PCT Update and Random Contemplations – 1075 Wolverine Miles Completed

Crossed the border into Oregon a couple days ago with mixed emotions. I am indeed in Oregon, but due to my forward flip, still have a big chunk of Nor Cal to complete later. 

For a moment this thought gets me down. Then I shake it off, move on and embrace where I am now. There is much to focus on here—so I do that. While I am grappling with these diverse thoughts I am traversing a broad steep slope on a tiny width of trail. There is a rock cliff above me and I can not see the bottom of the slope because it gets swallowed up with many trees hundreds of feet below. Precipitous. I could have been on this same trail in the desert, or in the Sierra. Steep narrow traverse with unseen top and bottom. This describes a vast majority of the Pacific Crest Trail. We are exposed. 

It is easy to consider, which I do often, that I could slip and fall on this tiny traverse. I think of this more as an exercise—what would I do here if I slipped and fell. While I am thinking this, I suddenly see a deep broad foot print two feet off trail on the downslope. Someone ahead of me lost their balance and caught themselves with that foot plant. Good catch, I think. 

It is understandable for an “outsider” to consider that we are just walking from one place to the next each day. This in itself is a difficult thing to do day after day with a heavy pack, while filthy and hungry and constantly seeking the next water source. In between walking we sleep on the ground in a random location amidst whichever temperature extreme or insect nuisance is current, after tending to more unpalatable food eating and nurturing ailing body parts. This all would be tough even if we were just walking on straight flat ground, but we are not. The trail is remote, steep, exposed and precipitous the majority of the time. Which also makes it challenging and beautiful—in short, rewarding to have experienced.

Lately I have been mulling over a diverse array of thoughts about my life, myself, my relationship. I am moving into the final third or so of my life (in theory) and contemplating how I want to best spend that time. The list of what I still want to experience this time around is very long, so I am required to narrow it down, as my time here is narrowed. 

Many come to the trail to think about such things, and more. It was easy to consider before this trip which direction I wanted to aim my trail contemplations and where I might want them to land. But as with all arduous endeavors worth their time, the thoughts that are popping up are not even close to what I suspected they would be. If, for example, I came out here to get a clearer picture of who I am now, the person that is showing up is not who I expected. Which is odd and just perfect at the same time. 

Many believe in our later years that we know ourselves well. We may call it wisdom or self awareness. But perhaps what is more crucial to know is that if we keep going after a big full life, our self view will continue to expand and flourish. So we can enjoy an even more expanded version of self if we are willing to mine for it. IF we mine for it. 

Back at you soon up trail…


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