April 7 – Part 1: A Time and a Place in Nature

“I am a mile counter.”

Table Mountain to just after Eagle Spring turn off (mile 163.5)
19.5 miles

Post by Dan

We on the trail measure time in many different ways, sometimes we can even lose track of it. Some count miles, dots, or way points on a map to estimate time. I am a mile counter. Thank you Halfmile for the great maps. Some judge time by places, landmarks, geographic regions, peaks, and points of interest. This would be Rockin’. Others simply look at a time and place as, “I am standing here so this is where I am.” This would be Silly Chili, living for the moment.

It is easy to lose track of time on the trail. At times, dates and days can disappear as we focus on what nature has in store for us ahead. When in nature, take the time to enjoy the places you go to. Notice the cactus ready to explode into bloom, the furry red velvet ant crossing the trail, or the footprints of a wild turkey. There is so much to see and experience. Also, don’t forget to look back at the places you have been: the mountain ranges you have crossed and the miles you have traveled. It will amaze you.

Trail Unpleasantries
Pooping in the woods: There will come a time and you will need to find a place. Most fear it, few embrace it, but it will happen in nature. When the time comes you’ll know where to go.

Unlike two of our kids (now in college) who can hold it for 4-5 days in the back country, I have decided to go with the flow. To ease some of the stress, I tried a new approach. A travel pack of Wet Ones baby wipes. No more weight than a roll of toilet paper and one or two sheets and a couple careful folds, you’re back on the trail in no time feeling fresh and relieved with no mess and little disregard. Ahhh back to nature.

Fun Stuff
At this time we have 2 grandchildren, Asher 3 and Ella 5 next week. They now live in a place far away in Idaho. We love and miss them deeply. This week on the trail being Easter week, we decided to do something fun and take the time to place brightly colored Easter eggs at points of interest on the trail, take a picture of them on our iPhone and text it to the kids, so the could find the eggs. This blossomed into great fun for us and the kids as the eggs traveled the PCT, meeting new friends, seeing great sights, and even developing personalities of their own. The kids would text us back once the eggs were located in the picture. One text we received from Ella said “I wish I was with them on the trail!” BINGO! A future hiker in the making? Time will tell, but it did bring us to the same place, even if through technology. We will post all the Easter egg pics in a future blog post.

In closing I am reminded of a shirt I once saw in Lone Pine, CA. It read “I Climbed (out of my car and took a picture of) Mount Whitney”. To experience nature you have to get out in it. It is not visited through the window of a car or on the couch watching TV. Take a hike and get out. You’ll be amazed. Make the time, pick a place, and go experience nature.




  1. Pingback: say what? – Pack Out Toilet Paper | Lady on a Rock

  2. Pingback: say what? – Pack Out Toliet Paper | Lady on a Rock

  3. Thanks to the whole family for the great photos and descriptions of your trip. I especially loved how you hid eggs in your trail pictures. So fun!

    • So funny. I have asked them like a billion times to write a post and to no avail. For some reason this trip brought out the inner hiker in them! They both wrote late into the night. I just smiled. You will find on the trail that long posts written on your smartphone with 2 thumbs when it is cold, dark, and late is not an easy feat. I think that is where hikers like “Wired” get the Olympic metal! Our family is looking forward to following your PCT journey along starting SOON! Hope to see you both in Tehachapi.
      Rockin’, Dan, and Silly Chili

  4. Love your post Dan. I have always belonged to that school. Does a bear poop in the woods . Why yes, and w/o hesitation. Septic safe wipes are awesome. I have carried them with me ever since I had children 13yrs ago and multiplying. And love the shirt quote . Nature is best experienced in nature. Someday soon I hope to meet you all on the trail. A dream has been born and my plans grow to reality each day.

    • Hey Grin’n, Rockin’ here. Who knew that a simple piece of gear like Baby Wipes would make all the difference for a reluctant backpacker? We hauled our Baby Wipes out of course (should have mentioned that), but I am curious what brand and where do you get your septic safe wipes? Thanks for your fun and thoughtful comment. Hope to see you also on the trail!

      • Hey Rockin’ ,
        I was just about to re comment on my comment. Funny thing is, I am a plumber. I do new construction commercial/industrial plumbing. In 15 years I have never done the service side of the trade. A buddy of mine (a service plumber) informed me yesterday, that even though they say they are “septic safe” they really are not. I dont use them at home (and consumer reports says not to either), but on the trail, ever since that fateful day we forgot the TP, but remembered the wipes to change the toddler. We use what ever has a deal on it. Kirkland for this run.Cottonelle in the past (Cottonelle can be bought in single use packets also). I have taken them to central America where you are not suppose to flush even TP. Makes it nice for bagging out your waste. I have always bagged out even TP on the trail. Nothing ruins the pristine picture of God’s glorious gift to us than Tp that was dug up, poorly buried or not buried at all. So if you are thinking of what to use with your septic…. don’t use them. But as far as staying clean on the trail, they are awesome. work well for cleaning up also.
        Ps. loved your Pinterest gear list.

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