Throughout my hike on the PCT, I kept a journal. Sometimes daily, sometimes weekly, I’d write. I wouldn’t get mad if I missed a day or two, but I made it a priority to write at least every few days. From the desert to the snow, I have paragraphs and pages filled of my own words. I’ve published these journal entries into a book called Walking Home. Below are my favorite journal entries from each section.
We walk into the sunrise with the full moon following behind us. The bees are buzzing around newly blooming bushes and I walk over a line of ants. Lizards spin out in the dirt as they scurry away from my trekking poles. I think about how many people have walked this path. Souls from all over the world have traveled this step by step. I wonder if they have experienced the pain I have, and I wonder if they’ve felt the joy I have. The trail unites people, it brings everyone to the same experience. We easily sympathize and connect with other hikers, knowing they’ve walked every step we have. Everyone is equal out here. Equally smelly, equally dirty, equally hot, and equally thirsty. A type of unity that is only found in the wild.
Today I fell in a river and smashed my face into a rock which resulted in a wet boot and a bloody nose. I couldn’t stop laughing.
I sit pressed against a stack of rocks. With the sun behind me, it is the only shade. There’s a slight breeze and only the things near me are moving – the tiny weeds and clusters of dead grass. Everything else is still, like a picture. The clouds don’t even move. They are permanently floating over Mt. Shasta. Dragonflies own the sky. I look at the trail and see it zig zag down to the valley where we came from. It’s been a climb I’ve been dreading all day, +6,600 ft. But, I didn’t know it was gonna be this. I didn’t know it was gonna be this beautiful. One of the most amazing and memorable views yet. It’s so glorious and huge. And mesmerizing. I watch a tiny white spec slowly move along the ridge trail. He will be here soon enough and the view of Castle Crags will be worth it all. Worth the pain, the heat, and the struggle. It looks like a castle, it does. Medieval and wondrous. And to think, before yesterday, I didn’t even know it existed. It’s spooky to realize just how small my world is. But it leaves access for surprise and utter fascination. I like my small world because it’s easy to blow my mind. It’s quiet up here on this ridge. No one knows I’m here and I kinda like it.
We walked through Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area today. The beauty astounds me. A mountain with snow caps that had different dimensions in each direction. The gray rock, pure white snow, and bright sky came together into, what is now, a beautiful memory. The mountain was enormous, the biggest thing we’ve seen in Oregon so far. I write to recall the beauty and peace the mountain held. It’s purpose so clear. To stand and be. I wonder if it holds any secrets dear to it. I wonder what that mountain means to people, what kind of trust it holds. It seemed to be the keeper of something special. This may be all I ever know.
There are birds, and man do they sing. They are just happy here. There weren’t these song birds in California or Oregon. I noticed them our first day in Washington. We sit at a picnic table. It’s something we’ve missed while being out here – a seat. We are so grateful to actually sit up right. And when we do, it’s the best feeling in the world. I watch the shadows pass as the sun moves around the trees. I like the way life feels when I’m sitting at a picnic table. The miles pass fast now. We no longer feel overwhelmed when we look at how far we have to go. We now feel like our luck is running out, like we want it to be longer. We’re not quite ready to be done yet. Just give us another state to walk through.
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