Aug 9, 2015

Three Month Mark

  Today marks three months that I've been hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail.  Tonight, I sleep near a volcanic lava tube tunnel, a few miles from a raging forest fire with a thunderstorm bearing down on me.  I love it.  There's nothing like hiking this trail, meeting these people, and exploring the bounty of nature.  I've been introduced to so many natural mysteries, interesting geological stories, and fascinating people that I'm grateful for every day that I've spent out here. 

 Yes, that last statement was written in the past tense.  Today is my last day on the trail this year.  I've been limping and stumbling around with foot and sciatica pain for weeks, and I'm saddened that I am not enjoying the trail the way I was once able to.  I intend to return to my hometown of San Diego, the PCT's NOBO start point, and recover from what has been one of the best times of my entire life. 

 It has given me enormous pleasure to share this journey with everyone who has followed me on Facebook,  read my blog, enjoyed my videos, and provided me with emotional, moral, and financial support throughout my hike. 

  There's a saying on the PCT: "Hike your own Hike."  Go where you want to go, stop when you want to stop.  You're free to do as you will, bound by nothing more than your own basic needs.  I'm proud to say I hiked my own hike, and hope to remember that motto as I return to society.  Live your own life.  Don't do what others expect of you, or pull you towards.  That won't lead to happiness. Only by recognizing your own needs, and goals and taking the path that best leads you to places, regardless of the consequences or what others might think, hell, what the whole world might think will do that.  Hike your own hike; live your own life.  I can thank the Pacific Crest Trail for that very valuable lesson. 

  The PCT will always be in my life now.  I intend to finish the trail next year, beginning here at Mile 1408.  But only after "trail angeling" in the SOCAL region between Campo and Idyllwild. As I live in San Diego,  I'm in a unique position to help hikers like myself during the early part of the trail.  I already know where "Karma's Cache" replete with water and trail magic will be located.  I'm truly excited I about all of this. 

Here are a few quick statistics about the journey: 
Total miles: 1408
States traversed:  .87 (good god California is HUGE!)
Ascended:  255,526 feet. (1/4 million!!!)
Descended:  255,127 feet
Days on trail: 76
Zero days:  14
Total days:  90

I'd like to take this last blog from trail to thank a few specific people who have helped me:

Domenic Pagliaro
Tristan Traaen
Matt Abraham
Rachael Blasko

Trail Angels:  Papa Smurf, Jetta Blue, Trina Ritter, Halfmile. and the many many people who have given me rides and the occasional place to stay. 

Lastly I'd like to thank my parents, Ivan and Carolyn Cooper for supporting me morally and financially. I'd have never made it this far without your help and I can't wait to bring you both to the Sierra Mountains next year. 



Unknown said...

Your journey began with your first step in life. Even now this achievement is but a fraction of all that has culminated to this point and the momentum that will carry you on to bigger and better things. It is the will and fortitude you resonate with the path of the trail in which you have embodied. Forge your own path.

Anonymous said...

1408 is huge! Over halfway and Hat Creek Rim checked off. That was a tough section of trail to do with an injury. As they say...'the trail will always be there'...always ready to pick up where you left off.
It was a pleasure to meet you and truly appreciated the brief, but real beginnings of a friendship.
This past Friday was my 18th day of sectioning the trail. By the end of the day it became, by far, the worst trail experience until I walked into Subway Cave and saw you and Bucky sitting at that table. With a 15 minute conversation, the next 15 of scrambled camp setup and the following hour of thunder and lightening, I felt I had finally run into a group of really good people. I personally thank you for that feeling of support and camaraderie. You turned my worst day into one of the best!
I look forward to our paths crossing again... Keep in touch as I'll be starting from 1416 next year to finish off NorCal.

Unknown said...

Justin, congratulations on your amazing accomplishment. Always keep with you what you learned on the trail. You will make "society" a better place for that. As you mentioned, your life is yours to live how you want to live and create every moment who you would like to be. Thank you for keeping up with your blog and posts.
Best Regards,

Snickers said...

Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds - the trail you need is almost invariably not the trail you _think_ you need. The quiet instants, the miracle moments, will continue to amaze you for the rest of your days. The trail never ends as long as we live.