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Personal history / Pacific Crest Trail five years later

PCT diary entry - August 10, 2001

Five years ago today, I was hik­ing on the Pacif­ic Crest Trail. I spent the sum­mer of 2001 hik­ing through Cal­i­for­nia, Ore­gon, and Wash­ing­ton; on the 12th of August, I was chill­ing out at Crater Lake, Ore­gon. Crater Lake had been a real­ly major des­ti­na­tion for me, not because of its leg­endary, oth­er­world­ly beau­ty or because I'd nev­er seen it or because I was look­ing for­ward to bum­ming beers off retirees in RVs, but BECAUSE I was hav­ing a new pair of shoes deliv­ered to the PO there. My feet, at that point, were thrashed. The trail can be unkind to feet in a vari­ety of ways — extreme heat in the south, fre­quent riv­er cross­ings and snow in the Sier­ras — and it doesn't help when you wear one pair of Asics Gel Tra­bu­co III's for the last two-thirds of the state of Cal­i­for­nia. I take a look at my PCT jour­nal a few times every sum­mer; the entry scanned above rep­re­sents some of the hap­pi­er times on the trail. A lit­tle ear­li­er in my hike, the heat and drudgery of North­ern Cal­i­for­nia would have fig­ured more promi­nent­ly. The words "heat rash" would have appeared, and I also would have men­tioned the fact that my girl­friend was break­ing up with me. Lat­er in the hike, my hik­ing part­ner, Nick Brown, broke his ankle and some reli­gious zealots crashed com­mer­cial air­planes into Amer­i­can land­marks. Read­ing over it now, August 12, 2001 rep­re­sents a dis­tant lit­tle peri­od of seren­i­ty and calm. My days were pret­ty sim­ple: How far should I hike today? Where will I get water? Should I stop and take a swim while I'm there? When should I eat my next snack? Should I take this alter­nate route? Should I stop ear­ly? Should I night-hike? Where will I get my next cheese­burg­er? It amazes me that it ever could be so easy … The pic­ture below was tak­en a few days before.

Flickr photo