Some People Call Me The Space Cowboy
Some call me the gangster of love
If only, Space Cowboy is such a badass trail name… Most people actually call me Austin.
I’m a 30-year-old guy born in the USA but moved to Canada in 2009. Growing up near Seattle I was super into snowboarding and it basically consumed my life. I moved to BC after high school to go to UBC and have found a way to stay in Canada ever since, and it rocks. Canadian life has been filled with concerts, festivals, psychedelic encounters of the 4th kind, snowboarding, seasonal outdoor jobs and recently climbing and backpacking. I will also be starting an RN program in September. While hiking is newish to me, having only been an avid hiker for 5-6 years, thru-hiking was something I was immediately obsessed with. I have a pattern of diving into things, jumping just isn’t full yolo enough.
Patterns of YOLO
Yes, I know YOLO isn’t very fetch anymore but the irony is too good to pass up. I have this trait where I don’t really want to do anything at an entry-level or just dip my toe in. If I am going to do something I want to live and breathe it to fully understand what it’s all about. Fortunately, some of the costs of these endeavors are offset by working in the outdoor industry. This pattern clearly expanded to climbing, my first summer climbing I sent an 19-pitch (650m) route just a couple of months after first tieing-in. Again, this pattern is evident in me taking on the Great Divide Trail for my first thru-hike. Until today, my longest hike has been 3 nights and we covered about 100km (60miles). It seems like a lot to bite off compared to the AT or the PCT, given the route finding, food carries, and sheer remoteness, but it follows suit. My availability was mostly limited by seasonal jobs; working at a kayak shop for a few summers, tree planting, fruit picking, working at gear shops, etc. So longer stretches of time weren’t easy to come by until I was fortunate enough to get laid off from work in November. This meant several great things, a severance package, ample time to prep for the hike, and I got rid of all the unnecessary stress the job was pushing upon me. I feel WAY better not having to do that shit anymore, and was lucky enough to go back to a snowboard shop part-time through the winter.
Now with the GDT just 2 months away I am obsessing over everything I can. Had I been planning for the PCT or other American thru-hikes I would also be obsessing over topo maps and Guthooks to find out the best plan of attack. With the GDT though, a huge portion of our campsites have to be booked through Parks Canada, and we are at the mercy of an overburdened reservation system. Long story short, it a serious gong show. Planning how far I will hike each day over a 52-day stretch is a complete joke, there is way too much room for error. I will write another post regarding planning and reservations soon, it deserves an entire article. The current obsession is over gear selection. This dilemma is living their best life in my mind every day, buying more stuff to lower my base weight (everything in my backpack besides food, water, and anything else consumable), or just making do with what I have. It’s currently looking like a blend of the two. My partner Tanya will be joining me so it won’t be a true Solo Yolo and she will be carrying half of our shared gear which helps at keeping the weight down. Regarding gear, I really try to avoid buying things off Amazon but the delivery driver sure knows our house well. Additionally, living in Canada several things aren’t available that are frequently referenced in articles about thru-hiking, or have insane shipping/duty costs. Some serious first-world problems over here. I am currently just finishing up dialing the system and will be going out on a few test trips in the coming weeks!
Wow, you read until the end! Stay tuned for an update on the reservation system, our food plan, and what’s going in my pack!
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