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[pct-l] Another intro
Hello to all! Happy to see the list back - much thanks to Ryan. Since I
had not ever introduced myself on the old list, I thought that the second
time around, I would correct that.
In 1972, I picked up a copy of National Geographic at a friend's house
with a cover story on the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. I read and
reread the story several times, being particularily fascinated by Eric
Ryback's hike of the entire trail in a season (of course, most of us know
this was not necessarily true now; still, for me, he was my inspiration). I
vowed then that I would do the same someday.
In 1975, I flew west to accomplish this. I grew up in Ohio and had never
been west of the Mississippi, nor did I have any practical snow experience.
Though I had an idea that others had done a thru-hike before me, I didn't
know how many.
National Geographic had just published their book on the trail and I saw it
once before I left. The guidebooks from Wilderness Press were fairly new,
being in their first printing. Though I had a fair amount of long-distance
trail hiking experience from the previous year on the Appalachian Trail (I
hiked about 1000 miles of it), I really had no idea of what I was getting
myself into. Luckily, youthful enthusiam prevailed. I left Campo April 17
and arrived in Manning Park on September 16, exactly 5 months later. I
won't say anything stupid like how it changed a boy to a man (I celebrated
my 21st birthday on the trail) but something like that happened: when I
reached the top of Forester Pass, the highest point on the trail, I suddenly
knew that I was going all the way to Canada; I had not only crossed a
physical barrier, but apparently a mental barrier in my own life. I have
since done many harder wilderness trips than the PCT, but nothing I have
done since has ever challenged me in quite the same way. The self-confidence
I gained on the PCT has never left me: this is, of course, the reason the
PCT is special to me. I still have that copy of National Geographic that
got me started.
Enough of that. I now live in Anchorage, Alaska with my wife Linda and 2
sons, Walker and Hayden (ages 12 and 5). We like to hike, canoe and camp as
a family, though I am the only true wilderness maniac. For New Year's, we
will join some friends at a cabin just south of Denali National Park, like
we do every year, for lots of cross-country skiing, card-playing, etc. It
has been a very long time since I have done any long backpacking trip. This
list has provided me with a lot of good information on current equipment and
trends, things I don't keep up on much anymore, as well as just keeping me
informed on the state of the trail and the long-distance hiking community.
I hope that there is information I can help others with as well, equipment
or otherwise: there were a lot of people out there who helped me on my way
from Mexico to Canada and the only way I can pay them back is to help
P.S. I sure don't mean to sound like I'm preaching the Gospel of the Pacific
Crest Trail According to Me and I apologize if it comes off that way to
anyone. I do strongly feel that belief in yourself is your best thing you
can carry on the trail, being very light and free.
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