I’m old. Part 2: Arizona Trail 2009

So I also uploaded this 25 minute video about my hike of the Arizona Trail.

This hike came after I had moved to Bend and had worked leading wilderness therapy trips for over a year already. This hike was my first route, as much of the AZT back then was dirt roads, some pavement, and some unmarked wondering. It was fairly well signed though, and in fact became a National Scenic Trail when I was hiking. When I got to Orcale and picked up a copy of the local paper I saw Obama had designated the Arizona Trail that week. Now, I’m not one for omens, but I thought that led to a nice theme for the hike.

Although I hiked alone most of the time, I was joined at the start by my bestie, NEMO. NEMO and I met on the PCT in 2006 and became fast friends. We’ve hiked together a few times since, and are currently planning something for this summer (!!!!!!!!!) I had made friends with a couple from Tuscon the summer before when I dispensed some trail magic on the PCT near Bend, and wouldn’t you know it, Slo-Ride and Shanke-n-bake had already hiked the Arizona Trail.

NEMO and I launched from Mexico with their help and crossed paths with a few other hikers out that year (Snappy & Puff Puff – and dog Buckaroo, Roni from Israel, and Mother Natures Son). But after the first week when NEMO had to go home, I wanted my solitude so took off for parts unknown (to me).

Here is my journal.

This is much more contemplative video, and a bit slow at times, but for 25 minutes, it might be better than scrolling through the dregs of whatever feed is near by. Maybe?

Lots of trail friends and new friends made on this trip, and illustrates one of the things I love most about hiking long trails: meeting awesome people.

Northbound Arizona Trail thru hike Spring 2009 from Renee Patrick on Vimeo.


A trip down memory lane: a Colorado Trail thru-hike

I’ve always made little videos and compilations of the hikes and adventures I’ve had over the years. As a result I have a you tube channel, vimeo channel, and lots of stuff on DVD…do you remember DVDs? Those disk-like things on which you would burn a video…maybe half an hour to an hour of photos, videos, and music…


People really made videos that long?

Yep. We did. My PCT video is 45 minutes, this Colorado Trail one is about 30, my Arizona Trail one is maybe 40? It seems these days hikers make 3-5 minute videos because no one has the attention span to watch longer…myself included.

But, I dug into some of the old DVDs I made of hikes, and am going to start uploading some of them.

This little trip down memory lane was over 10 years ago when I hiked northbound from Durango to Denver in the fall of 2007. I had moved to Durango in February that year to go through a crew leader development training program, an Americorps gig run by the Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC). I spent months cutting trees, building large log and rock retaining walls, and fixing damaged trail in places like Mesa Verde, Canyon of the Ancients,the Great Sand Dunes, and the San Juan Mountains.

It was the only logical next step to hike the 500-mile Colorado Trail when our work for the year finished. That put me at a mid-August departure from Durango. The timing was great. The weather held out and I thought I was going to die only once when I camped on the divide and over 12,000′ near Stony Pass. That night a lightning storm moved in and I was very exposed. I didn’t sleep a wink, but when I woke and hiked a few miles to Stony Pass, I met some of my SCC crew friends working on the Continental Divide Trail. Woop! (I would return 8 years later to hike the CDT).

Most of the time I felt like the only person left on earth.

I loved hiking alone after months of people around ALL THE TIME. I was strong after a summer of moving dirt and rocks, and it was very empowering to spend that time in the incredible landscape of Colorado. I climbed a few 14ers, read a couple of books, and got giardia only once.

I was tired towards the end and looking forward to the next thing…which happened to be moving to Bend to lead wilderness therapy trips.

I kept a daily journal here.

This video also has the soundtrack my 2007. Enjoy!

Solo Northbound Fall Colorado Trail Thru-hike 2007 from Renee Patrick on Vimeo.


A busy year ahead

Welp, we’re almost a month into 2018 and the pace of all the good things continues.

I like the pace of life in Oregon’s high desert

I’m over two years into my job to establish the Oregon Desert Trail, and it’s still incredible to me that I am in a position to use all my hiking experiences in this job, and am seeing results.

It will be another busy year of presentations around the state, leading trail maintenance trips, and helping hikers get out on the trail.

Interested in joining me on one of the trips? Here are the 5 outings I’ll be leading this year. Registration opens for these and almost 30 other ONDA stewardship trips on February 19 here.

Badlands Wilderness Trail Work June 1-3
Celebrate National Trails Day on June 2 with trail maintenance in one of the newest Wilderness areas in Oregon, and the start of the 750-mile Oregon Desert Trail.

Fremont National Recreation Trail Work June 21-24
Enjoy views for miles on this trail maintenance project up and over Morgan Butte on the Fremont National Recreation Trail and Oregon Desert Trail.

Big Indian Gorge Steens Trail Work August 2-6
Steens Mountain sets the stunning backdrop for this trail maintenance project in the glaciated landscape of Big Indian Gorge along the Oregon Desert Trail.

Nye Steens Trail Work August 23-27
Want to work on a steep exposed amazing section of trail that drops over 1,000′ into the Little Blitzen Gorge along an Oregon Desert Trail alternate? This trip is for you.

Little Blitzen Gorge Steens Trail Work September 6-10
Join in this trail work trip in the glaciated canyon of Little Blitzen Gorge along an Oregon Desert Trail Alternate.

And if you are in western Oregon, join me at one of my presentations next week:

Eugene, Tuesday 1/30 @ REI 7pm

Portland, Wednesday 1/31 @ Mountain Shop @ 7pm

Hood River, Thursday 2/1 @ pFriem Brewery @ 6pm


I started something new…well, not exactly new.

I began screen printing about 7 years ago, designing images, making screens in my boyfriend’s bathroom, and printing on recycled clothing. I originally designed about 10 different bike images and would upcycle thrift store clothing and sell them at bike events around Bend.

That experience led me to start the business Hikertrash with another long distance hiker, Brian Frankle.

We ran that for three years, and just sold it this spring to another hiker in town who is taking it to new levels…but I’m still designing. Here are a few new images for the Hike Like a Girl series coming out soon:

All this is to say, I’m still having fun with design and the things I love, hiking and biking. SO….

I started a store on Zazzle, an online store that will put my logos on cool things and do all the shipping and fulfillment for me. So I’m bringing my bike designs back to life!

You can shop in my new store here.

Here are a few items you can find there…take a look!


Arctic Refuge Drilling, we can stop it!

I wrote about the Arctic Refuge Drilling issue in my last post, and even though the budget resolution that would open up this sensitive area up to drilling passed both the house and senate, there is still time. Action items below! Please make a call today.

Read more below from the Conservation Alliance:

Congress Votes in Favor of Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, But the Fight is Not Over
The battle to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling continues.

Two weeks ago, the Senate took the first step toward opening the Arctic Refuge to oil drilling by voting against an amendment to remove Arctic drilling from its budget resolution, then narrowly passing that resolution. Less than a week later, on Thursday, Oct 26th, the House adopted the Senate’s budget resolution in a 216-212 vote.

The good news? We have successfully fought this battle before. In 2005, the Arctic Refuge faced a similar threat. Republicans controlled both the House and Senate, and the White House, and all wanted to open the Arctic Refuge to oil development.  Republican leadership used the same convoluted budget process they are using today to advance Arctic drilling.  The Senate and the House voted then to drill the Arctic Refuge using the same sequence of votes in 2005 as they did earlier this month, but Arctic Refuge supporters remained steadfast. At the 11th hour, the cultural significance and unmatched beauty of the Arctic Refuge ultimately prevailed, and Arctic drilling was struck from the 2005 budget.

Read more on our blog.

ACTION ALERT:  Take Action to Protect the Arctic Refuge
Each step in the budget process requires our community’s attention. Now that Congress has passed a budget resolution, the next stage in the process is called reconciliation. Reconciliation is the part in the process where we will see actual legislation that would open the Arctic Refuge to drilling. This Thursday, November 2nd, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is holding a hearing to discuss potential oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge (as instructed by the resolution).

It’s important our elected officials understand how you feel about opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development. Below are four important actions you can take today to join the fight to protect the Arctic Refuge:

  1. Call or tweet Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski (202-224-6665 / @lisamurkowski) and Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan (202-224-3004 / @SenDanSullivan) and tell them that you do not agree with drilling in the Refuge and that the fast-tracked budget process is an unethical method to use on such an important topic.
  2. Call or tweet Maine Senator Susan Collins (202-224-2523 / @SenatorCollins) and thank her for voting in support of the Arctic Refuge in the Budget Resolution process.
  3. Call or tweet Arizona Senator John McCain (202-224-2235 / @SenJohnMcCain) and ask him to help the public understand his reasons for voting down the amendment that would have kept the Arctic Refuge out of the budget process.
  4. Call or tweet your representative and ask them to tell GOP leadership to keep #ArcticRefuge drilling out of the tax bill. #NoArcticRider #ProtectTheArctic

Post Hike Rejuvination

Yes I was bummed that I wasn’t able to finish the Tahoe Rim Trail a few weeks ago, but the following 5 days provided such a boost of inspiration that I was able to quickly move past that disappointment and get over myself. There are so many more important things to spend time worrying about than my gimpy feet. (Update: my right shin is still sore, and after a visit to a podiatrist learned that my left foot has structural issues and I’ll be wearing a custom orthotic to mitigate that kind of pain again!)

I was immersed in the Patagonia Tools Conference. If you aren’t aware, the clothing company Patagonia has extremely strong environmental roots and ethics, and has been providing grants to nonprofits involved in a variety of conservation issues for years. This is a company that puts their money to good work, and if you pay more for your puffy, it’s probably because it’s sustainably sourced, fair trade, and a portion of the profits supports some local organization in your community. This year they granted over 800 different organziations funds to support their campaigns, and 80 of us showed up on the shores of Fallen Leaf Lake to learn some best practicies from professionals in the field.

Everything was covered from campaign strategy to communication tactics, fundraising to lobbying, and we dove in to the nitty gritty of how to be effective in challenging times like these. What I came away with was a renewed sense that we CAN make a difference no matter what is going on at the federal level…in fact some of the most successful environmental work is done locally.

I also walked away awed at the work being done around the country by those in the room with me.

One particularly moving plea for help came from Bernadette Demientieff of the Gwich’in Nation in the Artic Circle. Patagonia made a film about the threats to this region of the world and the people who have called it home for many thousands of years.

Here’s a bit more: https://www.adn.com/politics/2017/10/05/u-s-house-passes-budget-bill-that-provides-option-for-opening-anwr-to-drilling/

A bill is due to hit the Senate floor in the coming weeks, after the Senate returns from a weeklong recess on Oct. 16.

I’m not really thinking about my feet anymore…and this is just one issue out there, what’s happening in your neighborhood?

Day 8 – 1.5 miles…backwards.

I woke, made my coffee, ate my instant apple  cinnamon oatmeal, popped a healthy handful of vitamin I, and faced the trail. I willed my left foot to feel no pain, but my powers of persuasion were lacking. The 12+ hours off my feet had no impact on the pain level in the bottom of my left foot.

I only stumbled a few minutes up the trail before I faced reality. This was not working. There is acceptable pain, and unacceptable pain. And this pain was unknown and acute, so unacceptable.

I felt failure throbbing in my foot, and turned around. When I told myself a few days ago that I would get back on the trail and see how things went, and keep my options open if my leg wasn’t feeling better, I guess I never expected I wouldn’t feel better.

Is this 40? Is this getting old? Or have I been lucky with my feet thus far?

Not. Happy.

I made my way back to the trailhead and stuck out my thumb once again. And the ride that stopped definitely helped pull me out of my pity party. Dave and his dog Ra picked me up. On the short ride down I learned he had been an outward bound instructor for years and had even worked in wilderness therapy like me too. We talked shop and he even treated me to breakfast. I’ll tell you, when I trust that the world will provide and is full of kind and generous people, that’s exactly what I find. Attitude is everything. And so that’s when I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I’m still in an amazingly beautiful place, have a few days off before my conference, and should enjoy what I do have.

So I got the car, picked up some fruit and veg at the store, and found a hotel room to put my feet up and chill.

I ended up watching too much TV, man TV sucks. It’s so full of emptyness.

But I did a good job of not walking, and tomorrow I’ll play tourist in Tahoe.

Day 7 – 16.6 miles – 88.9 miles total

I was the first out of camp this morning and walked into a chilly morning. I had all my warm layers on, and kept them on for hours. The sun was out though! And the day simply amazing.

I cruised a few miles until taking break and a making a hot drink to try and keep the chill away.

The next section to Mt Rose area was a mountain bike trail too. And I found myself there on a Sunday, so LOTS of bikes. Most were great and would stop for me, well trained bikers!

I finally warmed up and the miles were coming easy even though my ankle is still swollen. I took a nice long lunch and did some reading.

When I started again my left foot was really painful. Hmmm. I hoped to walk it off, but the pain only got worse. Was this related to the new shoes? Or the big miles in the sandals? Or overcompensatation for my other injured foot?

By the time I made it to the highway I was limping and in a foul mood. I crossed the road to an incredibly busy trailhead, and decided to walk about one more mile and make camp. I was going really slow, then i put my lunas on to see if that helped…nope.

I pitched my tarp and had a chill evening. I fell asleep to the yipping of coyotes and hooting of a nearby owl.

Day 6 – 9 miles – 72.3 total

I iced my ankle ankle off and on during my stay at the hostel, and while it wasn’t 100%, I decided it was worth trying to hike on. But, as my time was getting shorter and I didn t want to stress it out too much, I would skip some miles.

I packed up, wishing Tom Tom, Spider Bite, and Purina a good hike as they hopped back on the PCT, and went to a nearby cafe for breakfast.

Made myself a hiching sign, and walked to the edge of stateline to try and get a ride, and wouldn’t you know it, after only a few minutes an awesome couple and their dog Blue pulled over for me. I love how great people are here! Giving rides and helping you out. Love it.

I disembarked at Spooner Summit and began to hike up. Someone had been through today, it looked like 2 sets of footprints on the snow. I didn’t put my gortex socks on, a figured cold feet might help the swollen ankle…

The first few miles were in the trees. I slowed my pace considerably to not put too much stress on the foot, and slowly plodded through the forest. At one point I decided it was time for some music. I hadn’t listened to any music yet on this trip, so when Ben Harper’s She’s only Happy in the Sun came on, I practically burst with joy. This song was on heavy repeat when I hiked the Colorado Trail 10 years ago, and could be my antham. I love it. I love this. I love hiking. Suddenly nothing else mattered except the fact that I was walking through a gorgous landscape, exactly where I am happiest. This is me. This is happiness. It doesn’t matter that I won’t complete the TRT on this trip. None of that matters. I am here, and that is the most important thing. 

I was getting glimpses of the Nevada valley to the east, and Lake Tahoe to the West. Then I was above treeline and on top of the world. It was overwhelming.

I spent the rest of the day in a state of bliss. I worked Spotify to play me all the albums I had on the CT hike a decade ago, and remembered how wonderful that solo hike had been.

My feet were getting cold and wet by this point, but I didn’t care. I met 2 day hikers, and a young couple with their tiny baby in a sling on the dad. Yes! They are doing it! That kid is one lucky dude.

By late afternoon I was back in the trees and got to camp pretty early. Again, I wanted to take it easy, and do some reading. I haven’t read as much as I would have wanted, so now my slower pace and shorter days would give me more of what I want.

A group of 10 came in not long after I stretched out in my sleeping bag, cowboy camp style. They were a guided group doing the TRT together. Nice folks. I’m not used to so much company, but this was an established campsite and was recommended that hikers camp here instead of on their own in this area. Maybe bears? But it was ok. We were all in bed fairly early and sleeping towards another day on the trail.