Care Package Update

Travis and I have to send a big thanks out to the people at SHRD who sent us a care package at Independence. They put so much thought and care into the items in the package our hearts were overflowing when we opened the box. It raised our spirits so much we can’t thank them enough.

We would love to hear from more of our friends and supporters. The next best place to send care packages is to Travis ‘ s aunt and uncle in Reno who will be picking us up from south lake Tahoe in about 12-14 days. It sounds like they will be picking us up a couple of times as we hike past the Reno area so we will be able to receive packages there until about July 15th.

Letters, pictures, words of encouragement, hotel gift cards and cookies made by the Alternative Baking Co are highly wanted, but we will be thrilled to receive anything you want to send! We are missing our peeps and would LOVE to hear from all of you.

Here is how to address the packages.

Lauren DeLand or Travis Nichols
C/O Tom & Virginia Nichols
3783 Vancouver Drive
Reno, NV 89511

Until next time,

~ Linda

Mile 900+

This update is a bit late and not a lot added from me this go around.  We have been gone (as a family for 14 days just getting home late last night). I will do some future posts while LauTrav are on their next stint of not being in touch! LauTrav had been out of touch since the last post  as planned due to hiking into the through the Southern Sierras.  They attempted to contact my on June 23 and we played phone tag due to me being at the CTMH Convention (training and fun all day long). Due to just getting home, I wanted to get this post up as it’s a few days late as is.  More to come as I break down their hike when they head out again.  This post covers June 15-June 23, 2016:

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Here’s Lauren’s update:

“Travis and I had an amazing 8 day section through the southern Sierras. We got to pass mile markers 800 and 900. We had no idea when we started this section how many water crossings, snow crossings and rock scrambles we would be doing everyday. Although the desert presented many mental challenges, the Sierra’s have been the most difficult physically. In the desert we had gotten used to doing 20-plus miles per day so it was a bit of a shock when we hit the Sierras and we’re working just as hard or harder and only gaining 15 to 20 miles a day. Many nights have been spent camped at 10000 feet with cold frosty mornings and thousands of feet gained and lost throughout our hiking day. The trail has been difficult with many rock steps, mud, water, snow and loose boulders. We constantly have to be watching our feet and adjusting for uneven ground. Opportunities to slip, fall, or twist an ankle are abundant and we rarely just get the chance to mindlessly walk. We have had to summit a pass almost everyday with elevations ranging from 11,000 to 14,000 ft. Despite the many challenges and difficult terrain these vast expanses and breathtaking sights have made every step worth it.

We have just treated ourselves to a couple of zeros in the town of Mammoth Lakes and will soon be headed back out to complete another 8 day section taking us from Red’s Meadow mile 906 to North Kennedy Meadows at mile 1017. From there we will have a quick resupply and possibly no cell coverage for another 4 days until we reach South Lake Tahoe at mile 1093.”

More to come when I sit down and have time to pull the maps and do the research on the areas they’ve been through.

Until next time,

~ Linda

Mile 789 from Sand to Snow

From Lauren with modifications.

There is so much to say about our last 5 day section of hiking. The Sierras are stunning and formidable.

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We summited Mt Whitney, the tallest point in the lower 48 states (14,504ft).   Here is a great site about hiking Mt Whitney.

We then went over Forester Pass, the highest point on the PCT (13,200ft) and where I took this video.

We had a small weather window before we got hammered in the craziest winter storm I have ever been in.   (Link to video shared on FB:  https://www.facebook.com/lau.land.35/videos/10210404708533484/ )

I had no idea you could be in a lighting storm and get fully snowed on at the same time. The snow came down so fast and heavy I had to get up and shake my tent off 3 times that night because it was actually starting to collapse my tent. By 8am the next morning it was sunny again, just long enough for us to dry out our stuff and keep hiking. However when we got to the next pass the winter storm rolled in again and we once again we were covered in snow.  For those who wanted snow pictures, here you go:

After being wet and cold for 2 days I was so grateful to hit our resupply town and have a real shelter for a couple of nights. There is nothing as special as a hotel room! If anyone is planning on sending us a care package the best thing you could send is gift cards for hotel chains (best western, travellodge, super 8, ect.) or hotels.com. I cannot express how much it means to have a warm, dry bed and a shower when we get off the trail!

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Today we are headed back up to PCT mile 789 (Section H Page 5 ca_section_h_map ) for an 8 day stretch. We will be hiking from Independence to Mammoth Lakes, about 118 miles of trail.

That’s the update for now.   It will be 8 days until we get the next update.

600-700 Miles plus Kennedy Meadows

It’s been a bit since we’ve updated on LauTrav’s movements.  We knew we’d have a week as they left.  They’ve done fantastic, crossing not only the 600 mile mark but the 700 as well.  They are currently at Kennedy Meadows prepping to start out again. Kennedy Meadows is know as the “Gateway to the Sierras”.

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Lauren shared this:

“Oh, so much has happened since we left Tehachapi. After 2 zeros(no miles for the day) and a nearo(close to zero miles, usually less than 10) in Tehachapi we finally made it out. We felt like a queen and king at the Best Western with all the extravagant things such as fresh linens, real beds, running water, ice and a hot tub. Unfortunately we had to leave as we were draining the royal coffers too quickly. Between some rest, ice, and massage we finally got the swelling down from Travis’ ankles and by wrapping the right one we have kept the shin splints at bay. And just because Travis (and I) always have to be at opposites, as he healed I began to fall apart. As we celebrated crossing 600 miles my right foot started getting blisters, shin splints and swelling.

Yesterday we completed 652 miles and arrived at Lake Isabella. Little did we know a few hours later a fire was starting just 30 miles up the trail. We did our usual routine of hitching to town, finding the post office and trying to complete our resupply. When we got to the post office they had lost our 3 day box of food in another town. As they couldn’t get it to us in time we then hitched to the grocery store to buy new food. At the store we met a wonderful man named Pete who offered to wait while we shopped and then drive us the 11 miles out to the KOA. As we walked to Pete’s car 2 hikers approached with news that a fire had started that day and had shut down the trail for next 3 day section. 😕
When Pete dropped us at the camp ground he kindly asked what our plans were for the next day because the smoke made it clear we were not going to be pushing forward. I explained we would most likely have to find a hitch around the 50 miles of trail to get to Kennedy Meadows, a 2 hours drive away. Amazingly enough Pete offered his number and said to call him in the morning if we couldn’t find a ride.

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So this morning after being told the main road had been closed to Kennedy Meadows we called upon our newest trail angel, telling him we would pay for all of his gas and meals if he would drive us 2 hours around the other direction so we could hike another trail which would eventually get us to our destination. Pete not only refused any compensation but then insisted on buying us breakfast and driving us the entire 3 and a half hours into Kennedy Medows by the back way.

So here we sit at mile 702 with 3 extra days worth of food and the Sierra Mountains in front of us.”

Kennedy Meadow is a very small town just over 200 people.  Until PCT season.  Then madness hits from all the PCT hikers!

From Travis:

“Today (Friday) a man named Pete gave Lauren and I a ride to Kennedy Meadows.  The Chimney Mountain Fire closed the PCT the day we arrived on Lake Isabella. Knowing the closure would end the section for the season, and that identifying appropriate alternative trail options would take significant time, we opted to shuttle around the three day section to Kennedy Meadows and continue north. We were incredibly grateful to Pete as he went well out of his way to see us shuttled from the north fork of the Kern from Kernville all the way to K.M. incredible generosity from this trail angel!

Lauren’s (feet or gear) is falling apart. My shin splints/ankles are healing. Daniel and Erika got us a great gear hookup at Isabella yesterday. Marty nailed the resupply at Kennedy Meadows today!!!

K.M. is a zoo! Can’t wait to get into the mountains.”

So LauTrav are doing well.  They’ve been blessed with amazing Trail Angels.  In the past week, they’ve managed to complete California Section F! (ca_section_f_map).

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They are now in California Section G ca_section_g_map.  They are page 1.  There’s a nice, scary warning about hikers becoming ill after leaving Kennedy Meadows where they are currently at.  They are headed into the Sierra’s and you can see from Travis’ note, he can’t wait!!

The bottom left picture shows the upcoming hike.  The map is reversed.  The top of the map is where they are starting at.

While the Sierra’s bring a welcome change of scenery and climate, they have the potential to present some interesting challenges for LauTrav.  They will still be faced with some winter conditions through late June.  Some interesting information can be viewed on this link:  Sierra Comparison which looks at the conditions hikers face between Spring and Summer conditions in the Sierra.
Until next time.
~Linda  =)

Bishop CA

LauTrav have arrived back at Bishop on Monday, Jun 13.  They have had an eventful several days since the last check in.  They lead quite the life right now.

On June 3, the last post, they were at Kennedy Meadows.  From there they took a detour up the trail to deal with their financial affairs in Bishop, CA.  They stayed in the Bates Motel in there (when I googled this I got the very scary Bates Motel – horror flick stuff.  Hoping the Bates Motel they stayed at was way better).

Just for fun, they took a side trip to climb Mount Whitney (14,500 ft.)  Fun. Really!

Today, they will get themselves back on the PCT climbing peak after peak through the High Sierras where everything is above 10,000 feet.    They will be out touch for 5 to 7 days. Makes me a little nervous but oh well.  They are at the end of ca_section_g_map    or the start of  ca_section_h_map .   Mount Whitney is at the beginning of H.

I’ll post more when I get a chance to talk with Honey Dear about the rest of the update.

Marty’s Job

Following the last post about care packages, it seemed appropriate to share how LauTrav are getting their food as well as maps and gear during their hike.  Marty, Travis’ Mom, took on the daunting task of mailing food/gear/maps out to LauTrav at regular intervals.  LauTrav do not have the ability to take all the food or maps they need for 5 months with them.  Impossible to carry it all.  All along the PCT, there are mail drop stops for hikers where they have their food/gear/maps mailed to.  In the beginning, LauTrav were not sure about how much they needed to eat to maintain their energy.  They had a plan as to where they would be when, barring no complications (injuries, illness, weather, gear issues).  Some of these boxes have been trial and error.  Marty sent me the following update last week:

“Shipped today.  36lbs that will last them about 7 days.  Also sent the bear vault and sack and some warmer clothes. They will pick up in Kennedy Meadows on June 2 or3. Then up into the Sierras!
This photo is our dining room wall!  The blue bag on the end is Lauren’s chocolate. It has to be melted to 2 oz portions.  I will be tackling that this weekend. Plan to do it all as it’s such a mess.
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Marty’s dining room wall..most importantly, the chocolate in the blue bag for Lauren.
All this should cover most of their trip….they can order more if needed. We keep thinking its diminishing……but so far its wishful thinking. I finally have a handle on where stuff is and how much to send per meal.😏  Love, M”
One of the things I’ve discovered over the past 5 weeks from my reading and working with LauTrav is that no thru-hiker does these trips without a strong support system in place.  If you recollect the first email LauTrav sent out a list of ways that they needed support.  It definitely takes a team effort to ensure things happen.  There is definitely a learning curve for all of us as we figure this out.  I’m grateful that everyone continues to persevere until we get things right.  Yes, we definitely have a team – Go Team LauTrav!!!
~ Linda =)