May 112013


Somewhere around mile 350, I walked a slow uphill slog with another hiker who asked me the question, “So is walking the trail for you like walking through your journal of last year’s hike?”. It was a perfectly phrased question. I didn’t journal last year, beyond how many miles I’d walked and where I camped (who cares about that stuff when you look back?). And yes, while I’ve been completely absorbed in the new experience, I encounter full body memory recoveries of amazing experiences I had last year as I walk past spots, of times before last year’s hike became all about the crazy incident that kicked me off of it. I’m walking through the entire journey of last year, step by step, all emotions and epiphanies, encounters and extreme happinesses .. At the same time having the time of my life walking a new parallel journey. This was a very good decision to begin again from the beginning. I’m vibrant, happy, and have already passed the fitness level I was at last year. I’m “burning with the kiss of life” and I can do this. I am sure.
This last section has been cold, windy, and stormy (the “long hot dry section” on paper).. With perfect contrasts of desert and mountain… Of social fun and solitude.. There’s been more gear failures (dammit!).. And more realizations of how much I’m not completely reliant on gear to survive anyway .. Always creative solutions .. On to Agua Dulce after a diversion in LA! Life is amazing!

A Few Little Known Facts About the PCT

* If you encounter a volunteer trail crew fixing tread, they have to shout “HIKER” to the people working ahead so they know you’re coming and let you pass.. If you ask them, they will sing it instead, sometimes in perfect harmony.
* 8 people and 7 full packs CAN fit into a Kia sedan ..
* Usually trekking pole lines dragged across the dirt are a helpful indicator of which direction the trail goes.. However, sometimes the endearing hikers ahead of you are trying to get you to walk off a cliff instead (see pic above) …
* The enormous hanging paper daisies at the Evergreen Cafe in Wrightwood are all lined into the front door so that when you open it they get pulled up to the ceiling..
* The Sierra Club occasionally holds meetings out in the wilderness near Warner Springs and if you agree to listen (and participate) in their sexual harassment lecture, they will share their avocado and pulled pork with you
* The odds of dying of scurvy on the trail are very slim..
* McDonalds is not the Mecca of satiation and pleasure that you ran the last 4 miles for … You probably won’t feel good when you leave there and begin your 4,500 foot climb up the mountain…

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  3 Responses to “Mile 370 – Little Known Facts About the PCT and Burning With the Kiss of Life”

  1. Did not get to call you back, figured you needed the contact for Sandi, Hope you got it,, No do not follow the
    trekking pole line dragged across that dirt floor,,, And I need to know where we can send you goodies on your next stop !!!!! I l Love and cherish each step you are making ahead in your Blissful Journey!!!
    Your SeeSdah Jou <3

  2. * You _can_ do this. I am sure too. 🙂

    * Gear failure? Oh, no! What went wrong? How did you “fix it?” Do tell …

    * I once came across trekking pole lines that looped around in a 15-foot circle. I kept walking around that circle until someone was kind enough to come by a few minutes later, break the circle, and let me out.

    * After eating 5,500 calories at El Cajon Pass (most of which at the McDonald’s), I struggled to get to the cache at Swarthout Canyon Road. But for some reason immediately afterwards I started shooting up the climb and had a great day gaining elevation for the first time on the trail. I give full credit to the many meals I had from McDonald’s, giving me the strength to push up to the PDB detour and into Wrightwood the next day. It is only complete coincidence that I was climbing at the end of the day once it had cooled off, and was struggling earlier when it was scorching-hot.

  3. Thanks for the little known PCT facts! I’m sure they’ll come in handy someday.

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