Day 89: A journaling day

Fri. 7/19/13
22.5 miles (Miles 1250.5 – 1273)
Feather River – PCT Mile 1273

So… what do you do when you have a frustrating day on the PCT due to technology and little battery life left on your precious camera? Find a creative solution. I figured out what that solution was about 30 minutes into my hike today. I decided to turn the darn camera off and see how differently I take in my surroundings.

I made an exception to my rule in case I came across something unique enough worthy of 3% of my battery – I’d turn on the phone, snap a photo and turn it back off. I did really well – I only photographed four things today. One of them was a couple of pages from my journal:


I took a lot of notes today, and jotted down each hour so I had a time reference – for my poor memory. I found myself stopping, staring, admiring, touching, and just trying to take it all in as much as I was capable. I didn’t have that quick snapshot in my gallery to remember… but I tried to look long enough at the things I wanted to take a photo of so that I’d be able to lock them in my memory. That along with a little note will go a long way… I hope.

On a normal hiking day I’d take a bunch of photos and jot one page of notes – today I used nine pages (it’s a small notebook). This is what it kind of looks like:


A journal page

And here’s a few of my notes from today:

6am: wake up. Break camp. Breakfast. Oatmeal, coffee, fudge stripe cookies

7am: started hiking. Hiked gradually uphill.Tears saw a really cool red lizard. Giant trees loomed as trail leveled out.
All shade. Bark on giant tree – smooth like a worry stone with finger-like imprints to rub. Felt really neat.

8am: Stopped at stream to get water. Saw a giant slug. 6″ long and about 1″ diameter – cutey pie!


This giant slug deserved a photo today!

Bear Creek footbridge. Mossy spring for water.

9am: Climbing in pine forest. Easy and gradual, fun. Came to open view of blue layered mountains. Love.

I won’t write everything I jotted down here, because this entry is already going to be long, but here’s a few other things that stood out for me today:

I saw a huge monarch butterfly. I’m really loving these guys out here, fluttering about as if they don’t have a care in the world… except for finding that perfect flower.

The springs today were covered with mossy rocks and buzzing with bees, but the water was bottle-frosting cold and tasted almost sweet.

I enjoyed a few swathes of baby pine trees. They ranged from 1″ tall to about 4″ tall. They looked soft because they were so new, and it felt like I was looking down on a tiny, miniature forest.

As I hiked through a forest of brown – brown dirt, trail, rocks, fallen branches, pine needles, pine cones, tree trunks, fallen leaves – I started noticing all the different shades of brown. That forest suddenly started to glow with more beauty than what I saw at first glance. Then I looked up. Green pine needles and leaves against a deep blue sky. There’s color everywhere!  

After lunch I hiked through the prettiest little grassy meadow speckled with white flowers, busy with bumble bees and butterflies.

At 4pm we came to a road crossing where a couple of guys were just packing up a trail angel station! They opened a cooler and Tears and I both guzzled down an A&W root beer and took a Sierra Nevada to go. They also gave us a non-melted Kit Kat, Cheez-its and Oreos! Wow! Thanks, Parker and Dale!


Trail party - totally worth a photo!

At our last water stop I saw – for about the fourth time – a perfectly-placed leaf in the stream, held in place by two small rocks. Someone ahead of us has been placing these so that it’s easy to get a good run of water right into a bottle. Great idea!

At 6pm we found the perfect little campsite on a ledge of rocks overlooking a gorgeous valley. Okay, know what? One more photo – here’s my view right now:


So all in all, it was a good day for me. I’m working through some mind confusions, but that’s a good thing to work on while I’m hiking – there’s a lot of time to think out here. I don’t seem to be getting very far, but I’m trying! I ran through a lot of old memories today, too, and that was really fun.

And the one other photo I took today was of a flower. I’m glad I did, too. I didn’t see another one like it all day.


Really cool flower that was glowing in the sunshine.

Tonight I love journaling… I forgot just how much fun it is to sit, write and draw. What a great way to quiet the mind!

Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!

With love,
Toots Magoots
(Robin Grapa)


4 thoughts on “Day 89: A journaling day

  1. Toots,
    I don’t remember if I told you when I met you on the trail, but the South Fork of the Feather is the primary place that I backpack with my sons. The “red lizard” that Tears for Beers saw was likely a California Newt. Sometimes when I pass through that canyon I see as many as 100 of them.

  2. This was so great. I didn’t know you kept a notepad. Makes sense. It was fun to get a little insight into you process. And can I just say: Kit Kat Cheez Its Oreos!

  3. This entry reminds me of the ADT when we hiked into the forest and I did the mom thing by making you shut your cell phone off for 3 days. Annoying at first but then calming in the end. I luv your journal photos and description it shows another part of your trail life. Awesomeness

  4. Your journal is absolutely top flight! The best. I love the observations you make. Please tell Aloha to pick up his journal again. His part of the story is interesting too and I sure miss reading about his adventures. Thanks for sharing!! Lory

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