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City: Los Angeles
Begins: Apr 11, 2010
Date: Fri, Nov 5th, 2010
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Pacific Crest Trail Map
I ended up taking the train, not walking back to Los Angeles. It was a decision that was probably brewing since Old Station though not consciously taken till the bicycle offer came. I knew that the bike could have problems and that I wasn???t prepared to resolve them but I was still hoping that somehow I would figure it all out. When the tire popped it was almost a relief because from that moment I knew that this very difficult trip was over.
I???ve never calculated exactly how miles my route took me but it was around one thousand five hundred. I followed the PCT from the Mexican border till Walker Pass and took an alternate route west of the PCT connecting back to the PCT south of Pinochet Pass. I continued on the PCT till Old Station where I walked to Hamilton City via Los Molinos and Orland. I skipped quite a few places, perhaps a hundred miles ??? Lytle Creek to Wrightwood, Devil???s Punchbowl to the KOA campground, four miles south of highway 58, Walker Pass to Kernville and Cedar Grove to Roads End.
I started April eleventh and ended around October fifteenth. I took forty three zero days. That is an average of eight miles a day for the days that I actually walked. Many days were started late or ended early or otherwise cut short, so a full day walking was a little longer. I commonly walked ten miles a day when I began and now walk fifteen. I rarely walk twenty miles in a single day. Never twenty five.
I lost about seven pounds. I???m not too sure how much money I spent.
This is the more difficult part. Where I stop writing about what I did and start saying what it meant. I???m not up to the task. I don???t know what the experience meant in one sum it all up kind of way. I don???t feel that my experience was life changing. I don???t remember learning anything other than matters relating to walking.
All I can say is how I feel. I must admit that I am disappointed in that I didn???t make it to Canada. More disappointed that I didn???t realize my basic goal of feeling good walking. Its still painful. Its still exhausting. Less painful and exhausting to be true, but painful and exhausting nevertheless. And even, dare I say it, a bit boring. And most astonishing of all, after only a week off from the trail I???m itching to get back on it. That of course will have to wait a while. I suppose that I realized my more basic goal of trying to feel good. I am proud that I did not give up and that I walked an entire season.
I made a list of all the things I liked and disliked about walking the PCT. They aren???t in any particular order, just written in the order that I thought them. I put asterisks around the items that are particularly important to me.
although it???s a bit circular, I simply enjoy walking, at least while feeling energetic and pain free
experiencing the changing light and weather of the day, particularly at dawn and evening.
Eating as much as I wanted
Falling asleep on my back, falling asleep easily
*****Adrenalyn charged situations yet mostly very relaxing*****
Kindness from strangers
Sleeping in a different place every night, sleeping in a cool place many nights
The sense of movement through space. Like flying, but slower.
pleasures when they came were heightened from abstinence (lying down, eating, hot water etc.)
*****gear design, problem solving, using gear that works well*****
wearing clothes that perfectly corresponded to the environment
wearing clothes that were just cool (Obi Wan Kenobi cloak, umbrella etc.)
bathing in creeks
good sights, mostly good smells
feeling warm in my sleeping bag
hanging out with other hikers even though I didn't do it much
time to think even though I didn???t do that much either
sense of accomplishment
*****its probably very healthy*****
*****those rare moments when reality actually measures up to one???s romanticized notions*****
*****sharing all this with Lucy for a month*****
I know everyone will think less of me for writing this but here goes anyway. Sense of superiority to all non-hikers. I liked my identity as a hiker. I could think, ???I have the balls to do this and you don???t???.
Cooking with fire
Running the numbers through my head: water, miles, food etc. I did a lot of math on the trail.
Engagement in compulsive behavior, meaning I really wanted to this and then I did it
Preliminary experiments with hobo walking were mostly positive
Being hungry and knowing that I was undernourished
*****Chronic pain (both feet, left knee, right collar bone, both shoulders, upper right back)*****
Painfully cold hands in the morning
Feeling dirty when it was too cold to bathe
*****Lack of verbal stimulation like books, movies etc.*****
Sleeping on a hard surface
Going the wrong way and coming back the way you came
*****Feeling tired and not resting*****
Ringing in my ears
Hearing a snatch of song repeatedly in my mind
Losing things or any other absent mindedness
getting too much sun
getting a severe stomach disorder that lasted a few days
being smelly in public
occasionally not being able to find appropriate places to do number 2
Being called out for bad behavior, usually in the form of camping somewhere I wasn???t supposed to be
Going so much slower than everybody else and still being so tired
The realization that my less than stellar performance will not help me market all the neat ideas I have
I know I???m going to think of things to add to this list after I post it. Anyway, until my next trail journal, that???s all folks.
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