Passports, Pizza, and Podcasts- Oh My!

This morning Chas and I had an appointment to get our passports. It will be our first ones, so we are pretty excited! Everything at the appointment went great. The normal wait is between 4-6 weeks but she said we might even get ours in just 3 weeks! We won’t be needing our passports for the beginning of the trail because the trail starts on the U.S. side at the Mexican border. We will be able to enter Canada via the Pacific Crest Trail with a permit from the Canadian government. We will however need our passports to reenter the United States.

A few hours later we met with our friends Matt and Sean (these are our two buddies we mentioned in our New Years Day post.) The four of us spent the afternoon hiking up South Fortuna at Mission Trails Regional Park. It was so nice outside, with the temperature being in the mid 70s. The hike is about 4.5 miles, and rated moderately strenuous. Once your at the top you can see the Rock Climber’s Loop directly across where Chas and I have gone both hiking and climbing.

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Chelsea on top of South Fortuna

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Heading back to the trailhead

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Not everyone is familiar with Poison Oak in all it’s stages, especially in winter.

We all were getting hungry by the time we reached the car, so we picked up a delicious half-veggie, half-cheese pizza from Costco! We returned to our apartment where we were able to kick off our shoes and eat. The pizza paired perfectly with our growler of Fathom IPL from Ballast Point Brewing. There is something seriously amazing about pizza and beer after a hike…

Sean and Matt have been starting to do podcasts, and they asked if we could be interviewed. This was their first time interviewing someone for their podcast, and we have never been interviewed before, so it was fun and new for all of us! I was really nervous at first, so Chas answered most of the questions in the beginning. The guys are such naturals though that I started to feel more comfortable, and was able to join the conversation more at ease.

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Podcast Interview

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Matt in action

Some things we talked about during the interview were:

  • What made us want to do this hike?
  • What are we bringing with us?
  • What are some of the things we are concerned about?
  • What is the longest stretch before being able to resupply?
  • What kind of food will we be eating?
  • Will we be meeting with friends and family along the way?
  • What will we be thinking about at the CA/Mexico border right before we leave? What will Matt be thinking about? Because, Matt will be starting our journey with us!! That’s right, Matt will be doing the first week with us, and then meet us at various parts along the way as we head further north.

We look forward to putting a link to Matt and Sean’s podcast, Cabin Fever, so you too can hear the interview! We’ll let you know as soon as it’s available. So until next time, Happy Trails!

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Testing Out Our Packs!

Well I’ve been very jealous of Chas getting to bring his new backpack on his hikes the last couple weeks. I got the flu two weeks ago, and my asthma has been giving me some trouble ever since. I finally felt like I could handle hiking Cowles Mountain, so Chas and I loaded up our packs with some gear for weight, and headed up the mountain to catch the sunset. Since it was my first time with the pack I only carried 10 lbs. The backpack was extremely comfy, and I barely felt the weight! I tried resting my hands in the loops provided but I think I’m going to remove them and just use trekking poles instead. I can’t wait to use it again, but with more weight this time!

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Some Info about the backpacks we are using:

  • We both have the Circuit backpacks made by ULA Equipment.
  • They weigh under 39 ounces and are made for long distance thru hiking.
  • Chas’ has the original “J-Curve” shoulder straps, and I have the “S-Curve” straps that are made to be more comfortable for a woman and her chest.
  • Recommended max load: 35 lbs or less
  • Recommended base weight (weight without consumables like food/water): 15 lbs or less
  • The total volume of the backpack: 4,200 cu in.

We ordered our backpacks here.

New Years in Mt. Laguna

2014!

2014!

Happy New Years! 2014!

I have never spent New Years Eve in the mountains before last night. In fact, I rarely can stay awake until midnight. Last night however, after Chas and I got home from work, we packed up my car and headed for the hills. We met our two friends, Matt and Sean in Mt. Laguna, who already had a campfire roaring and Matt’s popup trailer set up. It was a great New Years Eve, with beer, chips, hot chocolate, and homemade moonshine. Every time Chas and I camp in Mt. Laguna, the campsites are mostly empty. It was actually busy last night though, with lots of younger groups and people loud up until midnight. We finally crashed around 3am, and the low for the night was 32 degrees. Matt’s pop-up trailer, The Duck, kept us warm through out the night, and in the morning Chas woke me up with a nice hot cup of coffee. I forgot to bring some sugar, so I stirred a small spoonful of Cookie Butter in my coffee instead.. Yum!

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Matt's pop-up trailer aka The "Duck"

Matt’s pop-up trailer aka The “Duck”

After breakfast the four of us went for on a nice 8.5 mile loop. We started on the Big Laguna trail, and got to walk along the beautiful Laguna Meadow. We hiked along the trail until we had to cross over Sunrise Highway, and then continue until we got onto the PCT. I found a really big pine cone on the trail, and hiked with it for awhile. It was huge! I wanted to take it home to add to my collection of super-amazing pinecones, but Chas had a better idea. He had me hide it that way when we are hiking in April on our thru-hike, I could see if it’s still there! We continued our hike up to Monument Peak, and enjoyed the gorgeous view.  It was a clear day, so we were able to see the Salton Sea, and the wind farm really well. With all the hiking we’ve been doing, it’s exciting that I can spot all the places we’ve been. I can easily locate Whale Peak and where Agua Caliente are out in the desert. I can point out Garnet Peak, Stonewall Peak, Cuyamaca, and Ghost Mountain! After we summited Monument Peak, we headed North on the PCT to Foster Point. It had been awhile since we had hiked to Foster Point, and it’s so different since the recent Chariot Fire ripped through in August. What was once a narrow trail through thick walls of Manzanita is now a charred moonscape. After Foster Point we headed back to our campsite. I felt like I could keep hiking for hours, but we all had to head home. It was such a wonderful day, with perfect weather, and great company.

Here’s to a wonderful New Year! Happy 2014!

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Chelsea’s huge pinecone

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Chas next to a tree packed with acorns

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Burnt pine tree with pinecones at the top

Burnt pine tree with pinecones at the top