Some thoughts before departure...

  • I am still not a vet, doctor, lawyer, dog trainer, cia agent, fbi agent or a navy seal so...walk
  • I am doing this for the challenge of course, and I hope to gain a confidence that comes with this type of endeavor. But also I hope to gain some new knowledge about the world and the truths that reside in it.
  • Am I walking to "find myself"? Or just to take a walk. You decide...and you'll probably be right.
  • I'm not in the best shape of my life, but I do have a lot of new great gear so....
  • After living with my parents the last 2 years, it makes perfect sense to walk 2650 miles - alone.
  • Yes there will be bears, cougars, rattlesnakes and scorpions both imagined and real along the way. I'm definitely more worried about those imagined.
  • Am I scared? Not as of yet, more of just a constantly increasing anticipation. But check back with me on the 3rd night in the desert.
  • I tried to keep my pack fairly light, but I definitely would not call it ultralight. Somehow when I added up all my ultralight gear and put it in my ultralight pack, I ended up with just slightly heavy.
  • My biggest concern for this trip is that I get too hungry somewhere along the way, my brain goes awol as it usually does when I get hungry and subsequently you never hear from me again...I'll try to eat frequently.
  • I am not Christopher McCandless. This is not Into the Wild.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The End....The Beginning

Alright, I have decided it is time. Not that I have become “reflective” as I said previously, or that I am now sufficiently acclimated to home, more that I am just bored and this somehow makes me feel ever so slightly productive. Oddly enough I am not sure who I am writing this for as I am sure no one is checking this thing for updates now. Anyway, I will try and make this short and concise, meaningful and deliberate. First I would like to thank everyone who followed me along my PCT journey over the last 5 months. It was a great joy, as I have said before, to come into town and check my comments on here; every one of them spurring me onward, northward. I would not have finished if it wasn’t for all of my friends and family, period, nuff said. I have never written punctuation before, it doesn’t work all that well. Coming back home has been great and odd. Great, in that I am home, duh. Odd in every other sense. Nothing seems to have changed, I fell right back into my pre-trip patterns; wake up, eat, check email, check facebook, run some errands or workout or shower, or all three, lunch, think of some task I should get going on, do half of it, dinner, TV, reading, sleep. Repeat. I have a hard time figuring out how I go from here, how I maintain my once strong and easy “on trail” attitude, how I incorporate the changes I felt I made in myself, but have yet to see play out back in “real life”. I am hoping that in writing this I will inspire myself to get going NOW and start seriously planning my trip around, over, and through the world. I am hoping that in writing this I will re-ignite the spirit of living life that I managed fairly well on trail. I realize that the trail is not real life in a sense. I worried towards the end that similar to my summers at camp, it drops you back into your civilian life fairly abruptly. So here I am. I have decided just in writing the last two sentences that my mission is now to make this life into the one I had at camp and on trail. Live feeling free, making some money, and enjoying the ride. Wow, that was all a little too much, but mostly true. I am selling the rest of my stuff that I deem un-needed. On Thursday I will go up to see Jarell and family, the second week in November I will see Landshark & Caterpillar, and Anna. After that who knows, it’s off to the races; around, over, and through the world. I’ll see you there.

JWC off the PCT

Monday, September 29, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Day 151
I spent most of last night waiting to go to the bathroom, and the rest of the time in the bathroom. I caught all my flights and arrived to LAX around 945. As i exited the jet way there were my parents with a huge hand-made sign welcoming me home. It felt good, real good. All was great until i got home and realized my gastrointestinal distress was overpowering my appetite while croissants, fruit, eggs, and all other wonderful things that sat in front of me. By 3ish i had decided that whether it was giardia or not i needed some antibiotics or something. Went to urgent care, the doctor told me we would do this "half assed" and then prescribed only 3 days of antibiotics. I got the feeling he didn't quite believe me regarding my symptoms, and when he asked if others on the trail with giardia had gotten better with Flagyl and Cipro (not what he was prescribing) i thought this guy might not have a clue. At any rate i got the drugs and took some with dinner, now i am back on the throne and writing this blog. I really hope it gets better tomorrow. Its killing me that on the trail i imagined all this great food when i got home, now here it is, and i cannot enjoy it. Now that i am home and at the true end of my PCT adventure, this will be my last post for awhile. When i get a chance to stop thinking about my food and bowels and their terrible relationship troubles, i hope to get reflective and do a final post to wrap it all up. Hopefully sooner rather than later. Thought of the day; getting giardia while still on the trail would have made me quit i think. Song of the day; iiiiii wouldnt daaaance with anutherrrrr, wooooooo ,when i sawwww herr standin therrrrrr - Mr. Monogamy. Craving of the day; to eat like a regular person.
Post Script; it is the morning, i think i am on the road to recovery which crosses the hwy of gluttony in the next couple days hopefully
JWC on the PCT

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Slow Return

Day 150---I look like a bum, my pack smells like one, we sit together in purple chairs at the Vancouver International Airport. I arrived about an hour ago. I had plans to go out with James and his beer league hockey team this evening. The only flight that looked good was the 7am tomorrow morning out of Vancouver to LAX. Consequently i had to leave on the last flight out of Kelowna this evening. James was at a golf tourney so i had to take a taxi and leave a note like some spurned lover. I felt like my Kelowna tour was cut short, but home has been calling me for some time, so i had to take the opportunity. My box will have to be returned to sender, i bought clothes at "Winners" to wear on the plane. I forgot my belt and i am wearing crocs for dress shoes. I look like a bum who went on a small shopping spree at one time and did a fairly poor job. I called the parentos to tell them i would be arriving tomorrow, they suggested (among many other things) that i get a hotel room for the night. Seems like a whole lot of effort. There is a hotel attached to the airport so i inquired about a room. On the way up the stairs i noticed a woman in pajamas being questioned by the police. She looked up at me with manic eyes of recognition and jumped up to greet me, the police stopped her. That sentence was overdone. Anyway the concierge informed me that the room would be 330 dollars, way too much. So now i sit on the purple chairs. I wanted to get back through security and customs tonight while it was slow, but my bag cannot be checked until 4am. Sleeping at the gate sounded very appealing; sleeping on the purple chairs around the corner from ms. psycho, not so much. Its ok though, i am not sure i could sleep anyway, i think i have giardia. Just the very beginning of it, the part most people attribute to trail food etc. I could be wrong, maybe its just the extreme switch in diet and lack of proper nutrients or something. It's uncomfortable but not terrible. I will go to urgent care tomorrow in LB and get some anti-biotics to catch it before i am shitting on myself in a week or so. Exciting i know. TMI most likely. Alright i realize i am just writing to use time now. Thought of the day; what food you choose to eat, is who you are. Song of the day; something something out the bedroom dorrrr, goodbyeeeee goodbyeeeeee - ??. Craving of the day; my bed, my good sleep, my gastrointestinal health, not necessarily in that order.

JWC on the PCT

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Waiting Game

Day 149---Not much to say here. I had breakfast with the crew and their families this morning. Afterwards they all left for various destinations on their way home. L&C were nice enough to request a late checkout so myself and Clearwater had a place to hang out til 12. After that my time was occupied by sitting in the lobby, talking to the front desk ladies, talking to FedEx, and eating, oh and i got a short workout in too. The first time i called FedEx the customer service rep knew by first name regarding my "lost" packages, said i was infamous. Apparently all that infamy still only gets me one package. Of the two it was the better one, as it contained one of my tickets home. The other is still MIA. In the afternoon the manager gave me a t-shirt she didn't want so i could go workout. It felt good, and i just hoped everything was in kg so i couldn't tell how weak i am. James picked me up around 8ish and drove me 2.5hrs north to Kelowna where he resides. Here i am on a couch in Kelowna iin Canada, in need of sleep. Tomorrow I'm hoping to get my box(i have no idea how), if not maybe just find a thrift store and get some civilian clothes to wear around here and to fly home etc. Thought of the day; good friends are good to have. Song of the day; waaaaaay-k up litttle suuuuuuzeeeeee waaaay-k up - a guy. Craving of the day; home - speaking of which i found out the welcome back shindig is happening at 7pm on October 4th, if ya know me well enough to know where the parentos house is, then you re probably invited. See you there, maybe.

JWC on the PCT

Friday, September 26, 2008

Hello Canadia

Day 148, Mile 2663---Many more lasts were had today. Last climb, last switchbacks, last day on the PCT. This morning it was pouring as it had all night. I thought to myself well, this will be the last day so i guess i can arrive soaking wet no problem. But we were lucky again. The rain let up just as we started packing up and taking down the tents. The excitement was palpable and everyone pretty much bounced along the trail. By 10:30 we came around the final switchback and viewed the 15ft wide swath cut through the forest - the border. Once again it barely sunk in, barely. I had a brief moment where i thought i could feel the weight of this accomplishment, but then it was gone. On to more important things, like kicking over monument 78. Before you think i was desecrating a international marker or whatever, you should know that the PCT log was inside and it was really the most effective way of getting to it. We all took pictures, talked, laughed, signed the log, took some more pictures. By 11:30 the Jack Daniels was drank and the cigar was smoked in celebration, and i was back on the trail for the last 8 miles to Manning Park. The Jack Daniels propelled me up the 1000ft climb and wore off just as i started my descent down to the trailhead. I walked the last 2 miles with Clearwater and as we rounded the last corner every ones family was there to meet us. Champagne, grapes, veggie juice, i enjoyed it all. The families were even more excited then we were for our big finish. It was great. Later when i was talking to my Mom on the phone it occurred to me that i might have robbed her and my Dad of a special experience. But i had decided well before that i wanted to finish on my own. I am not sure why, I always envisioned meeting my parents at LAX, but i know they (especially my Mom) wanted to see me here. Anyway i am here now, and will be there soon, so its all good. Only problem is my box didn't arrive from FedEx today. It is a rather large fiasco apparently international rates and customs etc. Hopefully it will get here tomorrow so my buddy James can pick me up and start my transition home. I'll have more time to write tomorrow. Thought of the day; what i wrote in the border log - "This has been the most awesome ride/adventure/journey of my life to date. But i have had enough, i am quitting the trail." Song of the day; hip hop horraayyyyyy hoooooh hayyyyyy hohhhhh - someone i should really know considering it was played at the border on Landsharks ipod and i was told who it was by at that time. Craving of the day; dinner with friends and family again and again with no hiking inbetween

JWC on the PCT

Last night on the trail

Day 146, Mile 2648ish---Not so bad after all, it snowed once, sprinkled a few times, and we even got sun here and there. Worked out real well that the hardest rain of the day is right now as i lay in my warm bag with a "roof" over my head. It was very cold this morning but warmed throughout the day and was really fairly pleasant hiking weather. L&C and I hiked together today and enjoyed our good fortune together. Tomorrow will probably be not as great in terms of weather but it will be the last day so who cares. We talked about how all the "lasts" were happening; last climb, last saddle, last lunch break etc. It is really odd to me that here i am just 8 miles from the border and the ultimate finish of this trip and it doesn't seem that big. I think it will take awhile to sink in. Maybe when i get on the plane to fly home, maybe not until i am using all past tense explaining PCT things at my party. I have decided that the trip doesn't ultimately end until i am off the plane at LAX. So i will continue to post until that is the case, and then probably a couple days later a final de-briefing will be posted. As for now it is surreal. Thought of the day; goals set are equally important as goals attained. Song of the day; its the finaaaaal countdowwwwnnnn - somebody. Craving of the day; cotton clothes, the entire fruit section of Costco as well as their bagels and croissants, Canadian tap water. (i can satisfy 2 of the 3 tomorrow i hope)

Post Script; it is now morning and i just got back from the 5:58am "call". In the mildly frantic in and out of the tent most things got wet, in fact i am now laying inside my sleeping bag with a soaked rain jacket and wet pants. But it doesn't matter cause it is the LAST DAY!! huuuuuuwhaaaaaaat!? Yeeeeaaaayuuuuuh

JWC on the PCT

Oh what a beautiful morrrrrning

Day 145, Mile 2624.3---We got a ride back to the trail from the guy who let us crash at his place last night. There wasn't a cloud in the sky this morning. The snow had stuck and it was beautiful. At Cutthroat Pass the snow was about 6 inches deep and with the surrounding mountains dusted it was very picturesque. The entire morning was one of the most awe-some times of the entire trip. Last night we decided to do the same miles we had planned for 3.5 days in 2.5 days. The forecast for tomorrow and Thursday looks pretty dismal. We decided to take advantage of the sun and do as many miles as we could today. We came in after dark, but we managed just over 30 miles. Myself, Clearwater, Hoffa, and L&C are camped together at Harts Pass. We passed a sign 2 miles back that said 35 miles to the Canadian border. It made me just want to run north. The cold has taken hold of my fingers so i need to get them inside my bag soon. 24 miles tomorrow mostly in the rain, and then only 14 left also mostly in the rain to get all the way to Manning Park (8mi north of the border) Alright i fell asleep for the second time now still holding this thing, not good for my freezing fingers. Thought of the day; every once in awhile putting a guy in his man box just needs to happen - only a few will understand that one, if any. Song of the day; Winter Wonderland by somebody Christmas-y, and meeeeeeyeeeyeee me and misses, misses joh-oh-ohnes - don't know. Also one i made up, j-e-double s-e coome on baaack to the llll-bbeee-cccee. Craving of the day; a hot tub soak and a professional massage, also carrot cake from the Stehekin Pastry Company.

JWC on the PCT