View Full Version : Our trip starts on March 12th!

2006-01-17, 20:05
Hey guys, been a while since I posted. Like to say it was because I was doing a lot of camping, but it’s precisely the opposite, I’ve been doing a lot of prep but hardly any camping.

First off, let me start by saying thank you to Sgt Rock for creating this wonderful forum, and to all of you who have helped me out, either by answering questions, providing feedback, or just leaving rich wisdom to perpetuity in the forum histories. A great many factors of the hike I’m about to describe were figured upon using the advice I found here. Thanks.

Some of you may recall me mentioning a long walk in one of my posts. Well, it’s finally happening.

I spent November and December in Southern California taking care of my mom after a minor foot surgery (A long over due repair to make traveling easier for her now that she retired.) Had the chance to do a lot of work on the home I grew up in, which was a joy, the best being the planting of two fruit trees in her back yard and the turning out of her garden plots for spring.

Over the holidays, I also asked Ryan, my trail partner, to marry me on Christmas day. (Yes, she’s a girl… and being fiancés named Sean and Ryan can get your drinks bought for you in any Irish pub you walk into.)

Most importantly: We got most of our outfitting done for the journey.

For two years, We have been planning on walking around America. We are not planning on setting any records, but the trip is going to be spectacular. On March 12th, we will strap on our packs and walk across the golden gate bridge as we begin our odyssey.

Our first leg will take us through 250 miles of trail, railroad bed and highway side as we work our way from San Francisco to Mendocino County. There we will “rest” for six months as we work as naturalists and farmhands on a family owned organic farm backed up against the Mendocino state forest and sitting on a mile of riverfront on the eel river.

Along the way will be stopping for two day rest stops and working on two similar farms along the way. In exchange for five or six hours of work a day they will provide room and board. The process is enabled by an organization called World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms or WWOOF for short. The process is colloquially known as wwoofing

After the first season, we will be heading through Oregon and Washington for a year exploring their approach to sustainable living in colder climates, largely enabled through organic farms.

Once we step foot in Canada the hike becomes a backpacking trip as we use trains, busses, hitchhiking to return south and work our way south into Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado, woofing our way along the American Discovery Trail then down into the South so I can show Ryan why I say I love Georgia and Tennessee. We then hope to do portions of the Appalachian trail into New England to complete a final apprenticeship.

This is not going to be a summer trip. It will be a four year journey. Along the way, we hope to learn enough about practical modern sustainability that we will be successful at the end of our journey, when we will return to the place that caught our heart the most, purchase land and settle down to grow a little food and a little family.

Thanks again everybody. I’ve been wanting to talk about this trip for so long, but I had to plan it enough that I didn’t come across like just another dreamer. Please ask questions, about food, tools, maps, routes, training, whatever. I’d love a good discussion about it with you guys. It’s all my friends ever want to talk about in real life, but they think three miles requires a bus or taxi and outdoors is a sunny afternoon in Delores park.

-Spice One

2006-01-17, 23:52
Stoves what kinds of stoves jet boil optimus wood kelly kettle pp gas coleman fuel alcohol trangia cook set pepsi

2006-01-17, 23:52
:adore: :adore: :adore: :beer: :rock:
Congratulations to the both of you.

Aa’ menle nauva calen ar’ ta hwesta e’ ale’quenle
'May the paths be green and the breeze on thy back'

Good luck to you.

2006-01-18, 08:50
Good luck...HYOH...please check in from time to time and post some good stories.


2006-01-18, 13:34
Thanks for the good wishes.

I will try to check in as much as possible. I will be "blogging" by post during most of the trip, sending entries to one of my friends who will be posting them on my two blog sites. (GNN and Myspace). While I will have a computrer on some of the farms, and library access is pretty available, I won't be on the internet so much.

As for stoves, we are using an MSR Whisperlite International, since we expect to be in alot of areas where whitefuel and even denatured alcohol might not be readily available. The international will run on unleaded, so we choose that one. Even added a little length of plastic tubing to allow us to "forage for fuel".

Since I'm carrying the tent, my fiance will be carrying the stove, so I will also be carrying my own can stove set up and bits of alcohol just for the backup. (And it makes it alot easier to cook lunch with little cleanup.) I wanted the Xgk, but price was an issue and the probability of us encountering diesel and not unleaded are pretty slim, so I let it go.

We're using the MSR 2ltr stainless cook set, but I am probably going to replace it before the trip. It's rugged and all, but I would love to shave down a few ounces.


2006-01-18, 15:35
Make a hobo wood stove out of a coffee can or try and find one of these i been looking for one a long time got one now good back up

2006-01-25, 22:15
I can make a hobo stove with my pocket tool, so I'm not really of the mind to carry one with me. I can make a can stove in about five minutes with the same tool, but I'm still carrying an alcohol stove as a backup and since I really enjoy cooking lunch with it, since I can set it up and cook a dehydrated meal with so quickly. Maybe after a few hundred miles we'll dump the whisperlite, but since my Fiance is carrying it, I won't push the issue. I've got the tent, so she probably won't either. lol.


Our final interviews were today and we were told that we would be starting on April 3rd. We will receive a formal offer letter on Monday telling us if we will be brought on as naturalists or farmhands. All signs point to the naturalist position, but if a few of you crossed your fingers for us, it couldn’t hurt.

The farm is Emandal and it is a 1000 acre naturalist farm and family retreat nestled between the Eel river and the Mendocino National Forest. Our first few weeks will be spent training and getting to know both the farm and our co-workers. Then the naturalist season begins and they say that 60 grade school children come to the farm each week to spend time living on a farm and seeing where their food comes from. As these are kids from San Francisco and the bay area, many of them have never seen a cow or a forest and hearing Kristen, the woman who interviewed us, describing their first encounters, it sounds magical.

Classes of children stay a week in the middle of spring to explore the country side. Daily hikes are taken in the forest to foster appreciation and exploration of our natural world. The kids are introduced to cows, lambs, chickens and traditional crafts like making soap, sheering sheep and spinning wool.

After six weeks of naturalist programs, the family camp season starts and our duties will switch more to farm work and hospitality. While Claudine and Kristen both seemed to be warning us that the family camp season is very much a hospitality job, I figure by that time, we will be looking forward to doing something familiar to us. (…And Ryan can tease me about my ineptitude at serving food… Ask my old boss. I can cook, but anybody can wait circles around me.)

All the while, we will be working on the farm, milking cows, mending fences, feeding chickens, planting and harvesting. Please, skip the green acres jokes, they were old last year when I started telling my friends about this. Yeah, we’re gonna be farmers.


You can read more about the farm at www.emandal.com

2006-01-25, 23:01
Wow, sounds like a cool trip, and a great way to start your life together. I once read about a couple that got married on the summit of Mt. Katadhin, then flew to Springer Mtn. and hiked the AT for the next few months. They had arranged to have their families and wedding party meet them again at Mt. Katadhin when they arrived. Cool stuff. :D Wish my wife and I had had that kind of opportunity.

2006-01-26, 00:23
We are joking about how hard it's going to be to not get married the second we dip our toes in the Atlantic. My goal is to have the wedding either at the land we buy, at the group campground we're having our going away party at or maybe at the first farm. But our mothers would kill us if we got hitched on the trip. (Unless we flew them out to stand on the beach with us. . .)

We're so excited!