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[pct-l] goals

Very nicely said. Although I am late jumping in this debate over thru hiking
and speed, in the end we must hike the trail alone. While the very nature of
thru hiking entails meeting some "deadline" in order to beat the elements
and finish the hike, people do tend to let busyness take over when perhaps
they should take a deep breath and pause to find themselves. I by no means
am anywhere near an expert on what it takes to thru hike. I am but a mere
wanna be. Still, even on short trips or struggling to make the peak of a
mountain before the sun gets too high I find myself in that struggle of the
busy world. About the time I've slipped into an easier pace with myself the
weekend is over and I must submitt to the usual rush of returning home to
all the expectations waiting for me.

wishing I was backcountry somewhere right now...

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jeffrey Olson" <jjolson@uwyo.edu>
Cc: <PCT-L@mailman.backcountry.net>
Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2001 12:52 PM
Subject: Re: [pct-l] goals

> One of the great things about hiking for more than a couple weeks is the
very tangible sense of
> civilization's filters dissapating with each day, and sometimes each step.
All the busyness and rush rush
> recedes and a sense of presence, unbounded by past or future, emerges.
For me this was a wholeness of
> feeling that allowed me to make sense of my life.
> These were moments usually, sometimes long moments, but moments
nonetheless.  Without the busyness filters
> my emotions raged, up and down, from tears and the overwhelming
realization I wasn't having fun, longing
> for the trip to be over, to utter ecstatic highs during which I wasn't
even aware of walking.
> The sense of presence in which all made sense ebbed and flowed with my
emotions.  It came and went.  I made
> sense of what I was doing when I felt this calm, this sense of compassion
for myself and the very precious
> and fragile life I was leading.  I'd fall off this center into an emotion,
ride the roller coaster in
> whatever direction it was going, only to find myself again a minute, hour
or day later.
> There was a whole continuum of goals left over from my "busy-ness" life in
civilization, from planning the
> trip; the goal to finish hiking Oregon and Washington, the goal to pare my
pack's weight, to start walking
> before the sun came up, to find a stream for a three hour break at
mid-day, to eat dinner on the trail and
> camp at the top of a ridge, to make the top of the ridge when tired,
thirsty, hot and hungry.
> I felt all these goals as extensions of another life making its presence
felt.  It was hard to let go of
> them, to ride the emotions letting go entailed, to ride them without
"doing" anything about them, to find
> the center once again.  Far easier to jerk myself out of my sleeping bag
and time how long it took me to
> pack up, shit and hit the trail, to get 15 miles in by noon, to agonize
whether to stop at 4 or hike til
> 7.  All the decisions and emotions around them narrowed and shortened my
view of my life, and I'd realize
> what was happening and my heart would hurt immeasurably.  And that too
would pass, sometimes with tears,
> sometimes with a tricky creek crossing, sometimes with a breath-taking
vista, other times with a drink of
> water.
> I don't think we are taught how to live well in the world of busyness, to
find our own centers and act from
> there.  Long distance hiking creates the possibility to do this.  Long
distance hiking alone makes it
> almost imperative.  To be alone is probably the most feared and difficult
thing we humans can do.  Perhaps
> from within the center what we perceive from without as fearful eventually
reveals itself to be the way
> things are anyway...
> Just some thoughts...
> Jeffrey Olson
> Laramie, Wyoming, where Spring is just beginning...
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