Well, it has been a little while since I have updated everyone! I will warn you of the impending novel below these words that you read. Please don’t feel like you have to read everything at once. I have broken things up by date to make it easier to leave off and return.
I met a bicyclist named (Valerie) on 4/1 and she volunteered to help me out for a little while. So on 4/5 she picked me up from Jason and Janelle’s house and we ended up heading to Beal’s Point (on Folsom Lake) to camp for the night. We set up camp and I prepared for a long day of running through Sacramento on 4/6.
Well, THAT didn’t quite go as planned… I got up today and put my phone on charge in the camp restroom about 50 feet away and began packing all of my things up. After periodically checking the restroom to keep honest people honest, I discovered that someone had STOLEN my phone. Really?! Who does that!? I proceeded to walk the entire campground and ask everyone if they had found an iPhone and mistaken it for someone else’s. After having no luck, I managed to get AT&T on the line and found out they wouldn’t help me because I couldn’t verify my mother’s 4-digit social to prove I actually owned the phone… (ironic). Finally, my brain kicked in and I called my great friend Brittani in Georgia and had her track my phone using an app called “Find My Friends.” To be honest it is somewhat of a stalker app, but it has been useful when meeting up with people in random places and for recovering stolen phones…
I tracked the phone to an address in Roseville, California and alerted the Roseville police that they “could either meet me at the house, or they could beat me to the house, because either way, I am getting my phone back.” Needless to say the Roseville PD beat me to the house and handed me my phone when I arrived. They were able to get my charger back as well, but unfortunately my contacts had been erased and my sim card was removed. The phone was otherwise undamaged.
To most people’s surprise, the perpetrator was a 17 year old scene girl who admitted to stealing it in order to try “to replace the broken screen on her phone”… “Wait, wait. You have an iPhone?” I thought in my head. I suppose I would have expected more from criminals who steal devices equipped with GPS capabilities. I digress. Fortunately for everyone following along with my videos you actually get to see her being arrested because I was clever enough to have my GoPro running the whole time. Your welcome.
I spent the rest of the day getting my phone working again and ended up running about 10-12 miles through the middle of Sacramento and ended this ridiculous day with some delicious food from “Tapa the World.” We then proceeded to stealth camp in Discovery Park in the middle of Sacramento.
I ran from Discovery Park to Negro Bar (near Folsom, CA) and completed about 27+ miles along the American River Bikeway. I met back up with Valerie and we ate a delicious meal at McDonald’s. Calories are my friend. After dinner, I ended up finding an Easter egg with gummies in it as I was scouting Negro Bar for a campsite. It was a nice way to end a long, tire-some day.
I walked out of Negro Bar and followed the Pioneer Express Trail along Folsom Lake. I ended up meeting a kind gentleman named Andrew who ended up giving me some fresh fruit and snacks from his home (near the trail). It’s these moments that renew my faith in humanity.
I found a California Alligator Lizard (Elgariamulticarinatamulticarinata) along the trail today and it let me pick it up! Unfortunately I ended up losing some great video footage of this guy because of backup issues with my phone, but it was a cool experience!
I followed along the North Fork of the American River and made my way into Auburn, CA. I walked into town after dark and gravitated toward the light of the 7/11 as if I were some sort of 195-pound moth who exists solely to consume Coca-Cola and Snicker Bars.
I met a man named Rockey at the 7/11 who was simply out getting his girlfriend a 7Up because she was feeling a little ill and, what do you know, this is how friendships begin… I asked him, “Hey man, do you know where the nearest fast food place is?” He replies, “Uh, there are not really any anywhere near here, sorry.” To which I sadly respond… “Dang.”
Whether it was the depression in my response or the curiously tantalizing shorts that drew him in, he offered to take me down to the local pub to try my luck at finding lodging for the night. YES! I sat down at the Auburn Alehouse and had no such luck. Fortunately for me, Rockey came walking down the hill to the pub and told me that I could stay with him! Thank you magical 7/11 genie! You granted my wish. I proceeded to meet Alex and we became great friends over the next few days.
I spent a couple days preparing and investigating the upcoming Sierra Mountains (that I was advised to bypass because of snow). I ended up buying some neoprene socks and some snow cleats. With a discount everything still ran me $68.63, but I I am thankful that I invested in these items because they were extremely handy and necessary down the trail. I want to thank Rockey and Alex for their kindness for hauling me around, buying me food and for hosting me at their home.
I was able to spend all of Friday running on the Western States Trail (and a few others) to complete my longest day so far at 32 miles. I saw a Coral-bellied Ring-necked Snake (Diadophispunctatuspulchellus)
and a Pacific Gopher Snake (Pituophiscatenifercatenifer) while I was running today.
I was dropped off at a small coffee shop in Foresthill and took a little time to prepare and figure out my directions and map situation. It was nice to hear the older gentlemen talking and praying around the table that morning. It has been a while since I have heard other people pray (honestly since I left Georgia).
I saw the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church bell that was created in England in 1859 and that cost miners $3,500.
Hey look, a giant tree…
I read an article at a historical display at Michigan Bluff that recounted a day in 1890. I found it amusing and will share it with you. (Considering the current state of guns and the 2nd Amendment in our political climate, you can see how far we have come). The officer of the peace was informed that (Jeb) was “firing his gun in a careless way” in town. The officer instructed over 5 different deputies to arrest him, but for one reason or another, they all decline (for fear, or otherwise). Finally one deputy apprehended (Jeb) (with the help of another man) and they brought him down to the station. The officer of the peace made note that (Jeb) was “insanely drunk” and proceeded to put him in a cell for the night. The next morning around 10:00 (Jeb) apologized for his behavior and they determined that he had sobered up. Therefore, they allowed him to pay a $10 fine and let him on his way. A day in 1890. How might we recount a day in 2013? What do you think someone in 2136 will think about the way we live today? There’s my nugget of reflection.
I would like to take a brief moment here to explain and express my difficulties in navigating westbound directions on an eastbound hike… It’s CONFUSING at times. (If you were unaware, the American Discovery Trail only provides turn-by-turn directions as if everyone were planning to take the trail westbound. Therefore, the poor individuals who run/hike the opposite direction are forced to endure a more mentally stimulating exercise if they desire to reach the opposing ocean…) Wish me luck! Trip this of end the by backwards blogs my type to tendency a have may I.
I ran into snow for the first time today. I found a nice small cabin near Duncan peak on Forest Road 43 and decided to chance it and stay on the private property. I only saw one set of tracks in the snow and they were not going through the gate (the gate also had a small tree laying across it, so I assumed no one had been in recently). It was a good place to settle down for the night.
It snowed on me last night and I had to break down my tent fairly quickly this morning and take shelter under the (convenient) cabin that I was camping near. I set off into the snow and managed to find where the Western States Trail headed off down the mountain. There was no real way to follow the trail because of 4-8 feet of snow, so I set off (with my cleats) around the side of Little Bald Mountain and used my compass and map to navigate forward. I ended up just following snow melt streams down to the canyon below because I knew that was the general direction I needed to head. I was headed to the French Meadows Reservoir and recognized that I was in the correct watershed. (For all of you Envirothoners who are reading this post, this is a practical application to learning watershed delineation and familiarizing yourself with topo maps!)
(there is no trail here by the way…)
I had to scale down some very jagged rocky areas, walk through some very spiny vegetation (similar to the modified branches of some of our pear trees), and had to ford a few streams before I finally reconnected into snowless trail. This is what you look like when you find trail that you have been looking for. Pure excitement.
I left French Meadows Reservoir (Lewis Campground) and walked up Forest Road 96 past a few other campgrounds. As I crossed into the Granite Chief Wilderness I had to ford another stream. Since my shoes were still dry, I ended up taking them off and crossing barefoot. YIKES! You know the water is cold when you spend 15-20 seconds crossing the stream and your feet are beet red and numb.
I walked through the green Picayune Valley and saw two 400+ pound black bears! (Here they are cinnamon and brown). I felt privileged to see them, but I also felt a little anxious considering I only had a 2 inch blade separating me from 400 pounds of beast. I mean really, what would I have done with all that meat after I had slain a bear that size? … I’ve got jokes.
After my bear sightings, things got even more serious. I started to hit the northern slopes of some of the mountains and had to climb out of the valley. Unfortunately, there was anywhere between 5-10 feet of snow and no trail to be found. I estimated my location and set off on my own trajectory hoping to tie in to a trail on the other side of the mountain.
I can’t express how nerve-racking and challenging it was to make this final ascent. I had 1.5 hours until the sun went down, and what sunlight I had rarely broke through the snow clouds to illuminate my darkening path. I literally scaled the side of a mountain with one of the steepest slopes I have ever encountered so far. I couldn’t walk up the slope at an angle because my cleats couldn’t gain traction. I had to face directly upslope and kick my feet into the snow and ice in order to get my footing. I then had to shuffle to my right and gradually work my way up the slope, all the while digging my trekking poles in for greater stability.
Amidst pouring sweat and ice freezing in my beard, I reached the top and tried to enjoy an incredible view. I have included a photo so you can see what I was looking at.
Despite my desire to remain on that mountain top, I had less than an hour before the sun went down and I discovered that the South slope of the mountain was not green as I had predicted, but was equally snow-clad. For a few moments, I weighed my options for whether I should set up tent on the peak, or whether I should hurry down into the valley. The peak would have given me sunlight earlier and would give me distance from bears, but the valley would protect me from wind. I opted to try my luck down in the valley and hoped that I could make it to the bottom before the darkness came on. I can’t tell you how long it felt like I was debating this issue (while also trying to estimate my location and descend the mountain to hopefully put me in the right vicinity to cross the next river).
I reached the bottom and found Whiskey Creek. I saw a patch of soil under a couple trees and decided to make camp there. (The snow melts much faster under the trees because the sun melts the snow on the trees and the water melts the snow under the trees. It is a strange thing to see 4 feet of snow and then soil next to a tree. I grabbed a stick and started digging in order to make a flatter spot to ensure that I could sleep a little better that night. My make-shift camping pad ended up working out quite nicely considering the slope. To my surprise and relief, I also discovered that my small area of soil also contained remnants of the trail that I had been hoping to locate! I had a different level of peace when I went to sleep than night (knowing I was headed in the right direction).
(you can see the moss covered stick I used to dig this spot)
Thankfully I had set up on the west side of an opening and managed to have warm sunlight thawing me out in the morning. I followed the “trail” upstream and discovered some very rustic old cabins at the junction of the Whiskey Creek Trail. I crossed the stream and found the Pacific Crest Trail. It was another reassuring moment when you find identifying markers that correspond with your maps.
I’d like to give a quick shout-out to my friend Jamie Richards (AKA Victus) who was one of the first Northbounders I met on the Appalachian Trail in 2011. Victus will be hiking the PCT this year and I want to wish him luck and thank him for his encouragements as I push forward on the ADT. God Bless you my friend!
I made my way up the five-lake trail and found human footprints! Hooray! I figured if I followed the footsteps I would either find a body or a road and I expected either to sent chills up my spine. Whew. A road! I walked out and connected into THE 89 (Californians refer to their highways as “The” 89 instead of “I-89”, “Highway 89” or “CA 89.” An interesting quirk that I have found fairly uniform across the state. After arriving in Tahoe City, I devoured a medium meat pizza from Front Street Pizza and chuckled at the fact that they were watching “Survivor Man” on the television.
I was taken home by a kind gentleman named Bill and he and his 3 daughters welcomed me into their home as I told them stories and showed them videos from my trip. Thank you Bill for your kindness and hospitality!
I took a day in Tahoe City to try to organize my ever-growing amount of media and journaling and spent some time at Syd’sBagelry. I went over to the Tahoe Mountain Brewery and ended up having a few beverages bought for me and made a few friends. Jason and Mandy both walked around with me and gave me a place to stay that night.
Earlier in the night, when Jason first came into the bar, he told his bartender friend (Scott), “Hey, do you realize this guy doesn’t have pants on?” I found it humorous later when I asked Jason… “Did you think the guy with no pants would be sleeping on your couch?”… “Hmmm, no. I didn’t expect that. Haha” What fun is there in meeting people in the boring old fashioned way?! Make it memorable! I do want to thank Jason and Mandy’s friend Kelly for supplying me with a larger knife for which to prepare tasty bears should I encounter any more…
Friday 4/19 – Wednesday 4/24
I walked around Lake Tahoe,
crossed over into Nevada and came strolling into Incline Village around dinner time. I had been told to try a place called T’s Rotisserie and that the burritos were large, affordable and delicious. I indulged. As I was leaving, I was stopped by my newest friends Tiffany and Dean from Reno, NV. We chatted over dinner and they decided to help me find a place to stay that night. We followed a lead and went down to the Lone Eagle Grille and didn’t have any luck. After some discussion, they offered to bring me back to their home in Reno.
I took one day off to begin preparing my videos and blog and then set off on a 27 mile run from Lake Tahoe to Virginia City, NV. I ended up tweaking my right knee ever so slightly on an epic 4 mile downhill run (I suppose my quads were just giving out) and it ended up slowing me down a bit. I made my way across the last mountain in the dark (with my headlamp) and descended down to Virginia City where Dean met me around 10:00pm.
I slept in a little the next day, then we rode back over to Virginia City (a very lively ghost town) and I spend a little time walking around. I met a new friend named Stephen who is actually riding a bike across America from San Francisco to New York! It was ironic and great to meet someone on a similar endeavor. We talked for a bit, then I hesitantly headed out for a 24 mile day (leaving after 4:15pm). I only made it about 22 miles when Dean picked me back up around 9:45. I knew it was going to be a late night, but the moonlight was not bad company to run with.
Lastly, I took another day of rest so that I could type this novel of a blog and upload my most recent video. I have broken the blog into sections (by date) so you can leave off and come back when you have more time to read! I am limited with how often I can post for now, so I must cram it all in at one sitting! Thanks for bearing with me and I hope you are enjoying my adventure as much as I am! Tiffany and Dean make a mean breakfast!
Tomorrow I will set off with the intentions of running 2 near 30 mile days as Dean and Tiffany will be helping me get deeper into the Nevada desert. Water will be a critical issue for me in this next stretch, so if anyone has any connections along my route (or anywhere close), please put them in touch with me (via the contact tab at the top of this page).
I want to thank Sports Basement in Walnut Creek, CA for sending this donation to my support back in Georgia! I will be using it before too long!
Please continue to share my videos and stories with your friends and families! Thank you SO much to those of you who have made donations through my website. It has already started to get a little overwhelming with the amount of money I have to spend on food, supplies, maps, gear or other unpredictable expenses. I sincerely appreciate everyone who has sent me an e-mail, given me a phone call, made a donation, or simply been praying for my safety. I am unsure of how often I will be able to do so, but I hope to continue sharing my journey as I cross Nevada over the next few weeks! Bear with me. If you would like quicker updates, please feel free to follow me on Twitter at @theoutdoorjosh or add me on facebook (at the top right of this page).
Yours in Adventure,