Posted by: blinklove | October 26, 2010

Blink’s Back!

Home sweet home in Winston-Salem, NC! The Blink Love team arrived in their BlinkMobile today, Oct. 26th, after over 7 months away from home. Heather and Stephen’s friends and family were not only delighted to see them once again, safe, sound, and not having to sleep in the rain that greeted them on their way home from their favorite restaurant… but also greeted with good news.

The truth is, our readers are awesome.
Not only are our readers awesome, but they are also our supporters and donors.

YOU ARE AWESOME!
In less that 14 days, Blink Donors have showed up to walk the walk and talk the talk, adding 39 new donor parties and $3029.71 more to the total.

This brings the current fundraising total to:
$12,898.21

 

A special thanks to all of those below who helped the total climb to this level. You all just helped a living creature live a more rewarding life.

Ms. Roslyn Abramovitch ,Dr. Eben Alexander III, Mr. Hunter Bahnson, Ms. Frankie D. Bell, Mr. Kenneth Christian, Mr. Roane and Ann Cross, Ms. Nancy Dennis, Mr. Brian Doherty, Jed and Gwyn Dunn, Mike and Debbie Eichenhorn, Mrs. Lyons Gray, Mr. and Mrs. Earl Guill, Ms. Harriett D. Harris, Mrs. Thomas K. Hearn, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Michael R. Hough, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Hsu, Mr. Dave and Robbie Irvin, Ms. Carol Kierstead, Ms. Chatham Kierstead, Mrs. Acra Kluttz, Ms. Louise Lucas, Mr. John Magee, Ms. Sylvia McClintick, Ms. Liz McDowell, Ms. Shippey K. McDowell, Ms. Marianne Mebane, Mr. Keith Murphy, Ms. Leigh T. Myers, Ms. Bonnie J. Phillips, Mr. Scott and Pat Pollard, Ms. Margaret Scales, Ms. Joan W. Stone, Ms. Jen Strong, Mr. Myles and Lee Thompson, Mr. and Mrs. Michael A. Trawick, Ms. Cindy Whaling, Ms. Anna White, Mrs. Catherine R. Williams, and Ms. Patricia S. Wilson

Please see all of our amazing donors to the right.

However, we are still over $13,000 shy of our fundraising goal, so please help us report more good news and share the wealth.


Visit our secure giving link, sponsored by the Winston-Salem Foundation, to make a donation now if you have not done so yet!
https://secured.com/~f2822/ssl_ccgift.php?fnd=t0134


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Posted by: blinklove | October 20, 2010

Tah Dah!

Millions of footsteps, 2,351 miles and six months after we began…

It will take many days to realize we have really finished this incredible journey!

So much has happened and so much time has passed that it is impossible to try to sum it all up as we sit here today.

I suppose, though, one of the things a person learns while on an epic adventure is that the word “finished” should be reserved for wooden furniture.

There is no checkered flag out here and the memories and teachings this trip has given us will continue to slowly show themselves as we continue to create our lives and work to try to improve the lives around us.

We have had such an amazing journey and want to thank you all so much for your constant support. It means more to us than you might ever know =)

We will continue to campaign for Blink’s Hike over the next few weeks in an effort to reach our fundraising goal and increase awareness of animal issues and the people and organizations that have the solutions.

That being said, we want to let you know that we have some exciting ideas, adventures, and projects in store for Ms. Blink.

More on these will be available soon as the Blinklove Project rolls on.

This should be exciting!

So stay tuned everybody, and get involved!

Blink’s Hike Mileage Totals:

Southern California:

648 miles

Central California:

505 miles

Northern California:

272 miles

Oregon:

486 miles

Washington:

440 miles


Grand Total:

2,351 Miles!

from Mexico to Canada

 

Good ‘ole Winston-Salem, here we come!

P.S. A little bird told me that this guy might be showing up in Winston-Salem for a visit/autograph signing sometime very soon:

 

Posted by: blinklove | October 18, 2010

3:57 EST on Oct 18th = 5 miles To Go

3:57 EST on Oct 18th = 5 miles To Go

Just 5 more miles! Can you believe it! What an awesome adventure it has been!
Celebrate by taking a walk down memory lane and catch up now on all of the blog posts that you have missed in the past few months… and let the party planning begin!

Posted by: blinklove | October 18, 2010

Drum Roll Please: 13 Miles to Go!!!


That’s right, 13 miles!
The Blink’s Hike team has only 13 miles left of the over 2,100 that they have hiked thus far on the Pacific Coast.
We anticipate that these two will walk the final 13 miles in one day and complete this hike, (which began in late April), on October 18, 2010.


Let’s here it for our beloved hikers & bloggers Heather and Stephen!

To date this arduous trek has raised $9,868.50
There is still time to donate though! Act fast and make your donation before Blink’s Team walks off of the trail for good!
Check out the list of all of the cool people who have donated to this wonderful cause on the sidebar to the left…and if you would like to see your name their, donate now!
Donate now by clicking here: https://secured.com/~f2822/ssl_ccgift.php?fnd=t0134

Learn more about where the Blink’s Hike 2010 money will go by visiting: http://www.blinklove.org/give.html
‘Cause there are some really cool animals that are going to smile when they catch wind that you donated!

Posted by: blinklove | October 11, 2010

Blink Gets Closer

Hello everyone! We have been having a good time working our way down the coast of Northern California. I am writing you a quick note from Fortuna. We are eating some oatmeal and heading out of here within the hour.  The rocky cliffs leading to the ocean leave little room to walk on the beach, so we have been getting used to Highway 101 walking.  It is interesting, sometimes people yell obscenities at us, and other times they smile and wave. Never know what we’re going to get!  We are especially excited today because soon we will enter the Avenue of the Giants! This will be a nice change. We can not wait to be surrounded by the awe-inspiring Redwoods.  What a time for our camera to break! I will take pictures with my phone though so you can see too =)

 

 

"Avenue of the Giants"

 

We have to keep moving, but we will write again soon!

We have a goal to be home for Halloween, let’s see if we can make it!

Posted by: blinklove | October 3, 2010

Our Last Section!

That’s right! We are starting the final section of our hike, Northern California.  Washington’s coast was incredible and we had so much fun.  One morning after walking down the beach for several miles, we came across a river.  On the Oregon Coast Trail, we had notes for the entire state that we printed off the internet, so we knew when we were approaching a bay or river, and knew exactly what to do.  But the Washington coast is not well-traveled and does not have any sort of guide-book (along with the Northern CA coast). So when we hit the river we had to find our own way, awesome! A few people had driven down the beach to fish in this area.  We walked by a car that a woman was sitting in and she started talking and told us how she thought we could get around the water, and we proceeded to tell her about our trip.  Then an elderly man called us over.  He said that if we could scramble over the numerous fallen trees, we could walk around the river for a few miles until we hit a road that would lead us to a bridge.  While we were talking to him, the woman from the car came over to us carrying something.  She then presented us with a beautiful blanked she had made herself.  She said that she had an overwhelming feeling to give us the blanket, even though it was one of her favorites.  I love people! We all  continued to talk about life for another hour or so, and then Bodi and I continued on our way.

We walked a couple of miles, but the walking was getting pretty nasty.  Our feet were sinking into mud that smelled like it wasn’t just mud. We were sliding all over the place and at one point the gook took my shoe completely off.  So we decided we would climb up to higher ground.  That climb was one of my favorite parts of this entire trip.  It was sooo hard, which made it thrilling! Obviously no one had been up this route before, and it was bushwhacking to the extreme.  Since we aren’t happening to carry machetes, Bodi took to throwing his pack in front of us at some points to just break the thicket of branches that swelled above our heads.  At other points we literally just fell forward to make a way through.  This is the good life.

We finished Washington the day before yesterday, and are now in Crescent City, California.  We will hike south until we are due west of South Lake Tahoe (where we got off the PCT and headed to Canada).  We are staying on the coast for a few reasons.  Number 1: We are completely smitten with making our own trail, and the challenges of not knowing exactly what is coming up and having to figure out a way to deal with it ourselves.  Not knowing what to expect, and not having a trail laid out for us gives us a type of freedom that is rare in life and we want to experience to the fullest. Number 2: My lab test results came back and I am negative for Giardiasis! However, I have a large yeast overgrowth (Candida)  in my intestines along with a bad case of IBS. The IBS is from the Giardiasis, and the yeast overgrowth is from the antibiotics that I took to get better.  To heal from Candida one can take medication (I have had enough, thank you) or go on a very strict diet.  Being that I am already vegan, this leaves me with the option to eat vegetables, vegetables, and vegetables.  Not even fruit is allowed because the sugar feeds the yeast! So being on the coast we can plan on getting fresh food almost once a day.  Number 3: Because we love it!

We will have service for this area so we are going to keep you guys as updated as possible.  I have connected my phone to our YouTube pages so as soon as we take a video it will be posted here: http://www.youtube.com/user/BlinkLoveOrg. You can hit the Subscribe button and be notified by email when we post a new video. We also will be keeping in touch with Twitter: http://twitter.com/BlinkLoveOrg. Thank you so much for keeping up with us, we love and miss you!

P.S. – Soon to be in The Redwoods!!

Posted by: blinklove | September 26, 2010

The Black Bear and Coastal Calling

 

Hello everyone! Oh we have been having such a wonderful time in Washington.  The trail has been breathtakingly beautiful.  It does rain, and man can the atmosphere seem bleak, but eventually the cloud curtains are pulled back to reveal views that stop us in our tracks, leaving us awe-stricken. We have been passing northbounders close to completing their hike, and it is truly exciting meeting them and exchanging stories.  We have all been through a lot and been privileged to enjoy so much.

A bear! Yes we finally saw our first bear in the woods, and it was thrilling! Unfortunately the zoom isn’t working properly on our camera, but you can still get a good look at this guy in the video.  Who could not be fascinated at the prospect of sharing presence with such an intriguing animal?

So though we have greatly enjoyed the PCT in Washington, today we will venture off from its trail. We are excited to tell you: we are heading west, back to the coast! We are doing so for a few reasons.  First, I find it beneficial to my health.  You may recall our post “Monsters Inside Me” we wrote over a month ago about our acquaintance, Giardia.  We went to the doctor and received antibiotics which we took three times a day for ten days, never missing a dose.  While Bodi has fully recovered, my symptoms haven’t lessened.  Along with everything else, I am extremely fatigued, and some hours through the day just using my arms is a chore.  I visited the ER in Leavenworth, the last town where we resupplied, and am waiting on a phone call which will deliver my test results.  I am sure I will be absolutely fine, but being deep in the woods with these symptoms, cold, and wet has been draining.  On the coast, we will be much closer to towns so when I do get my lab results back, I will much more easily be able to obtain the needed medication to make me better! Also, if my condition continues to worsen, I will be able to get help immediately as oppose to being without cell phone reception and three days away from the nearest road. =)

Another great reason for us heading to the coast is we LOVE the ocean! It will be rainy, of course, but it will be a little warmer and so much fun! The trails that we will follow to find our way south are not well-travelled whatsoever, and it will be quite a navigational adventure. We will be hiking through Indian Reservations with steep ascents and descents.  Apparently Indians have rigged ropes to help the few people who do attempt to climb over the headlands separating beach shores.  Oh, we are so excited!

Also, this route is much more direct, which will alow us to finish Washington at an accelerated rate and help us to finish our Mexico to Canada trek before Winter hits us full force. The temperatures we have been in lately have already fallen well below freezing, and we feel the clock ticking more than ever.  We would love to be home for Halloween, that’s our goal! Once we complete Washington, we will head back to the Southern Oregon border to complete our final section of our hike, Northern California. Hooray!

Posted by: blinklove | September 20, 2010

Washington is just flat out Beautiful. All of it.

Lake Chelan and surrounding mountains where Stehekin hides

Can you imagine living in a town where visitors come in by boat, plane, or foot only; a place surrounded by glacier covered mountains and a crystal clear 55 mile-long lake? For about 60 to 100 people, that is home.

We were stunned by the remote beauty of Stehekin, WA. We hiked 89 miles the Canadian border to get there and, after being picked up by a super-nice guy named Michael, road the 10 miles in on the dead end road to Stehekin Landing. The town is buzzing in the summer with tourist who come in for weekends and day-trips on the ferry across Lake Chelan. In winter, the place is left to the locals who stick it out in 4-5 feet of snow and a cache of groceries from neighboring town Chelan. Everything there came in on a boat. It is just remarkable. For us North Carolinians, it is reminiscent of a much more rugged Bald Head Island. We loved riding rented bikes down the road to the famous Stehekin Pastry Shop and Heather even had the pleasure of playing a beautiful piano in the town’s schoolhouse (Schoolhouse! K-8 with 31 students total, I mean this place is old school). When the kids finish 8th grade they move away to the “city” where they live with friends or relatives to complete grade school. Stehekin was a great place and a reminder of how old-time simplicity can be so wonderful.

Though we didn't have the camera ready, this is about what we saw...

Oh, and….dah dah dah….Stehekin also graced us with the sighting of our first (then second) American black bears. They were both pretty small but they were absolutely gorgeous! (small being still well over 100 pounds)

About 98 trail miles later we are now in Leavenworth, WA. Leavenworth was once a dying railroad town but, after consulting community development advisors from Washington University, they decided to transform the town into a “Bavarian Alpine Village.” Now it appears as if you have suddenly landed in the Alps when you roll into town and it is busy with happy tourists.

Getting from the trail to town is always interesting and always illuminates the beauty of the fact that if you let it, life can be unpredictable and loads of fun every day you wake up.

We had gotten to the highway and spent about 45 minutes trying to catch a hitch into town when we decided to give up and head further down the road to a busier intersection. Just as we threw our packs on, here comes a car pulling over to the side of the road.

“Where are you headed?” the driver asks.

“Leavenworth.”

“Well I’m going to church in Plain (15 miles short of Leavenworth) but if you want to go to church with me, I’m headed to Leavenworth afterwards for lunch.”

“I’d love to go to church. Sure!” says Heather.

So, off we go with a stranger to Plain Community Church on Sunday morning still stinky and wet from 9 days on the trail. The church, lucky for us, is laid-back and no one seems to notice much our ragged appearance. Then, ten minutes into the service, the assistant pastor says “If we have any guests with us today, please stand and lets us know your names and where you come from.” We stand, Heather introduces us and explains “…we are hiking from Mexico to Canada and were just passing through…” That got a roar of laughs from the congregation and the assistant pastor said “Well that’s the understatement of the year.”

It was a nice service and we were tickled when at least four people came up to us after the service apologizing for having passed us on the highway only to see us again seated next to them in church. In an incredible act of generosity, one couple even met us in Leavenworth and bought us a delicious lunch in the company of Margaret (the woman who picked us up) and her husband and mother. Everyone was generous beyond the call of even a “good Christian” and it was clear they would take care of us no matter what we needed. We are proud to say we now have many good friends in the Leavenworth, WA area whenever we return in the future.

Leavenworth, WA

Now we must hike on! We really have to move through Washington. We knew already that the snow would be coming soon but the recent news that Washington’s maple leaves are changing colors a month earlier than the norm could be a sign of how things are headed. Isn’t that just fitting for this year’s weather pattern? No worries, though. We are still confident the weather will hold and we’ll do whatever we have to to complete our walk from Border to Border.

Thank you to everyone who has been following our adventure and to everyone who has donated to the cause.

Staying safe and warm and missing everyone,

Stephen and Heather

Posted by: blinklove | September 10, 2010

Back to the Future II: Return to Canada

Leap Frog!

It’s a double flip-flop, or at least that’s what we’ll call it.We are in Canada for a second time to start hiking south, into Washington and through until we hit the Columbia River at the Oregon border. This time we will not have to deal with last winter’s snow collection and we’ll be able to race down the Cascades for the > or < 550 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail that weave through Washington state.

Last time we were here we had little Cowboy Charles with us and our return has conjured up fond memories. We miss miss miss him (and are so glad to have the privilege of seeing him when we get home)! We feel very blessed to have crossed paths with him on our journey.

Speaking of crossing paths, we thought we’d devote this blog to the mentioning of a few of the many wonderful people who we’ve met along the way. The generosity has been staggering. We want to talk about everyone! But we have the time to just mention a few of the outgoing and generous people we have met lately.

They are so sweet!

This considerate couple picked us up while we were having a hard time hitching to Kennedy Meadows.  They were incredibly sweet and we really enjoyed our conversations with them.  They drove us to the campground to pick up our resupply box and then turned around and drove us right back to the trail.  They even tried to buy us dinner and offered us some cash for our trip! We were blown away by their generosity and are so happy to have met them.

Other thru-hikers exist, and they are helping kids!

Then we run into these guys- a pair we started with on the very first day! They too have jumped all over the place and are racing to beat winter.  It was so great to finally run into some other potential thru-hikers who still have finishing this year as their goal. We most likely will cross paths with them soon as they hike north through Washington. Oh! And something else cool about this couple that we would like to share with you is Cari Tucker (trail name: Sandals) is raising money as she hikes for The Children’s Medical Center. To share her journey and help a child check out her site: http//netcommunity.com/NetCommunity/walking-the-PCT !

Loren and his rescued pup!

We met Loren (hope this is the correct spelling!) in the woods while he was out for a couple days.  We also had the great pleasure of meeting his beautiful dog whom he recently adopted. Her mother was given medication to abort her pregnancy, but she survived anyways! She had a rough puppyhood and Loren is working with a trainer to help bring her completely out of her shell.  We have high hopes for her and are excited for the meaningful relationship they are bound to share.

We were picked given a ride into Tahoe by a great guy named Lukas.  He showed us around the city before dropping us off for lunch. We had a couple of days to hang out in Tahoe before our flight left for Vancouver, so the next morning Lukas took Stephen golfing! We greatly enjoyed our “domestic” days in South Lake Tahoe.  We had a beautiful room at the Days Inn and went to an open mic just down the street. We met a few really cool people, two of which joined us on stage while Stephen and I played a couple songs! We exchanged numbers and ended up at their house the next night grilling veggies.  One of our new friends has a beautiful nine year old daughter who had me making necklaces and doing makeovers within minutes upon arriving.  She is truly special and has high aspirations.  She wants to be a vet when she gets older and  help all the animals that are abused =)

After eating we passed around the guitar.  I played one of my songs and she picked it up immediately and began singing it after I finished.  She then picked up the guitar and started teaching herself to play. She’s good and I hope she keeps it up!

While hiking through the Sierras, I met a great man named Rick.  We started talking and I told him all about BlinkLove.  I couldn’t believe it, but when I got to town and checked my email he had sent out an email to his friends spreading the word of our hike! He knew we were going to Vancouver and even set us up to stay with one of his friends! And that is where we are writing to you from now, the funky-cool apartment of France Joly. She picked us up from the airport at midnight last night. She brought us into her home and gave us directions to the  outdoor stores we visited today. Tomorrow she is driving us to the bus station at six in the morning! Wow, do I love people.  Thank you sosososo much to absolutely everyone who has helped us along the way.  It really means more to us than I think you’ll ever know, and we appreciate it so greatly.

The bus will land us in Manning Park, and we will again be back in the wilderness. More soon!

-heather and stephen

Posted by: blinklove | September 1, 2010

We Finished The Sierras!

"Billy Goat"

“How far do you expect to make it before you get too cold?” asked Billy Goat while joining us at our campsite for breakfast.  “Billy Goat” is a legend out here, and amongst hikers across the country is considered the most decorated and inspirational hiker around. He is well into his sixties and has hiked the PCT and Appalachian Trail several times.  He set out for a thru-hike this year but, due to all the snow, decided to limit it to a section hike and, lucky for us, ended up in the High Sierras with us at the peak of the mountain range’s beauty.  We loved chatting with him for the short time we did, and am happy we met.

Knowing his knowledge of the western mountains was thorough and tested, we asked how much time he think we had to finish this race against winter weather. Though every year is different, he estimated that “…by mid-October I’d start thinking about getting out of here.” The snow may start falling in the colder areas in September but it will be bearable until the temperature really begins to drop.  This is more-or-less what we had estimated.

So, with so many conflicting opinions (some people we asked claimed winter started September 1st in Washington, some have said we have until November before “real” winter temperatures come around) we will remain optimistic about the time table. We have only 76 miles remaining before we reach Lake Tahoe where we will then skip up to the Canadian border and head south, essentially running away from the snow clouds coming behind us like McGyver narrowly escaping a fiery explosion. There shouldn’t be any old snow to contend with so we will move efficiently through the Cascades, earning as much time as we can to get down to Northern California to complete the last section of the Pacific Crest Trail.

Whatever the weather decides to do, we know this will be a struggle. It has already gotten very, very cold in the Sierras, dropping well below freezing temperatures at night. On Sunday, August 29th, Grace Meadow even received two-inches of fresh snow. That’s a meadow along the PCT that resides at a modest 8,000 ft. As the temperatures continue to drop and every night and day gets harder to handle we will long more and more for the comfort and love that awaits us at home. But, as-is the point, we will be experiencing these conditions in order to become more intimate with what it is like to be in a non-voluntary life of homelessness.Though we have the privilege of heading home when this is done, many dogs, cats, humans, and others do not have this choice. Whether it be snow, freezing temperatures, neglect, abuse, starvation, or any of the other countless conditions of peril, it is their reality and they can’t tap out when the going gets tough. So, we won’t either.

Heather in Grace Meadow the afternoon after the snow

Friends and family of the BlinkLove Team have given endless support and love as we have taken on each new challenge of this journey. We feel the call to continue until we just can’t go any further. Hopefully, that means by the time the snow really starts to fall and the temperatures really start to drop we will be crossing the finish line and celebrating 2,663.5 miles of hiking completed. Rest assured, though, that we will never do anything that may put our health in danger. We have too much more we plan on doing after this hike is done that will make steps towards improving the lives of everyone in need.

Thank you for your support and dedication. Blink’s Team will get back to you very soon.

Onward to Tahoe!

-Heather and Stephen

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