Here are some lovely pictures from Drusilla Montemayor’s microadventures hiking around southern Arizona.
Dru was one of the first people to walk the Divide. She hiked from Canada to Mexico fresh out of college in 1981 along what was to become the Continental Divide Trail. She had to create her own route with forest service maps and government topo maps.
After the hike she got married and raised 4 kids and also got into endurance horseback riding. This year she will be hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Now that’s living life to the fullest. Have a great adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail Dru! Thanks for sending in the photos!!
If you would like to check out Dru’s artwork, visit her site here.
Over my life I have been guilty of being an “everything or nothing” kind of person. In High School and College, I was 100% focused on school leaving no time to play outside (okay, maybe less so after I discovered thru-hiking). When working different jobs, I have been 100% focused on work, sometimes putting in 90+ hour weeks to finish what needed to be done, but not leaving myself time to enjoy where I was.
Lotsa Work and Just Me to Do it
Now that I am leading a semi normal life back in civilization for the winter, I am attempting to be more balanced.
One of my heroes, Alastair Humphreys, coined the term “microadventure” to encourage people to get outside and enjoy where they are. Wherever you are, there is adventure to be found! Be curious. Make life fun.
My latest microadventure has involved skiing around the frozen lake I live near to explore islands normally only accessible by boat. It’s also only a six mile ski from my house over the lake to work. Pretty nice commute! And it saves money on gas. I have my eyes on an unexplored ridgeline for my next microadventure!
Exploring a ghost town across the ice with my Dad!
Been on an exciting microadventure lately? I want to hear about it. Send in a picture! email@example.com
Have fun wherever you are. Whatever you are doing. Live life NOW!
Enjoying a soggy day on the Olympic Coast
Way back before you were born, when I was still a baby long distance hiker, iPods (or at least the iPod I owned) did not hold a charge for more than an hour at best. I did not carry a functioning iPod when I hiked the Long Trail, the AT or the PCT. On the AT I carried a little radio for a ways which was nice but I only seemed to be able to pick up Christian Rock stations.
It was not until I hiked the Continental Divide Trail that I started using an iPod while thru-hiking. This was partially because I finally owned an iPod that could actually hold a charge for more than five minutes and partially because I was just starting to learn about this new exciting phenomenon called “the podcast.” Podcasts have been a great way to help me through the more difficult days on the trail. They keep my mind busy and distract me from the rain and achy feet.
They also can teach me about the country I am hiking through. On the Grand Enchantment Trail, I listened to “Stuff You Missed in History Class” podcasts about the outlaws of the wild west like Belle Starr, Billy the Kid, Jesse James, The Sundance Kid and Ned Kelly (wrong country but still a captivating piece of history!) . Up in the Brooks Range I enjoyed listening to podcasts about Arctic Explorers like Fridtjof Nansen, Louise Boyd, Scott and Amundsen. Some days I won’t take my iPod out of my pack at all, but on the rougher days it helps keep me smiling!
Here is a list of my favorite podcast shows:
- WNYC’s RadioLab
- Stuff You Missed in History Class
- The Trail Show
- Freakonomics Radio
- Dirtbag Diaries
- Comedy Bang Bang
- You Look Nice Today
- This American Life
Have any recommendations? Let me know!!
A poem composed by my genius long distance hiking friend while enjoying a picnic bench in the Grand Canyon on the AZT.
Most of these are food related. What can I say? I’m a thru-hiker.
Top 7 WORST, “WHAT THE HECK WAS I THINKING?!” decisions of my thru hiking career that you should avoid at ALL costs:
- Packing McDonalds out of Cajon Pass to save for dinner. GROSS. GROSS. GROSS.
- Packing out a stick of margarine instead of butter on the CDT . . . opps . . . turns out its pretty much soup at room temperature.
- Trying to use a way too small trash bag as a ground cloth in the San Juans . . . and then the snowstorm came.
- That time my gear weighed 50 lbs+ on the Long Trail
- Trying to night hike down to Milk Creek on the PCT- which turned out to be a trail-less bushwhack through devils club- and resulted in a cowboy camp on the steepest muddiest hillside in the world
- Propping my bug head net atop my visor on a windy day in the Brooks Range and losing it
- That time I accidentally set my pack on fire, 5 days from the finish on the CDT, burning a hole through the entire bottom portion, melting my ipod, phone and passport. Don’t recommend that one at all.
Top 10 Best Decisions:
- Packing an entire apple pie out of Stehekin
- ALWAYS hiking in trail runners
- Starting the CDT with Found, Kombucha, Hawkeye, Candyman, Queen Frostine, Rock Steady, Myke, RT and Joker!! And Heaps who caught up too!!
- Hiding a horseshoe in GQ’s pack when hiking up the North Rim of the Grand Canyon
- Staying at the Dinsmore’s for an extra day to wait out the rain
- Waiting in cold Washington drizzle to watch Sweetfish film Stilts re-enact losing his shoe in the High Sierra
- Never listening to day hikers when told the trail is impassable. Just don’t listen to anyone.
- Every time I have hiked out of town with an ice cream cone in hand.
- Ordering delivery pizza right to our campsite on the CDT
- That very first time I chose to quit the books to hit the trail.
I had a dream last night that I was flying north to the Brooks Range for a week of hiking in the eastern corners just for fun. Then, the dream changed and I was 100 years old and flying back north to reminisce. To stand where I stood at the age of 25, at the start of my hike across Alaska.
I am very guilty of romanticizing thru-hiking when I am off trail. I only seem to remember the campfires by wild rivers and diving into the Alatna during a heat wave and dance parties atop nameless peaks with only the midnight sun watching. I quickly forget just how scared I felt when a bend in a river canyon revealed a grizzly at a caribou kill only 100 feet away and how stressed I was about the next big river crossing and my poor feet after sloshing through 700 miles of marshy tussocky business and . . . the bugs. Yeah. There was some bugs… but even while I was out there, even when it was tough, I was day dreaming up my next adventure because I just love this stuff and will never have had enough. Wish I had 10 lifetimes to see all there is to see! But I don’t. Just got this one, so better make it count. Find what you love and go for it.
Plans for this coming summer have been forming and changing and breaking and re-building. Once they are a little more concrete, I will start making posts about the adventures to come! Might just do something a little crazy.
In the meantime, here is a clip of those bugs (sorry again for the jumpiness – next trip I’ll get my filming right!)
P.S. I am not much of a gear nut, but I have been asked for gear lists a couple of times, so I will finally put one together over the next couple of weeks! A list of what I bring on a normal long distance hike. Didn’t want you to think I’d forgotten!
P.P.S. A big thanks to Brian, Cameron and Phil for taking me in at Anaktuvuk and saving me from all of those mosquitoes! Will never forget your kindness!
This is scary business. Following your dreams and not knowing if they are going to work out. I’m scared.
Luckily I have some pretty amazing friends who keep me inspired when things get tough. People who are determined to follow their dreams even though it is a struggle. They are not afraid of a little hard work. Knowing that they are out there, facing hurdles and pushing on towards their goals inspires me to keep going too.
Meet Hannah Stagner and Jake Mccowan who are well on their way to following their dream of racing sled dogs. They already have their own kennel “Hazard Kennels” (Wreck and Recover is their motto!). Visit them on facebook here
Then there is my friend Drew Perez, who has been dreaming of building his own brewery for years. Despite naysayers, he’s at it! He has created Sharp End Brewing Co. and is sticking with his dream coming up with great ideas and brewing like crazy. Go Drew! Visit his facebook page here
And Pasha Marlowe who dreamed to create a community center up in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and has built a Yoga Studio/ Fitness Center, a place where people can go to pursue a healthy lifestyle. It isn’t your average gym though, it’s more like a second home and a second family to many people in the community. Visit her studio’s facebook page here
It’s scary stuff trying to follow your dreams. You sacrifice so much and know that you could lose everything in a single breath . . . but when it comes down to it, you’re better off giving life your best shot. We only get this one chance to live, this one chance to reach our full potential. So. Take a risk. Follow your dreams. You just might achieve something beautiful. I’m just as scared as you but let’s move forward just the same. Let’s GO!