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Begins: Jul 9, 2010
Date: Mon, Aug 9th, 2010
End: San Diego
Daily Distance: 0
Trip Distance: 517.0
Entry Visits: 2,295
Journal Visits: 10,579
Guestbook Views: 516
Guestbook Entrys: 2
Colorado Trail Map
THE 18 MONTH TRIP SUMMARY
It's hard to believe that I haven't worked since Friday March 13, 2009. In the spirit of getting back to work here's an executive summary of my 18 months:
APPALACHIAN TRAIL: Grade D (March 2009 to May 2009)
Having hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2002 I was only back out there because Lisa had not done it and I like walking....anywhere. Needless to say it was an awful experience. With our short marriage spirling downwords the AT it turns out was not the place to fix it. Between that, the rough March/April weather and less than scenic trail, the AT was not an enjoyable experience. In late May, at mile 960 in Front Royal, we split for good and I flew to Los Angeles and made my way to Agua Dulce to hike the PCT.
PACIFIC CREST TRAIL: Grade B+ (June 2009 to September 2009)
I joined the PCT in late May at Mile 454 at the infamous Saufley's in Agua Dulce. I loved the PCT when I hiked it in 2004 and looked forward to it again albeit under different circumstances. Agua Dulce was packed with hikers and there I met Kickstep and Little Jerry for the first time. I walked out of Agua Dulce with them and would walk the next 600 miles with them, walk on my own for the next 1,000 miles and then reconnect with them at the Oregon/Washington border and walk the next 525 miles with them (and Indy starting a bit later) to Canada. The 2,000 miles I hiked on the PCT were amazing and due to different weather (a storm in the desert, less than stellar Sierra weather, heat in NoCal and amazing weather in Washington), different people and different personal issues it was a great expereince all over again. I would hike the PCT for a third time if I could.
ARIZONA TRAIL: Grade A (October 2009)
I had planned to hike from Agua Dulce back to San Diego after reaching Canada on the PCT, but the LA area, including parts of the PCT were on fire, so I was looking for a different hike. I quickly and with very little research settled on the Arizona Trail (AZT) which had just become a new National Scenic Trail. I spent a few days in Portland with Laundrymat and Kayln doing some research and then off to Arizona. The 770 or so miles from the Arizona/Utah border to the Arizona/Mexico border blew me away. To me it was the most diverse 700 miles I had ever hiked and an amazing adventure. I consistently drank some of the worst water ever, never saw a single other backpacker other than a lost boyscout, kicked one too many prickley pear cactus's and was sprayed by a skunk. But none of that could change how much I loved the AZT. Or maybe I loved the AZT because of that.
MISCELLANEOUS: Grade A (November to December 2009)
I spent the next 2 weeks in San Diego dealing with Lisa and getting divorced. It wasn't fun, but went about as well as could be expected. No one really wins in a divorce. On the positive side it was amazing and heartwarming to have so many friends and family come through for me whether it was a conversation, advice or a place to crash. At times like these you take stock in your life and see what and who is important in it.
From San Diego I flew to Rochester and spent about a month with my parents (and sister who came to visit) and 2 weeks driving to NYC and DC to visit a long list of friends and family. It was a great 6 weeks.
Also at this point I not surprisingly found out that my 9 month leave of absence with EY would turn into a layoff. Since this came with a nice severence check and I knew was always a possibility I took it in stride. Homeless, jobless and divorced I continued onward!!
AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND: Grade B (January 2010 to June 2010)
With time, money and no desire to work I booked a 6 month ticket to Australia. I spent 4 months in Australia and 2 months in New Zealand. I spent a few days in Sydney, spent a month getting my ass kicked on the Australian Alps Walking Track, a week in the Melbourne area, 2 months doing so much stuff in New Zealand I can't possibily list it all here, a month hiking the Bibbulmun Track back in Australia and then a week hiking the Larapinta Trail in the Outback. The mostly hiking trip was fantastic and I got to experience a whole new landscape and culture. However, I found it rather expensive with the very weak US Dollar, the food quite poor (at least in the price range I would be in eating on the road for 6 months) and everything quite "civilized" it being a 1st world country and all. I really enjoyed the trip, especially a great place for a first long international trip, but look forward to something more exoctic (and cheaper!) in the future.
About 6 weeks into my trip it appeared that Grandma Ida was dying so I flew home for 2 weeks. She passed away a short time after I went back to Australia, but seeing her one last time and being with family was well worth the brutal trip back and forth.
COLORADO TRAIL: Grade B- (July 2010)
Returning from Australia & New Zealand I spent a nice 3 weeks with the family in Rochester eating all the food I missed so much. At this point I found out that I had hiked through the recession and EY would indeed hire me back. Figuring that I had been walking long enough going back to work seemed like a good idea.
With time left for one more short hike I sifted through the long list of hikes I wanted to do (Hayduke, PNT, GDT, ICT) and settled on the Colorado Trail (CT) primarily based on the fact that it would require little planning, was scenic, was the right time of year and wasn't a massive mental and physical effort like some of the other options. Those other trails aren't going anywhere.
The CT turned out to be a solid trail, but did sometimes fall short of my very high expectations. In my opinion it was too forested for the first 2 weeks. The last 2 weeks were spectacular and almost made me forget about those 3,000' jaunts up and down the pine forest. I was happy to have hiked it and found it to be a rewarding month.
And that was it. I flew back to San Diego on August 9, picked up my car which had been in storage for 17 months and looked at my 5'x5' storage unit (after my locked was drilled since I seem to have every key, but the one to my storage unit) which held the small amount of my worldly possessions. I'll find an apartment in Pacific Beach (my 6th in 10 years) and go back to work in about a month.
It's hard to believe its been 17 months. I hiked just about 6,000 miles. It's a trip and experience that I'll never forget. I feel lucky to again be afforded and have taken advantage of opportunities that most never get or choose.
Thanks to those of you who were there for me over the last year and a half. Thanks to those readers out there who kept up the whole way. Thanks to those of you who helped me along the way whether it was a cold soda, ride into town, good advice or just a friendly conversation. Thanks to those of you who are new friends I met along the way.
I'll close with one of my favorite quotes (D-Low, CDT 2005):
"Long distance hiking has ruined my life. How do you go back to working a normal job, living a normal life, associating with normal people, enjoying normal things.....when you've tasted true freedom. You can't. You're ruined. I'm ruined."
Brian "Buck-30" Tanzman
The Colorado Trail is a 486-mile long-distance trail running from the mouth of Waterton Canyon southwest of Denver to Durango in Colorado, United States. Its highest point is 13,271-foot above sea level, and most of the trail is above 10,000-foot. Learn more: www.coloradotrail.org