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Thomas "Lucky Larry" Teppen
City: Grand Junction
Begins: Apr 20, 2009
Date: Thu, Sep 10th, 2009
Daily Distance: 30
Trip Distance: 1,115.0
Entry Visits: 2,889
Journal Visits: 25,395
Guestbook Views: 6,364
Guestbook Entrys: 54
Pacific Crest Trail Map
Thats about all she wrote. Lately, I have considered it a goal of mine to become a better person... to move forward, see new things, absorb new experiences, and make each year better than the last. How am I going to top this one? I think I understand why there are quite a few thru-hikers that seem to simply keep going once the first hike is finished. They hike a triple crown (AT,PCT,and CDT) or they return to the PCT for a second, third, or fourth time. Rather than spending my time with those hikers asking questions about other trails, I should have asked them how the trail felt after enother hike. Are they trying to recreate those intial feelings, or is the trail produce a new, unique, and rich experience no matter how many times they set out? I really can't decide what was better about the hike - the people, or the trail itself? I remember walking off of a parking lot outside of Truckee a couple of years ago and standing on the PCT and imagining it running from border to border and finding it to be a difficult idea to get ahold of. When you tell people about it, they can't always wrap their mind around it. They can't imagine walking for over 4 and a half months - sleeping outside, walking through the Sierra in the Spring, walking 30 miles a day - the people you meet, the friendships you develop, and the thoughts you had. Once you get away from the towns along the trail, your description of the trip is more likely to be met with blank stares. It makes me wonder how many people out there have experienced amazing things and accomplished impressing feats, and rarely find anyone to listen to their story. Very few people take the time to consider other people's experiences and place themselves in other people's shoes. I'm just as wrapped up in my own little world as the next person. Perhaps thats another thing I should work on? :)
Anyway..... I arrived at Monument 78, on the Canadian Border, on the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 11th. I had mixed feelings. I wanted to sit there for a while and try to gather some thoughts, but my friends were in a hurry to get to Manning Lodge. Manning Lodge requires an 8 mile hike beyond Monument 78. We finished with two days of beautiful, sunny, smiley weather.
We left for the border from Stehekin, WA three days previous. Stehekin was a small community built along the shores of Lake Chelan and reachable by a four hour boat drive or a spendy flight in a little plane outfitted with pontoons. It had a bit of an Alaskan feel. Early on the second morning from town, I was walking along, thinking about the old Beethoven SNL skit with John Belushi. I was just about to start belting out my on-trail version of " My Girl " when a healthy looking, shiny-coated black bear popped out of the woods. We stared at eachother as I walked by. I grumbled at him "get a move on!" but he just continued to stare. He shot down the thickly-wooded slope and crashed across the creek after I continued past him and and he caught my scent. (If you've smelled a thru-hiker after a stint on the trail, you'd run too!) The way that he was just rolling along in such a carefree manner before I interrupted him, it reminded me that he was certainly the boss... not too many predators on his mind. I wonder what classic SNL skit he had on his mind? That was the first bear I had seen on the PCT... on the second to last day of a 2650 mile walk. I probably walked past many more, but I sometimes hike along in a fairly noisy manner, somewhat oblivious to my surroundings. After all, I'm just taking a leisurely walk, I'm not hunting.
The last day on the Pacific Crest Trail, I pegged a perched grouse in the head with a rock and cooked him at Monument 78. I know that sounds harsh, but its something I've always wanted to do - just to get a feel for whether or not I could possibly depend on it in an emergency situation. To be honest, I whipped about 10 rocks in its direction before one finally found a home... so if I ever find myself starving out in the woods, I'd better just hope that I could catch a trout or something. Anyway, I thought the BBQ gave our short time at Monument 78 a bit of a celebratory feel. We cooked a grouse, took some pictures, Cheif passed around a 16 oz. PBR that he had packed out of Stehekin, while we all tried to muster up some thoughts to write down in the trail register and collect phone numbers and email addresses.
What do I do now?
I'm currently sitting in a coffee shop in Washington. I am visiting my cousin. He lives on Camano Island. Its a nice area, but somewhat remote, and its a bit of a logistic challenge to get anything done. He and I intend to paddle out in the San Juans this weekend. I consider myself a paddler, but I am not really familiar with paddling in salt water on boats that are over 17 feet long. I must admit, its a bit intimidating. If I could get over the instinctual fear of being upside down, under a boat, under the water - I could maybe learn to roll. That would make everything a bit easier.
I hope to go gather some thoughts and fill in the blank spaces I have left in this journal, so check back if you are interested. I am making this coffee house my home for a while, since they are one of the only places I can snag free Wi-Fi in the area.
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. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org