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Hi all - Kim again. Will's mom mailed me a few pages of his journal that he wanted me to post. They're more than halfway done at this point! As usual, I've copied the pages verbatim, and the pictures are from his mom as well (Thanks, Sue!). Enjoy!
I'm sitting at a picnic table in Crater Lake National Park, drinking a beer and eating chips and salsa. It's a welcome break from sitting on a rock and eating dehydrated pasta primavera, which is actually much much better than it sounds.
Chris and I arrived yesterday around noon, completing what is essentially the first half of our trip. We have walked almost exactly 320 miles, and start on the remaining 330 or so tomorrow morning. We took 21 days to hike the first half and will have 22 to hike the second, but we also have had 5 "zero days" thus far (two in Etna due to Chris' knee injury, one in Seiad Valley where we were accused of a felony, one in Ashland, and today in Crater Lake), and will have none the rest of the trip.
My brother Tom is joining us for the remainder of the hike. I'm extremely excited to have him along for a variety of reasons, most prominently because I haven't been able to spend three weeks with my brother since I was home for summer in college. We're fairly close, though not as close as I'd like (mostly my fault), and I hope we will come together over pop tarts and 15 mile days.
The tricky part is how protective to be. He's my little (ok, younger) brother and my natural instinct is to be almost parental in regards to his safety and well being; but he's also 22 years old and a very strong individual. I hope we can find a rhythm where we trust each other and work together without imposing on or smothering one another.
Many people said this would be a life changing experience. Some referred to it as my vision quest. I'm not sure if I was expecting an epiphany or if I'm disappointed or have myself to blame for not yet experiencing a jolt of clarity, but "progress" thus far has been incremental. This is not to say that I haven't gleaned insight into myself and my life; on the contrary, when I look back at all I have learned and realized in the last 3+ weeks, it seems significant. But I also find myself begrudging the hours spent reciting Seinfeld episodes in my head while I could have been pondering the nature of my existence.
This trip has done a great deal to clarify my relationship with Kim. I wanted to use these 2 months apart to evaluate our feelings, and indeed the forced separation has, for me, revealed a great deal. I figured I would miss Kim but was surprised at just how painful being apart has been. Aside from a very, as Chris put it, harrowing night with a very persistent bear, being separated from Kim has been the most difficult part of the trip.
We have since decided that we will live together, for the foreseeable future when I return to Berkeley. We're excited to start living in sin, and our parents couldn't be happier (well, I imagine hers could - she is, after all, about to start living with a guy who just spent thousands of dollars to go walking).
Strictly focused on myself, I've realized that I'm way too paranoid for my own good and that I need to learn (or have someone teach me) how to relax, I focus too much on the past and future and not enough on the present, I like and have a somewhat natural inclination for presenting information, with two possible career options: comedian or teacher (please suggest more!), I need to rely more on myself, and a vague notion of how I'm connected to and a part of my surroundings.
More than "Fired," I've found relevance in the Ben Folds song "There's Always Someone Cooler Than You." You realize this in a big way when you're getting passed every day by solo hikers who started in Mexico...but then you realize they're amateurs compared to the guy breaking his own PCT speed record (2,650 miles in 65 days...we're doing 650 in 48 days), and he's a cautioned person compared to people climbing Everest/K2, and so forth. I have to be happy with who I am and what I've done, because there will always be countless people who are much, much better than me by every discernable measurement.
So to all the hikers with only 10 pounds of gear who look at my 24 ounce tent as a "luxury": I bought (or rather, thanks Mom!) a souvenir pillow today and I'm carrying it with me the rest of the way. That probably makes me a pansy, but I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep.
Lucretia Walks Into The Woods
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