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Author Archives: Quiet_Earp

2014 Pacific Crest Trail Gear Review

1017 miles on the trail this summer and having a lighter base weight this time around made a world of difference. The items that are linked are from companies that I received a sponsorship or pro-deal from, and the retail price listed does not represent what I payed for them. I think it is a valuable stat (no pun intended) to note, because it proves that sometimes an expensive item is not always the most reliable and that there are many ways of saving money without sacrificing quality.  Thanks to my sponsors and the North Face for employing me, and please visit their websites to see pictures of the products and specifications.… Read more

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Turn and Face the Strain (Ch-Ch-Changes)

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By the time I reached Mammoth Lakes, California, where I created my last post, I had come to accept the fact that completing the trail in 100 days or less was no longer achievable, but I was still driven on finishing as quickly as I could. My pace had fallen behind schedule from time spent in town to resupply on food or wait out a storm in the Sierras,

and “the pack” (the party-crazed majority of hikers that cling together in a wave of slow-moving cliques) had finally caught up to me. There were people passing me that I hadn’t seen since my first day, and while I hoped that I might finally find a hiking partner or a group with a similar pace, it did make me feel a bit defeated.… Read more

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Sittin’ On Top of the World

“Wherever we go in the mountains, or indeed in any of God’s wild fields, we find more than we seek”

-John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra (1911)

John Muir, the prominent author/naturalist/preservationist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is arguably the most influential character in American natural history since Lewis and Clark. The time he spent wandering among the high peaks and lush valleys of the Sierra-Nevada mountain range, captured in his journals and correspondence with friends and family, has made a lasting impact on America’s moral compass. While the inspiration for his wilderness excursions could be linked to the concept of “manifest destiny”, which was so prevalent in the US around the time of his birth, his perception of what the west had to offer and his insatiable desire to preserve and protect those sacred lands could not have been more revolutionary- especially when considering the common American’s feelings about nature at the time.… Read more

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Call Me Coaster

Upon arriving at “Hiker Heaven“, I was greeted by one of many dutiful volunteers with the oh-so-fitting phrase, “Welcome to paradise”. At mile 454.5 in Agua Dulce, California, a family named the Saufleys coordinates a sort of oasis for PCT hikers, where anything and everything a hiker could need is provided to them without any expectation of reimbursement. There is a laundry station with fresh towels and loaner clothes to be worn while one’s filthy hiking clothes are being washed; a garage converted into a make-shift post office and information center; an entire back-building with full kitchen and bathroom, piano and guitars, couches and TV, Wifi, sewing machine, bookshelves full of adventure literature and guidebooks, and 2 bedrooms; 8-person tents in the yard with cots and hammocks for lounging and sleeping whenever under the shade of a few sizeable pines- you name it, they’ve got it covered.… Read more

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Pacific Crest Trail 2014- Planning and Preparation

Tomorrow I will begin the 2650 mile Pacific Crest Trail (or PCT) through California, Oregon, and Washington. After landing in San Diego International airport and spending the night at the house of “Trail Angels” named “Scout” and “Frodo”, they will drive a group of hikers, myself included, to the trail-head in Campo. We will take pictures by the trail monument and with the fence on the Mexican border, then turn around and begin our long walk towards Canada. My goal is to finish in less than 100 days, which will mean averaging over 30 miles per day, including rest days and miles I’ll walk off-trail, to resupply on food in town, or to summit Mount Whitney, for example.… Read more

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California- Dudetrek Success

It is so nice to be home! Yes, I am currently posting from the comfort of my own bedroom in Maryland after finishing my walk across America. I am very tempted to jump right to recalling my last day of walking, but I will resist the urge. There were 12 epic days of walking in California before I reached the beach, so let me begin with the first day.

I could practically smell the saltwater and I was itching to get to it as fast as possible. I caught my first glimpse of California as I walked up the windy road to Spooner Pass, leaving the desert, and entering lush, elevated wilderness.… Read more

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Nevada- The Loneliest Highway

My first night in Nevada was spent under a full “Strawberry” moon, laying less than a mile from the “Welcome to Nevada” sign under the soft silver-pink light of the moon and the Milky Way-no tent, just my thin blue sleeping mat and my sleeping bag. I could see the treeless mountains surrounding the valley and imagined what could be over that first ridge: sand dunes, vultures circling over, dry mouth and chapped lips and sunburn and blinded eyes, all with Chopin’s Funeral March as the soundtrack. The thought kept me awake for a little while, but the wind kept me awake for longer.… Read more

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Utah- Life Elevated

As I walked into Utah, it looked like I was entering some strange post-apocalyptic world where the weeds have grown through pavement, the sky is dark and ominous, and the only traces of human life look decades old. I was on Old Route 6 & 50, what used to be a major travel route across the US before I-70 was made. It was stormy and grey, and instead of a shiny “Welcome to Utah” sign, there was a stone obelisk bearing the remnants of the letters “UT”, graffitied and chipped away by vandals and hooligans like myself. It was fitting to my mood.… Read more

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Colorado- Rocky Mountain High

Yet another post with a John Denver song title. Last time was for West Virginia, nicknamed “The Mountain State”. No offense to the folks from Appalachia, but those “mountains” are anthills compared to the majesties of the Rockies. At some point in western Kansas, surrounded by long rolling hills and farmland, I reached 3000 feet in elevation- the same height above sea level as the higher mountains in West Virginia. It was hard to tell, but throughout Kansas, I was slowly and gradually walking uphill. As I crossed into Colorado, setting my watch back an hour for mountain time, I expected to see the Rockies at the top of each hill.… Read more

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Kansas- There’s No Place Like the Sunflower State

For a long time, Kansas had been the thorn in my side. From what I had been told, Kansas was nothing more than a flat-as-a-pancake, farming no-mans-land, where the high winds blow the smell of manure right up your nose and even driving across makes some people go crazy. I was worried about the monotony, the increasing distances between civilization, and also the complete lack of natural shelter from the elements. I received a warm welcome in Kansas from my own dad, who happened to have a business trip in Kansas City around the same time I would be there. Initially, Kansas surprised me in that it was much more hilly than expected, there are very few trees, the people are much more friendly than some folks in Missouri think they are, the towns got smaller and smaller, and the distance between them got farther and farther.… Read more

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