicious! AND they support the triple crown trails. AWESOME company.


My parents and chocolate on the CDT last year. Great combo!

What is hikertrash?

When Daniel “Ratatouille” Hepokoski first contacted me because he was interested in covering the topic of “hikertrash” on his new podcast series, Trailside Radio, I was happy to oblige…trying to define hikertrash for those who aren’t hikers can sometimes be a confusing discussion. Yes, it makes sense why we self identify as dirty on a long distance trail, but Ratatouille, like others I’ve spoken to over the years, wasn’t sure he wanted to call himself trash.

Thus the podcast. What is hikertrash?

Mountain Logo for visors_whole letters

Ratatouille will be getting on his first long distance trail, the PCT, in a few weeks, and will be attempting to continue this podcast series; an ambitious but exciting proposition. When he asked me why someone would want to call themselves hikertrash, I suggested he hike for a month and then we revisit the issue.

Take a listen to the Trailside Radio podcast:

Thanks for listening!

To expand on the podcast a bit, here are some photos detailing more about my hikertrash origin story:

first screen

My first screen: a curtain stapled onto a picture frame from goodwill.

My first designs included bikes and a kayak for Kirk, ever the water lover.

The first designs included mostly bikes. Did I mention I love bikes?

Back in 2009 on Lint's second thru-hike of the PCT I printed my first "hikertrash" on his pack when he passed through Bend.

Back in 2009 on Lint‘s second thru-hike of the PCT I printed my first “hikertrash” on his pack when he passed through Bend.


Kirk helped me build a screen printing press out of 95% recycled materials for 2014’s PCT Days.

Now we make a variety of products in a rainbow of colors.

Now we make a variety of products in a rainbow of colors.


and TEMPORARY tattoos! (I love temporary tattoos)


Hikertrash has had a good first year…2 trips to the OR Show and hikers wore our hats on the triple crown trails. Dude!

Brian and I continue to come up with new designs

Brian and I continue to come up with new designs (this one will be available soon!)


and I’ll be gathering more design ideas on the CDT in a few short weeks

As I said, getting dirty on the trail is the big equalizer. we are all hikertrash.

Rucking it up

I spent last weekend at the ALDHA-West Ruck in Cascade Locks. What’s a ruck you ask? It’s on of those German words we’ve appropriated that means backpacking. Although Urban Dictionary tells me it’s a fight, a rugby term, and some other much less inspiring definitions.

Anyway, it was a blast. There were old friends, quite a few hikers who will be on the CDT this year, and I had a chance to sell a bunch of hikertrash stuff.


We love our Purple Rain Adventure Skirts! Oh and Mont-bell put in a good showing among the thru-hikers too. Me, Jill, Focus & Allgood (Focus will be on the CDT too this year, I hope we get to meet up at some point!)

These guys. It was great to catch up with SoFar & Lint.

These guys. It was great to catch up with SoFar & Lint.

Hikertrash did really well…


We were trying to look like hikertrash here. Focus & Justa bought our new hat. I had a lot of fun designing this one, should be available for sale in the next month or so in our store.

Six Moon Designs also unveiled their answer for the bankrupt GoLite's very popular Chrome Dome. This is the Silver Shadow (guess who designed the logo!!)

Six Moon Designs also unveiled their answer for the bankrupt GoLite’s very popular Chrome Dome. This is the Silver Shadow (guess who designed the logo!!). This too will be available in the next month or two.

Oh man, every since we worked together as metal roofers one rainy January in Portland I have missed these two. Love these guys.

Oh man, every since we worked together as metal roofers one rainy January in Portland I have missed these two. Love these guys. Metal roofing in January? I wouldn’t recommend it.

So lots of catching up with friends, bolstering my business with new sales, and above all else, getting FREAKING EXCITED to hike the CDT.


Hike Your Own Hike

As my friend Paige and I were catching up at happy hour this week, I found myself explaining “Hike Your Own Hike,” and we both thought it applies pretty well to almost every aspect of life. As freelance graphic designers, both of us often wonder how our work compares to others, are we charging enough, are we meeting other’s expectations?? Instead we decided to stop comparing ourselves to others and just Hike Our Own Hike…Live Your Own Life. It’s brilliant!

The obvious connotation refers to the different hiking styles you will see on the long trails. I like to think the phrase originated on the Appalachian Trail where there is trail 100% of the way, and when hikers deviate from following the white blazes that mark the way they are often labeled “Not True to the Thru.” And then you can counter with Hike Your Own Hike.

There can be a lot of judgement in long distance backpacking. It ranges from what gear you carry, if you hike every mile of the trail, and what food you consume to how dirty you let yourself get. Come on people. There is no one way. Just because someone carries a certain pack or eats mostly Ramen noodles doesn’t mean their way is any less valid than another.

I like to remember Grandma Gatewood, the first female to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail in 1955 at age 67. She wore Keds shoes and carried a home-made duffle bag instead of a backpack. Did she finish the trail? Yep. Did she thru-hike it again in 1960 and 1963? Yep. Is your ultralight pack more comfortable than her duffle bag? Probably, but it doesn’t make her hike any less of a hike than yours.

Hike Your Own Hike is about tolerance. It’s about recognizing our differences and being ok with that.

I’m not sure that I’ll post my pack list before I go, or even weigh my base weight. It doesn’t really matter. I’m carrying stuff that makes me comfortable in the backcountry, and if that’s a base weight of 5 pounds or 25 pounds, that’s my choice to make.

And the CDT is quite liberating too. There is no one trail, in fact, there are often at least 3 trails you can choose from. Every map set available has alternates, and sometimes those alternates are the same, and sometimes not. There is no True to the Thru on the CDT, and that’s exactly what I’m looking forward to. Everyone hikes a different CDT. It’s yours. Make it what you will!

I like to Packraft too

Kirk and I went packrafting last weekend.


Me and big yellow, my 6ish pound packraft.

And in addition to this blog, I’ve been keeping a blog of our packraft adventures (strangely enough called Adventures with Packraft) for the past three years to chronicle trips we’ve done all over Oregon. You can read about our trip on the Chewaukan River here. (I got to calling it the She-ra-can River).

Thanks to some insomnia tonight I finally was able to get the post up. I really really really can’t wait for the simplicity of the trail. My schedule has just been killer lately (killer as in exhausting), and sometimes the only chance I get to work on some of my other interests, like maintaining the other blog, is when I can’t sleep.

The full time job, 2 businesses, 3 board positions, a relationship, friends, and trying to find time for myself is making life a bit crushing lately. I can’t complain too much as it’s all amazing and very fulfilling, but I’m tired.

I’m ready to slow down and just walk for a while.


Winter OR Show (Part 3) Gear

I could probably write 5 more posts on all that went down at the OR Show, but lets just cut to the chase…what cool gear did I find?? In addition to the Woolrich blankets I covered last time, the Triple Crown made an appearance in the sock realm as well. IMG_20150125_104733 Point6 socks out of Steamboat Springs is making socks for thru-hikers. That’s right. Well, they are making socks for all athletes, but I came across this quote while I was writing up a blog post for Six Moon Designs by Drew Williams, operations chief with Point6:  “Thru hikers commit to a multi-month series of struggles, frustrations, and gorgeous sunsets, most of which play out on their feet. We’re excited to design socks that stand up to the trials of the trail. Our co-branding efforts this year speak to our duty to help maintain these corridors and our commitment to those who use and trust our socks.”

Why is this exciting to me? Well beyond the obvious awesomeness of the socks, this is a company that recognizes thru-hikers are not only a sock-buying member of the outdoor market, but that they are making a product that can stand up to what we thru-hikers can do to a pair. IMG_20150122_170620 I also had a great time meeting Point6 Managing Director Skip Rapp. We bonded over war-stories of outdoor adventures, and since the CDT is so close to Steamboat Springs (and a planned mail drop), I now have a new friend to go visit when I get there, and might even tour the Point6 office!

Now I wasn’t that familiar with the brand until the show, but the founders, Patty and Peter Duke (yep founders of Smartwool) started this new company a number of years ago, and it has a really cool story. Why is it named Point6? It refers to 98.6° F, the body’s optimal temperature and the temperature stabilizing properties inherent to the merino wool used in their sock. Definitely a company worth investigating for your sock needs. And look at the awesome Triple Crown socks they made (with 25% of proceeds going back to the trail organizations!)

Next up: Sierra Sage Organics. Not only did this booth entice me with their sunscreen, arnica, and bug spray (all natural and organic!) but when they saw from my badge that I was with the Continental Divide Trail Coalition Jen and her crew lit up. Sierra Sage is a mother-daughter business with strong ties to the outdoor life. Jen, the herbalist and organic farmer; and Jodi, the business woman and health psychologist; teamed up with mom Kathy, a biologist and teacher, to make this lovely line of organic skin care products.

Since the show I’ve been using the Green Goo, a powerful blend of organic herbs that can help fight infection while reducing pain and inflammation (what!?! – just what every thru-hiker needs!), the Arnica (for sore anything, and it smells really nice), and the lip balm with sunscreen. I can’t wait to try bug spray (made withWitch Hazel – deet free, citronella free, chemical free and oil free) and the sunscreen (all natural too of course). I’ve tried to become much more aware of what goes in and on my body in the past few years, and I am stoked to use these products on the trail this year. 20150128_083000 Yes I just got done saying I’ve been paying more attention to what I’m putting in my body, and that does include bacon from time to time. 20150121_111024 Darn Tough was giving out these maple-flavored ice cream cones sprinkled in BACON! I limited myself to one a day, but the same can’t be said for some other thru-hikers I know…

Here’s a bit of awesomeness from Mountainsmith & Salazon Chocolate: both are supporters of the CDTC and in addition to Salazon giving us delicious Triple Crown Chocolate bars to sell to raise money for the trail (and sample of course…my favorite is the AT bar which is filled with gooey caramel & sprinkled with sea salt!), Mountainsmith let us set up shop at their booth for a while. 20150122_095709 Mountainsmith held a happy hour for us on Thursday where proceeds from these sweet beer coolers went to the CDTC, and we had A LOT of fun slinging this on the floor of the show (POD was our hot ticket). 10842277_10153178638482214_9216387105171512936_o Then these tasty bars caught my eye, first with their beautiful packaging.

Photo courtesy of Another Hungry Vegan

Photo courtesy of Another Hungry Vegan

I’m a sucker for good design, and after meeting Payton at the GoMacro booth and gushing a little bit about their packaging, I heard they were up for a design award! Cool!

Well, the company is much deeper than their attractive marketing: these vegan, organic, and macrobiotic bars were founded by another family (I do have a soft spot for small family-owned businesses). After a nasty encounter with cancer, founder Amelia Kirchoff decided to forgoe drugs and instead convert to a macrobiotic way of life and let food and clean living heal her body. It worked, and their little farm in Eastern Wisconsin became GoMacro. I grew up in Wisconsin not too far from their farm in Viola, and I love that connection too.

I will be carrying GoMacro on the CDT this year. A large bar is 250 calories, same as a snickers! Guess which one will get me further down the trail?

I could go on and on about all I saw at the show, but I think I’ll leave you with a few more photos that hopefully sum up the experience:


Jabba (The Real Hiking Viking) was interviewed on OR Live.


Teresa & I jumped in the giant sleeping bag Sierra Designs had set up.


And even made it into the OR Show publication, OR Daily!


Swami & Allgood share their trail tips on air…

And to top off a great week, we all got to star in The Trail Show! Episode #32 (part B) is now live; tune in and hear me tell a riveting story about my bearamone problem on the PCT.

Winter OR Show (Part 2) Getting Funky

I arrived at the airport in Salt Lake City to find a truck filled with hikers fresh from the Gossamer Gear hike in Moab. Bobcat, Swami, Snorkle and Jabba had all been together for days, and by the jokes and insults flying I could tell they had fun. It wasn’t long before I was pulled into the fold and we laughed and giggled our way through the night…but early to bed for we all had a big first day of the OR Show.

What my pack looked like. Love the rainbow of hikertrash hats we have.

Taste the rainbow. hikertrash hats in my pack, oh yeah.

We all gathered at the Woolrich booth on Wednesday to ooo and aaa at the beautiful blankets they made to support our long trails. It’s an incredibly generous gesture as 100% of the proceeds of the limited edition blankets sold during the show went to the three trail organizations: Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Pacific Crest Trail Association, and Continental Divide Trail Coalition.




I had to buy the CDT blanket of course. I’ll eventually get the others too!


The attention to detail was incredible.

I was also stoked to see the t-shirt I designed for the recent CDTC Indiegogo campaign: The Next 32 Miles.

I "trashed" up Amy McCormic, from the Appalachain Trail Conservancy (see the new shirt!)

I “trashed” up Amy McCormick, from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (see the new shirt!)

The rest of the day was a blur of color and free snack samples…and the show proper ended in a happy hour for the three trail alliances at the Woolrich booth. A well known fact about the Outdoor Retailer show: they maintain the close relationship between adventure pursuits and booze. Many many happy hours happen throughout the duration of the show (and almost all raise money for a chosen non-profit through the sale of cool mugs or some kind of schwag). The thru-hikers flocked to the booth (it may have also been the free food) and we all had a blast.

While traditionally the long distance hiking community attracts about .01% of the attention of the outdoor industry, this year seemed to be an exception; more hikers than ever attended the show, and companies actually were recognizing what an incredible thing it is to walk across the country.

It was quite thrilling to go to dinner with the executive and development directors of the AT, PCT & CTC that night, and I had fun meeting Zach, the founder of Appalachian Trials, later at the OR Industry party.


Hikertrash getting funky.

An incredible first day of the show, and just a hint at the goodness to come.


Going With It

My impending hike has been leaking out into my day job quite a bit lately. Well, to be honest I’ve been talking about it for a long time. Don’t get me wrong, the position has been incredibly rewarding; I’ve been able to really engage with the arts community, which has been fantastic, but I need to stretch my legs, see a new part of the world, and sleep on the ground for a while.

Each month in Cascade A&E, the arts magazine I’m the editor of in Bend, I write a short column, and for the February issue I found myself mentioning the CDT. You see one of the things I love about long distance hiking is the flow of it all, and I had been thinking specifically about the thru-hiking flow when the artist I interviewed for the cover story this month mentioned it. She plays music when she paints; and lets the rhythm and energy make its way to the page. It flows, without thought, and some pretty cool stuff can come out of that.

Now I don’t know about you, but I can walk for hours on a ridgetop, feeling like I’m flying and listing to Radiohead or just the wind, and I’m no longer thinking of the steps I’m taking, but I’m just being, in its most pure form.

So I wrote about flow this month. And I get home from work thinking maybe I’ll write another blog post about the OR Show when I find Kirk watching kayak videos. Kirk has been paddling whitewater (the crazy big stuff) for the past 20 years and he is to water as I am to trail. Anyway, we’re watching a video that is pure flow. The editing is beautiful, and there is music of course, and they fly down Class V gorges in Norway with you along for the ride, and you feel like you can do anything, that you could paddle that waterfall if you really wanted to, soaring through the air on a mixture of adrenalin and red bull.

I love that stuff. Since Kirk and I have been packrafting for the past 3 or so years, I’ve had fun making short videos (not quite the caliber of the Substantial Media guys), but I’m getting better! (geek out ahead: I met Evan Garcia  at the Summer OR Show as he was getting some badass kayaking award! Cool!)

So since getting a GoPro for my birthday last year the quality of my little movies has gone up quite a bit, and I’m thinking about taking it on the CDT…oh the movies I could make!

Here is one I made of Kirk and i R2ing his new raft on the North Umpqua River this summer. I think you can see where I’m getting at with the flow here…

And that reminds me of another great flow video, J.P. Auclair’s Street Scene. Just watch: 

I was sad to hear of J.P.’s death in the mountains last year. These things we do, these adventures we take, and places we go do have certain inherent risks. We take these risks, but so do those who don’t wear helmets or don’t floss after meals or eat too much sugar…not to mention a sedentary lifestyle…

Knowing your risks, knowing how to keep yourself safe in the wilderness and not only survive, but have the most mind-bendendly amazing experience ever, is the flow. Going with it. That’s right, going with the flow. It works on and off the trail, but one is definitely more scenic than the other