Getting Wild… Finally

Well here it is already January 2015. I thought I would offer up a little food for thought. You see, the movie Wild finally appeared in my little theater. A wonderful new acquaintance, Snowshoe Rob (Father of a 2014 Thru Hiker) told me it was showing. I was excited to see it, so I set off for the theater the first chance I got. While I was tempted to sneak in trail food…you know poptarts and Pasta Sides… I decided wearing my Patagonia Puffy and old hiking shoes would be enough. I have been smelling way to clean to be considered hiker trash these days. 🙂

The first thing that struck me was the first hiking scene. Where Reese (Cheryl) was setting off from Mojave, CA. The very spot I remember being dropped off just outside of town. By the lovely woman who had a lot of llamas at home. (Thanks for the hitch!)

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The first hiking scene in “Wild” took place here. Just after Mojave… it made me miss the Band something fierce.
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The scene brought about a lot of memories… I remember this being a tough mental day for me, it was hot, and I had a heavy pack. I remember seeing a rainbow in the dark sky, I lost my favorite sunglasses, and I really remember those beautiful souls that welcomed me in to our final campsite that evening with big wonderful smiles and thoughtful words. The trough was really green and gross, the boys had seen a mamma bear and a cub on their way to camp. It was just one day on the trail… nothing special, but each day held such simple pleasures. It shocks me how much I remember, and how vivid it all is. (Ask me what I did a week ago, I probably couldn’t tell you.)

There has been much talk about how the book and movie of “Wild” will ruin the Pacific Crest Trail. I don’t agree. I think everyone deserves to get lost in their own thoughts, to take a walk. Sure people will show up unprepared, (this is nothing new,) sure some people will bite off more than they can chew, but what is living without a little risk? I think the ability to get a little “Wild” in this day and age is important. After all, some really amazing people thought long ago that Wilderness, National forests, and National Parks are important enough places to protect.

With that I say, set sail, take some risks, you never know who you will find out there. It might just surprise you.

Cheers,

Sunbeam 🙂

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How it ends…

Well, I must apologize for my tardiness of this post. “Real life” as most of you know is full of so much goodness that it is hard to organize thoughts. That being said it has taken me awhile to really digest my PCT experience.

When I set out this spring my intended destination was Canada. The only thing I thought would stop me was an injury or running out of funds. Thankfully neither of those happened. However what did happen was this. I found the answers to the questions I was not initially looking for. I found the reasons I set out on this journey for in the first place. I was looking for time to just be in the woods. Time to spend with my own thoughts. I also found that Canada was not where I needed to be to find happiness.

Along the way I saw so much beauty. The stars over the desert, a sunset from the top of a peak, barrel cactus in bloom, tons of wildflowers, all phases of the moon, the view from Mount Whitney, I could go on forever. However the beauty I really sought was that which is found in others.

There is so much kindness in the world. What you see on the news or read about on the web, it is all very depressing. It’s easy to forget about the good. But there is real, actual beauty around us, every day. Strangers who will be kind to you even though your stench is horrible. Total strangers who would stop what they were doing to help you if you needed it. The beauty of the people is what I needed, and it is what I found.

From all the beautiful souls I met along the trail. Your perseverance, smiles, words, and friendship will forever be with me. Tent Stake, Sarah and Roi, Poet, Chad, Katy, Cheetah, Borealis, Coach and First Class, Heatwave, Angles, Slims, Owl, and all the others… you all are amazing souls, I feel so blessed that our paths crossed.

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To those amazing folks who go out of their way to help hikers. Scout and Frodo, Warner Springs Monty, The Sauflys, Ziggy and the Bear, The Anderson’s, and all of those unsung heroes. The food, rides, soda, beer, water, your time… It all made the experience what it was. Amazing. I thank you from the whole of my heart. I also promise to continue to pass on the spirit of the trail, and your kindness to others. We must forever pay it forward.

When I set out on this journey my intent was to hike solo. I knew I would find others to hike with, but my intent was never to be “stuck” with someone else or have them feel they were “stuck” with me.

Poor Arctic, had no chance!

I feel so fortunate to have found a close friend and hiking partner. What are the chances of two people to have so much in common to be in the same gear store that day? Instantly, I knew this poor guy was going to be a good friend of mine.

Well after nearly 3 and a half months of hiking, sharing dinner, lunch, breakfast, and nearly every waking moment together, I am so glad our paths crossed and that I made that sassy comment about your insole choice.

You made my PCT journey what it was, truly magical. I will forever be indebted for your kindness, laughter, and companionship.

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So what is my take home message? Well it is this… The key to life is to be happy. The kind of happy you feel deep down inside. I found that while I loved exploring California, my heart belongs to the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Maybe someday I will finish the PCT, or maybe I won’t. But I don’t feel like I failed. I am ecstatic to see pictures of folks I have met along the way at the northern terminus. But I don’t need that for myself. I am happy with hiking 1,506 miles. Content to have ONLY hiked half. For me, the journey really is the destination. And damn was is AWESOME!

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Thank you all for following along with me and for your patience in my slow blogging. It meant a lot to share the experience. To know that others might be inspired to hike the PCT or even just hike around their own area, is what its all about. The reason other than a way for me to remember this experience, to hopefully inspire. Your comments brought joy to me along the trail, and will continue to remind me of the kindness in this magical world.

Thank You! 🙂

-Sunbeam-

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Day 105: Last day, 1500 Miles!

August 5, 2014
15 miles
1,506 miles total

It rained a bit last night, by it was a good morning to get up and moving. Torrey was off before we were, but after a good breakfast we were off.

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While it never really got sunny, the temp was great for hiking. Arctic saw his first bear of the trail. I was a bit ahead and walked right by it. A little before lunch we hit our last milestone for this adventure… 1,500 miles! It has been a crazy and amazing journey. I can’t believe how fast it went.

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After a quick lunch break by a spring we pushed on towards town. Knowing these were the last few miles it was strange, but it also felt good. This hike has been so good for my soul. I feel refreshed and whole once again. The woods and walking are a beautiful duo.

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We hit the road fairly early in the afternoon. As we saw little traffic, we decided to call a guy for a ride to Mt. Shasta. We didn’t wait long, and before we knew it we were in town. After the usual town chores (showers, laundry, etc.) We were on our way to grab a celebratory dinner.

We ran into other hikers, it was strange to say “Well, we are actually getting off trail.” The trail community is so lovely, it will be hard to part from it.

Tonight as it pours outside I am so very thankful for this opportunity. The trail, the community, the mountains… They are my home, my people, I will miss all of these beautiful things dearly.