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Re: [pct-l] Thru-hiking strategies

In a message Spirit Eagle writes:

<< We're looking forward to the beauty of Washington and another four weeks 
 hiking.  We're weary, but still enjoying the life and not in a hurry to 
finish. >>

Thus is the spirit of those that don't rush through at 30+ miles per day.  I 
enjoyed Brian's strategy comments and think that most are right on target 
with today's lighter weight components.  However, I have to take issue with 
the inference that to be slow and behind the pack is to be "out of it".  Note 
that if all of the trail news flows backward and nearly none forward that 
those behind, in fact, get to enjoy the tales and messages and conversations 
of all of those that have gone ahead, and conversely, those that lead the 
pack have no such luxury and trudge ahead at their hurried pace in silence 
with little or no knowledge of the comraderie behind.  Don't be drawn into 
the race, this is not a race, it is an adventure to relish for a lifetime of 
memories.  Even the supposed low points come back to you later in vivid 
detail and make the high points that much richer.  1,000 miles or 2,600 miles 
or 3,500 miles will tell you this, maybe not right away, but if you took the 
time to observe and explore, then perhaps many years later.  

The comment about trudging along at the boring speed of 2 miles per hour 
reminded me of the comments that some short sighted friends of mine spoke 
upon learning of my plans to hike the PCT;  "Gee, Greg, why don't you just 
drive the distance?  It will take you a much shorter time and you'll get to 
see almost as much as walking!"   Who was it that said something along the 
lines that "You see 100 times as much from a car as that from an airplane and 
you see 100 times more on a bike than you do from a car and you see 100 times 
more when you walk than when you ride a bike"?  Then how much more do you see 
and experience at 2 mph than you do at 3+ mph?  Ten times? Twenty times?  

Don't get me wrong here.  I'm not professing to go to extremes and crawl the 
PCT (hmmm, now there is something for Monte to do!).  I am simply professing 
to not take the opposite extreme without closely examining your motives and 
desires and interests in this endeavor.  Yes, the weather and prospect of 
snow is daunting.  But, listen up (I know this is long, I'm sorry, but I 
really feel strongly about this stuff), I was up on the Marion Mountain Trail 
on San Jacinto mountain recently with my three sons and we climbed up to the 
PCT right near Fuller Ridge.  It was hot and the shade from the large pines 
was sought and enjoyed, the breeze most invited. Snow?  No sign that snow 
could ever be part of this scene.

The memories came flooding as they always do when I retrace any part of the 
trail; of the snow along this stretch in early Spring with the brilliant red 
snow flowers pushing up through the snow and the bright green pine needles of 
new growth on the trees causing an almost hallow effect with the boughs still 
holding a coat of snow . . . of the exhaustion of postholing all afternoon on 
the southern approach to Tahquit's Peak and collapsing in my sleeping bag too 
tired to fix anything to eat, only to find a kind hearted soul on Easter 
morning, camped right next to me, offering a FULL breakfast with all the 
trimmings, him knowing what I was doing from my equipment (a rare insight in 
1977), and of course not surprized at the hugh volume that I consumed.  In 
short, this possibly interpreted low from one perspective is actually a great 
memory and high.  I will challenge any low that anyone has ever experienced 
on the PCT and show that in a different light can be viewed as great 
experience with lessons and insights and value.  

I'm no angel in this respect.  I am guilty of rushing through some sections 
and logged some high mileage days.  I merely have the fortunate perspective 
of a few more years than most.  I surely wont rush through the next time, God 


Greg "Strider' Hummel
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