North Star is slowly recovering from shingles. The first four days after she began taking medications were rough. The painful lesions grew and she felt terrible. On the fifth day her symptoms finally lessened slightly. She is still low on energy, but we are happy to report that she is now improving a little each day.

Our family, friends, and this online community have been amazing throughout this tough time. Thank you so very much for your supportive comments, suggestions, and good wishes. We’ve read your notes many times. They lifted our spirits and put smiles on our faces. Thank you.

While North Star was out of commission, the Annual Day Zero PCT Kick-Off (ADZPCTKO) event occurred. This Southern California gathering marks the beginning of many thru hikers’ journeys. It’s also a reunion of past PCT hikers. We obviously couldn’t make it, but Gossamer Gear kindly shared our PCT photography book in their booth. Hopefully some of you got to flip through the pages. We wish all the 2013 PCT hikers a wonderful and exciting adventure. Have fun and remember to HYOH (hike your own hike).

North Star probably won’t regain her full health for a while so our plan remains to keep things low key. We’ll be writing essays for two magazines(!), acquainting ourselves with Fort Collins, Colorado, and researching backpacking options in the Rockies. The dramatic mountains here are already beckoning us to come out and adventure…when we’re healthy.

Rocky Mountain National Park
Good memories from Rocky Mountain National Park, February 2011


  1. Many thoughts of you two!! Take good care. Such an important message you are sending that healing comes first.

    Where are you staying? Do you have to start looking for jobs? Margaret A.


  2. Wow, what a picture from 2011! The thing about the AT is it ain’t got nothing on the west coast…eh?! You guys will be back in action, exploring the explorable and going where no one’s gone before in no time! Cheers! – Skippy


  3. So glad to hear the news that North Star is on the road to recovery. We had been thinking of you both and hoping all was improving for you. :)


  4. Glad to hear North Star is on the mend. Wishing you both continued health and good fortune. I’ll surely follow along on whatever path you find yourselves on going forward!


  5. Happy to hear North Star is doing better….will continue to pray for healing. Love the picture of the Rocky Mountains. Our daughter & husband live in Laramie, Wyoming. Planning on visiting them in July and may take a 4 or 5 day trip to the Rocky Mountain National Park. Any day hike trails that you recommend??


  6. My best wishes to North Star. Are you off the AT? If so, no worries: the trail will always be there.

    Some of your great images were shown at the PCT Class Video of 2012 at the ADZPCTKO, and one of the final photos was of both of you at the border. Fantastic! I don’t know if you have already downloaded the video, but there is a relatively easy way to do so.

    Thank you so much for all of your excellent information and commentary. I first read your hiking information while sitting on a beach in Thailand. Next week, I will start my section hike of the PCT. Your writing and thoughts are inspirational!


  7. I had shingles once, so I can relate to the pain and discomfort North Star is experiencing. At that time medicine was not yet created, only Benadryl and Calamine lotion.

    Colorado hiking is on my bucket list. The photo is fantastic! Looking forward to learning more about the trails thru your experiences.


  8. Whoa! Just taking this news all in. Good move to get thee to a mold-free sanctuary immediately. Your journey continues and deepens. Good health on the way for you both. And new gorgeous nature awaits.


  9. So glad to hear you’re recovering, Anna. Take your time and heal all the way, then stretch your wings again. And let us know which magazines and when your articles will be appearing in. Your faithful followers will want to enjoy them.


  10. Someday in a healthier time go to Marble, CO, and hike up to the marble mine, if that is possible these days. The far reaches of the Crystal River valley and the surrounding areas are wonderous.


  11. My goodness! So glad you are on the mend, Anna. Thinking of you as Gang Green pulled off another crazy Calistoga-to-Santa Cruz relay. Miss you back here at EPA. Look forward to joining paths with you again! -Dante (a.k.a. Spidey)


  12. We came across your blog 3-4 months ago and needless to say, you guys have been a HUGE blessing for us. The PCT is our planned 2014 “Vacation” of a lifetime — and your gear lists, food/gear reviews, and blogs have been our favorite find! Our hearts dropped out of our chests when we read that you had to pull off the AT. Prayers for both of you! We’re hoping to see more updates and will probably be posting again with some questions here and there!
    Thanks for documenting everything so well – from ounces to trip plans to killer pictures!
    ~ Eli & Emily Conlee


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