Flashback to Kansas: August 4, 2015

The following passages have been taken from a journal entry I had written on scrap paper and in my actual journal from 2015, shortly after we left the Appalachian Trail. The only date I seem to have  recorded was the date in the title August 4, 2015. The entries you’ll read are over the span of three and a half weeks post trail. Some of my thoughts from then are a little on the dark side, but I felt they still should be shared.                   –Snuggles 


We are off trail. It was so sickenly easy once we made the decision. We can hardly look at each other without crying. I can’t believe this. Why was it so easy to leave it? I  hated it so much at times I wished for this but I’m so in love with it too. Why does it hurt so much? Why did it betray us?

Everything is a blur.

Two Days Off Trail:

My grandmother is dead. I watched as the color Gray took her over and then she was gone. We found solace with our friends whom we have been staying with since returning; we felt tucked away from the whirl-wind of family and old friends. Our days are now filled with meaningless possessions as we numbly clean out our mini storage. I feel overwhelmed and disgusting as we rummage through all this junk we held at one time so dear.

Bowie won’t look at us. I thought she would save me somehow, but she only rejects us. My own dog has forgotten me.

I’ll never see my grandmother again.

Three Weeks Off Trail: 

We were ever really there? It seems so far away.

Occasionally I seem to have flashbacks of my tramily and places, things that I saw and things I experienced. Is any of it still out there? Where are my friends at now? I wonder how Darwin feels, but I am afraid to ask. He seems more distraught then I do. Overcome with loss of Mamaw and loss of the trail, he is now dealing with the physical pain of his now infected tooth and left over lethargy from the tick bite that started us on this downward spiral. I wonder where Roub is…

We finally left our hometown heading back out west, leaving my family in a confused state of being. I havent cried, I can’t, I’m empty. Things move to fast off trail. Oh shit, we left the trail…

As we drive further away we seem to feel some small sense of peace return. It is just us again. Bowie was also started to turn back into her old self. She didn’t get one walk while we were gone. I betrayed her…

We are in Kansas now. Five miles from our campsite destination the Black Stallion puttered to a stop and died on I-70. It’s given up on life; some kind of fluid was spurting everywhere like blood from a cut artery. It’s was difficult to watch.  I turned instead and watched the sun melt into the horizon while waiting for the tow truck. I wonder if my friends from the trail are watching it too. I am glad they can’t see me now. I feel hollow again…

This morning I woke with a headache confused about where I was. Oh, the Stallion died, like my life on the trail, like Mamaw. We were taken to a lonely motel last night by the tow truck to some little town we would have never known about before. The same people who own the tow company run the body shop, these are the same people who also own this hotel. Funny. I sit outside our door and watch all the tenants from last night moving on. We moved North every day before, now everyone is moving around us and we stay. I walk around the building and find empty fields on one side and a forgotten neighborhood on the other…

We eat food from a mail-drop Mom sent to us but had returned. I was supposed to eat this on the trail not here…

For four months I had direction. I was always heading North and Katahdin was my goal. Now my direction is West…maybe…and I have no other goals. This motel resembles how I feel: a lost place, outdated, trying to compete in a world far advanced, everything is moving around it.

What am I doing? Where are we going?


(One Of The Only Pictures Taken During Our Stay At The Kansas Motel) 

Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts/Website Posts And Other Doings:

Delayed Discovery of a Fellow AT Hiker’s Website: The Ministry of Happiness Led By Rev. Kane. We met briefly on the trail in 2015, a good man with an interesting perspective! (He also shared Raspberry Cookies with me too!) Check Him Out! 
Girl Overnight Backpacking Trip – Officially on the back burner, literally! In the 100s here in ABQ. We will wait a bit then try to hit the trail again.

Book Review: “The Long Shadowed Forest” by Helen Hoover – In Progress

??? Skirt Testing: In Progress and going good! I’m really liking it so far and can’t wait to share more! 

Check Out Our Etsy Store TravelandTrail – Full of Fun Travel Finds!

Random Happenings: A Brief Blurb

This week has been filled with random happenings so here is a brief blurb on each:

Hiking: Abigayl and I did a small hike after I left the 9 to 5 this week which sounded like a great idea at first. We were melting only a half mile in…did I mention it was ninety-nine degrees? We called it quits after a mile and half retreating to the shade of a local coffee shop and enjoyed the chill of iced drinks.  Although our hike lacked luster, the conversation and time with my friend was worth way more.

Knowledge: I signed up for a free webinar about blogging featuring Tammy Strobel. Tammy is a full-time blogger, photographer, and minimalist. I stumbled upon one of her books a few months ago You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too and have kept tabs on her ever since. It was good to hear some tips on blogging and  success stories straight from Tammy. I also learned a lot about how other people utilize and develop their blogs. This was a great learning experience provided by an author I really enjoy! Check her out!

New Stuff: I bought a skirt this week that I have looked at buying for the last three or four years. I am totally not joking about this time frame either. My friend Caron had found the skirt online, showed me and I was totally in to it. A lot of women and men use it for hiking and traveling. It can triple has a skirt, pants, or shorts. Why was I so hesitant? Price. It’s an expensive piece of gear that I could never really justify. I hate spending money on myself, all I usually need in life is a library card and occasionally food. Since I am minimizing my clothing to functional and trail worthy clothing only, I felt it now may be the time to purchase. After years of looking at pictures and reading all the fantastic reviews I finally got one. I will not release the name of it until I feel I can give a full and honest review on it. Stay Tuned!

Trail Stuff: Darwin and I have been following a couple since they started their hike of the AT this March. Chica and Sunsets actually followed Darwin on his YouTube Channel prior to the start of their own hike. It’s been really cool to switch places with them; now we are watching their videos as they head North. This week we got to share in their hike via mail drop. Darwin and I relived trail life while shopping for foods and it was a total blast! We jammed as much junk food as possible in a box, included a note, and covered the whole box in random stickers laughing the whole time. We are very excited to be a part of their journey by providing a little bit of trail magic for these awesome hikers! Check them out!

Knotts a hiker Darwin met on the CDT, is also currently on the AT attempting to break the fastest unsupported thru-hike record. He just posted a live video earlier this week stating he was passing thru Harper’s Ferry. Please show this bad-ass some love and follow him as he continues to bust out 40 to 50 mile days! Crazy cool!


(Random Old Drawing For A Random Blurbs Post)

Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts/Website Posts And Other Doings:
Girl Overnight Backpacking Trip – Rescheduling Due To Extreme Heat In ABQ This Week (low hundreds this week) I Am Super Bummed…..

Book Review: “The Long Shadowed Forest” by Helen Hoover – In Progress

??? Skirt Testing: In Progress

Check Out Our Etsy Store TravelandTrail –  Full of Fun Travel Finds!




Taking A Look At The Trees & Me

I have recently finished reading Go Set A Watchman the highly anticipated yet highly controversial novel released by Harper Lee shortly before her death. It is controversial in regards to the question of if it should be considered a sequel to the much loved To Kill A Mockingbird or simply seen as an incomplete first draft and for the question if Lee actually wanted to release it. Regardless of controversies, I took a lot from the book. One particular quote that really stuck with me was spoken by a main character Uncle Jack to an older Jean Louise (Scout). “Remember this also: it’s always easy to look back and see what we were, yesterday, ten years ago. It is hard to see what we are. If you can master that trick, you’ll get along.”

If I haven’t mentioned before I am a super nerd and every time I finish a book I usually ponder it for quite a while afterwards. Although this one was not related to the wilderness or adventuring, I had that quote from Uncle Jack stuck in my head all day during a recent hike in the Jemez Mountains. Those words floated around in my brain as I breathed in the warm pine smell from the surrounding trees and listened to the red clay earth crunch beneath my boots.

Darwin and I hiked quietly allowing the wilderness and its beauty to do its work on us. We occasionally chatted about upcoming media but mostly we seemed to be reflecting more on “yesterday and ten years ago,” hikes and adventures. As we allowed our minds to continue to wonder soothed by the natural slow pace of the world around us, it seemed easy to reflect on the past just as Uncle Jack states. I tried to think more on who I was presently which I found hard to do. I tried to focus back on who I was and where I was at in life the last time I hiked here just last fall and who I felt I was now. I felt changed and more experienced in life but couldn’t really pin point how or why. The trees and trail were the same as before but the hiker was changed somehow.

During the hussel and bussel of our day to day life it’s easy to loose ourselves and go with the flow of whatever current we are stuck in. We never really seem to take the time to question things for ourselves until we find we are stuck in a rut, not really knowing how we got there or how to get out. Uncle Jack’s words ring true, if we don’t stop and consider who we are we may never find out. We are a people living in a world that is changing daily. It’s hard to check in with ourselves when surrounded by constant change when we are simply trying to keep up. In the woods there are changes however they are very slight and slow. Changes only noticed after several weeks even months of time passed. Being in this environment makes it easy to focus on “me” and reevaluate my present self; what I am. I agree with Uncle Jack that although this is hard to do, when done it allows me to “get along” and not become lost in the shuffle. I am grounded and know what and who I am.

You can find Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee at your local library or you can find it on Amazon here. If you have not read To Kill A Mockingbird don’t worry, you can still read this novel as an entity of its own. You however can find To Kill A Mockingbird here on Amazon. I recommend both and would love to hear your thoughts on them!


(Me Pondering At One Of The Jemez Natural Hot Springs)

Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts/Website Posts:

  • Updates on My TP ChallengeSlow Progress – Not quite down to goal of three squares for a poop and one for a pee however I have been making a huge effort to use a smaller amount. We already go longer with a 12-pack of TP instead of lasting maybe a week. Embarrassing, I know. 
  • Girl Overnight Backpacking TripDate Currently Being Finalized 
  • Book Review: “The Long Shadowed Forest” by Helen HooverIn Progress

CDT Section Hike: Lordsburg, NM to Doc Campbell’s Trading Post

Hiked By: Darwin

Day 1 – 15.2 miles

Camped out in the van with Snuggles and Bowie in Lordsburg, NM. We discovered a free RV and Van Friendly Parking Lot right outside a restaurant. In the morning we simply walked across the parking for breakfast at Kranberry’s Family Restaurant. The CDT actually runs down the sidewalk in part of Lordsburg so Snuggles drove me a couple of miles outside the city where the trail hits open desert. I left Bowie and Snuggles on the road and began my hike by crawling under a barbwire fence.

Most of the terrain after leaving Lordsburg is open desert with minimal coverage. The trail itself was never really apparent and using the GPS was a must. I pushed a little further out from Lordsburg then planned due to a bad water source at mile ten and twelve. At exactly 15.2 miles I found a section of tree coverage along with a solar-powered windmill with water spigot. Later on in the evening I met two other hikers who made camp in the same area.

Day 2 – 17 miles – Today was a hard with lot more climbing in open desert. I had to wear pants due to my extreme sunburn from yesterday’s miles. Wear Sunscreen! Found an old mind shaft along the trail, which was really interesting. The trail popped up out into a clearing where I discovered amazing trail magic with beer! Right after my trail magic stop (about 11 miles in) the trail went straight up, climbing significantly in elevation (possibly 1,500 to 2,00 feet).

I stopped 2 miles shy of my original goal, which was mud spring. I didn’t feel like pushing further after a day full of non-stop climbs so I camped on top of Jack’s Peak. I camped next to concrete foundation of an old building with the chimney still standing. The chimney was excellent to use for making my fire for a hot Ramen dinner. Yum! I located a water cistern to filter from tonight not to far from camp.

Day 3 – 23 miles – Started the day in a High Altitude Pine Forest before descending back down to the desert floor. Passed by multiple streams of fresh water that were the first I have seen on trail so far. I was able to keep well hydrated today thanks to these natural sources. I didn’t see a single person all day, which is a lot different then being on the AT. I hiked in a very sandy canyon towards the end of the day and finally stopped at 23 miles. I camped in a beautiful canyon beside a small stream and waterfall. I was a little worried about wildlife visits in the night and the possibility of flash flood but I took the risk.

Day 4 – 19 miles – Started off the day hiking down a loose sand and or soil canyon road. I had 5 miles of sand, tall canyon walls and tons of cows. I arrived at NM180 for a 13-mile highway hike into Silver City. Hiked about half of this section and decided I had enough of the heat so I thumbed it. The CDT has a lot of open road hiking which is tough to do in the direct sun and heat. Got a hitch into Silver City, NM and immediately found a beer and sandwich at a local brewery. Found a $40 room at an old funky hotel called “The Palace” and met a bunch of Hiker Trash: Fat Albert, Knotts, Nobody and Toasted Toad. I had a killer time with these hikers and shared good food, drink and good conversation with them.

Day 5- 19 miles- Leaving the hotel I found that Fat Albert was getting off trail due to misplacing his tent poles and Nobody had decided to stay behind as well. Toasted Toad and I were the only ones who actually hiked out-of-town. The day started with a harsh and already hot 7-mile road walk. After figuring up miles, I discovered I would be getting to Doc Campbell’s a day ahead of schedule and because of this, I have decided to slow down and hike with Toasted. This will force me to slow down and really enjoy everything on the trail (well besides the road walking).

Throughout the day the trail changed numerous times. Going from Pine Forest to desert, ridge walking, to “Arizonaish” monolithic rock gardens and dirt road to single track. We had tons of stream crossings, came across an old mining ruin and an old log cabin. GutHook gave me a few issues today at times not being about to give me the exact mileage and my location. This caused us to hike further then planned.

At the end of the day we were taking a breather at a spring and out popped a man named Doug. Doug we found out is a hermit that has been living in the Gila Wilderness in solitude for 18 years. He only goes into town once a year for food and other supplies, living totally off grid. He loves conversation with hikers when he meets them and offered to give us a tour of his hermitage and a place to pitch our tents. The three of us stayed up way past hiker’s midnight talking about anything and everything. I’m really starting to fall in love with the CDT…

Day 6 – 10 miles? – Our new friend Doug the Hermit (aka: Doug the Awesome) made Toad and I coffee and homemade wood stove bread. After breakfast he showed us his amazing Indian Artifact Collection. Doug also taught us how to make Agave Needle and Thread. He hiked with us a while, then we said our goodbyes. What an amazing experience!

We were surrounded by beautiful trail “most” of the day after leaving Doug’s. Today was full of big Pine Forests and huge mountain ascents and descents. I hiked alone most of the day leaving Toad always a few miles behind. When I reached the Gila River I waited for Toad in order start our many river crossings together. We have around 52 river crossings before coming to Doc Campbell’s. We crossed about 5 times today just to get a bit down the river before finding a flat camp spot in a field. We made a fire and talked until hiker midnight. The last couple of days I’ve felt more alive than I have for quite some time.

Day 7 – 10 miles – Woke up Freezing! Camping next to a river in a canyon equals a cold night. We put on cold/wet socks and shoes from yesterday and started more river crossings. Super cold and waist high rushing water will totally wake you up first thing in the morning! I hiked with Toad for a couple of miles while bushwhacking through brush and fallen trees. We continued crossing the river about every half-mile. We found out that Doc’s closed at 4pm and I was currently out of food. I parted ways with Toad and boogied to make sure I could grab a few things at Doc’s before closing time. I finally reached Doc’s at 2:50pm wet and exhausted. I ate a few crappy frozen burritos, bought something for dinner and snatched Toad’s resupply box for him. After eating I walked down to Wildwood Retreat a hot spring resort of sorts, to wait for Toad. When he arrived we talked our way into a killer price on a cabin for the night, scored a free beer and a homemade pizza. We finished the night around the campfire sharing stories with a family staying at Wildwood as well. An amazing way to end an amazing journey.


(Lots of Amazing Views On The CDT)


Hiker Trash (“Knotts” and “Nobody”) Getting Down on Town Food

***The Hiker In Green is “Knotts” and Is Currently Attempting An UnSupported Speed Hike of the AT- check him out! KNOTTS***


(Homemade Trail Marker)