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- Subject: [pct-l] watch
- From: "Best, Tom" <email@example.com>
- Date: Thu, 16 Apr 1998 8:59:56 -0400
- Organization: Public Utility Comm of TX
On my 97 attempt at the PCT I accidently left my watch on one of the
huge boulder covered walls near Whitney. It's still there and the alarm
should go off at 5:30 am if anyone wants to look for it. (it is a timex)
After I lost the watch I sort of freaked out. (at that point in time and
space, it didn't take much) I didn't know what time it was when I got
up. I couldn't time my MPH. I didn't know what day it was. I didn't
know the date. etc. It seemed like a very BIG deal.
I met a large church group the next night and told my sad story the
next night and offered to buy any of their used watches No takers. The
following morning, one of them had left a nice watch fastened to my
hiking pole. That was pretty nice trail magic.
In retrospect, I believe I should have never taken a watch. Like a lot of
other people, I got caught up in MPH, miles per day, making the next
town, mail drop logistics, road walk shortcuts, etc.
I think this is the major problem with attempting a border to border hike
in one season. You "have" to worry about daily mileage and whether you
are going to make the post office by 5pm on Friday or you will not reach
Canada before the weather turns bad. In doing so, you turn into a
machine that gets up at 5:30 am hikes all day, falls asleep exhausted
when it gets dark and does the same thing again the next day.
That gets old, boring, monotonous, etc. It becomes a question not of
whether you can do it, but why? You can suck it up and keep going again
and again and again but what's the point?
Personally, I spent about 100 days on the trail going from Campo to
Castella. At the end, I wouldn't go 200 yards out of my way to see a
anything. I was tired and it wasn't fun anymore. 50 more nights of the
same thing seemed dull and pointless.
Intellectually, l recognize that life is a journey, not a destination
but at the same time I took away from a beautiful, once in a lifetime,
incredible, outdoor experience because I "had" to make Canada. These two
completely inconsistent ideas occupied my brain simultaneously. This was
IMHO: Ditch the watch, ditch the arbitrary goal of reaching
Canada/Mexico/whatever, make your goal 5 months of fitness and quality
outdoor time regardless of where you end up. Stop when you are tired,
eat when you are hungry, and be gentle with yourself.
Saying "I finished" is a trophy to show other people. Saying "I enjoyed
myself" is something that you can carry inside you forever.
PS: Despite myself, I still enjoyed the experience.
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