Puppy and Panoramas

So it’s been a little over a month since I have been off trial. I told my self I would get back on as soon as I either a) got responses from Shelter’s in OR or WA or b) my hip felt better or c) I landed a perfect job back in UT.

After daily walks/hikes,  sessions at the MMA gym, helping my dad around the house, and just trying to keep my self entertained in little ol’ Nevada City – it was time I got back on trail. I never heard back from any shelters in Oregon after emailing numerous organizations numerous times 😦 I did hear back from one shelter in WA along with a Best Friends staff, but I unfortunately don’t think I will make it up there this summer…BUT I DID GET IN TOUCH WITH A SHELTER IN NORCAL. You may have seen the post about Gina, and here I will tell you about our adventure!
Deciding where to go was the hardest part, but everything soon fell in to place. My cousin was able to get time off to join, and also met we could shuttle cars. At first I didn’t think dogs would be allowed through Castle Crags State Park, but after calling, they said as long as we stayed on the PCT it was okay. Woohoo! This meant we would get  a perfect 25 miles from Gumboot Campground back to I5 near Castella with picturesque views of Shasta and a mostly downhill descent.
I hoped to leave my dad’s around 10:30, but the US Women’s Olympic Soccer game set me back. The game should have ended by 10:30, but after going into overtime they were still tied and I had to stick around for the shoot out. USA lost 😦 Now I could finally get on the road and drive the 4 hours to Yreka. Along the way, I picked up some hitch hikers, one of which was from Duluth, MN (where I went to school). Small World. I dropped them off in Redding and continued on my way.
I finally got to the Rescue Ranch to meet and pickup Gina. She was fairly shy at first – which apparently isn’t her usual self. She must have thought I was there to take her to the vet. I decided to join her and her siblings in their habitat/kennel to try and get her to warmup. Her slightly over-weight brother was all over me. I decided to try and walk Gina outside with  out her foster dad around to see if she would connect and to see how she would do on a leash. She warmed up slightly and I had faith we would bond and she would enjoy her weekend of adventure with me. Her brother would be a bit tiring to carry. We loaded up her stuff in the car and headed back down south to Castella to meet my cousin, Dana.
Perfect timing! He arrived from the Coast just moments after I pulled in. From there, we got back in my car to drive the hour to Gumboot Campground where we would camp for the night and set off from in the morning. I was happily surprised to see how accessible the CG was, with a nice paved road the entire way. Unfortunately, Gina got a little car sick on the way, but was a trooper. Gina “helped” me set up camp, and by help, I mean get in the way – but at least she was adorable about it. There was one rock right near our camp that she just had to stand on and keep post. She still had tons of energy and wanted to go on a never ending walk that evening, so we went out exploring up to the trail and around the lake, and eventually settled into bed.
Gina slept well the first night – and so did I, except for an unhappy visitor at midnight. I woke to bright lights shining in my face and the sound of a horn. I turn over to see a truck blaring their lights at our site complaining about how my car was in the way for people driving through. First off, there was no one else camping past us, and I was clearly pulled way off the side of the road…Geesh, some one isn’t a happy camper.
Saturday, August 13: Gumboot Trailhead (mi 1523.27) to mi 1508.67 +.5 spur trail, 15.1 miles. (up/down: +835/-3872ft)
We hit trail around 7:30, and Gina was more than ready. With Ruffwear Leash wrapped around my waste, Gins helped pull me up the first trail to meet the PCT. Of course we also had to stop periodically to smell all the new smells! Gina did great in the first morning stretch and didn’t even want to stop for our first break. Any chance she got, she bolted down the trail. The morning lead to stunning views of Shasta as well as some rocky terrain. I didn’t want Gina to cut up her feet so I carried her over a sketchy section. She immediately caught on, and the remainder of the trek tried to make me pity her.
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After not eating much the night before or this morning, my cousin discovered that Gina would gladly eat (and drink) if we put her food in water! After a good break, we continued on the trail and I got my period arm workout when I would carry Gina. Poor pup’s black fur just absorbed the sun. And it was HOT! Once in a while she got a lift under the umbrella with my cousin. It was quite humorous – whenever we would get to a shaded spot, Gina would try to lay down. However, whenever we took a designated break in the shade she would refuse to relax. The last couple miles were hard for us all: Steep downhill and in very little shade. Gina and I took turns – I’d carry her for a quarter mile and she would walk a quarter mile. We made it just about 15 miles instead of the 12 we originally planned!
Gina and I have definetly bonded today. It worked best when my cause walked her behind me, because she would try to stay close behind. When I was walking her, she lagged and got distracted by various things and would look back at me every few minutes with a huge grin. During breaks she would snuggle in my lap, and whenever I would leave for a moment, such as to pee..upon my return she would be ecstatic. She was very exhausted tonight – and had little desire to walk unlike the night before. Though we did go on a short venture before crawling into bed. She tried to stay watch in the tent, but kept dozing off – how cute 🙂
 Sunday, August 14: mi 1508.67 to I5 (mi 1498.7), 9.97 miles (up/down: +2889/-1577ft)
Today we started a bit earlier and made great time. There was a couple small hills to start which really took a toll on my hips, but after that the trail was nice and flat and shaded. Our first stop at Burstarse Creek was an incredibly buggy one, as well as the subsequent creek stop. The bugs were the worst I’ve seen them yet; waking or resting.
At one point we startled a couple going northbound. We were the first people they ran into some encountering a mountain lion a couple miles back on trail. I was somewhat hoping we’d get to see her too, but that didn’t happen. Gina was pretty shy and nervous whenever we’d pass people – which didn’t surprise me when these people are wearing huge strange things on them (packs, hats, poles, umbrellas…). Nonetheless, she put a smile on everyone’s gave that we saw.:)
We made great time and completed the 10 miles by noon! We took nice drive back to Gumboot for a dip in the lake and some relaxation before heading our separate ways. Gina napped in the back seat the whole way back to RR.
The rescue was surprised to see us back so soon, and frankly so was I. But Gina and us Humans did great on trail. I helped feed all the pups their dinner before spending a little but more quality time with Gina and her siblings in their kennel. Wow, I sure will miss her. If my dog wasn’t so picky about dog friends, I’d take her home in a heartbeat…which is surprising considering I’m not a big fan of small dogs. Gina isn’t your typical yappy, lazy, in your face small dog, but just the perfect companion to adventure with or to cuddle on the couch. She’ll make someone a great furry friend!
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Click here to see more about Rescue Ranch and their adoptable dogs, including Gina!

After dropping Gina off and taking my sweet time leaving the shelter, I continued on to Ashland for the night.
And thanks again to Ruffwear for helping make these trips possible by supplying us with top of the line gear for the shelter pups!ruffwear_logo-275x300

Paddling for Paws with LTHS

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July 9-11:

I made it back from Lassen just in time to make it to South Lake Tahoe for the Humane’s Society Paddle for Paws Event!

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After spending 2 hours driving around Emerald Bay trying to find parking, getting 3 spots jacked from me and considering just driving back to Grass Valley – I finally found a spot! It was a windy weekend and too hairy to kayak or boat over. I hiked in the mile and half or so to the Boat Camp from Vikingsholm and set up camp with the rest of the small (but no lack of fun) crew. We were joined with 3 members of MTV’s The Challenge Crew – Cara, Jamie and Brandon. Honestly, I had never really even heard of the show before, but I guess it is kind of a big deal! The rest of the day I hung out on the beach, played with pups at the campsite, and took a hike back over to Vikingsholm and Eagle Falls with the MTV crew. Unfortunately, it was still too windy to be out on the water at all today. Though Brandon and Jamie helped rescue a “crayfish catcher” in the chilly water.

Day two, Cara, Jamie, two locals and I, took the 6+ miles hike over to Bliss Beach along the Rubicon Trail – definitely a strain on my hip but a beautiful hike. I had planned on leaving this evening, but after resting for a bit after the hike we decided to try and kayak to Vikingsholm. It was still advised that people don’t go out on the water, but what the heck! Jamie, Brandon (first timer), Cara, and I got in our kayaks and made the treacherous paddle over to the tea house. The waves were crashing over my small little kayak, and I got quite wet, but after fighting the wind , we made it to the island and hiked up to the top! The way back was suppose to be easier with the wind at our backs…but no… of course the wind nearly stopped on our return. Nonetheless, there was still some wind and waves. Jamie caught a wave sideways and capsized. Thankfully, I was still behind him and was able to help him climb back in and another boat came to give him a ride back as his vessel was now filled with water.

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A fun weekend indeed, and I am sure glad I stayed for the whole thing and had some fun for a good cause!

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Meet Gina

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Gina, a young Terrier/Chihuahua mix, was rescued with 50 other housemates from a hoarding situation that got a bit out of control. That is what happens when you don’t spay and neuter…

Gina, with her funny 1/2 tail (she came like that) is beginning to settle in at Rescue Ranch. She was one of the shy ones to begin with, and was reluctant to share her food with her kennel-mates — but under the loving guidance of RR staff and volunteers, and with plenty of quality food and water available, is overcoming both challenges. Gina has quite a bit of energy and loves to run.

Meet Gina and I on trail. We will be hiking through Castle Crags State Park via the PCT!

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Thank you Ruffwear for supplying Gina and I with some fantastic trail gear!

Dates Don’t Matter – Mountains Do

 

Did you notice that this post didn’t start with a “Day #”? Yeah, I am done with that. This is no race to Canada. Right now I am just in the moment, and these next handful of moments will be spent exploring in Lassen National Park.

My dad met me in Buck’s Lake for a late lunch. I was happy that he got the chance to meet my temporary trail family. From there, we drove the 3 or so hours to Lassen.

Here is a funny story: A few members of the angel family were getting ready for a short hike themselves. They did not have enough fuel, and after checking Buck’s Lake and Quincy, they could not find any fuel – everywhere was out. I offered my fuel canister because I figured my dad could just bring me one from his house. We got to the park, and started discussing our plans – both for the night and for the next couple days. I double checked the fuel he brought – it was the wrong canister! We drove to Mineral about 15 miles away in hopes that they would have the fuel we needed – no luck. Another wrench, no fires are allowed in the backcountry. We wouldn’t be able to cook any food. So instead of doing a short backpacking trip, we had to adjust our plans to accommodate fire building in established rings and just do a few day hikes. Adaptability, right? Ha.

The next morning, we started off with a drive up to the Northwest corner of the park in hopes that the campground store would have fuel. Again, no luck – but we found a delicious breakfast cookie (I wish I could remember the name)! We warmed up with a 2 mile walk around Manzanita Lake and the famous picturesque view of Mt. Lassen.

We headed back to camp to pack up and moved it to Summit Lake Campground and trailhead for the day’s hike. After -resetting up camp we got a bit of a late start and had to be prepared to alter our plans again. We probably wouldn’t have time to do the 10 mile loop to the Cluster Lakes that we were hoping. We started toward Upper and Lower Twin Lakes around noon. The hike started off rough – exposed to the sun and just incline. My hip was screaming and I stopped frequently. We finally started to descend until we reached beautiful Echo Lake en route, where we stopped for a snack break. I also refilled my water bottle, which took a good 30 minutes (at least that is what it felt like) for a liter. My dad brought a Sawyer Mini that had a major flow problem. After filling up, we continued on to Upper Twin Lake for lunch. Beautiful for sure. After a good hour long break, we continued a bit further to Lower Twin Lake – I personally preferred the Upper Lake and I am glad we stopped early for lunch. Don’t get me wrong, they were both amazing. I was very tempted to jump in for a swim. We decided to not continue on with the loop as we both over estimated our stamina and time for the day. We headed back the same way we came. On our return we were rewarded with amazing views of Mt. Lassen again. We ended the night with a Ranger Program.

The next morning, we packed up our camp and headed to the trailheads. My dad would tackle Mt Lasssen (about a 2000 ft elevation gain over 2.5 miles one way). I was not about the try that. Instead I hiked to Kings Creek Falls and then came back to Lassen to see if my dad returned early or continued on. The main footpath to the falls was closed, so I had to take the extra mile detour. On my hike, I only passed one other lady. We had the trail and falls all to ourselves! When I returned to check on my dad’s progress, I stopped a middle aged couple coming down from the trail. They had only gone about a tenth of a mile, so hadn’t seen my dad. Instead we chatted a bit about what I was doing on the PCT. They were very kind and in awe of what I was doing. Meeting people never gets old! And with no sight of my dad and his bright orange RTHT shirt, I headed to another trail head. This time I hiked to Cold Boiling Springs. With a name like that,  had to explore and see what it was all about. Not the prettiest site, but interesting none the less. I headed back to Lassen and within 10-15 minutes my dad appeared – he had made it to the top!

With peaks bagged and sights seen, it was time to head back to his house.

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I’m not sure when, but I can’t wait to return to Lassen  via the PCT and explore a whole other portion of the park!

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Day 77: Failure vs. Overcoming Obstacles vs. Adaptability

Day 77 (Monday, July 4): Buck’s Summit (mi 1265.4) to mi 1267.81 (x 2), 4.82 miles. (total up/down: +985/-0, +0/-985ft)

Today was the day I’d finally get back on trail after so many zeros. Oh and Happy Independence Day! It was bitter sweet to leave. After spending so much time with the family, I felt like an honorary member. I’d sure never forget them our be able to thank them enough. I still didn’t feel 100%, but would try to push through.

I got to the summit around 10a and started off slow. I was still really in no hurry as I had ar at least a day and a half to make 18 miles. My hip was still iffy and my shin splints returned. While stopped at a creek, a couple passed by with their two older pups who were just day hiking. They asked where I was headed/what I was doing. I don’t mind being honest now. I said I’m not quite sure. I’m hiking the PCT, trying to get to Canada at some point in the next couple years. At this point, I’m just trying to get to Belden, which my hip injury is making difficult. They suggested I turn back. 18 miles sounded like a big number to them. That stuck in my head, and I considered turning back right there. I told my self I had to keep trying and push a little harder. The trail continued to very gradually climb, but nonethelesss proved a challenge for me. Both physically and mentally. I wanted to turn back so bad now. I was fighting my body and two voices in my head, to push on or “give up”.

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I got to a point where I had some cell service. I called my dad to tell him where I was at and my desire to stop, and the fight in my head about continuing. I also called my boyfriend for any advice. I woke him up – and he’s not very good at speaking when he’s tired. I didn’t leave my mom out either, but she didn’t answer her phone-no surprise. I told my dad I was probably going to turn around, but still not completely sure. I tried some more. Then I stopped again. I made another phone call and made my decision. I was going to head back to Buck’ Summit.

Now the decision was where do I go from here? Hitch to Quincy? Hitch to Belden? Hitch to the local campground? Call my adopted family and shamefully ask for them to take me back?

I went with the last option…So I thought. The phone call did not want to go through. I tried over and over, holding my phone in different positions and waking in circles. The call did not want to connect. Very strange I thought, since my other phone calls went through just fine. Was this a sign that I should not confess my downfall and ask for another night’s stay?….Maybe… But I wanted to continue to challenge myself (this time in a different way) by doing uncomfortable things. I don’t want to hide it. I want to own it. Be truthful (no lying by omission).

I am very quiet, often withdrawn (keep to myself), and don’t like to share too much personal info. That was going to change in this instance. I have to be uncomfortable
now. The phone call finally went through. Her first words when I said it was me were: “I don’t want to hear from you Demi. Is it really that bad?” Again I was painfully honest with myself and her. The hips were causing problems, but it was also my mentality. They kindly took me in again.
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My second entry for today…

My challenge wasn’t meant to be the trail today. My challenge was to be uncomfortable with myself and the situation.

Sometimes the biggest challenge is ending one and starting another. I don’t know what lies ahead, but it is all apart of the bigger journey.

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Today I also made a big distinction. I did not fail my quest. I learned so much about myself, appreciated so many things I never had before, seen amazing things, met amazing people, and overcame so many challenges. That’s it: It is not Failure. It is being adaptable. Knowing yourself and your limits. Having good judgement. There are so many ways to push yourself. The challenge is not over. I will continue.

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Day 77, Part 2:

Arriving back to the house, I wanted to avoid people. I felt so terrible about my decision to end my trek and to face these people again, after they already took me in for so long. I didn’t hide in the Hiker Hut, I walked over to the table and joined the social club. Not to long later, they invited me to go out on their boat again for a swim. A nice activity to get my mind of the first part of the day – and I could definitely use a lake dip. It’s been a while.

The water was refreshing, and so was my decision. That night I also got too finally enjoy the giant marshmallow S’mores. The plan for the next day would be for my dad to pick me up here in Buck’s Lake then drive to Lassen for a few days of exploring. So it continues…