One Year Anniversary

**We had planned to post this yesterday but due to technical difficulties were unable to do so. But now, it’s ready!**

We find it hard to believe that a year ago today we set out on an adventure of a lifetime. And what an adventure it was.

We use many adjectives when describing our experience on the Pacific Crest Trail – exhilarating, majestic, challenging, incredible, humbling.

It was a time in our lives we will look back upon and feel no regret. We chose adventure over creature comforts and the ‘same ole, same ole’.

We chose to live our dreams rather than do what we are ‘supposed’ to do. Looking back we deeply feel we made the right decision. We will be forever grateful for having walked across the Pacific Crest of the United States, from Mexico to Canada.

To celebrate our one year anniversary we created a movie so we can relive the adventure. We hope you enjoy it.


Day 171 – all dots connected – PCT complete!

September 21, 2016

Bushcamp (mile 1272.2) to equestrian trailhead in Belden (mile 1284)

Miles: 11.8

Our total miles: 2641.3

*our total miles is a little short of the 2650.1 due to trail closures, alternate trails taken and potential calculation errors over 6 months. 

It was a cold night, so cold that Andy’s feet never got warm. 

Laurie procrastinated getting out of her sleeping bag this morning..again. We ate the remaining bit of granola as the sky lightened. We could make out the shapes in the clouds near the horizon.

We can feel the shift in the weather and Andy has been seeing clouds which suggest a low pressure system is coming in. 

We are glad to be hiking out before the weather turns – it would make for a more sour ending to this long journey if it rained on our last day.

The wind was howling as we packed up. Our tent transformed into a parachute as we tried to shake it out and fold it up. It is crazy to think that this is the last time we will be packing up our “home.”

At least for a while. 

Staring at the stars last night we both realized we need more of this in our lives. We made a commitment to attempt to get out more often than we have the last 3 years. 

Even if car camping for only one night. The fresh air, feeling small in the presence of thousands of stars, the quiet, the absence of distractions – these are the things that feed our souls and keep us grounded.

We were walking at 6:25. It was starting to get light but we hiked with headlights to start. After 15 minutes or so we turned off our headlights and walked into the cool morning air in silence.

Birds started to chirp and we could hear the wind rustling through the tree tops above us. The ground was soft as we hiked up and down small rollers.

Around 7:15 we stopped to take off our fleeces and gloves. It was still chilly, Laurie could see Andy’s goosebumps through the hole in his shirt, but we didn’t want to sweat in our fleeces.

The gusts of chilling wind continued all morning. At times we had to reach up to grab our hats so they didn’t fly off of our heads. But as we dropped in elevation and into the trees we were more protected and thus warmer.

The trail carried us out on a sandy ridge. It was wide and we admired silver boulders amongst the green manzanita bushes.

Near Clear Creek we ran into Deven. He was one of a SOBO group of guys that our friend Nikki was hiking with in Washington.

We stopped to chat and hear about his hike thus far. It is fun to see how people change, their beards get longer, their eyes a little brighter and their smile deeper. He was excited about the Sierra and mentioned 2 more of his friends were a few hours behind.

We ran into one of them – PeaceMan – about 90 minutes later. He was charging up the 3000 foot climb that we were about to go down. We talked with him also, wished him well and continued on.

We started the final descent into Belden, steeply at first, then on gradual switchbacks. The trail was sandy and the bushes low. The wind howled until we dropped low enough to be protected by oak trees.

As we got closer and closer to Belden Laurie felt herself getting sad. This adventure was actually coming to an end. 

We were both so used to thinking about the “next backpacking trip” after making it to town that it felt weird there wasn’t going to be another one.

Within 1 mile of the equestrian center Laurie saw a dog. It took a moment to realize it was Lacey. Then Laurie saw her godmother Joanna.

Laurie called to Lacey who ran up to her. Joanna came walking up moments later holding a PCT blaze glued to a wooden post with our names and finish date written on it. So sweet. 

We embraced, cried tears of joy and hugged some more.

We did it.

All of us together. 

In many ways we did the easy part – the walking. Joanna helped hold down the fort in Oakland and Andy’s parents were diligent about sending our resupply boxes to every stop.

This adventure would not have been possible without the support of our families. Thank you so much.

We walked the remaining mile together. Once at the trailhead we took a few photos, hugged again and made a beeline for Joanna’s car. It was full of surprises – Thai curry, salad, fruit and best of all a carrot cake.

When Laurie was young Joanna made her birthday cakes decorated with the theme of what she was into that year.

Today, she made a delicious PCT cake.

We ate some of the yummy carrot cake with cream cheese frosting then went to the Feather River to clean off. 

Eventually we found a spot to get in the cold water, but neither of us lasted very long.

Once ‘clean’ we threw Andy’s hiking clothes in the trash and drove about an hour to a rest stop. Here we enjoyed a second lunch and a little break to stretch our legs.

For us, hiker hunger isn’t about eating extra large sandwiches or whole pizzas by ourselves, although sometimes Laurie made comments that she was so hungry she could eat a horse. 

Our hiker hunger manifests as getting hungry an hour after a sizeable meal. So, whenever possible we eat multiple smaller meals. 

Andy drove the 3.5 hours home. We had been in cars enough times over the past 6 months that driving didn’t seem out of place. Neither did the speed. 

However Laurie did feel the urge to stick her head out the window to breathe fresh air.

We stopped in Davis for milkshakes and walked around the farmers market. Food and cooking have always been essential parts of our lives – and even more so now – so we picked up a few essentials to compliment what Joanna had generously placed in our refrigerator. 

We got home around 7pm and Laurie quickly went over to see her mom while Andy showered and relaxed.

Our bodies are tired and we look forward to resting. 

Our new challenge will be to find ways to relax as we move into our new home, go back to work (Laurie) and look for work (Andy). At least we get to do it together and support one another, just like we did on the trail.

It’ll be an interesting transition to say the least, but we believe we can create a routine and lifestyle that fulfills us.

Tonight we are grateful for you, our blog readers. Thank you for following along on our journey. Your comments and encouragement helped us more than you will ever know. At times, they even helped bring the smiles back to our faces.

Thank you again.

Shuffles and Dribbles – signing off (for now).

Eventually we will post about re-entry, an epilogue, gear reviews, food review, cost breakdown and anything else we think is worth sharing.

Please feel free to keep the comments coming and contact us if you want to ask a question privately.


It’s gettin dark and windy

Switchbacks and more switchbacks

Canyon View Spring – our last water source of the hike

Beldentown in the distance

Lacey and Joanna!!

What a greeting. And such a cool sign!

We were last here in June. Crazy

Thanks for the PCT carrot cake Joanna!

Genuinely dirty and happy

Our trash wrapped in Andy’s clothes, ready to be discarded

Delicious feast consisting of curry, salad and fruit

And for desert a few hours later…milkshakes

One happy hiker

The End

Day 170 – hot and buggy

September 20, 2016

Middle Fork of the Feather River (mile 1247.2) to bushcamp (mile 1272.2)

Miles: 25

Our total miles: 2629.5

We climbed from the get go again this morning – 800 feet in 1.3 miles. There was no wind other than what we created by moving through the thick, warm air.

Laurie found herself wanting to enjoy the last full day on trail but she was feeling hot, annoyed by bugs and irritated that there was poison oak.

And it wasn’t even 7 am! 

We ran into a SOBO named Wide Load. He asked if the trail ahead was rocky. He kept commenting on how nice the soil was between here and Belden.

It is funny how we each care about different things. When asking for trail intel soil quality is not generally what we ask about. But hey, it was nice to know that good soil and good trail lay ahead.

We dropped down a bit and climbed again. This was the long climb of the day. We put our heads down, mentally dropped gears and took it one step at a time. It wasn’t steep, just long. And there weren’t expansive views or lakes to keep our minds occupied.

Near the top we took an early lunch at Lookout Rock. We sat in the sun – there wasn’t really anywhere else to go and Laurie slowly got more and more uncomfortable. 

Andy often jokes that Laurie’s internal radiator needs upgrading. She gets overheated very easily and when she does every action becomes uncomfortable.

After leaving Lookout Rock we bumped into a SOBO named Hiking Mantis. We ended up chatting with him for about 15 minutes, helping him create a resupply strategy for the Sierras. It feels good to help other hikers. 

Hiking southbound is definitely harder. The Washington hills are a brutal intro for a hike, one is constantly in a race against the clock as resupply locations shut down and there is less and less daylight to make miles. 

We parted ways with Walking Mantis and walked up and down a few rollers, then dropped down across a few paved roads that go to Bucks Lake and Quincy.

We sat in the shade by the Bucks Summit sign and ate the last of our cheese and one bag of trail mix. A light breeze restored all chaos in Laurie land, cooling her down and helping her feel better.

For most of our hike we have had extra food. We typically role into town with an extra tuna packet, some bars and tea bags. For the first time in 6 months we had to ration our food. We underestimated our appetites and didn’t ask for sufficient food this leg.

Let me correct myself, we had enough to make it to Belden but we were hungry.

After another lengthy, relaxing break we continued on. Our plan was to either camp high t0 have views or hike another 1.6 miles to make our last day even shorter.

It all depended on how we felt, what time we got to the first camp and what it looked like. As we climbed we decided to make the first camp work and enjoy our last evening of the hike relaxing instead of pushing.  

When we reached a flat plateau Andy spotted a snug flat spot surrounded by manzanita bushes. It was just big enough for our mansion of a tent and the bushes would protect us from the wind.

We set up our tent and with everything we needed to make dinner in hand, we walked 20 feet to some large flat rocks overlooking a big lake and the town of Quincy in the distance.

We enjoyed miso soup, dinner and tea while wearing flip flops and watching the sky turn from orange to pink.

We are so close to the end. 

How did we get here?

All we did was wake up every morning and hike. 

The magnitude of it all baffles us. It seems surreal. It feels as though we haven’t been out here for more than a week or so, yet we’ve walked across the western United States! 

We finished our dinner and tea and headed back to the tent. It was downright cold! Having worn flip flops for over an hour our toes were frozen, but it was worth it.

Andy stayed out to play with the camera in attempt to capture the beauty of the night sky. Laurie meanwhile crawled inside and, for the last time, cleaned off her feet before putting on her sleep socks.

The stars here are better than in the Sierra. Who knew?

It’s been a blissful last evening on the trail. We appreciate the fact that we are here together – an even stronger unit than when we embarked on this adventure. 

What a blessing to share this experience together. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

While taking a 60 minute star trails photo, 4 SOBOs hiked past our tent, their headlights dancing in the darkness. The small speckles of light dancing toward us first surprised us, then annoyed Andy (because they may have ruined the photo).

The last hiker stopped after seeing our tent.


Andy sat up and responded “hey”

“Whatcha doing?”


“Oh sorry man, I thought you were someone else.”

We chuckled and fell asleep to a glorious clear sky full of stars, the milky way and shooting stars.

Tonight we are grateful for the Pacific Crest Trail and starry skies.

We never grew tired of seeing these blazes

Happy Laurie enjoying the breeze and some cheese

Nature put on a good show for our last sunset

60 minute star trails photo. Notice the 3 headlamps of night hiking SOBOs