Technology is ok

I headed out to Eastern Oregon for another backpacking adventure this morning. My default weekend plans are going to involve backpacking…and hopefully a bit of packrafting…that is until the snow starts to fly… then it will be cross/backcountry skiing until April gets here and I head to NM for the CDT.


This week I choose my destination because my good friend, Sage Clegg, who was the first to hike the new Oregon Desert Trail, mentioned one of her favorite parts was in the Fremont Wilderness, near Paisley, OR. I went to my maps and found a ridgewalk loop I could do in the Fremont. When given the choice, I choose ridgewalking, views, and loops!


I am again trying to post from the trail using WordPress, in this case the Dead Horse Ridge Trail. The drive was more like 3 hours from home, as opposed to the hour last weekend, but I could still see glimpses of the Three Sisters near Bend, and was reminded of how I could easily spend a lifetime exploring all Oregon has to offer. The mountain ranges, wilderness areas and national forests are endless out here (hot springs too!).

This trip is another solo one, and same as last weekend, I found myself posting often to Instagram (@wearehikertrash) since I had 4G service. Even though I’m alone, the act of posting and getting immediate responses makes me feel as if I’m not that separated by distance and time as previous hikes, and I like it!


On the Appalachian Trail I carried a phone card and disposable camera. I only took about 200 photos over the whole trail, and each image I snapped was precious. I would call family and friends when I could get to town and find a phone booth. Those days are gone, along with the phone booths.

The technology found on the trail these days is incredible, and I’m joining in the fun. I’m still debating if I should only use my phone for a camera (the quality sure beats the disposable cameras of the AT) and the fact that I can upload images to my Flickr account as I go means I don’t have to send camera cards back and forth like I did on the PCT. I might take my GoPro to get video footage, and my ipod of course. All those things add up, but with my Secur solar panel, all can be charged from the trail. And there’s Guthook’s new CDT app of course.

Granted I can still turn off the phone and completely immerse myself in nature too, which I know I will want to do as well.

Even if I find myself alone for months at a time next year, my technology will help me feel much more in touch (and my parents will have a better time of it!).

All this technology is ok.



A Solo Hike

I’ve done a lot of my long distance hiking solo. Well, that is to say I’ve started out many of my trips solo. As much as I like to plan I’ve given in to the philosophy of, “the trail provides,” even when it comes to hiking partners.


Average Joe and I on Katahdin

I hiked with a good friend, Average Joe, on the Appalachian Trail, but when I had a foot injury that took me off the trail for a few weeks in northern Virgina and she had to keep hiking to meet family, I spent the next month and a half solo hiking and coming and going in different hiking groups as we traveled north. When Average Jo got Lyme Disease later I was finally able to catch up and we finished together.

NEMO and She-ra reach Canada

NEMO and She-ra reach Canada

When I left the Mexican border on the PCT in 2006 I had started the trail as a solo woman, but didn’t find myself alone all that much. In fact by the time I had reached the Saufley’s at mile 454 I had found one of my best friends to this day, NEMO. The trail magic that a hiking partner can bring has the power to make or break a hike, meeting NEMO and lots of other hikertrash made my PCT hike.

When I chose to thru-hike the Colorado Trail in 2007 after a summer of leading trail crews out of Durango, Colorado, I had spent so much of my time in close proximity to other people that I craved time alone in the wilderness.

Maybe it was growing up in the backwoods of Wisconsin climbing trees or exploring the shores of near-by Fountain Lake, but I thrive in nature alone. I didn’t count the days between seeing people on the Colorado Trail, but I do remember thinking three weeks was long enough to go without much human contact. Now, after having spent the last five years working long hours, living in a city, and not hiking more than a few days at a time, I can’t imagine a more delightful way to spend three (or more) weeks than walking alone.

Inevitably the first question I get asked when people find out I’ll be starting a thru-hike alone is if I’m scared. Sure, the first few nights out I’ll jump at noises in the night. I’ll sleep with my hiking pole by my side ready to turn it into a deadly stabbing device if bothered in the dark of night, but after realizing nothing is out to get me, after relaxing into the pace of days spent walking and watching the world pass by one step at a time, I love it.

Because the Continental Divide Trail is less traveled than the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail, I know the opportunity to hike with others will be fewer and farther between, but on the otherhand I followed a few hiking journals this year and was surprised to hear how many people were on the trail. The word was an actual “tread” was getting developed through the New Mexico desert because so many feet had traveled the same path.

I’ll take it!

I hope to travel long segments of the CDT alone, but I also hope to meet and hike with others.

Much of the magic I find on the trail is other people. The point is, I like hiking alone, and I’m not scared…much.

I take lots of selfies when hiking alone

I take lots of selfies when hiking alone