Home Coming!

Tomorrow morning (December 25, 2012) we pick Brad up at Sea-Tac.  He is returning, on Christmas Day, from China and an Annapurna Circuit trek.  Yessi returns to Xiamen, her home.  From Brad and Yessi's smiling faces and the beautiful mountains, I can only conclude they are having a fabulously good time.

Tomorrow we'll hear the details.  I so very much am looking forward to seeing Brad.  

Happy holidays to all of you dear friends and family and unknown followers of this blog.  Peace!

Brad & Yessi and THE mountains!





Annapurna Circuit -- One last Trek in 2012!

2012, a year of  life-changing adventures:   First, Brad tramped the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand, then he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in the US, and now he's trekking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal.  He's hoping to put 5,000 miles on his walking feet before year's end.

Brad travelled to China in November to visit a friend, Yessi, sightsee in China and take care of some medical needs -- mostly getting much-needed dental work tended to.  The quote for the dental work in the US that  he needed was $5500.  Yessi researched dental work in Xiamen, her home, and discovered he could have the same work, plus more, done for $1100.  The difference paid for the trip and is rounding out Brad's 2012 year with one final thru-hike.

Brad and Yessi touring the Hong Kong area:

Yessi & Brad

View of Hong Kong from hotel room

Hong Kong street scene

Brad & Yessi sightseeing in Hong Kong

B & B

Brad visiting Yessi's family in Xiemen, China:

Yessi and her mom provide spreads like this three times a day

Yessi and her family -- mom, nieces, sister-in-law and brother



Arriving in Kathmandu, Nepal:

Brad and Yessi at Kathmandu Airport

Experiencing Kathmandu:


PCT Finish!

Freestyle completed the PCT from Mexico to Manning B.C
Congratulations Brad!!!

PCT Finish - 2012!

Freestyle on the PCT, 2012

Freestyle at 2500 PCT miles

PCT into Washington

Brad has returned "home".  Well, not really, but he's back in Washington after 10 months in NZ, California and Oregon, hiking, hiking, hiking.  First he completed the Te Araroa Trail in NZ and then the California and Oregon sections of the Pacific Crest Trail.  Crossing the Bridge of the Gods yesterday put him back on home soil, back on the soil of his birth.  He's now hiking in Washington and plans to finish the Washington Section in early October.

Via skype and chat and e-mail and telephone I've been able to "travel" along with him.  He's blogged his journey and I've blogged his journey.  The double perspective of Brad's direct experiences and a mom's experiences through photographs, research and the occasional direct contacts, has been fun and enlightening.   I have felt pride, envy, love, loss, fear, worry, and happiness.  A son's growth, resolve,  and self-examination forces the same in a mother.  

As Brad's trip has unfolded, I've needed to continue to use the different names he's taken on.  Before he left he was Brad to me, his family, and his local friends, but his business was dbBrad.  Once he got to New Zealand he called himself dbBrad and so did all of his NZ hiking companions.  Then on the PCT his trail name became Freestyle so all his PCT friends call him Freestyle.   I find myself moving from Brad to dbBrad to Freestyle with more ease than I thought possible.

Brad, dbBrad, Freestyle

One of the happy results of spending almost a year alone, or with contemplative hiking companions, in beautiful new territory is self-examination.  In this self-examination, Brad has reached a desire to return the gifts of the trail.  He is wanting to raise money for exercise's contribution to health so selected a fund raising goal of $10,000 to be given to The American Heart Association and the Pacific Crest Trail.  Please, dear friends and family, go to Heart on the Trail, and help Brad or is it dbBrad or is it Freestyle, reach his goal.

Hiking for Health ~ Get your Heart on the Trail


PCT into Oregon

The PCT unfolds on dbBrad's blog and Home on Whidbey's blog, if you want more details.  Fredley on Whidbey is hitting highlights only and Crater Lake is always a highlight  for everyone, Freestyle included.  For the most part Freestyle is anxious to complete Oregon.  It's mostly easy trails through forests and Freestyle much prefers challenging trails high above tree line.  California starred in the high elevations with the steep and difficult trails Brad loves.  Washington does too, as he knows, having done much of the Washington PCT in 2011.

Sisters, OR was Freestyle's stopping point yesterday. September 1, 2012.  He expects to be at Chinook Pass in two weeks.

Crater Lake, Oregon

Freestyle (aka Brad) on top of the world at Crater Lake


PCT South to PCT Central

Another transition happened today with Brad crossing from California's Southern PCT to the Central PCT.  He's traveled from predominately the hot and dry desert to the high Sierras.  From very hot to the strong possibility of snow in the land of the giant trees and mountains plus the extremes in elevation and weather.  The rattlesnakes will be consistent but the bears a bigger problem.  Bob cats, mountain lions, coyote and fox could be sighted. 

I've heard about the Pacific Crest Trail for years and years, and with a great deal of interest have noted the trail signs from time-to-time when I've been in the mountains.  But, I must admit, I never really focused on the "crest" part of the trail name.  Now that I'm looking at a PCT map daily, the meaning of "crest" is being driven home.  The trail does go through the desert, but on the crest not the flat, and so the trail continues on the crest all the way through California, Oregon and Washington.

Pacific Crest Trail Association
trail overview
What a national treasure we have and how lucky we are that the PCT travels through our state and from tip-to-tip of our beautiful Pacific coast.


PCT - Another Day; Another Trail!

Brad checks out the Pacific Crest Trail from the PCT monument at the Mexican border as he prepares to start hiking.

Brad 5/5/12


Te Araroa Finish

Hallelujah! Brad, with five tramping friends, completed the Te Araroa Trail 4/20/12, Bluff, NZ, with much excitement and fanfare!  Five months and 1800 miles of tramping, sometimes together, sometimes solo, sometimes in mixed combinations, these trampers met on the trail sharing friendships, huts, tracks, food, wet feet, blisters, beauty, difficulty, exhaustion, pleasure, and so much more.  Two days before Bluff they coincidentally all ended up at the same hostel, serendipitously finishing together.

Arnaud, Brad, Richard, Flore, Ludo, Charlie


The Cross Over...

A milestone day, the day of Brad's crossing Cook Strait from the North Island to the South Island. The North Island was challenging, but the South Island will be more challenging. Fewer towns so resupply is more difficult; much more remote and isolated; fewer opportunities for e-mailing friends and family; tougher trails; and the days are getting shorter and colder. The Te Araroa Trail has been unfolding with many wonderful memories and friends being accumulated along the way. On it goes...

Cook Strait Ferry


A Milestone Almost Reached

Brad left Whidbey the middle of November for an "adventure of a life time". A five month trek from the north end of the North Island to the south end of the South Island on the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand.

Brad will cross from North Island to South Island, early February. Tomorrow he leaves Palmerston for Wellington, where he will catch the ferry to cross Cook Strait.