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, August 19, 2008

today sucketh the mosteth

Day 108, Mile 1946.8---Let's start from the beginning.This morning we packed up and left the hut. I was actually the last one to leave and for some reason i thought of going back to the tram, riding down, and quitting the trail. As i walked i tried to place why i was thinking of quitting. I decided i felt pretty guilty that in the last 2 days i have skipped (in one form or another) approximately 40 miles. When i called my Dad from Shelter Cove and said i had arrived, he said "man your smokin buddy!". The last time he said that was when i told him i had arrived in Etna after 100mi in 72 hrs - which i actually walked. It didn't feel good to hear that again and know it wasn't accurate at all this time. I have this belief that if i can't do something right or to my standards, i shouldn't do it at all. Although i am a self proclaimed reformed purist, the guilt was too strong. Willamette Pass was hosting a 100k (63mi) race today(hence the ayce pasta last night) and the course went along the PCT for a bit. I came upon a lady sitting at a trail junction directing racers at a confusing intersection. I talked with her for a bit and she asked how long i was hiking for and where to. I responded that i was headed to Canada and probably around 5 months as it has already been 3 and a half. "Ohhh my, well you look so fresh!" she said. Grrreat my guilty conscience lamented; probably because you just skipped 40 miles and had all you can eat pasta last night which you took up on a tram ride and ate indoors in a hut with solar lighting and a beer to wash it all down. So of course i confessed it all to her. She didn't seem that concerned for my thru-hiker soul. I walked on, stepping aside as racers passed every once in awhile, usually in two's or three's. Some of them commented on my hike, or my trip, and how amazing it was as they went by. I thought; are you kidding me? you folks are running 63 miles today, that is amazing. This post is going to go on forever. Soon i started seeing signs like "gypsies ahead" and "the Twins 1/2 mile ahead". It turned out to be an aid station for the racers, complete with hyper helpers, and a belly dancer. I was offered all of the same stuff the racers got. I had a piece of watermelon, a couple grapes, a slice of banana, and a PB&J tortilla wrap thing. All of it tasted awesome, it made me wish i was in the race so i could have it all again at the finish. In fact i thought about dropping my pack and running with them, make up the 40 miles, and then quit the trail. Quitting was in my head all day. The mosquitoes upped the ante in the afternoon. Deet was applied again and again, at one point my legs were on fire hip to toe with a burning itch. It got so bad i had to put my jacket on and tuck my head net into the collar. That is not comfortable, especially when its 80something and very humid. Then it started to rain. Not hard at all, but just enough to get those other 50000000 skeeters up and moving. I think this afternoon was my lowest point on the entire trail. I am not sure i hit rock bottom, but it felt hard enough. The rain let up, but the mosquitoes did not. I picked a spot to camp around 7:30 and set up my tent with the fly in case it started up again. As i cooked dinner a thunderstorm started up about 16 miles away (i did that counting between lightning and thunder thing). I couldn't get my dinner to cool down fast enough to eat as the storm rolled in. I felt fairly vulnerable being camped next to a small lake, eating with a metal spork out of a metal pot, next to a tall tree, the mosquitoes pelting me all the while. I threw out some of my dinner and managed to get myself and everything in the tent just as the big drops started to fall. So here i sit, in this sauna. In the time it has taken me to write this colossal post the storm has passed, the mosquitoes buzz around the tent awaiting my return, and it sounds like something has found the rest of my dinner. Why am i doing this again? I hope it becomes clear in the morning. I want to finish, i don't want to quit. I just wish the Canadian border was just 20 miles away instead of 700ish. Alright that's it, thanks for hanging in there - if you did. Thought of the day; i just want out, WAIT i don't mean that, life is good, I'm fine. Song of the day; same as yesterday actually. Craving of the day; to be at home eating homemade burgers, shakes, and fries.

JWC on the PCT


DANYELIA said...

oh jesse you've come so far!!!! i'm sure this last leg of the trip has to be the hardest but i know you're going to finish =) good luck be safe and prince still thinks that you're in every mountain that we see.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there, Jess - I know how the skeeter thing can get you down. Just be glad they aren't the giant ones like they have in Alaska on the tundra! But I guess no matter the size, they are just miserable creatures to try to co-exist with! (Prince's comment - too funny - and a classic!)

ark said...

Jesse...Was there really a belly dancer with the hyper helpers? I know that you won't quit because anybody that can feel that quilty over 40 little miles when you have walked almost 2000 would never quit. Don't be a legalist...they never have any fun. They are always concerned with nit picking instead of seeing the big picture and what is really valuable in life. It is the experience you are having, not the number of miles you walk. It is the way you are being changed and made better that is important. And we all think you are awesome to the max! It will be over soon and you will be home..the place where you are the "most comfortable and the most loved"...talking about your journey and all the ups and downs, and reading your journal entries, and knowing that it was worth it all. Love as always.......Andrea