Wednesday, April 30, 2008

It Begins

"And so what we've already started now begins." This was our journal entery into the regester notebok at the southern monument of the Pacific Crest Trail. Monday April 28, 2008 was our start date. After taking a bus from San Diego we found ourselves in Campo, CA along with another hiker, Ben. Momentarily after stepping off the bus we were greeted by a honk and swerve of a minivan. It was a couple of Trail Angels who live further north. They introduced themselves with a hug and told us to hop in and they would give us a ride the mile back to the border fence. They were full of energy and delighted in mooning the border patrol driving by,yes mooning. New this year is a barb wire fence keeping you about 20 ft from the main border wall. We took some pictures and began walking north just before noon. It's hard to know what to think when taking the first steps of a 4 month journey. Mostly I was thinking about how much water I would need and what I may have forgten to pa!
ck. It was a hot day, as so many people had commented. We began our dessert trek with 7 liters of water each, needing to travel over 19 miles to next reliable water source. We hiked until sundown with many breaks for the feet to rest. As we were beading down for the night we had a group of 8 immigrants cautiously watch us. I was startled by ther presence but yelled,"It's okay" and they pased by. 20 min later in darkness I would spot the first of another pack of immigrants and yell, "Hola!" which sent an imediate stampede in the other direction. In al we would have 37 immigrants pass us on the trail in 4 different groups. Only one was a female. We bundled up in the chill of the night for much needed sleep.
miles today: 13.7
Camp 1: Immigrants

Allow us to help those in need, sell back your spare PocketMail and make some extra pocket money.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Wanna Send Us Mail As We Hike?

We'd love to get letters and care packages from you! I know there are a lot of instructions here, and we don't want to scare you. We're just making sure we actually get the mail you send. Picking up mail on the trail is much more involved than simply going to the mailbox that's in front of your house.

Letters can be mailed First Class [this is normal, regular mail].

Any boxes you send MUST be mailed via Priority Mail through the US Post Office. If you send a box via first class or parcel post, we probably won't get it. Don't believe the post office employees when they tell you they can have a parcel post box to us in a week to 10 days. It's not true.

We are not using any mail drops that use UPS or FedEx. All our mail drop addresses are USPS addresses. Please do not use UPS or FedEx.

However, if you do send a box, please make sure that we DO NOT have to sign for it.

What should you put in a box? Care packages don't have to be huge. We would love to get letters and pictures from you with updates on life and fun stories! As far as other is always a great option! We would love things like beef jerkey, homemade cookies, chocolate chip cookies, dried fruit, nuts [almonds!], gummy stuff [trolli strawberry puffs, sour patch kids, fruit snacks], granola bars/protein bars, combos [pizzaria pretzel/cheddar cheese pretzel], trail mix, peanut butter m&ms, etc. We aren't cooking at all along the trail, so it has to be food we can eat without cooking. But be creative! I'm sure that you could come up with something fun that we haven't thought of.

What should you NOT put in a box? Anything we will have to carry. If you send us cute little stuffed animals, books, food in cans [that we can't eat right away] or any food that we have to cook, we will either have to give it to someone who is cooking or send it home because we won't be able to take it on the trail with us.

We do not have firm dates for when we'll be at specific places. If we say we'll be someplace on June 5, it's possible we will get there on June 3 or June 7; it's possible we could be off by a week or more. Plans are never set in stone on the trail, so it's a good idea to plan for your box to get to the town a couple days earlier than our scheduled ETA [estimated time of arrival]. We will try to keep you updated on our blog if the dates change, so please check back before you send something.

It's very important that you address each letter/box exactly as we've detailed here. DON'T FORGET to write "Hold for PCT Hiker. ETA: [date]" on the bottom left corner of all boxes and letters. It's also helpful if you write our last name in big block letters on all sides of any box. Surprise packages are nice, but if you want to let us know you've sent something so we can ask for it at a post office, feel free to email either Mark or I or leave a comment on the blog.

Remember that mail is slower since it's being sent to smaller post offices in the mountains. Make sure you send mail far enough ahead of time so that we don't beat it there!

Here's is how you address mail to us [make sure you address the boxes exactly like this!]:

At the bottom left of ALL letters/boxes, write:
Hold for PCT Hiker
ETA: [date]

Here are the specific addresses to mail to:
Mark and Jessica Schmerse
c/o General Delivery
Big Bear City, CA 92314
ETA: May 12

Mark and Jessica Schmerse
c/o the Saufleys
11861 Darling, Rd.
Agua Dulce, CA 91390
ETA: May 21

Mark and Jessica Schmerse
c/o General Delivery
Mojave, CA 93501
ETA: May 28

Mark and Jessica Schmerse
c/o Kennedy Meadows General Store
PO Box 3A-5
Inyokern, CA 93527
[mail needs to be here a week before our arrival date!]
ETA: June 5

Mark and Jessica Schmerse
c/o General Delivery
Independence, CA 93526
ETA: June 10

Mark and Jessica Schmerse
c/o General Delivery
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96151
[they will only hold packages for 30 days before returning to sender]
ETA: June 25

Mark and Jessica Schmerse
c/o General Delivery
Dunsmuir, CA 96025
ETA: July 14

Mark and Jessica Schmerse
c/o General Delivery
Etna, CA 96027
ETA: July 18

Mark and Jessica Schmerse
c/o General Delivery
Ashland, OR 97520
ETA: July 23

Mark and Jessica Schmerse
c/o Post Office General Delivery
Crater Lake National Park, OR 97604
ETA: July 27

Mark and Jessica Schmerse
c/o General Delivery
Sisters, OR 97759
ETA: August 3

Mark and Jessica Schmerse
c/o General Delivery
Cascade Locks, OR 97014
ETA: August 10

Mark and Jessica Schmerse
c/o General Delivery
Snoqualmie Pass, WA 98068
[Please write on mail/pkgs: "Please hold up front at the Chevron"]
[May only hold mail/pkgs for 2 weeks!]
ETA: August 20

Mark and Jessica Schmerse
c/o General Delivery
Skykomish, WA 98288
ETA: August 23

Mark and Jessica Schmerse
c/o General Delivery
Stehekin, WA 98853
ETA: August 27

Thanks for checking in! We leave tomorrow to fly to San Diego. We'll try and update as often as we can! We look forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Trail

Here's a map of the PCT; the numbers behind the points on the map are the mileage you would walk from the Mexican border to get to that point. So now when you read updates and we mention places along the way, you can check out this map to see where we are!

Monday, April 21, 2008


So we have heard from a lot of different hikers that pocketmail was the way to go as far as updates to online journals go. Pocketmail is this cool little lightweight device that allows you to send and receive emails as long as you have access to a phone. It works similar to an oldschool modem. You just hold it up to a phone after dialing the right number, press a button on the pocketmail and, a few beeps later, I have sent and received messages!

So this is my test run to see how it all works. If you are reading this it obviously worked out. Yes! One more step in the right direction!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

PCT Here We Come!

In just a little over a week, a dream will have begun
for Mark and I. We both love backpacking, and it has
been a dream of ours to hike the whole Pacific Crest
Trail, Mexico to Canada, 2,650 miles, in one long,
four month stretch. It's something we knew we wanted
to do before we had kids, and on April 26th we board a
plane to San Diego to begin the trek that will take us
all summer. We are pumped!

When we tell people that we are going to do this, most
look at us with wonder and say, "Wow! I can't believe
you're going to do that!" Which I often think equals
out to something like, "You guys are nuts!" It is
going to be an incredible journey with ups and downs
just like any season of life has. I know there will
be days when we think, "This is amazing! I can't
believe I get to do this!" and there will be days
where we think, "What the heck are we doing? Why are
we out here doing this?" The trick will be to push
through those times and continue on, even when the
going gets tough.

Please join us on this journey. We are hoping to be
able to update this blog as we are able so that you
can follow the journey along with us. We would love
to hear from you and will soon have our mail drops
posted so you can send us letters, food--whatever your
heart desires :). We will look forward to hearing
from you, even if it's just a comment on the blog.

10 days and counting...