Nov 032013


The first thing I realized when I got back from walking the Pacific Crest Trail and began trying to share my experience with non-hikers, was that MOST people would initially think that I set foot on the trail at the Mexican border and then didn’t come out of the wilderness at all for any reason whatsoever until I got to Canada. And their inspiration seemed heavily deflated when I told them I did. I stopped telling them (unless specifically asked .. I don’t lie, after all). Here are the top 5 questions everyone asks:

  1. How did you eat?

I wanted, really wanted, to say I foraged and hunted. Or fasted for six months. And then walked 25 miles every day. But no, I shopped at the grocery stores and sometimes mailed stuff ahead.

2.  Weren’t you afraid?

I was terrified frequently. But most of us weren’t. Just me. But I had extenuating circumstances in place to terrify me, like an unnatural fear of heights, snow, and drunk hunters with tour bus sized archery equipment.

3. What group did you do this with?

Well, let’s see. There was Team Lone Pine, the Stone Boners, Team Weeds (oh hey, that’s me!) (and some guy).. And I didn’t actually walk with them. As a matter of fact, I rarely saw anyone on the trail. I became suspicious that everyone else was just shuttling from trail town to trail town and I was the only one out there. If it weren’t for a few existing photos, this would be my final understanding of what was happening.

4. Did you see any bears?

I did. I almost tripped over a cub. But, and I’m sure it’s because of my intimidating prowess and warrior like demeanor, they were afraid of ME.

5. Did you pack a gun?

This question always surprises me even though it is ALWAYS asked. I never know what to say except “no.”. I want to answer it with another question like, “Do you carry a gun every time you cross a road? Or find yourself in a city? Or when you go to a sporting event?” But people are funny about guns here and I know better than to poke them.


That “Cast of Characters” post is really coming.. there were a LOT of them ..

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  9 Responses to “Top 5 Question Asked of Me About Doing the PCT By Non-Hikers”

  1. I also get, “How long did it take you?” almost immediately after telling people I’ve hiked the PCT, but that’s not so much a humorous question as one of general interest and clarification as to the depth of the achievement. I don’t get the “Weren’t you afraid?” question so much, probably because I’m a guy.

    Oddly enough, sometimes I get the “Did you sleep in the woods?” question every now and then, which I suppose is forgivable since people on the AT have shelters and people on the Camino de Santiago stay in hostels. I always find it a little weird, however. “Yes, I slept in the woods.”

    “There are a lot of woods on the west coast and I slept in most of them.”

  2. Top Question:Did you read ‘Wild’?

  3. Really!? I thought Why? would be in there somewhere:)

  4. Oh and in southern AZ everyone packs. I think Charlie and I and you were the only ones who did not.

  5. you hiked alone?

  6. Mine will be do you know why .. and if so are you happy with the answer ?

  7. Mine would be “did you see/feel/hear any Angels, as opposed to Trailangels?” Having been saved from earthly death more than once by what i call Angels i’m always curious if other hikers/bikers/humans have had a similar intervention. I suppose that lots of spiritguides/angels are going to be billing for ridiculous overtime once the hordes from the screening of ‘Wild’ hit the Trail.

  8. A friend hiked the Long Trail in Vermont this summer. 3 weeks. Her husband *really* wanted her to take a gun. “Just in case.”. Her answer – “don’t need the weight.”

  9. bet you would like to have a gun now 🙂 having to deal with all the sedona turons stupid questions and pompess requests , I know for myself, I mentally blow their heads off quite often 🙂
    Love having you back in town!

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