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[pct-l] What's it really like out there?

Greetings '98'ers!  It's almost time to step up to the starting line.  To whet
your appetites or just scratch the itch, some thoughts from my '97 trail log:

                                   THAT FAR LOOK

                                                                  Words by

1.  It came up in conversation that I'd hiked the PCT.
     I felt anticipation; it meant a lot to me.

     "What's that?" says one, "How nice," another.  Then the subject died.
     They just don't understand our need to hike, I think, surprised.

     Why don't they show some interest?  Perhaps they just don't care.
     Not everyone can see much point in spending time out there.     

     Not many share our interest in reaching for this prize.  
     But then, just for a moment, I see something in their eyes.


     That far look, (for a moment I see) that far look in their eye,
     (And) I know they're out there somewhere on that trail up near the sky.

     Counting stars at night or cutting steps across the snow,
     Pausing long enough to see the cactus-flower's glow.

     I can see they're out there somewhere, 
     There's that far look in their eye.     

2.  If I had the time, that look says, I'd be there today.
     I'd get some boots and pack my pack, and I'd be on my way.

     I'd tramp across the desert, stop in to see Jack Fair.
     Listen to his salty talk and laugh to clear the air.

     Climb into my bag at night and search my starry room.
     Spot a feathery comet beside a crescent moon.

     Watch great Cygnus chase Aquila down the Milky Way,
     Dodging Sagittarius' arrow, till the break of day.

3.  If I had the strength, that look says, I'd go on that hike,
     Along the LA aquaduct, into the snowbound heights.

     Meet Edward, Duke of Gorp from York, and Dale from New Zealand,
     Walk with Justin and Katrina, Andyman and Susan.

     Travel fast, travel light, hope for decent weather,
     Scale walls of rock and ice, Glen and Muir and Mather.

     Start out early on the trail to stretch the daylight hours.
     Drink pure water, breathe fresh air, stop to smell the flowers.

4.  If I had the will, that look says, I could find the time.
     I'd be strong enough, I know, to do the Whitney climb.

     See this country, south to north, the mountains, lakes and flowers.
     Listen to the rushing streams, gaze up at granite towers.

     Smell the scent of Jeffrey Pine, hear voices in night wind.
     Stand with friends at trail's end and talk it through again.

     I must take this chance I have to hike along the Crest,
     From Campo up to Manning Park, then take my well-earned rest.   
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