||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."
||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."
||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."
||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
||Northern California and the Trinity
||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 ."
||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."
||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."
||My post-trail transition.
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."
||Closing thoughts and links to other
||"If I learned anything on this
trip it's that hiking the PCT can not make me happy."
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
- 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.