Springer Mountain onward…sort of

I made it to Atlanta, Georgia the evening of May 2nd. I was picked up at the Amtrak station by a good friend of mine, Anthony or “Fat Tony” — his trail name. We met working at the Green Tortoise Hostel in Seattle, and both hiked the PCT last summer. He lives just outside of Atlanta. When he heard of my plans to hike the AT he immediately offered me a place to crash and a ride to the trailhead. AMAZING!

I officially began my trek from Springer Mountain sometime around 3pm on May 3rd. I ventured on for a mere 2.7 miles to a stream just before Stover Creek Shelter. I followed a side trail along the stream for as long as seemed reasonable and laid out my shiny new z-rest sleeping pad and sat upon it. I had chosen to stop there to gather my thoughts, to decompress. I had just left a very busy lifestyle in New Orleans, and had spent all of the previous day in transit. I could sit for a moment, I thought.


One thing lead to another and next thing I know I am pulling out my sleeping bag and getting snuggly near a large tree. At about 3 AM I am awakened by faint sprinkles. It’s coming, I thought. I pulled out my Tarptent Double Rainbow. I threw my things inside. I followed. I went back to sleep.

The next morning it was pouring rain. Pouring. What? I was not prepared for this.”So hot and humid in Georgia in May”, they said. Nope. It was wet, and cold. My moon-time came. I’m out of sync. I did not move.

May 5th, 2017; AT Mile: 2.7; 1503

More rain.

I saw a person, an individual a moment ago. Now I can hear a voice–there must be more than one. He is wearing a neon orange beanie. The unnatural kind that draws your eye from the scenery. A protective measure, I suppose. Though, statistically among those that vanish from the wilderness, the majority were last seen wearing very bright colors–and have dogs, interestingly enough. Anyway. I am not watching him, or them now. I only noticed him when I slipped out of my tent briefly to relieve myself.

Oh. How I long for solitude. I can feel my sense of adventure growing–but just now it is curled in the fetal position ready to be cooed by night dreams and day dreams alike. I hope to be more lively and social in days to come. Breathing this fresh air again was necessary.

As I slip in to my two-tone grey sleeping bag, with its hot pink inner lining, I imagine myself an awkward, indifferent little caterpillar inside my chrysalis of a tent. Just waiting to become a butterfly and discover the Appalachian Mountains. I will reawaken with fervor and that undying thirst for exploration.

I continued to listen to the rain clamor about me. That, and a concerned person who introduced himself through my tent as a “Trail Ambassador”. “Is everything ok?”  “Yes, thank you” I responded. “Ok. Sorry to interrupt”, he replied. How embarrasing. It was clearly time to go.

On a train to Georgia

I watch the countryside glide by. It is all so new to me. I have never traveled this far East in the USA.

Post PCT and penniless, I decided to move to New Orleans, LA on November 30th 2016 to live the city-life and make money through the winter. I volunteered for free accommodation (which has been a cornerstone to making my travelling lifestyle possible) at Madame Isabelle’s House (a hostel) in Marigny, just outside of the French Quarter; and the Louisianna Himalaya Association (LHA) in Mid-City. Living this way continues to open up opportunities for saving, as well as exercise my strength in social adaptability (which is, well…uh: exhausted at this point). I managed to balance my volunteer work along with some paying gigs, both situated in the French Quarter: a gift shop on Decatur during the day, and serving cocktails on Bourbon in the evenings. Quite the experience catering to both the tourists and the thirsty-folk alike. Two things that make the local economy go ’round.

Bourbon is hands down unlike any other space for existence (or non-existence) I have ever experienced. It is like stepping in to another reality where everyone is drunk or intending to be or is intending to make money off of those intentions. It does not smell like roses. You may get hit by a string of beads. There is no car traffic down Bourbon, just people…literal hoards of people. You may get trampled or elbowed. Open containers are allowed on the street…often encouraged. There is no easy way to recycle glass, and plastic to-go cups are the go-to (so you can leave the bar at a whim and take your drink with you, of course). The waste is devistating.

The rest of the Quarter is quaint. I especially enjoyed strolling down Royal Street. It is littered with musical talent. Oh, the brass.

In short: New Orleans is unlawfully charming, quirky, beautiful, unique, and soaked in liquor.

But now. Now I am on a train to Georgia. Tomorrow. On May 3rd. One year after I began my venture from Mexico to Canada along the PCT, I will begin my solo thru-hike from Georgia to Maine!

Pacific Crest Trail 2016

I’m not sure what words go here. I don’t know that they exist. I’m not sure how best to describe the experience I had on the Pacific Crest Trail. It is like a dream now. It’s that deep humming, that pulse — sometimes faint, sometimes stronger — to the rhythm of what living truly is. It keeps inviting me to dance. It is both magically dynamic yet securely static. It’s fantastically challenging in the simplest of ways.

On October 24, 2016 (5 months and 21 days after my start at the Southern Terminus in Campo, CA), I completed a continuous foot-path of over 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada along the PCT. I became “giggles” in the process. I became happier, more confident, and so utterly at peace. Still-in-motion among the eternal wisdom of nature. Moving along the crest of pure inspiration.

The people I met, the feelings I felt, the thoughts, the sights, the scares, the climbs, the scrambles, the wild-things, the falls, the trailblazing, the fords, and the crossings…oh, and the joyous glissading!

A part of me, it will always keep. For that, I am thankful.

moon-rises to come

Since January of 2015 (around the time of my first post) I lived in my tent on Isla Mujeres, Mexico and became a PADI Advanced Certified Scuba Diver; got lost in the streets of Sevilla, free-camped in Granada, and volunteered on a tiny farm in the mountains of Orgiva, Spain. I lived with the Rainbow Family in Portugal, took a 64 hour bus ride to Romania, spent time in Bulgaria and Greece, stopped off in Hawaii, and flew home to my birthplace of Sacramento, California, USA sometime in May 2015. Including my time in Central and South America, I was away for 11 months. I was a rapidly changing human. And I was broke.

My father opened his home to me for 3 recuperative months before I set off for Orcas Island, Washington in late August. I volunteered at Indralaya (a Sanskrit word loosely translated to “home for the spiritual forces in nature”), a Theosophical retreat that will forever remain close to my heart.  In October I ferried back to the mainland to make my home at the Green Tortoise Hostel on 1st and Pike in Seattle. Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, and with a $15.00 an hour minimum wage it seemed a good place to make what I need in order to get where I need to be (where that was, I had no idea at the time). My job at the hostel is to work in the kitchen. I work there 3 days a week in exchange for a free bed in a room with 7 other trade-workers. In my off-time, I am a cheesemaker. I began working there around the first of January. A vegan cheesemaker.

Ten hours a day to culture, and cook, and pack, and mill, and salt, and press, and break-out and package 60 lb blocks of cheddar. It is the hardest I have ever worked. Well worth it. I will continue on, 7 days a week until May 2, 2016 when I will board a plane for San Diego.

On May 3rd 2016, “at first-light”, I will start the first mile of my 2,660 mile solo journey from Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail.

this is about exploration

This is about exploration. This is about regeneration. This is about constant change. This is about fear as fuel.

In the interest of anonymity, I’ll call myself Palomita (a name given to me during my stay in the Ecuadorian Amazon two and a half weeks ago because my birth name proved to difficult to pronounce).

I resigned from my profession as a Civil Servant for the State of California just over six months ago. My reasoning: a burning need to travel; that and a harrowing fear of becoming fixed in a mold of routine, commercialized contentment.

So. What else could I do but cash out my savings and buy a one way ticket to Guatemala City, Guatemala?

This blog is about this journey…one that will hopefully never end. This blog is about embracing fears, challenging convention, discovering the creativity within yourself (and others), challenging EVERYTHING, discounting nothing. It is about the beauty, magic, and wonder in life as perceived by the individual.

Mostly it is about trusting in yourself and the direction of the wind. To be physical with life. To be bruised by experience, and kissed by exaltation. To take in what the world is sending you, apply your essence, and send it back out as art.