Friday, August 31, 2012

Tarzan Runs The Bulldog 50K

On August 25 I decided to do something I’ve never done before…run a 50K (31 mile) ultra marathon.  I didn’t just decide to do this on August 25th though…the idea was hatched while hiking on the Appalachian Trail.  I hiked for a few days with the guys from WARRIOR HIKE,, and I talked with Mark about endurance running.  He said that he was interested in trying a long run after the AT to see if he was in shape for ultra running, or just in shape for ultra hiking…I thought I should do the same.  I looked up the Bulldog Ultra Trail Race because I knew it was in Calabasas, CA, close to Santa Barbara.  I sent the race director an email and registered from the AT.  Now all I had to do was finish the Appalachian Trail and keep my legs healthy enough to run the race when I got home.  I thought that after the AT I’d make it back to Santa Barbara and trail run for a few weeks to prepare.  Instead, I finished strong on the AT (hiking 109 miles in the last 3 full days) and spent the next month stretching and struggling to get more than 5 miles of running in, my longest training run being an 8 mile jog in Arizona.  Needless to say, I went into the Bulldog a little unsure of how I would handle it, but that was the point!  When Mark and I talked about this on the trial the idea was to test ourselves and find out if long distance hiking helps improve running.  I had already tested myself in a 5K a week after I finished the AT and I tied my fastest 5K since high school cross country, not bad!  If I could do it in a 5K, why not try a 50K?  Logical, right?  We’d see!

My brother Tyler registered for the Bulldog race as well, and I’m glad he did.  If Tyler wasn’t running I probably would have backed out.  I really didn’t think I could do it.  The morning of August 25th we left Santa Barbara at 3:30 AM and drove to Malibu Creek State Park.  We entered the park at 5 AM, registered, dropped a food bag for the course, and headed to the start line.  Just before the 6:30 AM race start the sun came up and we could see the mountains we’d soon be running…hmmmm. 

The first 25K (15.5 mile) loop was my introduction to the race course.  Whether I liked it or not, I’d have to run it all again.  The morning started cloudy with a thick layer of marine fog, keeping me and the course nice and cool.  It was so thick that I had water condensation on my “not quite thru- hiker” beard.  The first ascent of Bulldog seemed easy, as easy as a 2,000 foot mountain run can be.  I felt good and was able to hold a slow jog up the incline while other runners, including Tyler, stopped to walk.  I made it through the first aid station and up over the peak feeling good, cleared the next section, and headed back down to the start/finish line for the first loop.  The downhill was what I didn’t like.  Runners around me were bombing down, balancing a fine line between being out of control and keeping their feet on the ground.  I decided I didn’t want to risk falling down and the intense jarring of my body didn’t feel right so I slowed down to a jog.  I made it to the bottom, feeling slow, but feeling good, when I heard the loud stomping footsteps of a speeding downhill runner behind me.  It ended up being Tyler.  He said he had caught me, but that his quads were screaming.  We ran the flat section of the trail, crossed a stream, hit the last aid station, and went up and over one last hill climb to the start/finish line.  My food drop had some honey buns, they had been a staple on the Appalachian Trail, but now I had a hard time eating them.  Hard to believe I ate one of these almost every day on the trail!

After the first lap I headed back up Bulldog Road and Tyler took it a little easier.  I thought I’d be able to run back up Bulldog but by the time I started my ascent the fog had cleared and the mountains were baking in the sun.  I ended up walking most of the climb, and everyone else must have too since no one passed me.  From the top of Bulldog I thought I was more or less home free, but I had conveniently forgotten about 4 or 5 more small, but tedious, hill climbs and I ended up walking up these as well.  The long downhill hurt even more the second time around as I tried to hold my momentum back and keep my feet firmly planted on the dirt and gravel trail.  At the bottom I made the stream crossing and stopped at the last aid station to refill my CamelBak.  Leaving the aid station I had only 2.6 miles to go.  I had been on the trail for almost 5 hours and covered almost 29 miles…probably the longest run of my life!  My feet and legs were tired and I had a sharp pain in my foot after the first lap, but that went away.  The downhill running had taken a toll and I had a few hot spots forming on my feet and I hoped I could avoid blisters.  By this time, 5 hours of holding my arms up at my sides had made my biceps extremely tired.  I left the aid station and started running up the last hill climb before the finish and cramps immediately started shooting up and down my legs.  I stopped and walked, trying to keep from moving too far to stimulate the cramp again.  I walked for a few minutes, tried to run until I felt them coming on again, and then walked.  At this point I was only 2 miles from the finish of a 31 mile race and I could walk it in if I needed to.  Once I passed over the last hill climb I was finally able to jog again, but there would be no strong finish on this race, just to finish standing up would be good enough!  I circled the parking lot and made the final stretch and finished in 5 hours, 28 minutes, and 54 seconds.  That is a long time to run, trust me!  Tyler finished in 6:04:03 and said that he was battling cramps the entire second loop and had to walk most of the hills.

Watch this video I made from the 2012 Bulldog 50K

We were both pleased, with very little training we were still able to finish.  Tyler was talking with an experienced ultra runner during the race the runner said that out of all of the 50K and 50 Mile races he has done, the Bulldog is the toughest of them all, by far, and that if we can run this one, we can run most other ultras.  That is good to know!  I finished 4 minutes behind a guy I had been pacing with and after the race he said I should train for more ultras because I had talent for this stuff.  I said thanks, but in my head I wasn’t sure if that was good or bad…do I really want to run this far again?

After hanging out at the finish line we made our way back to Tyler’s truck and as he got in he winced in pain and said his back was hurting really bad.  I wondered why, I mean, I felt fine.  Then I sat down into the truck and my back touched the seat, full body shock of pain!  My back was so tender from the CamelBak water bladder bouncing in my backpack for 5 hours that sitting down was extremely difficult!  That’s a whole new level or running pain!

All in all it was a great day and I’m glad I did it.  I wanted to test myself and test my body.  What had the AT done for me?  Was I in great athletic shape, or was I just in good hiking shape?  I felt like the AT prepared me for the hills and the endurance.  I was able to run more of the hills than most other runners around me and I did not feel fatigued or tired toward the end of the race, I mean back on the AT I was hiking this distance on a daily basis.  Running a 50K was much different than hiking 31 miles and I do think next time I tackle this race I will train specifically for it.

Thanks again for the staff and race director at the Bulldog 50K, to my brother for running with me, and to all the other runners for being so supportive along the trail!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Giving Presentations

As I settle into the "real world" after the trail I've realized one thing...that I like talking about the trail!  I don't mind rounds of rapid fire questions about me, hikers, or the trail.  I like to talk about what I learned, what I liked, and what I did on a daily basis from Georgia to Maine.  I especially enjoy giving presentations to any group of mostly interested audience members.  This past week I was fortunate to be asked to give a 30 minute presentation to the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara (which I am a member of, so the audience was stacked in my favor!).  I arrived early, set up my tent and my gear, and after lunch I spoke for a half an hour with almost 80 people about the Appalachian Trail.  After my presentation many people stuck around and asked more questions and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it!  Thank you to all who participated and I hope you had as much fun as I did!

The video above has a few clips from my presentation.  It can also be watched via YouTube by clicking the link here:

If your group, club, or organization is interested in seeing this presentation please contact me via

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Hiker In The City

It is well over a month now since I completed the AT.  I have been working on settling back into "reality" and I'm not sure if I'm being successful or playing the avoidance game.  I have enjoyed being home so far, taking advantage of the finer things in life like a change of clothes and a soft couch to relax on, but there are some aspects of the trail that I miss.  I still don't really feel like I did it, like I hiked the entire AT, but when I see pictures from the trail on facebook I start feeling drawn back to the White Blazes.  The other day the "friend suggestions" section of my facebook page was full of profile pictures from Katahdin, a lot of hiking buddies!  In the "real world" there are so many choices and distractions in the day that I miss having the simple goal of walking north on the trail.  Just a few minutes ago my hiking buddy Meat posted "Whoa!  Where'd the simple life go?", and I agree with him!  When I wake up here in Santa Barbara I have a hundred things to do each day, most of which will not be done.  On the trail I had one thing to do, walk.  That was nice...

Walking around town the past few weeks I've found myself leaning forward like I am compensating for a backpack that isn't there.  When I did walk with an old high school backpack I felt like I was missing a hip belt and frame.  I am still having a hard time running on sidewalks, my feet and joints feel the pounding.  I recently told a fellow hiker that instead of waiting to feel better to run, maybe I should just make it hurt until it feels better.  I did that this past weekend by running a 31 mile trail race, and on most accounts I feel better now than I did before!  My toes still seem to be a little numb though, and I hope that changes soon.

While driving around town the other day I passed a guy with a cardboard sign asking for money.  As I looked at the man with the sign and considered giving him some cash I realized that he was making more money than me!  At the end of the day he'd be finishing with more cash than I have!  Is he "working" harder than me?  How do I make some money?  I have also found myself walking around town checking out the homeless people's backpacks and gear, a habit that I am sure has carried over from the trail.  A pointless observation, I have yet to see an ultralight homeless person, they all seem to have a lot of heavy gear.

Spending lots of time at home gives me plenty of time to think.  Some ideas are productive, others...not so much.  The other day I was drinking filtered water because it is better for me than tap water, and I thought "If it is better for me, shouldn't my dog drink from the Brita as well?"  Thoughts like that probably won't help pay the bills...

I wanted to meet up with SpAcE (AT 2009) and I told him that I was available whenever since I am currently unemployed...he replied "You are not unemployed, you are FUN-employed!"  I thought about it for a minute and said, "OK, maybe I am self employed" and he corrected me again, FUN-employed.  I have been spending the majority of my days working on projects or doing research in my specific interests with the goal of having a business that I enjoy.  So far it isn't making money, but I feel like down the road it is not impossible to make a living doing something I love.  I just finished reading Yvon Chouinard's book "Let My People Go Surfing".  The book is about how Yvon started and grew Patagonia into a global brand and in the book Yvon included the quote below.  I think it illustrates my thought process of "work" after the trail.

A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation.  He hardly knows which is which.  He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing.  To himself, he always appears to be doing both.  – Francois Auguste Rene Chateaubriand

If you can't tell, lots of my time now is spent pursuing ways to "make money" without getting a "real job".  I'm not sure how it will happen yet, but I wake up early every day and start the ball some point I hope it rolls in the right direction!  Well...I guess it's back to work...or play...or FUNemployment...whatever you want to call it!

Monday, August 27, 2012

MEAT Completes The AT!

Hot off the hiking buddy (and college roommate) Meat just completed his 2012 thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail!  We hiked the first 900 miles together and then both "hiked our own hike" so I'm really looking forward to swapping stories from the trail!  See his summit pictures below and check his blog soon for a more detailed account of his finish:

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sweet Home California

Three weeks have already gone by since I reached the summit of Mount Katahdin and I don’t know where the time has gone.  I spent two weeks traveling across the country visiting friends and family in Indiana, Michigan, Colorado, and Arizona and finally made it home to California.  I spent a week here in Santa Barbara unpacking, reorganizing, seeing friends, and catching up on life.  I had planned to update the blog with my mileage stats, my recommended gear list, and some other thoughts on my transition back to the real world but that writing kept being pushed off by spending time with friends, doing the dishes, walking the dog, and a myriad of other mundane tasks that are pretty much normal, but also foreign to me after spending almost 5 months away from home.

Driving across the country was a great buffer between the trail and the “real world” for me.  I enjoyed spending time with my wife Amy and my dog Pre and our family and friends we visited along the way.  The hours of driving fast (but mostly near the speed limit) were interesting after sustaining a 2 to 3 mile per hour pace day in and day out for almost 5 months.  It was a weird feeling to see the campsite symbol on the highway exit signs designating that a camping facility was approaching.  Of course, it was typically a KOA Kampground, which includes tent sites with running water, fire pits, parking spots, and access to hot showers and a kitchen…not exactly like the AT shelters I camped at along the trail.  Most importantly, they cost money and I am not keen on paying to set up my tent and sleep on the ground.  It brought back frustrations of not being allowed to set my tent up wherever I wanted, in town or out of town.  There are always rules about no camping here, or no loitering there, but all a thru-hiker really wants to do is get some rest.  Of course, in recent days my hiking buddy Meat has mastered the technique of stealth camping in Maine, setting up for the night in a few small town baseball diamond dugouts…I wish I had thought of that!

My visit to Indiana was nice; I had been daydreaming on the trail about spending some time relaxing on the farm.  I had several days to sit and do nothing with my family.  I stretched out in the hammock and read a book, cleaned my hiking gear, sat on the porch and did nothing, and generally enjoyed not hiking.  Amy and Pre arrived and we spent the weekend visiting with friends and family and trying to beat the heat in the shade.  Before we left for Michigan mom had all of the family over for a big celebration and we topped it off by shooting a few hundred rounds at clay pigeons.  A great visit home!

One of the major events on my trip home was losing my beard.  I wasn’t that attached to it, but it was a temporary mark of distinction for completing the trail.  It wasn’t attractive, I know that…but at no time in the rest of my life do I intend to grow a 5 month beard, so I wanted to wear it with pride for a little while longer before going back to a more civilized look.  Of course, Amy wasn’t a fan.  I think there is a piece of advice that experienced married men tell newlywed men…something like “if she’s not happy, you’re not happy”, and I now understand that statement.  Amy really wasn’t happy with the beard, so in the end I wasn’t either.  In Michigan I trimmed my beard, and at the same time Amy trimmed my hair.  In less than an hour I lost my thru-hiker beard and the ability to put my hair in a pony tail, a big change that I really had to deal with!  After a few days of of tearing up when I looked in a mirror it became my new norm and I didn’t mind the more civilized Tarzan look.
A highlight of the visit to Michigan was a party that Amy’s family hosted to welcome me home.  Amy’s sisters had a custom made cake commemorating my hike from Amicalola Falls, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine.  It was great to spend time with friends and family in each location celebrating the completion of the trail.  I don’t think it had really sunk in yet that I was actually done.  We traveled so much over the two weeks, sleeping in different beds and living out of the car, that I still felt like I was on the move.  I talked with hikers I had finished with and several of them said they already missed being on the trail.  Since I hadn’t actually been “home” yet I don’t think I even had a chance to miss it!

During our stay in Colorado with Aunt Karen and Seat Belt we toured a Colorado gold mine.  We got to see what it was like to be a gold miner in the boom days.  After the tour we actually panned for gold and found a few specks of gold dust, but no major discoveries.  While we were panning to strike it rich with an ounce of gold I wondered how many ounces of gold I would have carried in my backpack if I had been allowed to keep whatever I hauled from Georgia to Maine?  Interesting thought after my obsessive attempt to drop every ounce I could…but no one made me that offer at Springer Mountain, so it’s probably not a very productive thought!
In Arizona I had the opportunity to give a presentation about my journey to the residents of the Las Fuentes Resort Village where my grandparents live.  My Grandma and Grandpa Clemens made sure to print out each of my blog posts and share them with their friends and many of the residents had been following my journey from Georgia to Maine.  My Friday afternoon presentation drew a pretty good crowd and I used projector screen to show photos and laid out my gear and set up a “camp” inside the building so that everyone could see what it was like to be on the Appalachian Trail.  The presentation lasted almost an hour and later that afternoon we attended a happy hour social with everyone and shared more stories about the AT.  I heard from several people who said they had lived around the Appalachian Trail, hiked part of it, or at least had visited some of the places I visited.  I met one man who said when he was a Boy Scout his troop was in charge of maintaining a 2 mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail!
Before heading back to California my dad and I hiked up Spruce Mountain in Prescott and at the top we visited a working fire tower.  The fire tower had a panoramic view and was in great shape, which was a big difference from the old dilapidated fire towers I had been climbing along the Appalachian Trail.  The mountains out west are much different than the Appalachians and I was enjoying the new scenery and landscape of the trails.

Once back in Santa Barbara I was finally able to access my entire wardrobe, which seems incredibly too large after hiking in the same clothes day in and day out for 136 days.  When I attended my Rotary Club meeting I wore a tie for the first time in 5 months.  I put on my dress shoes and after 3 weeks off the trail I’m still having a hard time fitting back into my normal shoe size.  I bought hiking shoes 1 size bigger for the AT since my feet would expand while hiking…but I thought that would just be a problem on the trail and back home I would go back to my normal shoe size.  A few days after I finished the AT I told my buddy SpAcE (AT hiker in 2009) that my feet still hurt but I was letting them heal.  He replied that his feet still hurt him every morning, not as bad as they used to, but still…3 years later!  I hope that’s not permanent, and I hope my feet go back to my normal size; otherwise I have a lot of shoe shopping to do!

My first week home in Santa Barbara was relaxing.  I had plans of getting a lot of things done but as the week progressed I found myself more interested in doing the dishes, cleaning the apartment, and walking the dog, all activities that may not sound interesting, but after 4 months of hiking on the Appalachian Trail things like camping, hitchhiking to town, and hiking up mountains sound like work to me.  I am finding that the definition of “work” and “chores” is more a matter of reference to what one performs on a daily basis.  As a long distance hiker on the AT camping was work, but doing the dishes is fun!  I’m sure this thought process will change soon; we are all very good at living in the moment when it comes to work.  By the time the weekend rolled around I found myself getting antsy.  I had enjoyed sleeping in, visiting with friends, and browsing through gear at REI, but I needed to feel like a productive cog in society.  I took some time to set a very strict schedule for myself and starting today I’m “working” hard.  I’m going to be working on a few marketing projects here in Santa Barbara as well as some personal business ideas.

I think for the time being I will stick around here close to home.  I enjoyed the long trip of the Appalachian Trail, but man it is good to be home!  Besides, like this picture shows...I think people at home missed me.  The first day home Pre fell asleep on my hiking shoes...maybe his way of saying don't leave again?  I intend to finish this AT blog with a few more posts concerning my mileage stats, a gear review, and the next steps towards my next adventure.  Stay tuned and thanks again for following my journey!

What is this "Day Hiking" you speak of?

The alarm rang at 5:45 AM.  It was only a little over a week since I’d finished the Appalachian Trail and I’d been mostly relaxing, but I was ready to get back into the mountains.  My wife Amy and I had spent more than a week in Indiana and Michigan visiting with friends and family before making the long, boring drive from the Midwest to Colorado.  It was flat, and there was a lot of corn, but I was in a car and moving fast…much different than the past few months on the trail!  We crossed the vast expanses of Nebraska and eastern Colorado, passed through Denver, and then started making our way up the steep grade into the Rocky Mountains…ahhh…I felt instinctively back at home, comfortable in the mountains, and ready to be on the trail.  I mentioned to Amy that she could drop me off there and I’d hike to my aunt and uncle’s house in Breckenridge, but she said no.  When we arrived in Breckenridge my aunt and uncle showed us around and we started planning a hike…time to get back on the trail!

A little after 6 AM my uncle Jim (trail name Seat Belt) and I loaded up the truck with our gear and my aunt drove us to the trail head.  It was a weird feeling to be putting my hiking gear back into my pack and securing it to my back, but this time was different.  I removed my tent, sleeping pad and sleeping bag and left them at home.  We were doing a day hike, or a slack pack, whichever you prefer to call it.  I placed my phone back in the waterproof bag and put it in my hip belt pocket.  I grabbed the rest of the toilet paper from the bathroom and put it in a plastic bag, it is always good to be prepared.  We packed food…I still had some trail mix I had used on the AT so I threw that in along with some apples and energy bars.  It was nice knowing that I could take fresh fruit with me on the trail and not worry about extra weight.  Once everything was in my backpack I closed it and took a look…much smaller!  I think I could get used to this day hiking stuff!  Aunt Karen dropped Seat Belt and me off at the trail around 6:30 AM.  From there we would climb through a valley, past several tarns (mountain lakes formed by glaciers), and eventually scramble up a rocky slope to the summit of Pacific Peaks and make the same type of descent down the other side and down the adjacent valley.  I grabbed my trekking poles and we started.  My feet felt great in my hiking shoes, my legs were used to the uphill strain, and the pack was featherweight!  The only thing that hurt was my hands pressed against my trekking poles.  Over the past week my hands had been sore and the top layer of skin had been pealing from the wear and tear of hiking in Maine.  Today my hands felt raw and tender to any pressure from the trekking poles, but no problem…we were back on the trail!

We took our time climbing through the valley, stopping to take pictures of wildlife and the views and enjoying the great morning.  Back on the Appalachian Trail I wouldn’t have taken this luxury and I would have pressed on, but the scenery in the Rockies was so much different that I really enjoyed taking it all in.  When we neared the end of the valley the trail disappeared and the rock walls ahead of us looked daunting, making me think that most hikers typically turn around and head back down.  Of course, that wasn’t Seat Belt’s plan!  We hiked on, blazing our own trail across a vast rock field that would put the rocks of Pennsylvania to shame.  Eventually the rolling hills of rocks ran out and we faced a steep wall with no apparent route up.  We started climbing an old miner’s donkey trail until it vanished under an old rock slide.  From there we picked our way up the loose rocks, being careful not to cause another rock slide or slide down the steep slope ourselves.  This was much different than the Appalachian Trail hikes, and although I don’t enjoy this type of hiking, I never felt like we were in danger…well, not that much danger.  We eventually made it up the slope and climbed another rock ridge to see Pacific Peak towering above Pacific Tarn, the highest lake in the United States at 13,420 feet above sea level.  We picked our way up a rocky spine to the top of Pacific Peak and summated at 11:00 AM.  The top of Pacific Peak is 13,950 feet above sea level…50 feet short of being considered one of Colorado’s 14’ers, but still pretty darn high considering the tallest point on the entire Appalachian Trail is Clingmans Dome at 6,643 feet above sea level.  I could feel the elevation for sure, either that or the breathtaking views from the top made it hard to get air.
Seat Belt and I took our time on the peak, taking pictures and enjoying the views.  We headed back down the other valley to meet Amy and Aunt Karen at Mohawk Lake.  We stopped at Pacific Tarn to refill our water bottles from the highest lake in the US…that water was fantastic!  In order to get to our rendezvous point we had to travel down another steep rocky slope that looked more like a play slide for truck sized boulders than something we could climb down.
We looked for the path of most resistance…the path of least resistance would be straight down and we preferred to find a route with rocks and ledges that we could use to keep us from sliding several hundred feet at a time.  At one point I did lose my footing and slid down about 30 feet while my water bottle fell out of my pack and made a much longer tumble down to Seatbelt.  As I took my steps carefully I watched for any signs of rockslides, which was difficult because most rockslides I saw were actually caused by Seat Belt…he thoroughly enjoys rolling big rocks downhill and watching them crash…I prefer to not think about that as the next tumbler could be me!  The climb (controlled slide) down the face of the rock wall took a lot longer than we intended and by the time we met Aunt Karen and Amy at the lake they had been there waiting for over an hour.

The day's forecast had called for storms and the rain had held off so far, thank goodness, but I didn’t really want to chance it!  We started heading down the trail and halfway to the truck the clouds rolled in and the sky opened up.  Suddenly there was a deafening crash and a flash of lightening right in front of us; it had struck just a few hundred feet away.  Time to get off the mountain!  I headed down and caught up with Amy as she was standing with a group of people who had just seen the lightening strike.  They were all pretty shaken up and one young man asked “Are you the AT hiker?  What should we do?”  I said “I’m getting off this mountain!”  I walked past on my way down and everyone else started following me.  When the lightening hit it shook some people up and they wondered if they should take shelter or head down the trail to where the lightening had struck.  Amy said her husband (that’s me!) had just finished hiking the entire Appalachian Trail and that I would know what to do.  Of course, the AT is much different than the Rockies and I’m not that much of an expert on wilderness survival…but one thing I did know is that I was sick of hiking in rain!  I didn’t care where the storm was, I was hiking as fast as possible to the dry truck so that we could drive home and I could take a shower, put on dry clothes, and sit in the dry cabin all night.  As I walked past everyone and they started following me downhill I heard the young man’s mother ask her son “Are you sure we should go?” and he said “Yes mom, he just hiked the Appalachian Trail!”  Well, if they only knew my real motives…I was sick of rain!  We made it to the truck, but not before getting completely soaked.  When the tailgate opened the three dogs wasted no time climbing in and escaping the rain.  We all piled in and headed to town.  Amy made the comment that “That was fun!”…I said “Yup, now try walking for the next 4 hours in that rain, setting up your tent, climbing in, and waking up in the morning and putting your wet clothes back on and doing it all again.”  Not my idea of fun!  It was a great hike but I was hungry!  I ate the apples, but I couldn’t put down the trail mix…I think it was too soon after the trail.  When we got back to the house we left the wet gear out, cleaned up, and spent a dry night enjoying the Olympics.  Yup!  I think I could get used to this day hiking stuff!