Aug 6, 2015

The Great Adventure

  As I write this, I'm cowboy camping by the north fork of the Feather river.  Cowboy camping describes my sleeping situation this evening:  essentially, without a tent, like a cowboy.  I do it every now and again, as it's easier to pick up in the morning.  About 30 yards away are five of my fellow Pacific Crest Trail hikers - 8 Track, Rock City, Benjamin, Nude Dude, and Pattern Seeker strumming guitars by a campfire we built.  It's perfectly PCT.

A deep orange sunset seen from a little town.
Sunset from Quincy

   Thinking back on my journey, it's strikes me as how much I can't remember.  In many ways this trail is sensory overload.  In my normal life I buzz through my day; knowing where I'm going, knowing most of the people I see; knowing almost exactly how my day will go.  Out on trail, I never know where I'll end up.  Every hike and landscape is different, and I've met so many people; hikers, friendly town folk, and trail angels, that I can hardly even picture them all.  The learning curve is enormous.  I think there's a good reason that hikers feel more alive on trail. They are. Living this way challenges everything about how you live, what you think, and in some ways, who you are. There is no routine here. 

   I was told recently that a poet had once described backpackers as "refugees from the mundane."
I agree with that description. This is as honest an adventure as modern life can provide, I suppose. If I've discovered one thing, it is that I haven't been living enough.  In many ways, the awareness I use out here more perfectly describes what I call the act of "living."  One must be active in all things here.  Every step, every town, and every experience is new and abnormal.  In the other world, I can more passively walk through life and not even notice. Now that I see this, however  I know I would rather not live that way.

No comments :