Total Miles: 1729.6
The all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast at Callahan's this morning necessitated a bit of a late start as we tried to correct our mistakes from the past--Exhibit A: Donner Pass, Exhibit B: Seiad Valley--attempting not to overeat and then immediately hit the trail. In the end, it meant waiting until nearly 1:00 to get back on trail, but avoiding a prolonged stomach ache and food coma on the climb back up from the interstate made it worth the wait.
As we stumbled upon a patch of particularly ripe thimbleberries, it dawned on me that a formal introduction to my hiking partners for these last 1100 miles is long overdue.
Beardoh and Sweet Pea are two people that you consider yourself fortunate to have met and you're certainly better for it. Having celebrated their 17th anniversary on trail two months ago, they came to long distance hiking only 5 years ago but have thru-hiked an impressive number of trails in that span: Appalachian Trail, Wonderland Trail, Tahoe Rim Trail, Long Trail, John Muir Trail, and Arizona Trail. Beardoh also thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail once before in 2012 before coming back for a return engagement this year. All told, that's over 6,500 miles of hiking in the past 5 years.
But saying that they're just experienced backpackers would be selling them far too short. World travelers and former Peace Corps volunteers in both Tanzania and Moldova, they also run several small eCommerce businesses and a custom bass guitar business, all of which help support a life of perpetual adventure that is the envy of nearly everyone they meet. When other hikers are on their phones reading email and checking Facebook, these two are tending to their businesses and replying to customers, all while somehow managing to maintain a fantastic blog of their hiking exploits (www.longdistancehiker.com).
Most of all, Beardoh and Sweet Pea are genuine and kind-hearted companions, curious and interested in an endlessly fascinating variety of topics that only makes for hours of both funny and thought-provoking conversation. In short, they're the kind of people you're lucky to have met. I know I am.