Even More Hikers I Have Known…

I first met Cruise, when I rescued a group of hikers who bailed out of the Sierra at Saddleback Trailhead, just outside of Bishop, CA. Due to extreme conditions in the Sierra, a large group of hikers decided to take the thirteen-mile trail out to safety. The Pacific Crest Trail is his first thru-hike and he explained to me that he got his name for his consistent hiking pace. He can hike long days but his pace seems to always stay the same regardless of the terrain. Wanting to give time for the snow to melt, Cruise was game for some off trail time and attended a recent mini road-trip to Yosemite National Park and Big Sur along with me, Darwin, Bowie and another hiker. He shared with me many stories of his travels abroad and has to be one of the most laid back and considerate hikers I have met.

I heard about Tang before I actually met her; she is Foxtrot’s cousin (another hiker previously mentioned in my blog) and hiking the PCT solo. I officially met her at Kennedy Meadows briefly while taking her and few other hikers back to the trail. I saw her again at the dreaded Saddleback Trailhead with the “Bail Out Crew”. Tang spent some time in Bishop, CA and I was able to get to know her a little more. Taking on her first thru-hike, she is one incredibly tough cookie. Any of the guys who had hiked with her had nothing but amazing things to say, as she would out hike several of them. I was shown pictures of her crawling over a snowfield and postholed up to her waist in snow. I could only think of how much of a wiener I was; I would have given up and cried myself into a frozen human popsicle. I enjoyed her laugh and firecracker personality.

Tang was taking some time off the trail to allow the Sierra snow to melt only to find out some foot swelling was actually a fractured foot. She had been hiking for almost a week or more with a fractured foot! Just more proof of what a badass she is. A lady who has no issues rolling with the boys, Tang is a great inspiration for all solo female hikers.

I had the pleasure of being introduced to Vicious during my time at Kennedy Meadows. Dawned in a purple hiking shirt, purple hat, and short shorts, I watched him hike into late morning horizon when I took him and a few other hikers back to the trail. Our next meeting was at the dreaded Saddleback Trailhead. Vicious is anything but, which makes his name somehow fitting.

We swapped stories of our past “hospitality” woes and giggled about random encounters we have had working at hotel front desks. A comic relief in any situation, Vicious was the second hiker that attended our mini road-trip and provided fits of laughter often. He is sadly not returning to the PCT to seek out another form of something. I only hope he finds what he is looking for. In the short time I was able to spend with him, I have laughed more than I have in a long while.

Austin and Makayla had previously been hiking with Bean-Dip and Moonshine and I first met them in Kennedy Meadows. I saw them again in Lone Pine, CA as Austin was one of the many hikers who entertained me with the packing of his and Makayla’s bear canisters. A younger married couple having met while in the service, they have together taken on the PCT. I enjoyed listening to their trail stories; Austin the early riser and Makayla the exact opposite causes for some interesting trail routines. Their thoughts on hiking seem to differ but hiking the PCT together does not.

After leaving them in Lone Pine, CA I saw them a week later along with Bean-Dip and Moonshine on a return trip with some of the bailout crew. The four had also turned around and hiked out due to the weather via another trail. I listened to their plans to flip-up several hundred miles and my heart hurt. It will be awhile before I seem again and part of me wished I were hiking the PCT with them.


(Bean-Dip & Moonshine; Hiker Camp; Darwin, Vicious and Cruise at Saddleback)

Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts & Other Stuffs:

It is happening! I’m almost at the finish line to one of my life goals…writing a book! More details will be coming soon!

Cool Thingys That I Also Do:

Our Etsy Store: TravelandTrail

Instagram: The_snuggle_diaries

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

A List Of Week Events…

A Few More Hikers I Have Known

A Few Hikers I Have Known


A List Of Week Events…

1.) The sliding door on the Clydesdale got jammed and I couldn’t close it. I had to deflate the tire to free the door (it was jammed on the tire). I then had to wait for Good Sam Roadside Assistance to come rescue me and air up my flat. Oh! I guess I forgot to mention I was in the middle of the woods when this all went down!

2.) Dropped off a hiker at the Hollywood Burbank Airport without getting lost. I have been known to get turned around in airports. Two many directional signs to read all at once…

3.) I lost my mind trying to locate a pair of waterproof socks for Darwin. The things you will do when your beloved suspects he has trench foot.

4.) I felt actual rain on my face and listened to a storm pass over. I haven’t seen rain in over a month.

5.) Went to a super cool western movie museum in Lone Pine, CA and learned tons of movie trivia.

6.) Totally geeked out at an exhibit on one of my favorite movies (Tremors) and may or may not have creeped out an entire family in the process.

7.) Took in some amazing views in and around the Sierras.

8.) Got attacked by a few Fire Ants! The more I tried to get my sandal off, the more pissed off they got!

9.) Watched more hikers try to stuff four to five days of food in their bear canisters. All the while I tried guessing Mountain House flavors after they repackaged them.

10.) Enjoyed some free entertainment as Bowie did her best to pounce on a lizard who was just out of reach of her tether. The lizard totally was playing into this and teased her for about fifteen minutes. Van dweller comedy television!

11.) Fell asleep to the sounds of a stream, crickets, and the coos of a Dove.

12.) Took a record TWO showers in one week!


Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts & Other Stuffs:

It is happening! I’m almost at the finish line to one of my life goals…writing a book! More details will be coming soon!

If you’re traveling you should check out the Good Sam Club and their Road Side Assistance Service. Obviously, I have found it helpful!!!

Cool Thingys That I Also Do:

Our Etsy Store: TravelandTrail

Instagram: The_snuggle_diaries – Super Fan Girl Pictures At Tremors Exhibit Posted

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

Getting Grumpy at Kennedy Meadows

Determined To Get To Lake Isabella

Van Life: This Is My Day


The Long Walk – Review

The Long Walk by Stephen King is yet another book I was told about a few years ago but only now have taken the opportunity to read. I was told about this particular book by a hiker while out on the Appalachian Trail. I had forgotten about it until my sister mentioned it to me; it reminded her of me. Now having read it, it isn’t too hard to see the connection it would have with any hiker.

First off, I should start out saying that in my experience, it seems like Stephen King is one of those authors that you either love or you hate. I tend to be on the “love” side of the spectrum however if you’re on the “hate” side, I think you should still give this one a try. The Long Walk is not phone book size, like some of his others, but a more average novel size (about 400 pages). It should also be mentioned it was not originally published under Stephen King’s name but instead his pseudonym “Richard Bachman”. Which means technically it isn’t a King novel, right? Regardless, for all the haters, you should at least give it a shot.

Since King is such a popular and well-known author let me focus a little on the story. The Long Walk was first published in 1979 but written in a way that allows it to be ageless. It is set in a future anti-utopia America where for whatever reason and without question, a yearly event called “The Walk” takes place. One-hundred boys under the age of eighteen willingly sign up to take on this challenge of walking south down the east coast. They can wear whatever they want, carry whatever they want, but cannot accept any outside support other than the food and water the guards that follow them provide. Yes, I said guards (don’t forget this is a Stephen King novel).

Once the walk starts, they (the walkers) must all continually walk without going under a pace four miles an hour or they will receive a warning. After three warnings they are shot; as in shot dead. The walk is complete when only one walker remains. The winner then will receive whatever they want for the rest of their life. Needless to say, there is a lot of walking going on in this book and because of this, there are several similarities between the story and long-distance hiking.

King writes this novel from the perspective of one of the participants Ray Garraty, whom like any long-distance hiker takes on this challenge willingly. He does as much research that he can on the walk and reads his rule book lining up to start walking nervous, anxious and hoping for the best like the other ninety-nine boys also participating. If you have ever taken on a long-distance hike or dropped a hiker off to start a thru-hike, this is all very common. Families drop off loved ones and eventually leave them behind ready or not, another similar experience for the new long-distance hiker basically described by Garraty at the start of the walk.

King then allows the reader to start walking along with Garraty and at first things come easily; conversation with the other walkers, the walking itself, etc. but the walk continues into the heat of the day, and the cold of the night, all of which start taking a toll on the walkers. They must learn to deal with their basic human functions without stopping long enough to accrue too many warnings. After the first few boys are given three warnings and shot, the reality and seriousness of the challenge they have taken on start to be realized by the walkers; another reality check a hiker may have after their first night on trail.

Several hours into the walk cramps develop, vomiting occurs, fevers rise, diarrhea happens, exhaustion sets in, paranoia develops, delirium takes over etc. etc. Garraty starts to recognize these ailments in his fellow walkers and helplessly watches as many of his friends collapse. He begins to fear his own body, knowing that at any time he himself could collect his third warning when his body starts breaking down uncontrollably.

It seems that each walker presented, represents a very real issue that could potentially affect a hiker both physically and mentally. Garraty’s own fears are a big part of any hiker’s reality. If their physical body doesn’t fail the walkers, some start to turn in on themselves mentally, finding comfort within themselves and slipping farther away from the pain and exhaustion of the walk.

The feeling of confidence one may have at the beginning of any venture and then the harsh actualities of that same venture are what King takes and magnifies in this book. The origin story of the walk itself is never discussed but it doesn’t matter. King makes it clear that for his characters, it is only the walk that exists and nothing else. The walk seems to take on a life of its own as many dirt trails do for the hiker.

Obliviously this book is not about a long distance hike or any hike for that matter, but you will not be able to deny the constant similarities. I understand now why a hiker would listen to or read this while on a trail; it would be incredibly motivating and relatable. I understand why my sister was reminded of me when reading it. I had many conversations with her while out on my own long walk; about my random body functions, mind wanderings, the inability to eat, and exhaustion all of which are presented in this book.

Again, no matter if you’re a Stephen King fan or not, The Long Walk is worth a try especially if you are planning a long distance hike or if you have done one already. You will be motivated, repulsed, and may be reminded of the darker parts of long-distance hiking. After reading this book, I have often wondered if King has ever attempted a long distance hike of his own. Perhaps he has spent some time with hikers becoming inspired by them and the Appalachian Trail that’s northern terminus is in the same state of his residence in Maine. The Long Walk although fiction shockingly points out some of the ugly realities of long-distance hiking.

If you would like to read The Long Walk yourself, you can find it via Amazon with this link or check it out at your local library!


(Picture From The Long Walk First Edition Cover)

Other Book Reviews I Have Done:

Wild Animals I Have Known – Review

Painted Blazes: Hiking the Appalachian Trail with Loner – Review


Keep An Eye Out For More Book Reviews On Mondays When I Have One To Share! 



(DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links! This means that if you click on one of the product links and buy something, I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps supports Darwin’s YouTube Channel and allows us to continue to make content via the Snuggle Diaries! Thank you for the support!)


Getting Grumpy at Kennedy Meadows

This past week Bowie and I made our way up to Kennedy Meadows. For those of you aren’t already aware, this is a huge milestone for PCT hikers. Most hikers consider Kennedy the finish line for the desert-portion of the hike and the starting line for the Sierras. This also is where a lot of hikers pick up the extra weight of the dreaded bear canister. Luckily for a few hikers (Darwin, Bean-Dip, and Moonshine), their bear canisters have been keeping me company along with some goodies for other hikers.

Darwin and I had visited Kennedy Meadows previously during the off-season so I was excited to see the hiker activity this time around. This time around, a majority of my time was spent at Grumpy Bear’s Retreat. What had previously looked like a long forgotten building in the off-season, was now brimming with hikers. Various colored tents were scattered around the in the front of the building and hikers were milling about everywhere. I was delighted as was Bowie at the sight of such hiker trash.

After locating one particular piece of bearded trash, we took off towards the infamous Kennedy Meadows General Store with a load of hikers in tow. In true hiker shuttle style, we dropped off a few hikers at the store only to gain more needing a hitch to the trail. Not even thirty minutes into my arrival at Kennedy and I was already shuttling; a price of owning a van and living alongside a long distance trail I was am very glad to pay.

Making another stop at the general store, we were swarmed with hikers needing a ride to Grumpy’s. An extremely hiker friendly place that provides showers and laundry, bar style food, friendly staff and free camping, Grumpy’s seems to have quickly become a hiker go-to in this remote area. Once at Grumpy’s food was ingested and beer was drunk all the while enjoying the DJ outside around a fire-pit. Bowie received an overwhelming amount of loving and I enjoyed an overwhelming amount of hiker conversation. I felt welcomed and very much at home among such dirty individuals.

The next morning the trail was calling, and I took two rounds of hikers back to the trail including Darwin. This was of course only after a pancake breakfast at Grumpy’s, two cups of coffee and listening as lots of hikers tried to motivate themselves and each other to move on. With all the hiker love at Grumpy’s, I can see the potential to wanna stay just a little longer….

A couple more shuttles into the morning, Bowie and I returned to Grumpy’s. To be honest from there, I’m not sure exactly what happened to the day. It was full of hiker talk, food, and the entertainment of observing my friends trying to stuff their bear canisters full of food. Before I knew it, the Sun had once again set on this hiker paradise.

In the morning the sun will rise, hikers will hike out and new ones will arrive allowing this cycle to repeat for the rest of the season.

(You Can’t Miss Grumpy’s; Hikers Heading Out; The Front of Grumpy’s Property)


Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts & Other Stuffs:

Learn more about Grumpy Bear’s restaurant and retreat here!

Cool Thingys That I Also Do:

Darwin & I Have An Etsy Store: TravelandTrail

My Instagram: The_snuggle_diaries 

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

Determined To Get To Lake Isabella

And So It Begins…

A Blooming Desert

Determined To Get To Lake Isabella

For some reason, I felt very determined to make it to Lake Isabella, CA. Helping out Darwin in Wrightwood, CA due to his injury, delayed me from my destination, but nevertheless, Bowie and I made it. I didn’t do a lot of research on the area before leaving so I didn’t know much about it. I’m not sure why I felt the strong need to get there in the first place, but I was not disappointed.

The drive in was on a curvy two-lane road enclosed by mountains. The valley, which the road navigated, past by farms and wide-open fields. Bowie was extremely interested in the cows and horses we drove past especially as the van filled with their smell. She hung her head out the window, ears chaotically flapping in the wind. The mountains we passed, were green and spotted with yellow blooms of new spring growth. It was hard not to lose myself in their beauty as I drove.

Still traveling the two-lane road, I rounded a curve to be greeted with the Lake Isabella herself; a large body of glittering blue water. This was a very different look from the dry desert towns I had been driving through on the way. We followed alongside the lake for a few miles taking in the sights as we went. I had previously found a BLM (Bureau of Land Management) area and I really didn’t know where we were going until the GPS proudly announced we had arrived at our destination. We crossed a cattle guard notifying us we were in the “people’s land” and we drove down a fairly paved road into a new world. The BLM area in Lake Isabella went beyond my expectations. We parked at the first pull off we came to and tumbled out of the van into a world of grasses and trees.

As we stretched our legs, we could faintly hear the rush of the Kern River. Bowie and I were drawn in and excitedly, hopped on the first trail that looked to head towards the river. A mile later we found ourselves warmed by the sun and mesmerized by the river’s rapids and the lap of the water at our feet. We took in our view and the sounds it offered for sometime before heading back to the Clydesdale (our van).

Another day during our time at Lake Isabella, we explored the rock formations surrounding the BLM area. I couldn’t help but fall into a world of fantasy as we hiked around the formations that towered over us. I felt like I was walking in the world of Outlander; awaiting the Mackenzie Clan to bound over the mountain. I felt a connection to these formations; I wondered who had touched their rough, warm faces last. Who winded their way among them before us? I wanted to feel their history and hear their stories. I felt as if they each had something to say, I just didn’t understand their language.

A place undoubtedly marked by history, Bowie and I unknowingly came upon a fenced off cabin known as the Walker Cabin. Thanks to an informational posting, we found out the cabin was built back in the 1800’s and was one of the oldest buildings standing in the Keysville area. It was also the sight of a famous shootout back in the 1920’s. Only after leaving did I become aware that Lake Isabella was also marked by petroglyphs left by the Tubatulabal and Kawaiisu tribes; possibly the same people who had walked the rock formations before us.

We spent our time here exploring and taking in the wild beauty and charm of the area. Both as dog and as human, we seemed to both feel very aware of the life around us. Creatures hiding and occasionally revealing themselves to us; ground squirrels, lizards, and the occasional rabbit, murders of crows flying overhead; we were surrounded by our wild brothers and sisters. We observed them as much as they would allow during the day listened to their conversations long into the night.


(Rock Formations And Their Silent History) 


(A View Of The Kern River) 

Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts & Other Stuffs:

Want to learn more about BLM areas? Click here!

Be sure to check out the other links in this post!

Cool Thingys That I Also Do:

Darwin & I Have An Etsy Store: TravelandTrail

My Instagram: The_snuggle_diaries My picture of Walker Cabin can be found here!

Recent Posts You May Enjoy:

Van Life: This Is My Day

Wild Animals I Have Known – Review

A Few More Hikers I Have Known

Van Life: This Is My Day

I wake to my alarm around 5:30 am and for whatever reason never seem to get up until around 6:00 am. I linger in bed and try to pull in as much warmth as possible. It’s still chilly in the mornings. I snuggle with Bowie. She makes dinosaur noises in the morning and sneezes. That’s’ how I know she’s really ready to get up too.

Bowie jumps outta first, every morning expectant of her bowl of food as soon as she hits the floor. I bumble around for a few minutes as much as I can in the small space a van provides. When I finally manage to get my sandals on and along with my jacket, I open the side door and I’m greeted with a rush of fresh air and a scene of trees and grass, or a dry desert landscape, or a pit toilet. This scene, whatever it is, always changes a luxury of van dwelling.

Bowie and I then walk around and stretch seeing what we can see in the early morning light. Mountains are often in the distance and I wonder what their names are. Depending on where we have parked, I rig Bowie up on her tether and finally provide the food she has been so longing for since she first woke. I start the process of coffee trying to remember not to make too much, it’s only just me who drinks it now. Before my water is even boiling, Bowie is ready for more food or water. I disappoint her every morning with only water.

Bowie now fed and my coffee now ready, I eat something with some substance. My fuel to start the day. I never really care what it is, usually a protein bar of sorts. I sit at the side door and stare off. Wondering about birds, trees, my existence, where I’m going to take a poop at, where we are going to hike at, my plans for the day, etc. I often write in my journal about something or nothing. I allow my thoughts wonder where they like.

I clean up our breakfast mess while a squirrel or rabbit teases Bowie; they experience the ultimate freedom and test the limits of her tether. I make up our bed and put everything back in its rightful place. This is important to do while living in a van. You can’t have everything cluttering up the place, you won’t be able to move. After the basic hygienic chores, brushing of teeth, hair, etc. I decided what to do next depending on the day.

If we have no real schedule, we hike. I feel better when I do something active in the first part of my day and I feel Bowie does too. We lock up and strap on our packs and venture off. Sometimes, we may have to drive a bit before we can saunter around, but saunter we do. The sun by this time is casting golden light on everything; the world around us is waking and alive. We are silent as we hike beside the random things I say out-loud to Bowie, which she always ignores.

During the week and often even the weekends, its work time after our morning activity. Work-time is done in the van, a coffee shop, a library, wherever WIFI is accessible. I hate to admit but as much freedom as we seem to have I am more “connected” than ever before. It is at this time I send and receive, upload and download, listen and watch, read and learn, record ideas, communicate in some way with someone. Every day varies with the length of work-time. I could work for eight hours or two hours depending on the day and the job to be done. Every aspect of my life is somehow related to work now. A part of transparency that I didn’t realize I had accepted.

After work-time, I may focus on my own needs. When is the last time I showered? Where can I get a shower? Are my clothes dirty enough to consider dirty? Where can I clean them? Do I need food? Do I need water? Do I need a nap? What do I want to listen too? Sometimes this after work-time is filled with hikers and hitches. This is what Bowie and I enjoy doing. She gets extra love and I get to engage with those in the midst of an epic journey.

As the day lingers on I decide where we should park. Typically I have run this over in my mind throughout the day. It’s important not to wait too long to make a decision. Once decided and the day slows down and starts to darken, we settle in. Bowie back on her tether now expecting her dinner.

After our dinner clean-up, I may write, read or listen to a podcast. The chill in the air returns and the moon has fully risen. I prepare the van for sleep, window coverings and curtains, maybe our heater if needed. We settle in for the night. Warm and secure, we listen to the wind or the nightlife outside. I talk to Bowie and she falls asleep. I make notes of things to do for the next day and read or maybe listen to another Podcast. My day thus comes to an end.



(Van Life) 

Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts & Other Stuffs:

Appalachian Trail Tails has an interesting post up on the cost of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. This is a great resource for couples who are planning on thru-hiking. Check the it out here!

Cool Thingys That I Also Do:

Our Etsy Store: TravelandTrail

Instagram: The_snuggle_diaries 

Older Posts You May Dig:

Papaw’s Path

My Little Headlamp