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Sean "Miner" Nordeen
Begins: Apr 17, 2009
Date: Mon, Mar 31st, 2008
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Pacific Crest Trail Map
I'm going to be 40 in November. 40!? I don't feel that old. I certainly don't act that old. But there it is. I don't feel less able or anything. But I do wonder where has time gone? There are many things that I'd like to do that I still haven't done and hiking the Pacific Crest national scenic Trail (PCT) is among them.
I first became aware of the PCT while dayhiking in the local mountains of Southern California in the early 90's while attending UCLA. The Tom Harrison maps had marked the PCT in red while all other trails were done in black, so it really stood out. In '93, the newspapers announced the official completion of the trail and I wanted to hike it. I had conceived of such a journey as one done in numerous sections over the course of several summers. The idea that you could hike the whole thing at once was beyond my imagination at the time. That changed in '99 when I was stuck with an hour layover at the airport in Newark, waiting for my flight to New Hampshire while traveling for business. While browsing through the airport book shop, I found Bryson's book, "A Walk in the Woods" which is about his attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail (AT) from Georgia to Maine. After reading it, I dreamt of hiking the AT. But after returning home to California, I remembered my dream of the PCT from college. It was closer then the AT and was more scenic. And thus the dream of thru-hiking the PCT was born. But due to work and my wife at the time, it never got beyond being a dream.
After graduating from college, my poor eating habits slowly grew my waist line and I gained 65 lbs over 11 years. The weight gain particularly accelerated after I got divorced. Forget backpacking, it was becoming an effort to just day hike with all that extra weight. I was already carrying a heavy pack just on my waist. But in late 2005, I completely changed my diet to something healthy. And instead of struggling to lose a few pounds like before, the weight just started dropping. And after 1.5 years, I had dropped 55 lbs. During that time, I once again embraced backpacking and had fallen to the Ultralight side. I was mentally and physically ready to hike in 2007, but the exceptionally dry year just wasn't what I had been dreaming of. Many hikers that year encountered little snow in the Sierra Nevada, while I had been dreaming of miles of it. I had been inspired by hikers' stories of the heavy snow levels of 2005 and 2006 and wanted a similar experience. This is completely opposite of most thru-hikers as they hate snow for some reason. I've found that facing and overcoming adverse situations creates the best possible memories that you look back on the fondest. For most, a low snow year is good news. But not to me. So after some prayer and soul searching I decided to delay it for 2 years in hopes that the drought would be over. And now 2009 is here. This year, the snow level is still below average, but nothing like 2007 was. But thanks to my niece moving in with me to go to college and bringing "once banned" sweets back into the home, I'm not as physically fit as I was in 2007. I have gained a few pounds back. Homemade chocolate chip cookies have been declared "not my friends anymore" (but once I'm on the trail, they will be again, so please send some!). But it's all good. I call the extra pounds my emergency food supply for the High Sierra.
One small step for man, but I'll walk even farther for a burger.
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. Join the PCTA to support this trail.