Heading West: The Second Leg

Heading West: The Second Leg - The drive from Chicago to Colorado was pretty uneventful, but I did experience my first on-the-road van sleep and got into some extremely cold temperatures. Ronnie Lynn gave me a scare, but she came through and was a true champion on the roads!

Van Build – Kreging the Jig

Van Build - Kreging the Jig: Things have gotten quite busy as of late, but with the help of my carpenter team, we made some serious progress this past weekend! We cut, glued, and screwed together (using my newly purchase Kreg Jig tool) lots and lots of pieces of pine to make a couch/pull-out slat bed and some cubbards/cabinets! Ronnie's looking good.

Van Build – Pergolicious

Van Build - Pergolicious: I've done OK with my board cuts and such up to this point, but turns out that glue doesn't really bond when it's freezing outside. The next morning, I discovered this while the boards fell apart easily and I got liquid glue all over the front of my puffy jacket...

Van Build Day 1 (Seat Removal)

Utah 2021 - Van Build Day 1 (Seat Removal): The same day that I purchased and actually drove Veronica away as her new sidekick, I began my efforts of modifying the cargo area. After work that day, I got going on the first step, removing the existing seats in the back.

The Preliminaries

Utah 2021 - The Preliminaries: Before I start going into the actual van build process itself, lets back up a second and have a little chat about how I got to this point and what my general plans are. What is the Utah Conservation Corps? What made me decide to live in a van?Why did I choose this particular van? Do I plan to go all out with this build?

Meet Veronica Watson

Utah 2021 - Meet Veronica Watson: I bought a van today! She is a 2002 Volkswagen Eurovan and her name is Veronica Watson. In less than a month, I will be moving to Southwest Utah in order to participate as a field boss for the Utah Conservation Corps. I plan to convert my van into a tiny house of sorts and it will be my home for the 9 month season I'll be serving!

PCT 2020 Days 9 & 10: Mile 893.6 – 903.3

PCT 2020 Days 9 & 10 (July 23 - 24): Today, our ninth day being out in the wilderness, we would be hiking the final 10 miles (and 3-ish non-PCT miles) into town! We were pretty excited for it. This had been a glorious, but tough stretch for us and we were ready to give ourselves a little break in the action. But before that, we had some lovely scenery to walk through.

PCT 2020 Day 6: Mile 844.4 – 861.6

PCT 2020 Day 6 (July 20): I remember setting stuff out to dry, but even as we were sitting eating our lunch, things began to get darker above us. Our hiker senses were tingling and so we decided to pack up quickly and have our rain stuff at the ready. It wasn't long before the rain began and it fell hard!

PCT 2020 Day 4: Mile 812.4 – 828.4

PCT 2020 Day 4 (July 18): We knew we had to kick it in gear and cover some miles, and if we managed to, we figured we still might be able to pull it off. If instead we continued our pace of only 10 miles/day, we figured we'd likely need to check out some alternate options or "bail out" trails.

PCT 2020 Day 2: Mile 789.1 – 799.7

PCT 2020 Day 2 (July 16) - I was discovering how very different an experience this was compared to going through solo at the end of last year. It was so much fun having each other to hike and joke around with. And, this time around we were able to skip that phase of being unsure how much to share/reveal with one another and went straight to feeling free being our truest selves!

PCT 2020 Day 1: Onion Valley to PCT Junction

PCT 2020 Day 1 (July 15): We didn't exactly give ourselves an easy stretch of trail to start off on! In fact, it was one of, if not thee longest mileage sections that I hiked during my entire 2019 journey. On top of that, the trail ambles over 7 high elevation passes ranging from 10,780 - 12,120 feet elevation. It's arguably one of the most difficult sections! So...no big deal, right?

PRNL Day 3 (July 8): Coves to Mosquito River

Pictured Rocks Day 3 - Today, we hiked through the area of the park I'd been most excited to visit, making it to the top of the magnificent colorful sandstone cliffs of which the park is named for. The trail meandered back and forth, in the forest and out again, offering viewpoint after viewpoint looking down roughly 200 feet to the clear waters of Lake Superior below. We were loving it!

Epilogue: Post-Trail Days 2-3 (Oct. 18-19)

Oct. 18-19 - "A Bus, Two Planes, and A VW Jetta": It's hard for me to comprehend all the ways this unexpected journey has impacted me. Surely, I had some idea of what I was getting into at the beginning, but there was no way for me to know how my journey would play out or where I'd end up.

Epilogue: Post-Trail Day 1 (Oct. 17)

Oct. 17 - "All Things Good in Bishop": It was such a good experience getting to finish the trail and be in the company of Cheer and Calzone. Today was a chance for me to ease back into post-trail life in a way, not quite feeling it yet, but instead feeling like maybe this was just another town visit...

Day 172 (Oct. 9): PCT Mile 909 – 903.3

Oct. 9 (5.7 miles hiked) - "Devilish Mammoth Bucks": The day started with a side trail to see Devils Postpile National Monument. Then it was back to the PCT where I came across some large animals near the trail. Eventually, I took a side trail to Mammoth Lakes, CA for a rest and resupply stop...

Day 171 (Oct. 8): PCT Mile 931.2 – 909

Oct. 8 (22.2 miles hiked) - "Half Year of Trail Life": I had a peaceful climb up to Donahue Pass and once up there took a summit pose photo and video. The rest of the day I became a JMT'er and traveled one of my most favorites sections of the journey. Thousand Island Lake, Banner Peak, Garnet Lake...

Day 170 (Oct. 7): PCT Mile 951.1 – 931.2

Oct. 7 (19.9 miles hiked) - "Tuolumne": Just an absolutely stunning area I got to hike through today. Tuolumne Falls and Meadows will have a special place in my heart as well as the picturesque scenes of Lyell Canyon. I made my way up to a camp just shy of Donahue Pass and set up early to enjoy the surroundings.

Day 169 (Oct. 6): Mile 972.7 – 951.1

Oct. 6 (21.6 miles hiked) - "Benson and Beyond": I took my time getting going this morning to enjoy Benson Lake. Once hiking, I found Smedberg Lake, Benson Pass, Miller Lake, plenty of magnificent meadows, and unlimited Yosemite mountain views. My tenting spot was quite spectacular as well...