July 20 – Shelter Cove…the devil

The longest journey begins with a single step, not with a turn of the ignition key. That’s the best thing about walking, the journey itself. It doesn’t matter whether you get where you’re going or not. You’ll get there anyway. Every good hike brings you eventually back home. Right where you started.
~Edward Abbey

Diamond View Lake to tarn north of Bobby Lake – Willamette National Forest
19.5 miles

I have sent 3 different resupply boxes to Shelter Cove through the years in hopes of hiking on through Oregon. Two of them were never picked-up.

The first one in 2011, I simply missed my family and got off the trail at Crater Lake. The second one in 2012, I started at Crater Lake and was turned around due to snow. This year I sent the box to Shelter Cove in June in hopes of starting hiking in Oregon. Well that was even delayed.

You can’t blame Dan and I for referring to Shelter Cove Resort, as the devil.

I am happy to announce that I now have picked my box up, showered, washed my clothes, used the Shelter Cove store wifi, and thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful little diamond in the woods. Even Facetimed with my good friend Wired on the Appalachian Trail on the deck of the resort.

The hike into Shelter Cove this morning started with a pretty impressive sunrise, golden sunlight, and spider web art. The hike after Odell Lake was met with views of lake basins. I am really looking forward to tomorrow as I will be hiking in Three Sisters Wilderness.20140722-091236-33156495.jpg






July 19 – It is a Carpet Ride

“I am always glad to touch the living rock again and dip my head in the high mountain sky. …plain, sky, mountains ray beauty which you feel. You bathe in these spirit-beams turning round and round, as if warming at a campfire. Presently you lose consciousness of your own separate existence: you blend with the landscape, and become part and parcel of nature.” 
-John Muir

North of Tipsoo Peak to Diamond View Lake – Diamond Peak Wilderness
30.3 miles

My head hit the pillow last night and I was out. So much so I slept in a whole hour, which rarely happens on the trail.

The trail was gentle, well-maintained and had literally no rocks. Cruise I did.

So much so I fell 2 times today simply not paying attention and tripped over my own feet. Easy = Dangerous

At Windigo Pass I met PCTer, Rootbeer Float and hiked with him a few hours. He is a retired fireman that hikes about 40 miles everyday. He moves. Fast.

Tonight I enjoyed a quick swim and watched the sunset, while eating dinner at the little gem, Diamond View Lake. Pretty amazing. I am even the only person at this lake. So rare.

In the morning I will be visiting Shelter Cove Resort at Odell Lake to resupply, do quick laundry, Internet stuff, and shower.






July 18 – More Than I Could Wish For


Mount Thielsen Trail to PCT
4 miles
Trail Junction to Mile 1869 – Mount Thielsen Wilderness
10 miles

Bus, train, train, trolley, car, walk

That is what happened over the last 24 hours to start walking on the Pacific Crest Trail north of Crater Lake, Oregon.

Most everything went smoothly transportation wise until the trolley pulled out of the station in Klamath Falls and had engine trouble. But because of that, great things happened. A car from the trolley service picked us up and because it was so late they offered to drive me right to the exact location I got off the PCT 2 years ago. The best.

I started walking about 2:00 in the afternoon today. The day was beautiful, clear, and cool. This is such a contrast to when I was here 2 years ago. Then it was foggy, lightly snowing, and snow covered the ground…everywhere.

The highlights today were: Mount Thielsen’s majesty, the smooth gentle trail, hiking at lower altitude (so much easier and without a bear canister), and passing the highest point of the PCT in Oregon and Washington. I didn’t see a single hiker today, but am expecting to meet a few PCTers soon.










Ahh…the little things

The first blog entry I wrote 4 years ago was never posted.

It was about pitching a nice taut tent from a woman’s perspective.

Years later I still struggle with this seemingly simply skill every guy seems to casually master night after night. No problem with motivation…
every she hiker I know is constantly in search of the perfect tent pitch. I certainly don’t think it has anything to do with skill or experience. No matter, I finally feel more confident in this fine art.

NOTE: I apologize ahead of time to ladies out there that have special powers and this is not a problem.

This largely is a result from hiking Scotland in The Great Outdoors Challenge.

Long before our crossing, we were warned about possible ballistic storms and winds that can strike at any minute in Scotland. Luckily, in our preparation for the trek, Swami from The Hiking Life spent time with me going over pitching tarps and tents. Through listening to his thought process and wealth of experience, I now am able to think differently about tension, height, and location of my nightly shelter.

Not everyone can have a Swami visit their house, but I do have a couple tips for tents and tarps that use trekking poles for support.

With the addition of micro line lock guy line adjusters by Zpacks on each line, I pitch my tent with the lines all the way out, pound in the stakes, then tighten all the little guy line adjusters.


The first pic shows before and after adjusting the lines. Another slick tip is adding extra guy lines if extra loops are featured on a tent. I use just an extra long stake to guy out the tent. This really helps in wind and rain. No one really likes listening to a flappy tent all night.

The addition of the next little thing is more of a convenience and frustration stopper. Dan added little loops to all my zippers: tent and pack. I think it saves me time and is less stressful on the zippers over time with very little added weight.

The last little guy is cuben fiber tape by Zpacks. It is light, strong, and can repair most anything. I have used it to repair my neo air, sunglasses, stuff sacks, backpack, and have even used it to tape up blisters.

Sometimes it is the littlest of things that can make big differences.

Tent Lock ties


July 4 – Be Free

For each morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
From Kerr Bear’s refridgerator

Squaw Lake to Red’s Meadow
21 miles

Hiking on Fourth of July…

Time to reflect on all that I so richly am thankful for…

Here are some highlights…

-a country that has preserved so much land to roam freely in nature
-individuals and organizations that are dedicated to this purpose
-friends to enjoy the freedom to explore the outdoors
-family that I can share this love of getting out in nature

Today I made a few fun decisions while walking, walking, and more walking that I would like to share.

My morning started at 5:30 am. Just about a mile down the trail I spotted a rake beside the trail neatly propped on a tree. The dirt surrounding was carefully raked. No signs of hikers, trail maintenance, campsite, nothing. So you can guess what I did. Yep, raked a bit then hiked on. This so brought back memories of hiking the the Great Divide Basin last summer. At one of the precious water sources out in the middle of nowhere was a bocci ball set. Crazy. Right?

The hike then headed down from Squaw Lake to Tully Hole, up to stunning Virginia and Purple Lakes, then up and over round and about to Red’s Meadow Resort. I met many a hiker with feet problems due to the heat, boots, and BIG packs.

Just before Red’s I had service and received the very funny and cheery photo below of my grandkids celebrating 4th of July. I missed them and just knew I needed to take them on a short overnight backpack or camping trip. Who wouldn’t, right?

So I am now in Mammoth staying at a very good hiker friend’s nice condo and meeting up with Dan and grandkids. Thank you Kerr Bear for opening up your home.

So I will be participating in lots of shenanigans in the next week, then heading to Crater Lake, Oregon to hike 300 miles or so on the PCT. The snow surely will have melted by then!!!

Life is just one surprise after another!











July 3 – It is a Winner

Those who seek beauty will find it.
~Bill Cunningham

Sallie Keyes Lakes to Squaw Lake
22 miles

I am a lucky hiker.

I am sitting cross-legged on a shoreline at what I think is the most lovely lake in the entire Sierras. Why is this one so special?
-the alpine glow at sunset
-the circle of mountains
-deep blue water
-and the peace that emulates

And……wait for it…..I am the only one here….


Earlier today I stopped at Bear Ridge above Lake Edison, because I had cell service. After spending a couple hours checking in at home and posting blog entries I had to hoof it to make my destination for the day.

I came into camp about 8:00 pm expecting the Squaw Lake to be packed with hikers. I worked for this sunset.

The trail today passed over both Selden and Silver passes.

Ya it was pretty great.










July 2 – Heat and Big Packs

Backpacking: An extended form of hiking in which people carry double the amount of gear they need for half the distance they planned to go in twice the time it should take.
- Unknown, compliments from long distance hiker, Swami

Wanda Lake to Sallie Keyes Lakes
23 miles

The night was cooler. I was happy.

The Sierras continue to be unusually HOT during the day. It seems I keep timing my big climbs at the end of each day. Not smart.

I saw very few hikers today. Most were doing a short backpack and had huge packs that swayed from side to side. They did not look happy nor comfortable in the heat. It almost gives me physical pain just watching.

The route today descended through Evolution Valley to Piute Creek and I am now on the way up Selden Pass. The climb to beautiful Sallie Keys Lakes had bits of shade that was a welcome relief. This area of the JMT is just stunning.








July 1 – Muir Pass and Wet Dog

Following an old trail like this is a way of keeping alive the idea that there is something bigger in the world than our own human pursuits. I don’t have to pretend that I’m the first one here; I just need the possibility of finding something new and surprising (to Me), a landscape that puts our human endeavors into perspective. I cling to that possibility as if it were a life preserver. 
~Lawrence Hogue, All the Wild and Lonely Places: Journeys in a Desert Landscape
compliments of Hamburger Helper

Palisade Lakes to Wanda Lake
22 miles

I got a super early start knowing that I had a big climb up Le Conte Canyon to Muir Pass that was going to be hot and in the sun. I met a hiker on the trail this morning, which is very rare at 6:00 in the morning and guess what? She is from Scotland and is hiking a very large section of the PCT from Walker Pass, north of Tehachapi where I live, to Crater Lake, Oregon. Her trail name is Scottish Lynn.

Anyone that has ever hiked with me knows that I really don’t do well in the heat. I have come up with many solutions over the years. Today I brought out my favorite strategy. It looks like this. Every mile or so in the heat, find water deep enough to dunk my whole body in and simply take my pack off, walk in clothes, shoes and all, put pack back on and keep walking. It only takes a few minutes and works wonders.

I thought a lot about this hike today. I needed to make this hike unique and different. The Sierras are humbling. Everything is straight up or straight down. Humility is a very good thing. It tests your inner strength and character. And hiking solo…all rules change. It demands attention, concentration, and determination. Notice I really didn’t say anything about a sense of humor. When hiking in groups or with a hiking partner this quality is king.

It has been very warm at night. Luckily my tent features the option of opening four doors on both sides. It is a good night.20140703-114723-42443394.jpg












June 30 – Oh those Palisade Peaks

ADVICE FROM A TREE: Stand tall and proud, remember your roots. Reflect the light of your true nature. Drink plenty of Water. Enjoy the view! 
~Notepaper, Your True Nature Company, Fort Collins, CO
compliments of Hamburger Helper

Woods Creek to Palisade Lakes
19 miles

I left camp today without Grasshopper. My mind was all over the place and had a difficult day mentally. I knew I needed to shift to be safe.

The descent and ascent was crazy hiking over both Pinchot and Mather passes. A very beautiful but tough day.

The Sierras remind me of what they normally look like in late August, due to such a low snow year. On the other hand, the forest is teaming with deer, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, frogs, birds, and bugs of every sort.

At the top of Mather Pass is an unforgettable and unique view of quite a few of California’s fourteeners. I have climbed most, but want to climb all of them. I will need a guide with gear and ropes for the remaining unclimbed peaks.

I met few new PCT hikers today and am camping with Two Feathers from Hawaii. Our camp is overlooking Palisade Lakes. It is a beaut!!!!!20140703-111229-40349523.jpg













June 29 – So Full

Life is like a camera…
Focus on what’s important,
Capture the good times,
Develop from the negatives,
And if things don’t work out,
Take another shot.

Below Kearsage Pass to Woods Creek
14 miles

Today was one of those very special days that simply takes your breath away. The Sierras.

Dan and I hiked up Kearsage Pass last night. It has been quite awhile since I have visited the High Sierras. It is a true wake up call to all things that are beautiful and so special.

Dan is my cheerleader, my caretaker, my problem-solver, best friend, husband (of course) and resupply man when I am out on the trail. It was pretty difficult parting this morning when I went one way and he went the other. He even joked that hiking back to the car was his first solo hike. Come to think of it, it most likely is.

All day today I felt so full of gratitude and love. I think we all need one of these days every once in a while. It is a reboot of sorts.

I met lots of fun folks today, PCTers, JMTers, and hikers out for a weekend. I even had a couple of people stop me and say, “Hey I know you. I follow your blog!” I had a great conversation with Mary and Ron. They are pictured below. PCTers Dang It and Ferd are also pictured

Today I went up over Glen Pass to Rae Lakes and down to Wood’s Creek. Gotta say I felt pretty good, but the altitude is making me dizzy and a bit nauseous. I did not train for the high Sierras and it is very clear. Scotland’s highest peaks are around 4,000. Not much preparation for 12,000 feet!

The goal today was to meet Grasshopper and continue hiking north on the PCT to continue her thru-hike. Sadly, she came into camp after hiking 15 miles and is in terrible pain in her back. I feel so sad for her. Her spirit wants to be on the trail so badly, but her body needs more time to heal.









The Pacific Crest Trail Calls

Welp I am ready to hit the dirt again. In the next few days I will again be writing from the trail and posting when I have cell service. This summer, my BIG hope was to complete the remaining 822 miles to finish the entire 2650 miles of the PCT.  BUT… a redirection was in order due to lingering snow depths at the PCT level in Oregon and Washington. So guess what? Gotta say my first desire I had was to return to the Sierras before starting Oregon later in July. AND it just so happens that I am super lucky and excited to be joining Grasshopper on her PCT thru-hike starting this weekend in the Sierras. Grasshopper has a special appreciation for life and the trail. You can find her at embracingthepath.com.

My big overall plan is to start at Kearsage Pass in the eastern Sierras and hike north to the Lake Tahoe area, then zip right up on Amtrak to Crater Lake, Oregon and start hiking north. The Sierras and Oregon, it doesn’t get better.

Preparations over the last month has kept me very busy:  buying, dehydrating, and packing food, printing maps, downloading maps, GPX files, guidebook pages, books, and music to my iPhone, making travel arrangements, and sending packages. You would think this would all be a simple process,  after all… I have done this so many times (this is my 5th summer long trail hiking). Not so. It still takes a lot of thinking, researching, and making endless decisions. It really is exhausting. I would like to someday meet a long distance hiker that thinks that buying, preparing, and packing months of food choices in boxes is joyful. Come on there has to be somebody out there!!!!

So here is the scoop on gear, resupply, navigation, and my favorite.. how to follow me along. Breaking news: I am now on Instagram. Love it.



Here is what my gear looks like minus a bear canister. Yes… I will gladly be hoisting one of those awkward creatures on my back! Below the gear pic is my Google spreadsheet to view all the tiny little details. Note: spreadsheet is viewable only on a computer. Just scroll down using the bar on the right side to see complete list.





My gluten and dairy free diet continues to be a challenge. This packing round I feel pretty successful, except for the addition of some chocolate bars. I just couldn’t resist. You can view most of the goodies on Pinterest.



I am excited to use all of my fun new little apps and will be sharing how they all work. Here are what I plan to use and carry:

-Guthook Hiking Guides apps – water, camping, maps, tracking

-Viewranger – navigation and locater beacon to track my progress

-Halfmile’s paper maps and a compass

-PCTHYOH app for any other info I might need – fire and weather




Be sure to follow along. Here is how:

Also, don’t  miss a single post by signing up to receive new updates by email. Just add your email address under “Get Post Updates” in the bottom menu.

So there ya have it. I hope all of you are out there are enjoying summer and loving life. It is a good one.

Happy Trails Everyone!


Freebie: June Wallpaper

Glen Affric - Scotland

Welcome June! Free June 2014 Calendar Desktop/Smartphone Wallpaper

I am happy to offer this month’s photo from our TGO trek in Scotland. This beauty was taken by Dan on our Lumix LX5. After a light rain stopped, we looked back at Loch Affric and beheld this sight. Read about the day HERE.

Wallpapers with June Calendar

iPhone 4/4s – Tip: If you are using iOS7 and are having trouble resizing your wallpaper on your phone (I was), turn on Reduce Motion. Go to Settings>General>Accessibility. It is magic.
iPhone 5/5c/5s – Tip: Same setting change for the iPhone 5
Desktop – Large
Desktop – Small

Wallpapers without Calendar

Desktop Large
Desktop Small
iPhone 4/4s
iPhone 5/5c/5s

Desktop Wallpaper Tips:
These monthly wallpapers are available in different sizes for your device of choice. Just click on a size of image you need to make it larger and download from there by right clicking, select Save as or Set as Desktop. Need help changing your wallpaper? Here are instructions for iOS, Android, OS X, Windows 7 and Windows 8.
Additional tip: Choose an image larger than your screen size, and set the position to “center” or “fill screen” (not “stretch”).

Farewell Lovely Scotland

It has been a few weeks since we have returned from Scotland and I continue to daydream about the trek, the people, and the dramatic scenery.

After we finished at the North Sea on the east coast of Scotland, we hiked south to Dunnottar Castle then by bus to the Challenge Control at the Park Hotel in Montrose.


Challengers must check in at Control Headquarters to complete the crossing. This is where the TGO organizers track the progress of the walkers across Scotland. We were greeted heartedly and were very excited to receive our t-shirt, Buff, certificate, and even hot coffee, tea, and treats.


I was also really excited to meet Gayle and Mick of the blog,  M&G Go for a Walk. I met Gayle on the Internet before the Challenge. She provided us with tips and guidebook pages. Here is a pic of Gayle and I.


It was fun to see so many packs piled up in a fancy hotel. It reminded me of Trail Crest, where hikers leave their packs on the way to summit Mount Whitney.


In the evening the Challenge is celebrated with a dinner, speeches, and presentations. It was touching, rambunctious, and very entertaining. Challengers were recognized by the number of TGO crossings completed and countries represented. Humphrey Weightman even introduced Dan and I as “the gurus of cool”. How fun is that?



After the dinner we were whisked away by the most amazing host family ever, the Smiths. We spent the next few days being wined and dined, doing touristy things, and more importantly golfing.


Many of you expressed your love of golf and after all Scotland is the home of this very popular game. Here we are standing on the very famous Swilcan Bridge that spans the 1st and 18th holes at St. Andrews Old Course.




Thank you Smiths for generously opening your home, your lives, and Scotland. We hope you will come and visit us soon!

Post TGO Thoughts:

Thank you to all the TGO organizers, volunteers, and the many walkers that helped make our crossing a success. I highly recommend this experience. We met so many fine and helpful people that we hope to stay in contact with.

And heck, who gets to say they have created a route and hiked across a country? I cannot  count the amount of times Dan and I have looked at each other and exclaimed, “We hiked across an entire country!”



All our gear and clothing systems worked perfectly. I wouldn’t change anything. Some of our favorites:

- Gossamer Gear Mariposa and Gorilla backpacks

- New Trent Powerpak 11.0 External Charger

- Golite Crome Dome umbrella

- Zpacks Hexamid Duplex Tent



We loved our system of combining paper maps with technology. This is what we used:

-Route Buddy software on my mac to plan and create gpx. files of our route to upload to iPhone.
-Viewranger gps iPhone app to view our route, location, and to navigate. We also used the BuddyBeacon feature to share our location on a  map.

- We carried the beautiful and accurate Ordinance  Survey maps. We also carried Harvey British Mountain Maps in the Highland and Cairngorm mountains. Before the trip, Dan cut the maps down to size we needed along with the surrounding area and ticked off mileage marks.



All of our Scotland photos are up on Flickr. They’re a beaut. Enjoy.


The Liebster Award & the Important Questions


Lady on a Rock was nominated for the Liebster Award along many other fine bloggers out there!

First of all thank you Jan (aka The Beekeeper aka Roaming Angel in Bright Pink Hat) from Jan’s Jaunts and Jabberings for your nomination and for being such a faithful follower. Jan writes about her love for the outdoors and trips in Northern California. I hope to meet and hike with her someday!

When I first got this nomination I was simply confused because most the of the blogs being nominated are not new blogs (I am like an old tree and have been around 5 years). The real purpose of the award is to introduce readers to new quality blogs. Also, it seemed complicated and a lot of work, BUT then I saw the light.

The questions.

The answers.




Who doesn’t want the inside scoop?

So by accepting this award I have a few rules I must abide by…well sort of:

Rule #1 – I must answer the 11 questions provided by Jan.
Thanks Jan. It was fun reflecting back. Here ya go.

1. How old were you when you first camped? hiked? backpacked?

I went on my first real camping trip in the woods in college. On that same outing I experienced my first hike through the giant redwoods in Sequoia National Park.

Backpacking? Ah yes…shortly after my son was born. You all know him as Silly Chili. On this first backpack I was loaded down with borrowed gear from head to toe and was sporting cut-off jean shorts, a sports bra, and visor. I had no idea what the area was called at the time, but now know the destination as Little Lakes Valley and Bishop Pass in the eastern Sierras. I remember getting to the top of this high ridge (Bishop Pass) in borrowed moccasins because I had enormous blisters,   looking over, and wanting to know more about that other side. Well…most of you know it as Dusy Basin.

Who could go wrong with Sequoia Giant Redwoods and the high Sierra as their first trips into the back-country? At the time I had no idea the long-term impact these first trips would unfold.

2. What piece of outdoor gear have you had the longest (that you still use)? what is it and why have you not replaced it?

Believe it or not it is my Jet Boil Stove. I bought my first one the year they came out. I still have that same stove and use it car camping. Gotta say I have upgraded to the lighter Sol Titanium. It is fast, reliable, uses just a little fuel (I can get 20 days of solo hiking on one small canister), compact, and super light.

3. Do you have a favorite wilderness area? or favorite trail?

This is a no-brainer…the John Muir Trail… in a high snow year or in a drought, it is simply the best.

4. When on an outdoor adventure, what is your favorite time of day?

Always early morning just before the sun rises. The lighting takes my breath away.

5. What is your favorite season and why?

Summer. I am off work and it is time to play.

6. Do you have a favorite outdoor adventure related book, film, or website that you like to recommend?

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
It is the true thru-hike in raw form. I listen to at least part of this book each summer. Great at the end of a hot, hard day. Compared to Inman’s struggles my troubles are mute.

Oh and I have to add the entire mystery “Anna Pigeon” series by Nevada Barr (there are 18 in all). I have her newest book Destroyer Angel on Audible for my summer trek through Oregon and Washington.

7. Who was/is your outdoor adventure mentor?

Cam “Swami” Honan
Who else would come off a Death Valley (lowest) to Mount Whitney (highest) expedition and willing and enthusiastically show up early… mind you, to talk to my elementary school students about hiking in amazing and wonderful places. Thank you Swami for your friendship and wise advise. You make me think and work harder.

8. What has been your most memorable misadventure?

The day I got off the trolley at Crater Lake, Oregon to hike north on the PCT summer of 2012. Sound familiar? I will getting off this very same trolley June 27th at the end of this month yet again. Got a admit, I still have dreams at night of hitting walls of snow in Oregon. I really don’t want to retell and relive it,  so here is the story if interested, When to Turn Back

9. What lesson(s) would you most like to share about trail life?

Go with your instincts: in life, on your job, with your family, at the mall, and in the back-country. There is always a price to pay if you do not take heed. Unfortunately, I know and continue to know.

10. They say we pack our fears in our backpack, what fear do you pack in yours?

Getting hurt and not being able to hike again.

11. Name one item near the top of your bucket list.

Finishing ALL 2650 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail this summer!!!!!!! I have 822 to go.

Rule #2 – Nominate bloggers (I ignored the new blogger thing)

Rule #3 – Provide those nominees with 11 questions

List of purely selfish questions for you nominees. Can’t wait to hear your replies.

  1. Favorite outdoor guidebook?
  2. Why do you walk? The answer cannot be “Because I am crazy”.
  3. Having a stressful day at work? what gets you through? an outdoor experience perhaps?
  4. I am a peak bagger. Do you have any recommendations?
  5. What gets you through the last miles of a hard day besides crying? Again selfish.
  6. Your favorite trail food? It would be great if you could recommend a gluten and dairy free option.
  7. I have to ask…what are 2 of your favorite funny hiking quotes? Shamelessly selfish again. I am gathering quotes for this summer’s blog entries.
  8. We are all bloggers. What keeps you motivated to keep writing?
  9. Since I loved this question I am going to ask. How old were you when you first camped? hiked? backpacked?
  10. Who doesn’t love a good sunrise and sunset? Where have been your favorites?
  11. So what is your next planned adventure?

Rule #4

Thank You Jan for the Nomination. You rock! Always looking forward to your next adventure!

Want to read more unique questions and answers from other quite funny and famous hiking bloggers?
Here are just a few:

The Hiking Life
Muk Muk