thru hiking my path through the vines

Welcome to Wandering Chardonnay! I’m chardonnay. In April of 2015 I started this journey when I decided to thru hike the Pacific Crest Trail, starting at the border with Mexico and ending at the Canadian border.  At the time I was a relative newbie to hiking and backpacking. I read some blogs, took a wilderness basics course, Google researched, read more blogs, threw something’s in my pack and took off.  It was a great experience and seriously I thought that would be the end of it. But no, much to the dismay of my mother, I decided to hike the Appalachian Trail. After about 1800 miles of the 2200 I was over it and went home. But the trail still called me so in 2017 I thru hiked the Continental Divide Trail. So here we are in 2018 and I am about to head BACK out on the trail. I’ll be thru hiking the Arizona Trail in March then heading out to finish the Appalachian Trail to round out the Triple Crown (the three major hiking trails in the US).

Straight up there a not a lot of women thru hikers and even fewer African American thru hikers. I’ve tried to express in my posts how I felt (without over sharing) and what my experience was like on the trail.  I have always been treated respectfully by pretty much everyone that I have run into on the trail, even in trail towns. One of the greatest things, about thru hiking is the people that you meet. People from different countries, with different lifestyles, views, religions, races, backgrounds, professions…. I thank the sweet baby Jesus for everyone that has shared this journey with me. Every day I continue to learn process and grow from my time on the trail. People ask me what next, is this year last trail? Sorry mom, but no I’m not on my last trail, yet. There are so many interesting places (and people) still to see and meet! Hope you enjoy my stories and pictures; got a question, comment or suggestion hit me up!! Happy Trails…..

PCT Thru Hike – Going into Oregon!


15 thoughts on “thru hiking my path through the vines

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  1. Stumbled onto your site from the PCTA site somehow?? I am not a tecki! Great reading about your hike.
    I am planning on doing the PCT 2017 after I retire. Checking web sites for inspiration and ideas and suggestions. Some questions though. Did you carry enough water each day. How was getting resupplied with water, work? Did you get packages sent to you the whole trip or buy along the way.
    Fantastic reading your posts,you are awesome Elsye.

    1. Hi Stephen thanks for checking out my blog. I carried just enough to get me between water sources. Water is, well, heavy. I used Halfmiles maps that notes water sources along the trail. Also I used the downloadable water report ( Sometimes there are water caches left by trail angels but DO NOT depend on that. Most water sources need to be treated, I used a Sawyer Mini water filter it worked great. I only had 5 resupply packages mailed. I found it easier to buy in town than try and coordinate mail drops. If the mail get’s “lost” or the post office is closed when you arrive that’s just a downer. Buying along the way allowed me to have a variety! That being said a package from home is a real spirit lifter! Happy hiking!

      1. Good morning! Sat. 8:35am elsyew, thank you for your reply. Hope your next adventure is coming along well. Your headed for the “Triple crown” good for you!!! Question. You bought food items along the way,on the PCT, in between the off trail towns and long distances in between stops and few packages. What were you normally carrying and buying for food that did not require a stove, but yet sustained your calorie requirement on a day to day basis?
        I hope you have a new great adventure on the AT, this year. My wife went with me yesterday to REI to buy boots for her. She wants to go with me on some of my practice hikes for my upcoming PCT trip in 2017. thanks for all your good info!

      2. Well hello!! That’s awesome that you and your wife are going get some hiking in together! It’s always nice to have some company and I really like having more women getting out there!!

        As far as food, well I’ll be honest I had a hard time meeting my calorie needs, especially through the Sierra’s. Took me awhile to figure out I need WAY more food. But mostly I did a lot of cold soak things like Idahoan Potato and Ramen noodles. Mostly though I stuck to things like cheese (last for quite a while), salami, peanut butter and nutella on tortillas, crackers (Triskets!) and tuna packs. I tried to do pop tarts but they get crush, so then it was tons of any kinda protein bars I find.Beyond that is was total junk food snickers, chips, beef jerky, and mmmm Cheeze-Its. Oh and sometimes I would get those whole roasted chickens (pull all the meat off and throw it in a zip lock) maybe even a avocado! Boy was I missing veggies by the time I got back! Hope that helps! Good Luck and have fun getting ready for the trail….part of the journey is the prep!

  2. Never could get use to riding a road bike, but mountain biking is a different story. I got to ride from Vancouver BC to Tijuana Mexican back in 1998 which was the pinnacle of my distance adventures. You have definitely outdone me, and thanks for sharing your wonderful excursions with us. It is both wonderful and captivating, and I hope someday I can sit across from you and hear them first hand😁🍷

  3. Thanks so much for the kind comments. We thoroughly enjoyed being with you and Kelsie. I have so much admiration for you and your adventurous spirit!
    Hope the rest of your hike goes well!

  4. How’s prep for the Arizona trail going? Do you know how long you estimate it’ll take? If you’re interested in writing a story for us send me an email, we’re always looking for unique takes on well-known trails!

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