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Re: [pct-l] Introductions ---

Like a few others on the list, I got my start in backpacking with Boy
Scouts. We did mostly weekend trips but did a few longer ones. I
recall doing two 50-milers which seemed like an impossibly long
distance at the time.

After High School I kind of lost touch with backpacking and didn't
touch my gear for over five years. Then after some loose talk one day,
I took a trip around Carson Pass with a couple of buddies. It was like
rediscovering an old love. Over the next five years, I did a series of
2-5 day section hikes along the PCT. I never considered completing the
whole trail or even dreamed of thru-hiking it.  Backpacking was just
the way I spent my summer vacations.

Then in 1996, while hiking from Echo Lake to Donner Pass, purely by
chance I happened to pick thru-hiker season and met Mimo, Jim "Honey
Bear" Bowman, and "Walkin'" Jim Stoltz. Meeting these thru-hikers
sparked something inside me. After much thought, I realized that I
just had to try thru-hiking the PCT. That was about the time I
joined this list. 

I started out from Campo May 4 and finished up in Manning Park in
mid-September. I started out without any expectations of actually
finishing the whole trail. I'd never hiked more that 65 miles on a
single trip and the thought of over 2600 miles was just too much to
comprehend. Still within a few weeks of hiking, I realized how very
important to me it was to finish. Somehow by staying focused on
Manning Park all summer I managed to achieve my goal.

Thru-hiking was truly the best time of my life. Honestly though, it's
done something to me to keep me from being happy since. That adventure
that I loved out on the trail is just missing from everyday life.
There isn't a day that has gone by since that I haven't dreamed of
taking off for another long hike.

I was contemplating doing the AT next year for a while but realized
that my heart just wasn't fully in it. Instead, I'm going to have to
be satisfied with as many short trips as I can get in. Hopefully, I
can find a couple of weeks next summer to do either the TYT or JMT.
Then in October, a friend and I are headed for Nepal to hike the
Annapurna Circuit. In the mean time, I'm just going to have to be a
little stir crazy.


Karl "Birdman" Brandt PCT97 LT98                       (650) 725-3686

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