One week in the mountains

This past week we we spent 7 nights camping in the Carson Pass area south of Lake Tahoe. Hiking to Lake Winnemucca southbound on the PCT, we intersected many thru hikers. This prompted us to reflect on what life is like now compared to 6 years ago when we were thru hikers.

We are no longer the hiking duo with the goofy hats who would hike 20+ miles per day. Instead we are now parents of 2 little ones (Miles 3 years and Ani 3 months) who celebrate hiking 8 miles in 2 days! We still wear the goofy hats though 🙂

Our life is certainly different and we feel it more when in the mountains than at home. We can no longer expect to wake up early, hike all day to an alpine lake nestled in the Sierra at the start of a week long backpacking trip. 

Instead of planning backpacking trips near and far we are planning for Miles going to preschool, what we will put in his lunch and who will care for Ani when we’re working. 

We miss our long day hikes, moments or hours of quiet reflection and grand backpacking trips, but the joy of seeing Miles climb up a rock by himself, rattle off wildflower names or hike past us with a huge smile makes this all worth it. 

Ani is too young to tell us what she thinks but she quiets down when outside, stares at trees and sleeps for longer intervals in the camper than at home.

Having 2 small kids and attempting even small scale backpacking trips is humbling. On this trip we packed in a mere 1.5 miles, had camp all set up by 11am but felt like we had to abort at 7 pm after Miles had an hour-long meltdown. Refusing to eat dinner and having not taken a nap the past two days, we knew we were in for a long night if we stayed. When Ani started crying we threw in the towel and hiked out.

Adjusting expectations and letting go of dreams to sleep under the stars is hard. For us it is one of the toughest aspects of parenting – letting go of the things we love. We aren’t giving up though. We hope to learn from what happened, make a few adjustments and try backpacking again in August.

Life is certainly different and a lot less quiet than it was 6 years ago when we hiked the PCT, but we are grateful that time in nature is still a part of our lives. And that it helps calm the kiddos, even if it’s for a millisecond. Because that makes it completely worth all the trouble, the frustrations and feelings of inadequacy.

Tonight we are grateful for short hikes and our ability to adapt.

Lake Winnemucca
Crater Lake (Hope Valley, CA)
Super mama carrying her two cubs

We’re gonna be published (sorta)

We hope this post finds you and your loved ones well. It’s been a long time since we last posted but we have exciting, relevant news we wanted to share with you. We’ll also give you an update on what we’ve been up to since our last post.

Earlier this year we were asked to be contributors in the upcoming book, Crossing Paths: A Pacific Crest Trailside Reader. We were honored to be considered and grateful for the opportunity to relive the amazing experience of thru hiking in this way.

Crossing paths is scheduled to be released May 1, 2022 but you can pre-order it now through the links provided here.

Please share the link above with anyone who may be interested in purchasing the book.

Life Update

Life with Miles continues to be blissful/challenging/wonderful/frustrating all in the span of 5 minutes. Really though, watching this little human we created constantly evolve and make sense of this wacky world is truly amazing.

Miles is 2.5 years old now and he loves playing with trucks and trains, riding his bike and scooter, and reading books about all of those things. He loves to run, hike and camp. We didn’t get to go backpacking this year due to personal circumstances and fires, fires and more fires, but we’re hoping to go on a winter overnight ski trip to Glacier Point again in the next few months.

Below are a few pictures of our adventures with Miles during his 2nd year of life.

Pointing at Half Dome in the distance, March 2021
Snowshoe trip to Lake Winnemucca just off the PCT
Little Miles is quite the hiker!
Trying to steal Dada’s bite of ice cream – Grand Canyon NP
Crowley Lake Columns – Eastern Sierra
Miles the constant jokester

We hope you all have a wonderful Holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Celebrating our trailversary and a birthday

Hello! It’s been quite some time since we posted anything on our blog. With a few celebrations taking place recently, this was the perfect time to share an update with you all from this past year.

We recently celebrated the 4th anniversary of our PCT start date. It’s incredible how 4 years has passed and how much has changed.

The biggest change by far was having a baby. Our little boy – Miles – just celebrated his first birthday on April 1st. We aren’t the type to throw lavish parties with dozens or hundreds of guests, but even our intimate gathering was for not due to the shelter in place ordinance. Nonetheless, we celebrated our little boy with a cake (for us), sweet potatoes (for him to resemble our carrot cake), and sang happy birthday with family singing along on a video call.

This past year has been challenging, thrilling, exhausting and very rewarding. Our love for one another has deepened as we continue to learn, grow and adapt. And of course, our love for our little adventurer grows with each passing day.

We’ve come a long way as parents since last April. We still remember seeking guidance on YouTube for videos explaining how to safely transport a tiny 6 lb 12 oz newborn in a car seat. (Side note – Miles’ birthweight would be a pretty awesome base weight!).

While probably not as scenic as a thru hike, aspects of this past year felt oddly familiar. Both included lots of planning but also a realization that there is much that we cannot control.

Both encompassed emotional and physical discomfort and exhaustion. In both circumstances food was used as a comfort and a reward. Both journeys involved developing relationships with a family – whether blood related or a trail family. Lastly, both helped us feel alive and fulfilled.

We continue to do our best to hold on to ourselves, our love for nature and an appreciation for the quietness of the wilderness while working and parenting. And even though trips look much different now, we have managed to eek out a few adventures as a family. Once we are able to do so, we hope to have many more to come! (As long as we can teach Miles not to be afraid of the crinkly sound of our Thermarest Neo Airs!!)

Below are a few Fun facts from Miles’ first year:

Number of national parks visited: 3 (Yosemite, Crater Lake, Lassen)
Number of nights in a tent: 1
Number of nights slept in our camper: 22
Number of outdoor showers: 8
Number of hikes on the PCT: 10
Highest elevation: ~ 12,500 ft
Number of times over 10,000 ft: 4
Number of flights: 7
Number of states visited: 7
Number of blueberries eaten: probably more than his birthweight
Number of smiles received while hiking on trails or grocery shopping: countless

May this post find you healthy and happy during these unstable times. Smiles from our family to yours.

PCT south at Carson Pass

First (and only) backpacking trip so far

PCT southbound – Lassen Nat’l Forest

Plumas Nat’l Forest

Hiking down from Lassen Peak

Burney Falls

Guanella Pass Road, Colorado

Twin Lakes, Desolation Wilderness

Minaret Vista, near Mammoth, CA

First birthday cake!