101 Things

Every moment we spend on the trail we are presented with the opportunity to learn or experience something new. We hit 101 days while in the Plumas National Forest a few days ago, but as we have learned, cell phone reception and wifi are practically non existent to us hikers... We always turn reception on at the top of a mountain and every so often our climb is rewarded with a way for us to "phone home" but not on day 101. Long story short, we had no way to post this on our 101st day since beginning our hike but without further adieu...

101 Things we Have Learned in 101 Days


1. This hike is more mentally challenging than physically challenging... And it is pretty damn physically challenging!

2. New levels of perseverance, patience, balance, compassion & understanding than we have ever imagined 

3. Always shake out our shoes in the morning

4. A cup of hot tea is worth the effort 

5. This is not easy... But it is rewarding

6. It is worth it to brave the cold to go pee at night... The Stars will never disappoint!

7. Dipping your hat in an ice cold stream on a hot day can save your sanity 

8. Always go pee before going to sleep

9. If you are near water you are also near Mosquitos 

10. Never pass up a good water source in the desert

11. The tan on our legs that we think we have is just dirt

12. There is always a rewarding view at the top of climbing a mountain 

13. There is no end to the beauty out here... Mother Nature keeps outdoing herself

14. The trail brings you to higher levels of self awareness 

15. You can never pack too much food

16. Butterflies don't like their picture taken

17. Trees don't grow at 12,000' but flowers do

18. Magenta flowers like to grow near water

19. When you think you have reached the top of a mountain, you haven't... They go on forever

20. Big trout are smarter than the little ones

21. Always check where you are about to sit for tree sap

22. A good rock to sit on is surprisingly hard to find

23. There is a fat mini gerbil like animal called a Pika that lives between rocks at 12,000' 

24. Manzanita grows as trees in the desert regions and as ground cover in the mountains

25. Flying bugs will fly right into you like they don't give a shit if you walk into their path of flight

26. Flys in the wilderness are more tenacious than the common housefly and some of them bite... They are however, slow and easy to slap 

27. Killing Mosquitos is like playing Whack-a-mole

28. When a mosquito flys between your eye glasses and eye it is pretty much the worst thing in the world and pandemonium will ensue until it's gone

29.Wind is good because it keeps Mosquitos down 

30. You can never have too much sunscreen or bug repellent... And put them on early

31. Moleskin works well as a replacement fabric when the heel of your shoe wears out

32. Use the local bugs to catch fish... Dragonflies make great fishing bait 

33. Our feet will never look the same

34. Get up early to beat the heat

35. Take a nice shady break in the middle of the day... Find a place where the sun won't move in on you

36. A dip in a cold lake is good for character building

37. It is harder to get out of bed on a cold morning

38. Always take the time to remove small rocks, pine cones and sticks before setting up your tent

39. Layer up in the morning!

40. Rip-stop fabric repair is very handy to have in your sewing kit

41. Wool socks really do stay warm when wet

42. You can never do enough laundry & your clothing will still never be clean

43. No matter how sore you are when you wake up in the morning, after 30 min of hiking you won't feel it... And if you do you still hike anyway

44. The Sierras slow you down with both beauty and difficulty

45. Even though the map may show you going downhill... It doesn't mean it is going to be quick or easy terrain

46. Spending a day in town is like taking a vacation from the vacation

47. How to judge distances and miles per hour

48. Aim downhill when peeing and avoid the splash back

49. Pine needles work great as toothpicks

50. The thorn of large pine cones work well to clean under the fingernails

51. How to fold our tent in a way that we both agree on

52. The most clear and refreshing water can be found half way up Mount Whitney

53. Greedy little chipmunks will eat all the pine nuts before we even have a chance at those tasty morsels

54. The desert smells of Bergamont, Cloves & Sage

55. The forest in the rain has a sweet & earthy scent that will bring back childhood memories of camping

56. Dental floss works well to string up fresh caught trout

57. Always be prepared for the rock or log you are standing on to shift at anytime

58. An empty water bottle & flip flops will blow away if left out in the vestibule overnight

59. The thin Alpine mountain air creates an abundance of methane gas in a thru hiker's stomach & when combined with a hearty Chili will create an atomic reaction that will make a tent a very small space

60. Marmots are cute but they eat disgusting things

61. Ones man's trash is another man's treasure... You can make a "trail-friendly" wedding band out of a piece of nylon tent cord left behind from another hiker

62. Just because a map shows you that you are following a creek, doesn't mean it isn't a hundred feet down a canyon 

63. Ants are everywhere and come in all sizes and in numbers large enough that if you tried to quantify it, your brain would most certainly explode

64. Gorging ourselves on margaritas & queso dip then hiking 5 miles in the heat can lead to puking down a hopefully abandoned rabbit hole on the side of the mountain

65. Just because a map doesn't show any campsites nearby, doesn't mean there isn't one

66. Stealth campsites always feel more like home than well used ones

67. Never bring a white shirt on a Thru-hike.

68. You can never have enough ziplocks and of multiple sizes, they are handy for everything

69. Always have the camera ready and accessible 

70. The higher the latitude, the lower the tree line

71. We will need new wardrobes when we are done because nothing will fit anymore

72. It is okay to whack yourself or your partner in the face (or elsewhere) if there is a mosquito or fly on you or them.

73. Chipmunks will squeak at you for attention and will sass you when you don't give them your food 

74. How important the little gear is... Like the zipper on your tent or the lid to your water bottle

75. Wildflowers bloom early in the South, as we travel North they bloom with us

76. Holding out for a better tent site or lunch spot will usually be worth the extra miles

77. How to scan the trail in front of us, while looking up to enjoy the beauty has a trade off of increasing our potential to trip on something xby 23%

78. Always be prepared for the person in front of you to stop suddenly

79. When we get the miles in early we can set up camp and enjoy the sunset while playing a board game

80. Stepping stones are crucial in crossing a muddy trail

81. Playing a word game while hiking up a hill will make it go by so much easier

82. Drinking coffee & listening to a podcast or music will make you hike 23% faster

83. Any hiker who doesn't have an umbrella in the hot desert, a snow or hail storm or in the rain will most certainly profess their jealousy of ours as we hike by cool and dry

84. Every day hiker we come across tells us that we are too clean to be thru-hikers... Thus our official Trail Surname is Mr & Mrs Clean

85. Doing laundry at a stream on the Trail is much more beautiful and relaxing than at an apartment complex laundry room 

86. We feel at home in the mountain forests

87. The bee population has not died off completely, they have just moved to the deserts and mountains where there is no cell signals or pesticides

88. First hand experience of the lack of water in California lakes, streams and rivers has made us appreciate taking shorter showers

89. It is always good to have the water filter handy so we can grab a liter-to-go when we hike up on a mountain spring

90. We can identify woodland critters by their sounds 

91. The many colors of moss that grow on rocks would make a popular paint color palate at Home Depot

92. Bumble bees like to explore any object that holds water in hopes for a drink

93. Ants love beef jerky and Cheese-It crumbs 

94. Cut logs or boulders make great kitchenettes for a more civilized backcountry dining experience 

95. A hot cooked meal & a cup of tea at the end of a hiking day will always hit the spot

96. With food on the trail, variety is the spice of life

97. In a torrential down pour, the trail quickly becomes a creek 

98. We never know what unexpected things we will see on the trail... Like when we look up from doing laundry by the creek and some half naked guy is ballet dancing Swan Lake style across the creek... straight from a scene of A Mid Summers Nights Dream

99. Deer like to live where there are no predators or hunters such as protected National Parks & Forests 

100. A decomposing tree will make little wood chunks that look like little wooden Lincoln logs that could be put back together

101. The trail peels layer after layer of our egos until we realize what is truly important