Gratitude on the Pacific Crest Trail
Today, I am sitting in Portland in a cushy Marriot waiting for the bleach on my scalp to do its job so I can go purple again. I asked the front desk people if they had any old towels that I could ruin, and she said “Oh that’s so fun! Just go for it and I’ll have extra towels sent to your room.” Feels like destiny to me.
Yesterday, I walked across the Columbia river on the Bridge of the Gods with Toes and Squeegie. While hiking, I listen to the song “Heading South” by Zach Bryan multiple times a day. It is not a very well known song, but it speaks to me in a way I can not describe. As we walked across that bridge, I was feeling very emotional and powerful and the whole gauntlet of feelings, and then a truck drove by us and guess what song was playing? I couldn’t stop myself from staring at her for a second and she asked if I was okay and I told her I was heading south on the PCT. She said “Wow, that feels like destiny.”
Destiny is a big word. It has so many connotations. In the last month, I have walked 536ish miles across the state of Washington, constantly in awe of the majesty. Even as my shoes disentegrated off of my feet while making my way south, causing blisters and pain and anxiety, I would jerk myself back to the present moment and look around me. I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
When I could not even stop to pee because the mosquitos were so thick in the air, and the world seemed like it was all buzz and bite and blood, I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
When I threw myself into (literal) ice cold glacial melt waters and resurfaced to the 105° sun beating down on me, nestled perfectly in a little bowl of mountains covered in snow, I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
I sat outside a random cabin in the woods maintained by a snowmobile club, drinking a cold Rainier left as trail magic and talking to my friend Moose about how great it is to have that realization. It is a powerful feeling to be grounded in the present moment. It is so very easy on the trail to lose yourself in thoughts of the past or the future. Anxiety, fear, loneliness, worry, guilt, pain, and anything else you can imagine can bear down on you with each step. It can become a pressing, dominant, overbearing power that takes over everything else. Little things in the back of my mind rear their ugly heads and demand attention. My feet pound the earth as I make my way south and the ghosts of my past resurface each day. Yet, somehow, I am able to turn that off. I ruminate on these negative thoughts, then as soon as I realize what I am doing I just stop, look around, and find gratitude. Why worry about yesteryears, when I have such a perfect life right now. Why worry about tomorrow? As long as I am always doing the best I can right now, then the future will take care of itself.
Maybe I have always been exactly where I was supposed to be, but I was not grateful enough to realize it.
I am grateful for the time I have to realize things like this.
I believe that this trail, and the folks who are on it and care about it, have irrevocably changed the collective consciousness of the world. So many people feel similarly to the way I do for it to be otherwise. These long trails are beacons to me and the folks who get it, in an otherwise confusing world. We go back to the basics on these adventures. Food, water, shelter, and community are the only things we need.
Damn, y’all. I love my life.
The trail itself is mostly a pine needle highway lately, which is conducive to large mile days. 30 miles a day is the new 20. It is hard to wrap my head around it, but staying on pace means hiking about 170 miles a week. I know all of these numbers can become overwhelming to me, so I try not to focus too much on that. Thankfully, it has just worked out. It feels good to be hiking back to back to back days, each longer than a marathon. My body is hurting, but that just means I am getting stronger.
“Wildfire” is the word on the tip of everyone’s tongue. There is absolutely nothing I can do about fire, so I guess I will just keep hiking until someone tells me it’s too dangerous. Who knows what the next couple of weeks will bring to that situation. For now, I’m going to keep thriving and hiking.
More pictures and content can be found on my Instagram @toodleicious. Also, I have a Google photos album where I am posting unedited pictures and videos as I go. That link is
If you love them, or me, and want to be an A+ friend and trail angel, my Venmo is @LoganRoark. A few bucks for a cold drink in town goes a long way!
Well, I think my hair is officially purple now and I have to go find a scooter to ride around all day and see the crazy folks of Portland.
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