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.