Heading out my Backyard

January 23, 2022. Granite Bay to Avery’s Pond 16.3 Miles

77 days to go and it’s getting serious. I have switched some things up, new pack and new shoes. Two of the most important pieces of gear and I’m changing them both. Well, at least I am trying them out.

My backpack is Gossamer G20 which is around 40 liters. A bit smaller that I usually carry but I was thinking with so many town stops and resupply options along the way, it should be fine. The jury is still out being my gear alone basically fills the inners and doesn’t leave much space for food. This could be a problem as eating is a very vital part of hiking. You need to replenish the thousands of calories that your body is expending as you walk up and down the glorious trail.

As for my shoes, this is near and dear to my heart! If your feet are sore or they are not happy, there’s no way you can put in the daily miles. I have been a true blue loyal customer to Solomons for the past ten years. I wore them on countless hikes, treks and thru-hikes, so why on Gods green earth would I switch? My number one reason is the rocks, roots and mud I will encounter on the AT. The Appalachian Trail is known for being an old trail and with that comes worn out footpaths and countless rocks! My Solomon’s don’t provide the padding that my aging feet are requiring these days. So I am trying out Altras. They are most popular for long distant hikers being they have a wide toe box and rear trap that holds your gaiters in place. The model I am trying is Timp2 which is a zero drop (mimics barefoot hiking), has a solid vibrant sole and cushy heel. I will let my feet decide as they are the boss of this choice.

Today I walked out my front door and headed north on the Pioneer Express Trail. This is a horse trail that takes you from Sacramento to Auburn. If you are really adventurous, you can keep walking to Squaw Valley. Where I live, I can walk two blocks and I’m on the trail. So I donned my pack full of all the essentials, tent, sleeping bag, pad, stove, clothes and food and headed towards the north. My game plan is Avery’s Pond, about 14-15 miles up the trail. I had my trust companion Zoey with me, a wonderful four-legged creature who was made for this type of travel. She carry’s her own pack filled with dog food, dog treats and her bowl and leash. The leash rarely comes out but it is required so she brings it with, ever so reluctantly.

The day was perfect. Blue skies, warming temperatures and relatively dry trails. There were a few other furry legged animals on the trail, along with some trail runners but I was the only backpacker. Honestly I can’t say that I’ve ever seen anyone else besides me backpacking on this piece of real estate. I’m not sure why as it is beautiful and relatively flat. The trail meanders through oak trees, brush and a bit of poison oak. It follows Folsom Lake and has beautiful vistas and rock outcroppings that overlook the water. I truly am blessed to have Folsom Lake State Park in my backyard.

As Zoey and I navigated the trail, we saw many horses and riders. Most the horse people are quite friendly and Zoey has due respect for these behemoth animals! She knows to stay away from their hind legs and typically sits on the side of the trail, without being asked, and watches as they pass us. For being a dog, she is quite smart and minds her manners. I couldn’t ask for a better behaved McNab and she is pretty happy that her owner takes her out regularly to stretch her paws!

We arrived at Rattlesnake Bar Boat Ramp and were greeted by my husband George with oranges and apples, carbonated water and beef jerky. Zoey loved the jerky as I chowed down on the fresh fruit. There is something magical about juicy fruit when all you typically eat is dried fruit or leather strips. George stayed for a bit and then nodded farewell as Zoey and I meandered up the last bit of our trail for the day. We made it to Avery’s Pond to find it quite empty. With the lack of rain the past few years, many lakes and ponds have dried up. We continued on and found a nice sheltered plateau above Folsom Lake. Zoey began bird watching as I set up for the night.

The evening was cool and once the sun set, it was downright cold. We both squeezed into our tent, had dinner and proceeded to sleep early. Tomorrow will be a warmer.

September 24, 2022. Avery’s Pond to Auburn Overlook 6.5 Miles

What a night. Zoey was on watch all night. She kept going in and out of the tent, star gazing and looking for nocturnal critters that were obviously going to invade our campsite. Then she started barking and growling at the wind. She was definitely on guard defending my presence. I had little to zero sleep and rose with the sun. Honestly I just wanted to drink some coffee and head up the hill to Auburn.

We tore down camp. Who am I kidding? I tore down camp as Zoey watched. We had breakfast, me polenta and sausage, Zoey lamb and rice with beef jerky sprinkled in. We both ate every single morsel and cleaned our bowls! Once packed up, we headed up the trail to Auburn. The trail followed the northern portion of Folsom Lake. The trail is well maintained and we saw quite a few runners this morning enjoying the perfect weather for mid-January. Only in California Will the temperatures dip down to the 30’s at night and warm to the 60’s in the day during what is suppose to be winter! Yes, we need more rain but I’ll wait till I get home for the rain dance!

As I think back on my two day jaunt, I believe my feet approve of the new shoes. It was touch and go for a bit as I got used to the Zero Drop but once my calves were stretched to their limits, all was good. The pack fits perfectly. It has wide padded shoulders and the hip belt sits right where it needs to. There is something splendid about having a base weight of less than 15 pounds. I was 12.4 pounds without food and water so there’s nothing to complain about when your backpack weighs less than many peoples daypack!

My Lord shined on me as I ventured out on this little adventure. He was present with all His glorious beauty, warm sunshine and numerous stars in the night sky. I know there are some people who question my thoughts of walking into the woods all by myself. But honestly, I am never alone. I hear God speaking to me as I climb the hills, when I come around a bend and marvel at this creation of his, or when I sit in my tent praying. I am never alone nor am I lonely. It is the solitude that I am relishing in, the quietness that I desire and the never ending source of peace. It is the end of a perfect day!

6 thoughts on “Heading out my Backyard

  1. So beautiful Kelly . How Blessed are you to be able to walk so many miles on the amazing trails God created. I’m looking forward to many more readings from you . Much love and admiration goes with you my Dear Friend.


  2. I have been one of the horse riders on those trails. Everything is a beautiful green this time of year. Post some pictures…especially of your watch McNabb!!


  3. Kelly I love all the beautiful, peaceful surroundings you & Zoey get to experience! I see God in all His glory, through your eyes!. Safe journey, My beautiful friend.


  4. Hey Kelly I am packing the Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60L.
    I am worried about shoes as well but will stick with my Merrills to start the trail.
    I am packing the Gossamer Gear The Two for my tent. I got it second-hand.
    Looking good! #ClassOf2022 Let’s Go!


  5. Oh Kelly I love your posts! Your journeys are always so interesting and the best part is that you always point to God. This is always encouraging! Miss you dear BSF girlfriend! God continue to protect you and keep you safe in all your treks!

    Liked by 1 person

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