Cody Howell Cody Howell

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    Been on trail 101 days!
    Still hate these mother effing rocks.
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    Been in Oregon a hot second, but can already tell we're going to fly through this wonderful state. The grade of the trail is so much more mellow than anything we've been on, that we tend to clock in 20 miles by lunch. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to stay and savor the lakes and greenery each day has to offer but the mosquitos are sending me north.
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    Gotta celebrate the little things in life, like hiking the length of California...and how after 3 months my cheeks still only have 5 measly hairs growing on them.
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    Shasta has become an old friend πŸ‘΄πŸΌ
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    That's no marine layer folks
    πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯
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    Northern California is giving Southern California a run for it's hot sweaty money. We've chosen to start hiking by 4am most mornings and give ourselves a few hours relief from the high heat at the best water source/shady spot. We pulled our longest day the other day and whipped out 34.8 miles, which included a long siesta at the best lake on trail this far.
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    Hitchhiking has become a normal and viable mode of transportation...and I don't hate it. Folks have built up so many bad stigmas towards hitchhikers and I admit, you should be careful, but if you see someone on the side of the road with a sign and a smile I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and pick them up! I guarantee you'll make their day and you'll come away with a great story or two.
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    Now that we're out of the Sierras, our hard work goes from snow travel into doing big 25+ mile days. If we want to get to Canada before the Cascades start snowin, we've gotta crank day after day. Our bodies are tired, feet are destroyed once again & NorCal is dishing up some major heat.
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    Got T Swift's "Out of the Woods" stuck in my head for the last 300 miles, but I've been replacing "woods" with "snow" and, by golly, I think we finally are!
    -
    Almost to the halfway point and less than 500 miles till Oregon πŸ€™πŸ»
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    We were told the Sierras would be impassable this year with all snow and swelling rivers, and though they were difficult I am so glad I didn't listen to the naysayers and went through with such a great group of guys. Here's a few moments from the Sierras that catch just a small portion of what we went through the last 3 weeks.
    (1) the longest, fastest glissade we went down off of Silver Pass (2) hiking on a knife-edge snow shelf, 9 foot drop onto rock on one side and a raging river on the other (3) one of many river crossings that got our hearts beating (4) post 6am river crossing, our lower halves were completely numb and we struggled to warm up (5) seemed like a good idea at the time but that water was COLD and the current swift (6) we ran into a guy and his team of llama who was going through part of the Sierra (7) up at Muir Hut we took a break to practice our ice axe throwing (8) while we camped just before Evolution Creek, we had some very curious guests (9) a casual morning stroll along a mountain side with some not-too-shabby scenery to my other side
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    After growing up in CA my whole life, who would have thought that water would've been the biggest hurdle we'd have to face on the trail thus far. In order, (1) unnamed, "small, but reliable stream" (2) the infamous Bear Creek that conveniently had a massive tree fall across it within a week of us getting there (3) Piute Creek, which was deep enough for us to dive off the middle of the log during our lunchtime swim (4) Wide Creek, which was as deep as it was wide. We literally had to swim across, using our packs as buoyancy and requiring a nice long dry off in the sun.
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    'Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.' -JM
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    HAPPY 4TH OF JULY aka I'VE OFFICIALLY BEEN ON TRAIL FOR 2 MONTHS.
    Just popped off trail in Mammoth for some πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ festivities. It's been wild to go from the remotest of places where the only "path" is the melting footprints of hikers before you to a resort town where folks come to ski in the morning and golf in the evening.
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    If the Sierras were the looming giant for the first 700 miles, Forester Pass was the big kahuna of the giants. A pass is the lowest point to get through a ridge, and yet Forester is still 13,200ft. It is the highest point along the PCT (Whitney technically doesn't count since it was a day trip detour) and is said to be the most technical part on trail due to the sheerness of the climb up. Ice axes and microspikes are required and you should climb in the early morning while the snow is still hard so your feet and axe can stick well in the snow.
    We camped literally at the base, .9 miles from the top, and experienced our first night camping directly on snow. We had to wear all our clothes to bed and luckily I have great gear that kept me warm through the night (shoutout to @thermarest @featheredfriends1972 @gossamergear). We climbed in the early morning before the sun popped over the ridge. The climb up was basically vertical, like climbing a ladder. When we got to the top, we were met with a sea of snow on the other side.
    *The day we staged at the base was the summer solstice, which translates on trail to Hike Naked Day. Since we crossed massive snow fields and were already getting roasted alive by the suns reflection off the snow, we thought it wise to just commemorate the day with a pic instead of frying our πŸ†.
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    Snow vs. Snowmelt
    *person for scale
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    After Whitney, our next challenges were three river crossings that were only made more intense by the heatwave we've been having that rapidly increased the snowmelt. After a sketchy first crossing, we paired up with a larger group for the next two. It was comforting to know we had a group with one objective and the two crossings proved to be much more passable, if not for the rivers being easier then due to the combined confidence of 14 strong πŸ’ͺ🏼
    We continued onward, up snowfields towards the fabled Forester Pass.
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    My assent up Mt. Whitney will easily score as one of my top memories along the PCT. We made the decision to summit by sunrise, so we left at 1:15AM and hiked 4hrs in the dark by just the light of our headlamps. It was a grueling climb up. We were completely ignorant of the things beyond the light falling at our feet (ie the scale of the sheer cliffs & the immensity of the snow fields and alpine lakes). We reached the top at first light and nestled ourselves into our warmest gear and ate our breakfasts and facetimed our loved ones as the sun ascended out of Death Valley on the horizon.
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    When your friends all decide to jump in a frozen lake, you can't be a little bitch and wuss out. #sorrymom
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    As we continued North, we also began gaining major altitude. A couple days after leaving Kennedy Meadows, we had gained to 10,000ft and the scenery immediately began to change. Streams gave way to meadows. Meadows gave way to pines. Pines gave way to snow. The Sierras were upon us, and yet things were just getting started.
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    There is absolutely no way you can convince me that a pancake should ever be this big. Absolutely. Not. Necessary. #pancakessuck
    BUT, Grumpy Bear's in Kennedy Meadows does make a mean breakfast and it's a nice reward for making it out of the desert and into the Sierras.
    Also, don't ever let Bliss convince you that deodorant is a good condiment to pair with maple syrup. Gotta watch out for that guy, sneaky bastard 😏
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    Highest of Highs to the Lowest of Lows

    Trail Update!
    If you didn't catch it while it was happening, I got sick on trail a couple weeks ago and had to get off trail for 5 days to recoup and recover the weight i'd lost, due to the virus I had, at the wonderful Shearer (@cyclestump & @moetell) family's home in Ridgecrest. I got back on trail on June 14th and said sayonara, good riddance to the hot, dry desert and HELLLLO to the lush, snowy, wet Sierra Nevadas.
    Unfortunately, my cell reception also said good riddance to me and now I have a stockpile of images and highlights to throw out at you! I was trying to figure out the best way to do it without flooding your feed but then I realized the IG algorithm would mess up any strategy i'd attempt anyway so...get ready for an image dump πŸ’©
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    Hike towards the second star to the right and straight on 'til morning
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    Hiker "glam" brought to you by Pitstop
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    Jumping into the weekend (and officially one month being out here)
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    We do "fast food" a bit different out here...
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    Two New Truths: It's not hard to imagine the crackling sound of electricity is actually the patter of rain & 8pm is basically like midnight.
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    Trail Magic brought to us by @em_patty & @hotfatdonuts
    πŸ™ŒπŸ»πŸ©πŸ©πŸ©πŸ©πŸ©πŸ©πŸ©πŸ©πŸ©πŸ©πŸ©πŸ©πŸ©πŸ©πŸ™ŒπŸ»
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    Mt. Baden Powell
    Best place to eat cold oatmeal. Five Stars. Def would recommend.
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    Straight on till πŸ”
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    Golden Hour = Prime Hiking Weather
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    Got to spend four days & 50 miles with this babe. She is a freakin rockstar πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸŽ€
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    Freezing temps but we good cuz we're packed like sardines 🐟
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    The thin, cold air made for a nice 8am wake up call and a great start to the 8,000ft decent.