I am a LASHER now.

LASHER: (noun). [L(ong) A(ss) S(ection H(iker)]. Someone who hikes long trails in massive, even state-sized, chunks. 400, 600, 1400 miles in one go, but without completing the whole trail in a single season.

I am a LASHER now. Zooming up the I5 parallel to the PCT to be dropped off right where I left off at Burney Falls. After 323 zeros.

In case you haven’t been following along, last summer I set out to thru-hike the PCT. Despite my best efforts to neatly package up my life and put it in storage, during my 85 days on trail last year the following life events happened:

  • I was offered and accepted a dream job in a new town
  • I became and auntie
  • My father left my mother after 37 years of marriage

This was all following multiple job interviews, my sister’s wedding in Canada, and packing up the apartment where I had been living for eight years. All in the five days before starting a thru-hike from the Mexico border. Needless to say, I’m hoping this summer will be a bit calmer on the work/home fronts!

Me in fancy dress at sister’s wedding May 2, 2015 in Canada. And me in desert tent-shirt about to do something crazy just three days later.

New for 2016:

  • My vicarious hiking beard. Stephen will be shaving clean when he reaches Portland tomorrow and then sending me weekly photo updates of ‘my’ hiker beard’s progress
  • Instagram. Now linked to the blog and very hiking focused. Follow @kimdewolff for extra photos
  • Jellybean gaiters. Excitement about these will likely manifest in too many foot selfies.

It’s been a winter of working very hard, cramming in academic accomplishments to make time for hiking. A winter of watching the PCT class of 2015 video, all teary-eyed and dreaming of the trail. And now I am almost there. Looking out the car window, pointing at the mountains to the east. “I’ve already walked there,” I keep saying. Mount Lassen’s bright snow cap now in view, marking the way North.

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