Down and Dirty


Buttercup-looking flowers while hiking with mom 

It has been an eventful few days. It’s now getting to the point where everyone is getting gross together. It’s funny how on the trail, people begin to lose any form of ettiquite. The other day, I was in a group of guys who were talking about chaffing and one hands the other an ointment and the one guy drops his pants, and reaches up his shorts to apply it. We were 10 feet from a bathroom. The other guy and I just slowly looked away.


Steep cliff walking through Anza Borrego

Everyone is not as pretty as when we started. We now carry a layer of grit that doesn’t come off in the first wash. Finally at a hotel, I had to wash my feet in stages. It is almost impossible to get under your toenails clean. I won’t even get started on the smell. Eew. So today is a day of cleanliness and I really don’t want to leave the bed.


Gorgeous desert view

I’m​ taking a zero day. In hiker-speak that means I’m doing zero miles today, or resting as the rest of the world would put it. It has been an eventful past few days and I need a break. I was feeling awesome when my parents came out to meet me over the weekend. They​ surprised me by making tacos and my mom made strawberry pie. And we had picked up a few other hikers who didn’t have a place to stay, so they got tacos and pie too. It made everyone’s day. I’m starting to wonder if people actually like me, or they’re hearing about my setup with my parents and want in on that. Either way, it’s nice to see everyone happy. I keep running in to those hikers as I go.

I was feeling pretty bummed after my parents left. I have so much fun when they’re here. Then topping that with wind, I was not in a good place. The last 2-3 days were marked by insane winds. The kind that just wear you out and slow you down with gusts that throw you off-balance. When you’re carrying 30-35 lbs in your pack, that is not good. That ankle that I keep tripping over is aching after so long in that damn wind. Give me rain. Give me snow. Anything but wind! I have been miserable. It sounds like a hurricane at night trying to rip through your tent. I had even put a rock over a stake I put in the ground. The wind still ripped it out. I didn’t sleep that night.

The trail tends to not make any sense. You can see your destination in the distance, but it makes you walk to the side 8 miles before going in the direction you really need to be going. 16 miles walking in wind yesterday on a part of the trail that doesn’t make sense and I was ready for town. It was a 12 mile hitch into Julian. I’ve never hitched before. So I held up money in one hand and my thumb on the other. I was so tired, when the first few cars sped past, I had to stop and cry. Finally, someone passed and then pulled over up ahead. I ran in the most pathetic limping fashion to get up to them. What an awesome couple. I was thrilled! And they wouldn’t even accept my money. We talked the whole time about travels and college, where their son is going to school. It was wonderful.

I checked into a hotel, had dinner with my hiker friends, spent forever cleaning myself and my clothes, then passed out. After breakfast this morning, I’m glancing out at the beautiful sunny day. Although all I want is to be under the covers and rest my ankle. Tomorrow, I can be motivated.


My favorite shot of the day


8 thoughts on “Down and Dirty

  1. Kristin Lesney-Ruiz (@OurOrdinaryLife)

    You are so incredible, we’re here rooting for you. We were just hiking and camping in Julian. I saw a movie over a year ago about a hiker who hiked the PCT and just fell in love. I love that you’re doing this, one day I’d love to do something like this. Just to be like, I can do this all on my own. Whatever the challenge my be or the bad days that come. Here’s to hoping for some better days ahead, there’s so much wildlife in Julian it’s incredible.


    1. unsettledandwandering Post author

      The trail is amazing but not without challenges. I would be a fool if I thought I was doing this on my own. I would never survive without my parents and the kindness of strangers I’ll probably never meet. It is attainable, but takes preparation. I cry, bitch, and hurt like anyone else. It isn’t easy, but I’m doing it anyway.


  2. Babbett

    Your photograph’s are beautiful sweetheart, and we are enjoying following along with you! Thank you for sharing this amazing adventure with us. Hope your ankle feels better, and we are keeping you in continuous prayer. Have the best adventure of your life! HUGS!



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