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[pct-l] Ramblings

Hello again everybody,

First let me say that since I started receiving this newsletter a couple
weeks ago that I feel more in touch with the experience I am about to
experience. I even went back and read some of the archives and one can get
the sense of the building energy, the gathering of forces. I feel like I am
starting to get to know a few of you guys. Here's a few of my random

When I read the Handbook I certainly had a few reservations and the
attitude was certainly one. I am glad that some of these issues have
surfaced in the newsletter as it allows me to realize that it is only a
guide after all, and I can take what is useful from it, there are good
ideas there after all, and take the rest with a grain of salt.

Once again, I am reminded of starting my Appalachian Trail hike of '78
following a lot of Colin Fletcher's methods only to find out how
ridiculously overloaded I was. About that time I heard the legends of
Grandma Gatewood who hiked the A.T, like three times non stop, with not
much more than a blanket that she slung around her to carry some food, and
a pair of Keds.

This made me realize then, among other things, that everyone has their own
way of walking as much as they have their own way of living. I started to
notice that every hiker I met had a different kit. One guy slept with a
hatchet in his sleeping bag every night. Another wore one boot and one
tennis shoe. And there was supposedly this woman who was through hiking in
the nude. You get the point. The point is whatever works best for you works
best for you.

On the other hand I turned vegetarian on that trek, something I never even
thought about before that. This I learned from a fellow hiker. I can only
hope for as profound a revelation as that one has turned out to be to
happen to me this time around. The point here is that it is good to be open
to new ways of doing something if they work better.

The journey is not about getting from A to Z, it is an adventure, a
personal challenge, a quest. The high mileage, the sore muscles, the bugs,
the heat and cold, the doubt, loneliness, and pain are all a part of the
experience. This odyssey reveals the true being as it strips away the
unnecessary, magnifies, simplifies, and reforms it. There is a lot of fun
to be had as well, but the reward of the long distance walk has always been
something more than that. Pay the price and go the distance!

Here is a simple equipment decision I have been wrestling with. Whether or
not to bring my ice axe. Personally, whenever I've ever been using one I've
had crampons strapped to my feet and been on grades that far exceed the
maximum 12% that the PCT supposedly has. I'll be bringing up the rear
through the High Sierras and I'll be wearing real boots to boot. Will
somebody please tell me if I really need to tote that hunk of iron hundreds
of miles or not, and if so what will I need it for other than digging cat

I didn't know until a short time ago that I was going to be able to go this
year. Now I will be playing catch up with the rest of the through hikers
because of the fact that I can't leave my job until May 15th. I'll be right
behind ya'll though and one day you'll look over your collective shoulders
and there I'll be. (Hi Jeremy, Wendy, et al!)

                          Until then.....
                                         Eugene, Oregon

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