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[pct-l] watch

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 
a mistake.

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.

Tom Best

PS:  Despite myself, I still enjoyed the experience.

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