Time and again  
I am evaporated by the sun.  

-Scott Heavensbrook Himmelsbach  

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My 2002 PCT Journal

Pre-Trip Before I leave-what I'm thinking about, what's going on in my life, parts of the planning and preparation.
  3/28/02: "The light of the full moon helped me find peace with all the things I have to do before I leave."

April Leaving home: Getting to the trailhead, my first days on the trail, and the ADZPCTKO.
  4/27/02: "Yesterday I was worried that I had too much food , but today I'm worried that I have too little. At the same time, I'm not worried."

May Southern California, my 40th birthday and everything in between.
  5/25/02: "I splashed again. The cool water must have brought my brain back to normal. I looked over at the new owners' dog, who was eyeing me. Then I looked down. I was exuberantly splashing my face in the dog's bowl."

June I hit the Sierra in June. I've done sections of this before, and it's all gorgeous.
  6/12/02: "Sleeping tonight with dark trees rising on one side and glacially-polished granite falling away on the other. Evolution Creek roars in the distance and the tiniest of crescent moon floats in the early night sky with its planet friends."

July Northern California and the Trinity Alps.
  7/12/02: "We hiked about a mile then had lunch together. It was nice because there were only flies bothering us, no mosquitoes. They may buzz and land, but they don't stick their sharp nose into your skin, spit through it, and start sucking blood ."

August Oregon and the southern Cascades.
  8/12/02: "About 15' above the lake was a 10' length of gossamer spider web floating with multiple strands and tattered shorter pieces on the edges. It floated, backlit by the late morning sun, toward me then drifted to my right."

September Washington State and the Cascades.
  9/3/02: "We are all painfully aware that our hike will be ending soon. We passed the 2300-mile mark today. The trail's 2,658 miles. We should be done in 3 weeks."

October My post-trail transition.
  10/06/02: "On the trail, each day was itself. I needed to know where my water was and where my friends would be camping. That was all.
Sometime I needed to know where the trail was, but most of the time it was evident. I didn't need to know what the weather was. I was hiking in it, rain or shine. I didn't need to know how much up or down there was. I was hiking it, high or low."


Epilogue Closing thoughts and links to other adventures.
  "If I learned anything on this trip it's that hiking the PCT can not make me happy."

Thoughts About My Journal

I decided to break my journal up by month. A month is a long time on the trail and yet is a small enough interval to be manageable. It is easy to remember the date (or the month) you were reading if you need to return later. Or at least this is what I found reading others' PCT journals. If I were to do it again, I might do one entry for each leg of the trip, a weekly journal entry rather than daily . The story could flow a little better that way.

I struggled in setting my intention about what to include and what not to include in my journal. I have the natural instinct to include everything, like a private journal. I also have an interest in keeping you, the reader, engaged so you'll want to read more and be entertained, intrigued, and empathetic. The struggle is: What do I include so that I have a record of what the trip meant for me, and still provide a readable, interesting document to my readers? Too much of someone else's rumination, written or otherwise, will get pretty dull pretty quick, IMHO.

So, I've decided to:

  • Not sugar coat my experience. I'll have bad days, and you'll know about them.
  • Describe what I'm feeling and thinking in addition to what I'm seeing: You'll get inside the Monkey Mind.
  • Let my writing be unfocused (if need be) if that's all I can do to get it out: You'll endure what lies beyond the Monkey Mind.
  • Keep trail crushes (if they happen) private.
  • Try to let the reader know what it's like on the trail: the little rituals, the timing, the culture.

Notes about my Journal System.

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