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Begins: Apr 24, 2010
Date: Wed, Mar 31st, 2010
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How to explain the feeling the trail instills in me?
I used to go white water rafting. I really liked it. A lot. I loved the feeling of being so caught up in the moment; to the exclusion of whatever might transpired in the past or was pending in the future. Any past or future problems simply eased to exist. You were in the 'now'.
What's more, successful white water rafting requires that you function together with the others in the raft as a team. The danger, or at least the perception of danger, taken together with the requirement of teamwork creates camaraderie. It's the relationship that my drill instructors sought to instill during basic training. For a decade I sponsored an annual raft trip for my clients down the South Fork of the Yuba; a class III that provides the impression of danger more than the reality, with a BBQ by the river afterwards. It was great PR and a wonderful all around experience.
Hiking is a lot like rafting, but with one significant exception. In hiking the 'now', the exclusion of the past and future, gradually expands to include the entirety of your existence 24 hours a day. While rafting requires sharply focused attention on the river in front of you and where the 'now' is focused down to a single moment in time, hiking is a more diffuse with a lower level of attention that encompasses the entirety of your surroundings. The past and the future which is gradually excluded as being irrelevant to your day to day existence is the culture and mechanized society which you've left behind.
It's a liberating feeling. And, as in basic training and rafting, you form a bond with those with whom you share the trail. As it turns out those post rafting BBQs were good training for trail angeling and hitting trail towns.
Pacific Crest Trail - 2010
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
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