Long awaited notes of the final stretch

10/28Clover rusted over.

10/29

Don’t get me wrong, there are nice parts in SoCal. But it definitely takes home the prize for most developed and littered. Seriously. Paralleling deep creek–beautiful goldgreen oasis in the desert–and yet it seems every rock is marked with graffiti. One rock is spraypainted “plz do not litter.” Seriously, do ppl just not give a shit down here? It was the same thing with silverwood lake–a tucked away mountain lake worthy of Oregon status. Not even that dried up. Trash everywhere.
Been awhile since my last meaningful journal. Spent unexpected day at deep creek hot springs; beautiful oasis right on trail with mantis (cause why not?); golden oaks greasy spires of rock encasing refreshing green pools, skinny dipping, laying on sand, good talks. All around an awesome sun shiney day with nothin to do and nowhere to go. Won’t go into the days I missed; there’s much. The wild flowers–red muted trumpets, violets and daisies on fragile stems, sun flowers, pale sinister nightshade blossoms framed by reaching spade leaves. The trail Angels–spent the day playing frolf and kicking it with papa Joe Anderson. The Johnsons in wrightwood who puts us up and ordered us pizza and made us breakfast burritos (THANK YOU SO MUCH). The 24-24-24 challenge (AKA the John Beer Trail), ending at McDonald, sleeping under then underpass. All very SoCal. All very good.
Couldn’t sleep; sociable spring. Shouldn’t of camped there; camp by highway expect cars camp by springs expect noise. Nice ppl though; someone invited me to their house in big bear. Left. Hiking by the light of the moon; so bright it casts shadows.
10/30
Following creeks; swallowed in golden oak forest
10/31
She smelled of latex gloves and powder.
11/1

Give the sit down life a try.
Bouta cross closed lands–hiking the 17 miles closed due to the lake fire. I’ll explain my reasoning soon.
It feels like every so often I have to remind myself that I still somehow have an earring.

11/2

Serious bushwhacking in San gironio wilderness. The problem is the trail have literally turned into creeks.
Holy shit, what a beautiful alive area it is however. Mission creek rambling through jagged cut rock jutting diagonally as if reaching yet falling short and wild flowers and cotton wood lining the edges and shrouding the water. Soft green grass harsh rock. Creek and foliage have gracefully devoured the stonelined trail. My shoes are muddy, gaiters ripped. But that seems unimportant in the valley wind. It’s like the deep creek area without the shit graffiti.
Beautiful solo hike today. Ran into mantis and Ike–SOBO hiker met only recently–at ziggy and the bear. I’ve been trying to ditch them–they got a schedule to make it to the end, planes to catch. I don’t. Don’t need the urge to rush, though love their company. And I’m craving to hike alone. But hey, a storms a’brewing.
11/3

clouds suspended in te wind shadow of the mountain like frozen ghosts. Stormed hard last night but had a veranda over head at ziggy and the bear. Light fresh snow visible in the crevices of looming San jacintos; last major mountain range methinks. From the valley the climb looks intimidating. Tough climb in store today.

‘Today will be a day.’–remark of resignation or ‘oh well.’
Ice cakes the trail this high up in the San jacintos. Ice coats the needles of the firs. Fresh ice. The sky is a dark gray within the cold cloud and everything is quiet; I can even feel it through my ear buds (listening to GOT of course). It’ll be dark soon, day lights savings makes everything dark soon. There’s a peaceful kind of gloom here.
11/4

Huge huge blizzard last night while I was in my tent. I am over 9 thousand feet. The sun is up but I am staying in my tent for the moment. Last night was difficult; spent the entire day climbing uphill and once in elevation spent the entire night trying
11/11
As I write this I’m watching the last sun go down over the SoCal chaparral. I know I’ve been a bad blogger; I never meant to leave you in suspense or broken hearted, but it’s your fault for putting faith in me. I’m finishing the last 77 miles with my dad–who flew out to finish with me from Apple town Julian–through the Cleveland National Forest. I had thoughts, but I lost them, come back to me.
All I know is: IM DYING TO FINISH THIS DAMN TRAIL. but I’m also sad to know I’ll be leaving the trail life.
November 13th, concluding thoughts.
I’m sitting bored in a San Diego hotel room in some ritzy gentrified corner of a city with buildings that look as if architecturally designed to match the carpet (does that make sense?). Blue glass, white walled, streets so smooth cars drive over soundlessly, beautiful people well-dressed and accessorized, ties that match perfectly with suit and shoes and oil-black wayfarers, terrible perfume smelling restaurants glamorous polished driftwood interiors. Dad brought my clothes (well not shoes; had to buy those and I hated that process at well; hated feeling the need to buy them.) just like that I shed my hiker skin and I already feel like the life I knew is a world away. I’m in a sour mood. I should be celebratory.
Yesterday at 11:30am I touched the southern terminus with dad; even the Okies (last I saw them was before Chester!) rolled up while we there. It wasn’t explosive excitement, actually it felt more like relief, steady joy, dull warm sunshine. We drove them to El Cajon, I hope I can see them tonight. I’d like to see my SOBO family before it all dissipates into memory.

PCT FINAL PHOTO
Two words: Fuck. Yeah.
PCT FINAL PHOTO 2.jpg
And look who I ran into at the border. I present to you, the Oakies…

On San Diego:
I hate this cleanliness. This ‘fun’ built on consumerism. I feel sucked back into it. San Diego is choking me; I wish I miss the hostels and the grease spoon restaurants. I miss the people talking to you for more reasons than its their job.
I’m scared to be going back home into nothing. I have no job, I’m nowhere closer to finding a job, I’m nowhere less intimidated of the word ‘job.’ Like its part of a natural course of events that occurs in a human beings growth cycle–fetus to infant to juvenile to professional. Sure I want a professional life that leaves me happy, fulfilled, and with enough resources to lead the lifestyle I desire to lead. In fact, I need it… Fuck, let’s not talk about jobs. It’s not important, the idea of a ‘job’ as I currently conceptualize it will never be important to me. ‘Jobs’ are what everyone else has–analysts and consultants, marketers and programmers. Work whose only importance is that which concerns the company. I’m sorry if there are readers offended by that, but it’s true. Unless you’re self-employed, half the work people do they do for now other reason than they HAVE to do it. Who the fuck likes being a data analyst? marketing consultant? Sales associate? Assistant director? Perhaps it’s more a complacent enjoyment (I like my coworkers, good hours and vacation time, decent pay, room for expansion). Obviously, that doesn’t make it wrong (you need to make money to survive, support a family, lead a normal American existence, etc). I don’t know what I’m on about. I’m a spoiled suburban 20-something who thinks myself something special. Really the bottom line is: I should stop worrying about it. Do the things I like. Job is a thing your friends are doing; when you find the thing you wanna do it won’t feel like job. It will feel like you. And if it doesn’t, maybe you can find a sexy nice girlfriend. And if you don’t, maybe you can renounce and join a ascetic Buddhist colony so you don’t have to be bothered by any of it.
Post-trail depression will come on strong. I just need to kill my idle time (or perhaps embrace it?)

Vasquez rox


      

Mantis making John Buir proud

  

Because i refuse to let the PCT take me buir belly

      

Silver lake

    

srsly tho. plz?

  

FUCK DA [PCT]
  

The flesh eating waters of Deep Creek

  

Since when does Cali look like the Midwest?

  

‘No, look trashier.’ Hiker Trash for Halloween in Big Bear, California

            

Who among you will sit the hobo throne?

  

‘tsup

    

I just woke up like this

      

The Dreaded Hauser Canyon

  

Good job to Daddio who completed THE LAST 70 MILES WITH ME. From Julian to the border. You hiked it like a champ. Last mile to the border, it was awesome to have you. 

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Forester Pass—Tehachapi

10/8Definitely most challenging day on trail. Highest point on pct, forester pass slogged through in 2 feet of snow with only trail runners. 13200 ft. Felt frustrated and incredibly grateful for my friends at the same time. Upset at my stubbornness and proud of my determination. I am severely sunburnt.

 

10/9

I am sad that the high sierras are over. Sadder that I made the decision to skip Mt. Whitney (forester pass was pushing me a little too far out of my comfort zone to wanna attempt something larger); it would’ve been an incredible way to punctuate a segment of trail that was far beyond anything I have ever experienced. I feel I’ve learned a lot about myself: the way the trail has helped me grow and the places I still yet have to (there are a lot). I’m still in the mountains–the granite and Loam and bristle pines–but the craggily peaks and sharp gashing river valleys have been replaced by brown barren plateaus and gentler meadows. It’s funny; I feel like crying even tho the journey is far from over–it’s just another leg near completion. As much as this trail has pushed me, I think I’m gonna be very sad when it’s over.
The land of dirt roads and power lines and extended 1x service.

(Next resupply: home) save that for my concluding thoughts.

“They seem more hapless than happy.”
10/10
And magically just like that I’m out of the sierras–chicken spring lake, an early camp spot, being the last scrap of beautiful alpine before the dry sloping hills before Kennedy meadows. The rest of this journey may feel like noisily slurping the watered down soda at the bottom of the cup. Fight that mentality. I am also excited for the next leg (though still two days out till officially SoCal)
10/11

Where’d all the water go? Now all that’s left is pale blindeyed puddles, if even. Where’d all the creeks and lakes with historical last names go? Now it’s all cow, rock, chicken, etc. 
To reiterate: I look forward to SoCal. But perhaps more because of the people I’ll meet and less about then scenery (though am curious about san jacintos).. Whoops wandered off trail….
Whaaaaa FIRST CACTUS SPOTTING.
10/12

Yep. And the desert is still hot.
Jay got off trail (my longest running hiking buddy and one of the closest friends I’ve made in trail); mantis is behind, tony and kalmia are ahead. I’m hiking alone again now through the desert (still tons of hills wtf? Same thing just now 5-10 liter water carries). Life is funny sometimes; I feel like I’ve learned more about myself on this trail than I thought I would. 
10/13

Yep. And the desert is still pretty. Beautiful bright sunrise over rocky sawtooth peaks; pine patchy stone summits and crumpled land to distant valleys (looks actually like castle crags except drier and without the hype). Not as cold as it has been either, which makes waking up that much easier. Going to have to watch my thirst today toward Walker Pass. No water. In Washington, the challenge is food and terrain. Oregon and NorCal, mileage. Sierras, elevation and weather. SoCal, water.
Just realized: yesterday was the first day in an incredibly long time where I passed literally no one. Perhaps the only time. It didn’t change anything.
Taylor swift’s ‘shake it off.’ A bad song. Sung in a dumb voice. 
God. It’s amazing how long I’ve been sleeping outside. Highly under appreciated. 
‘Is pia a pretty name? I can’t tell. It sounds like the name you teach your kids to call their private parts.’
Looking at the old maps seeing actually how hard Washington was… Rationing my water in take has been making hiking hard.
10/14

A woman tried to give me $5 to ‘help me out.’ Said I looked like a man down on his luck. To be fair, I haven’t showered in over a week and I was washing my socks in a public fountain by the highway. Lake Isabella, CA #sobohobo #$5poundofchickenfingers #Vons #ilookterrible
Carrying 2.5 gallons of water. God save us all. Tomorrow I will be hauling ass over 32.6 miles (lander meadow with possible agua). Might rain ahhh. But at least I see don’t seer from my tent. First time since Washington (first,second, and third night as a matter of fact. None after that.) for whatever reason it makes me feel safer. Though I imagine they’re magnets for predators.

1;00 am. Caught in a thunderstorm. Gravely considering how in danger I am to be in my tent. The Lightning is a scary spectacle. I am scared. I am worried about my exposed spot amidst a sand field. Though not at its high point which I should be relieved. I thought the storm would be tomorrow.Haha dragged my tent with everything in it to lower ground. 
Let my last words be ‘I am serene.’ 
10/15
I survived! Dreamed of ‘death sex.’ NO. IM NOT GONNA TELL WITH WHO. But can be roughly defined as two partners, who prior to intercourse are in a life threatening situation, no longer fear death at the time of coitus. And it is like really really good. For family following my blog: I am still pure of body and spirit. For close friends who’ve had feelings for me but too afraid to let them show: I am just waiting for the right one, plus I may feel the same way. dtf? hmu on fb rn plz. Screw you you’re lonely.
10/16
I wonder, when ppl joke about the odds of getting struck by lightning, do they means the odds of getting struck on any given day on any given second or your odds during a lighting storm. Got hit by a second tstorm; tho not as severe as the first I got hit at night trying to make my 33 mi. Unfortunately I came up 4 mi short. Reflection: most of the severity came from my composure. Definitely lost my cool. It cost me those miles and possibly my headlamp (or perhaps it’s water damaged or the batteries dead.) part of me wishes I just took a deep breath and kept walking; the storm only lasted 2 hours and it was only darkness. Part of me hopes it storms again tonight so I can practice serenity. Take breaths and walk slow. But then again, I hope it doesn’t. Don’t have a headlamp now.
Love the clear little puddles of rainwater still in granite pockets. Tastes great and metallic and cool.
Grass beneath the dead deciduous leaves; newly sprouted from all the rain. 
10/17
No storm last night! Fell asleep to whirring of windmills. Today I see cougar prints in the mud but no other tracks; no hikers.
Walked through 20 miles of wind farm. Through creased roads where the recent rain water drained. Through ankle deep mud (my shoes will never be clean again). I ‘leave’ civilization (‘leave’ of course only correct as conditional) for 4 days and return to see the apocalypse on highway 58 into Tehachapi. Mudslide buried the freeway slapping cars and trucks across the road like toys then amberhardening up to windshields. Someone from the press took a picture of me struggling (srsly struggling; everything buried in new terrain) through mud astride lifeless wasted cars like discarded lotcus husks and buzzing relief vehicles and workers. Said I’ll be in the papers; forgot to ask which one. Bees didn’t like the new terraform; they told me as I tried to scramble wuwei finding the dry spots to plant my no longer silver Saucony’s. Didn’t like that. But an interesting sight nonetheless. Highschooler with burning reflector aviators, who drove up from town to observe and laugh at damage, drove me to Tehachapi where I ate too much food and now my stomach really, really fucking hurts. In fact, it really hurt two hours ago but I really, really fucking wanted shawarma.
I’m finding blog writing tedious. In fact, I’ve always found keeping journals tedious. Some say it’s a good way to digest thoughts, others say it’s a good thing to look back on. How fucked up is that? Taking pictures, journal entry-ing, it’s all to preserve the present; package it, trap it in Amber. We live in the present so to relive it in the future. We hold memory as precious. Memory is false–I learned that in intro to psych. It’s like eating something delicious then vomiting up to eat it again. Can’t I just learn to let go? Of course I write for u fam! 
The days in this entry have been among the most important for me. I know why, but I have no need to record it. No need to analyze it further. I have no need to remember exactly what made this taxing, wildly transformative (I mean the terrain; snow to cacti) segment so impactful. Not that you, readers, wouldn’t understand but that I don’t understand fully. Ok. That’s it. 

   
                            
~nut 

Red meadows–bishop 

9/29There are definitely parts of the trail that you wish time would pass faster; this is not one of them. I’m sad Yosemite is over but excited for the next 10 days: the High Sierras.
Wow hiking with a group of four!
Cloudy; silvery mountains pale lakes same color as sky. Dismal beaches; patchy and rustcolored. Alopecia is a dumb way to describe a meadow. all is quiet. It’s gray solitary kind of attraction.
Under the clouds, these mountains look smaller; like in a space confined undermining their expansiveness. 
And the chilliest of homies come off as knowing something I do not know. 
10/1

First day of October! Been a bit here’s what’s good: two more hikers in the J&T retinue–mantis and Super Classy (SC is also a SOAN major but she’s also just flippityflopping the sierras). It’s been nice but a group of 4 can be tiresome; always ending up the butt of jokes. Sometimes it’s great other times I just want to be alone. Maybe not today: crummy weather over Selden pass and into Evolution Basin. Watched clouds like boat wakes rush over flathead peaks and down into sleek basins heavy sleet and rain soaking everything; makes standing still too cold. Built a fire and warmed up; good conversation or at least good enough (why do I feel so uncomfortable? Why do I feel like I make myself such an easy target for criticism? Do I come off as an asshole? An ex told me that once; she was also kind of an asshole). I also saw some deer… 
Resupplied in Vermillion Valley resort yesterday though; a resort on a dried lake and a huge rip off (I swear to god their just selling things out of the hiker box). A nice fat bfast burrito though that I get to think about when I’m hungry. 
Tomorrow is Muir pass; few more days is Bishop. I don’t have much to say; feeling obligated to write and fill lines. This is beautiful scenery, everything is awe-inspiring, but… But… 
10/2

Woke up cold but to a glassed frost meadow. Beautiful and white against Sun. Made another fire and left late to thaw my everything. Sun is shining; it can’t all be sunny days, but mostly they are.
10/3
Steep headwall up Mather pass; tough climbing granite is same color as satellite pics of one of jupiters moon. Forget which one; starts with a G.
Blackened dryrock creek beds. Salt stains.
It’s so easy to be mesmerized by the shimmer on these still blue alpine lakes. I’ve described like the dyed water hazards at putt putt and golf courses; hard to believe they can get that deep a color. There are redbrown mountains at Pinchot pass with veins of snow in their shadowed crevices and chutes. Two passes today leggo. Racing a Sunday storm that seems to have everyone stirred up (especially after Thursday). But it too can be weathered I suppose. 
I wish the deer weren’t so afraid of me.
Wowee rain fly almost blew away; spent an hour looking for it in the dark. Lesson learned (but is it ever?). Battening down the hatches for the storm. Hopefully can exit tomorrow at Kearsarge to bishop 
Birds just flew away by mason Jennings 
Day starts with wind dark clouds and snow pellets. The mountains i have once described as silver look black as grime. Then there’s a stall. Birds stop chirping; a bad sign. Late morning, again,it starts snowing lightly. The gray approach to glen pass; the alpine lakes are dark but still have some of their green at the shore. The wind becomes more boring as I ascend above the tree line (10 thousand feet). Heavy hail in the green wet meadow basin. Glen disappeared under cloud veil; looks intimidating tho grateful (even amazed) for snow not rain/sleet. 
Wow what can I say; got a little too dicey to continue live reporting. Went over 12 thousand foot glen pass in a white out (with over two tan stone headwalls covered in at least 3-4 inches of fresh snow). Then 11.5 thou Kearsarge pass; descending into onion valley into a wet sleet parking lot. 20 miles. I was first tracks all that day; made me feel like I was the only idiot to attempt that hike (mom I can hear you saying “are you nuts?” To which I reply “ya”). Fortunately the snow was heavy and my feet stuck so it never felt precarious (cept the cold and the wind). The snow was beautiful in its own way; though the view might not have been as epic as it would be were it a clear day I think glen pass will be one of the most memorable. Also, running into a dayhiker on the way down from Cleveland was also a plus; gave me a ride to town in the wet and cold just when I was at my most desperate. I was on the verge of sleeping in the housed pit toilets by the road. 
Now I’m in bishop, with an old friend from Hawken–Charles Marks–I’ll stay here for 1-2 days waiting out the storm and hopefully doing some bouldering. This past week has been absolutely incredible. Yes. I am in high spirits! Oh joy!

   
      

boat rode to vermillion valley resort with first mate super classy anc skipper jay
      
seldon pass side a
  
side b
    
evolution valley post downpour
          
lunch spot at muir pass
    
WHALE.
    
mather
    
meet Mantis
   

pinchot pass
        
glen pass
    

~nut 

South Lake Tahoe–feast at the casino buffet–new Saucony’s at Echo Lake–Sonora pass–wrong turn at Carson Iceberg Wilderness–entering Yosemite–marvel at Dorothy Lake–reunited with Jay (again)–resupply at Tuolumne Meadows–Donohue Pass–island pass–The high trail–reflection–Mammoth Lakes (288 mi)

9/20New bear cannister; heaviest my bag has ever felt with 6-day food carry. My body hurts; but towards end of day got use to it (sorta).

Spend last two days in Lake Tahoe at Mellow Mountain Hostel (chill place chill folks) and casino buffets (which proves, in fact, that God does exist and He is good).
Back on trail; am excited for the Sierras despite my heavy Satan-affirming backpack.  

9/21

Spiring twisted mountains like an alien skyline of some promised city yet conceived.  

9/22

Had a dream last night of an old sitcom starring young Adam Sandler and some co-star about two ex-track stars now coaching track, or at least we’re always at a track meet. The show was called Ex-Track Life and it was only on the fitness channel and it was super bad. But dad and Uncle Kevin really liked it. Except I think you were just watching it because the Beer & Steak show came right after, though I had know idea why that’d be on the fitness channel. The worst part was having to watch Ex-Track Life then oversleep. I am waking up later and later and having to stop hiking earlier because of the shortening days.
Everything just looks so colossal here. I remember in Northern Washington, standing atop a high pass with dark stone and snow capped mountains all around me,as far as I can see,but being eyelevel with them. That crumpled terrain. I was only ever 7000 ft. Here, the mountains are like an insurmountable wall. Everything is transformed. I will climbing up to 10000 ft and I know there will still be pale cliffs and sharp columns towering above me. The architecture of mountains.
Went the wrong way for 3 mi then backtracked (actually somehow got turned around and went northbound back up the trail and kept going till I recognized day hikers I saw that morning). Felt like an idiot. Day hikers also made feel like an idiot; “don’t you have an app?” Anger fueled me up the 2500 ft climb. Twice. Well mbe only the first climb. Still made 26 mi tho! Tomorrow I enter Yosemite.
9/23

Ok I’m gonna do the thing I should’ve done a long time ago. I’m gonna record all the songs that get stuck in my head.
Right now it’s that old snickers commercial song that goes: ‘happy peanut soul over chocolate covered mountain tops and waterfalls of caramel. Prancing nugot (?) in the meadow sings a song of satisfaction to that world… To the world…’

Prior to that it was that song that goes ‘where o where can my baby be? The lord took her away from me.’ I don’t know the rest of the song… Also 1985 by Bowling for Soup. I also keep the pace of my breath to the Game of Thrones theme song (DA DA DADA DA DA DADA DAA!) and Like Herod by Mogwai. Also previously ‘please do not go’ by the violent femmes. I also find myself singing aloud ‘spring break 1889’ by murder by death quite often.
Bomb the music industry! Playlist.
WOOOO Yosemite bby!
9/25

Loving the pine trees growing sparsely– sometimes in pairs of alone–in the grooves nooks and ledges of the pale silvery granite mountains.
The vowels pt. 2 by WHY?
To me, ‘beauty’ isn’t in its grandeur but its reclusivity. People make grandeur. Albeit people also make reclusivity, and not just in a negative sense. Perhaps I’m just a sucker; I submit to the myth of the untouched earth. I decided not to hitch into Yosemite Valley. My camera sux anyway.
BYOB by system of a down
Do these California meadows ever have color? I guess yellow and brown is colors…
9/26

Woke up last night—a cold night–to wolves or perhaps coyotes howling. Chorus. It was a yellow fog light full moon. Woke up with condensation or perhaps frost on my tent. Tuolumne meadows Lyell fork yellow grass soft ground white granite red bark pines that seem twisted like putty at their fat bases to sharp awkward limbs higher up.  
Rugged silver basin. Meadow grass like tarnish or rust, steel cut rivers all glacial blue. Donahue pass/ Lyell glacier. Documentary filmer says the glacier is dying. Give it 5 years he says. It’s a tragedy for me; selfish. This basin would never look the same.
9/27

Across the valley camping early on the high trail sun still stinging westward, I watched the lake leaking over the edge of the stone basin that held it and rushing down the sheer rock face in a needle narrow stream like egg through its cracked shell. I wonder if there’s a trail that leads there; if there’s a trail that leads to everywhere seemingly untouched and pure in its uncultivated ruggedness; and how depressing that is. I wonder if simply my gazing upon it is just as bad and corrupting as any trail that leaves that lake accessible to day hikers and travelers and human shit and careless firerings and discarded orange rinds and beer cans and joint roaches. As if this ancestrally-African, European-blooded, boy from Ohio has less right to witness the landmark than the black squirrel that sustains itself from the pinecones around its shore, that will never leave that place. To be fair, the squirrel is also a migrant, and dumb. The ‘beauty’ I idealize, therefore, is the beauty impossible to humanly realize. Because in realizing it, it annihilates its physical and unconscious sanctity. To call something beautiful one is merely regurgitating an established social and historical ideal… Perhaps an incomplete thought… True beauty, whether physical or not, is that which exists without our knowledge nor consent. Does that make sense? Am I just debating an arbitrary definition?
I guess what I’m trying to get at is this: when sit on a rock to marvel on the shore of an alpine lake, crane my neck up at the silver peaks above, uttering ‘beautiful’ ‘wild’ ‘incredible’ ‘spectacular,’ pluck a small branch of juniper to crush between my fingers and hold to my nose, the feeling of joy I get is INTERNAL rather than external. It’s not the land that I marvel at; it’s myself. That I used what little unrightly earned savings I had and walk–not just on the trail but against the pressure–to sit on that rock, to look at that mountain, to smell the juniper and sage.
But then I trip. Walking is easy; trekking is a luxury. I have overcome nothing; I have not struggled seriously. I’m talking beyond the trail; as it is those things that preceded my decision to do the PCT that lead me to do the PCT. The trail extended past the line of dirt along the pacific crest and is ingrained in my own personal timeline–with causal actions before and certainly after its completion. true beauty (AKA true happiness AKA true love) is impossible to obtain because it’s something I’ve come to expect (or at least anticipate) or something I’ve come to believe I deserve. (Relax everyone. I’m not saying beauty, happiness and love don’t exist; I’m talking of them in their whitest sense: beauty without ugliness, happiness without sadness, love without resentment; a shine that never tarnishes, a bliss everlasting, endless peace on earth).
What the FUCK am I on about? I actually need to walk today. Here’s something unrelated:
This morning I saw a massive gray rabbit the size of a coyote. Last afternoon I ran into a narrow-faced sand-colored Coyote. They’re a lot prettier than zog media makes them out to be. Jk about the zog part. ‘Why can only Jews make fun of Jews?’ I hear more of them cackling at night. Coyotes, I mean, not Jews. 
Annnnd made it to mammoth lakes!

   
            

good pose
  

~nut 

Chester–PCT midpoint–Buck Lake Wilderness–Sierra Butte–Sierra City–Peter Grubb–Soda Springs–Desolation–South Lake Tahoe (241 mi)

9/8The sky was blue and unbroken then…

Not two block up from the banner spanning Main Street, down a gravel residential street, was the Ponderosa Inn. In the office of which, Miriam sat idle and uncertain in the leather chair at the desk. The office was tiny, adjacent to the living room, and with two walls of white wood grid windows looking out at the dry grass lawn and a barn-styled shed. The remaining walls were covered with nicely framed photos of vactioonekm children and grandchildren and shelves and racks holding antique model cars, rifle replicas, old satirical storefront signage…. Outside she heard Saul fumbling with the paint canisters…

“Back to work, Saul?” She called to him gently.

“Oh you know,” he answered, “while theres daylight still.”  

“Hungry,” he said as he lowered his last foot cautiously to the ground. He turned to face Miriam, holding the canister of paint. “You look tired, mare.”

“I am tired,” Miriam agreed.

“You should let your head some rest.”

“I should rest.”
–ponderosa pinecone: in fact she spoke with such aclarity that she felt she was reciting the Rangers own words and cinematic manner of speaking, recollected from so many years ago.
… It spilled over the top of rim and down into valley. She could feel the heat, its throbbing deep amber core bleeding though the black smoke like a bounded man screaming through his gag. And yet despite that intensity the wildfire, appearing from Miriam’s distant vantage point at the base of the valley, moved slow and heavy like sludge or mud or like dripping paint with fiery tendrils tracing swaying rivulets ahead of the slopping advance of its shrouded corpus. Uncaring yet seemingly deliberate, the blaze worked its way through the trees toward the town in much the same blind gelatinous way the banded ends of worms stretch to prod and explore its always alien surroundings.
Trail names that sound more like high school sports teams.
9/10
Why do all the friends back home start out by texting/snapchatting ‘glad you’re alive!’ … Did you expect I’d die?
9/11

Woke up to a sunrise over Quincy. The sun was red and the sky a grayish purple. Last week, the mornings have been so cold I’ve woken up to frost on my tent; the temperature is rising again as well as the humidity. It’s barely past dawn and I’m already sticky and wet and uncomfortably warm. Jay went ahead while I was in Belden–which by the way, the climb out of Belden was one of the steepest highest climbs I’ve done (or at least it feels so). However the gray granite high alpine was beautiful; in fact, it wasn’t even gray, the rocks had this kind of dull swirling colors like oil stain. So I’m solo tromping again–I’m happy I got to hike with jay a bit. It really taught me how much faster I can walk–I’m now walking 3 mi an hour and averaging 30 mi a day!
So many fruit flies flying up my nose!! They’re like a moving cloud that follows me and don’t exclusively hang around my nose but get in my eyes and mouth (at least someone finds me interesting; haha jk I’m not lonely) 
Hiked 30 to duck soup pond. Very foul water; makes me sad and hopefully not sick. 
9/12 

So tired.

Aw man such a beautiful day. Plumas national forest. Near Sierra butte. Beautiful rugged terrain. Scorched black peaks, rock, pale almost blue sage meadows, moss on pine, hot, twisted blue lakes bottomed stone basins, cardust musk, weaving passes. I am in absolute wonder at what I’m seeing. And what I’m doing. Nice day.
Best part is tomorrow I’ll eat a one pound cheeseburger. That’s right: town day. Sierra city. Cheeseburger. 
9/15

Brutal gray wet wind near Tahoe. Escaped it last night in Peter Grubb hut but facing brunt of it now in my shambly tent. Little wind protection, cold. Walking on ridge, backpack like sail. I’ll confess my stupidity here: in Oregon I ditched 4 of my ground stakes. Why? Ultralight insecurity, dumb. Zipper to tent broke too. 
On bright side caught up to bunch of southbounders–many of whom haven’t seen since first day. In Grubb hut, warm wood stove, defiant laughs at rain outside, poker. It was first instance of ‘SOBO family.’ Still hiking with jay. Hoping wind dies down. 
In the dark gray gloom I find myself trying not to think of my ex girlfriend.
9/16

SNOOOOOOOOW
A was b’s closest friend, but a had many friends and b few so b often found it difficult to tell exactly where he stood with a. This polarity, this unbalance of power, this vulnerability–that a’s friendship meant more to b, than b’s to a–had often left b angry, even going so far as to avoid talking to a out of pride and spite for days at a time. That is, of course, until a would reach out to him in his — way as if nothing had ever been amiss and b would gladly submit again to the weight of his brotherliness and soon forget why he ever questioned it.
The prime example of society’s devolution is how there’s no longer unlimited data.
9/18
Wow, yesterday was an incredible day. 20 mi hike into South Lake Tahoe (via Echo Lake hitch; much easier to find rides in Mexican restaurant than on highway) through Desolation Wilderness. My shitty iPhone pics don’t do any justice for how spectacular the views were–the lakes, the silver slab mountains, the seemingly washed clean basins that looked smoothe enough to skateboard down. One of the cooler wilderness areas I’ve seen in awhile.
Also, walked through squaw valley and alpine meadows ski resorts yesterday (actually camped on a ridge in squaw valley; horribly exposed, bad storm, my tent almost blew away with me in it, but terrific service). Thought my parents would like that. It looks a lot different hiking through it than it does skiing; a lot more grand. But then again everything would look more grand if you had walked from Canada to see it.

Other news? Besides how poorly I’ve been updating my blog and my new Cormack McCarthy-styled post headings? I’ve been keeping pace with tony and kalmia–two hikers I haven’t seen since day one actually. I’ve been hiking with Jay mostly–my first time I’ve had a trekking buddy. Sometimes it makes me anxious. I HAVE OFFICIALLY FINISHED NORCAL AND AM IN THE SIERRAS. It only gets more beautiful and rugged from here. I’m taking a zero tomorrow in Tahoe to gear up. It’s been getting colder and even started snowing. I am both excited and nervous. The next 3 weeks are known to be one of the most beautiful segments of the pct.

 

sometimes i snapchat
  
getting creative with my meals
    
sunset in buck lake wilderness
   

      

sierra butte
 

escaping the weather in petey grubb cabin –good times with moody, bonus miles, mantis, and chestshire cat.

trying to look cool. it was windy, i swear!
    
desolation
    
aloha lake

~nut 

From wherever I last was to Chester, CA (270 mi)

8/27’A beautiful day’

The sun was bright and unforgiving during day and seethed red in evening when the wind carried smoke down from over the brown mountain rim and through the cracked-tar frayed-edged (sickly pale and scabbed) streets of the village. 
Shelby was an old logging town but the president prior, a democrat, marked the surrounding scrag hills a national monument in his legacy. The town was left economically naked. The tightly-pressed two-storied buildings hugging the frayed edges of main street stood slumped now, paint fading and chipping off the dry wood, dusty interiors as empty as the discarded husks of lotcus. 
thorny stalks of plants shot through the old cracks like pale green and yellow scabs finally hardening, after so long under wraps, to reclaim its wound back into the dull earth.
He made small grunts at each exertion–carefully straightening his knees on the metal rungs, one after the other–but were tinged, in Saul’s own way, with triumph and gratification, as if mocking the ladder that he still moved heavenward despite itself. His pride left Miriam feeling even more uncertain.
But she sighed, as she knew, in the morning, she’d awake to another clear blue sky. 
Dog is fat–> because she keeps on fixing meals for hikers and when they’re not there she feeds it to dog.
“Saul has family in Ohio.”

“Everyone has family there.”

“My family is from the Netherlands,” she told him… “Holland,” she clarified, “we moved here in ’63. Long before you were born.”

“Before my parents were born,” he added —ly. (insignificantly) 

“I don’t like that.”

“Should I have held my tongue?” 

“You should bite that tongue, Mister Ohio,” she snapped at him, though not unkindly. “[explain motive for selling inn]” “are you hungry?”

He nodded.

“I’ll go fix you supper.”
The boy was handsome, but then again, most of the hiker boys were handsome and looked much the same.
“Whatchu think your doin’, mare?”

“Oh, you know.” And he did.
His wired glasses lay helplessly crooked on sauls nose, and left their dark imprints there when he removed them to wipe the sweat from his brow.
8/28

Could it be? Have I passed all the NOBOs? It’s midday and I haven’t seen another living soul. 

 

It boggles the mind that I’ve heard northbounders skipping this section (nocal). 
8/29
Wowee woke up to first rain in months! And in nocal desert. I have either a very short day or a very long one. 23 mi till my next water; or 29 mi.
“Whatchu doin now, mare,” he called down a little too loudly from atop the ladder.

“Oh, you know,” she said, waving her hand dismissively.

“If ya wait an hour or maybe, I can fix sumpin up m’self,” he said, adding, “you can give that head o yours a rest for once.”

“And leave you alone? In front of the stove?” Now it was her turn to snort. “Those fires move plenty fast without your helping it along.”

There was an uncertain pause. She couldn’t make out the expression of his face, but she could feel him beaming down on her pale and (subtle; inoffensive; innocent) as a daytime moon. He coughed before he responded, “so you say. Remember to save some for me, will ya.  
7/30

The smell of smoke was still palpable and obtrusive.

Trees creaking in the wind like a stomach turning. 

If satan is meant to represent the base of evil, why then does he punish the wicked? You’d think the devil would be more a hedonist and less a sadist–even less so a retributioner. Would It really give the wicked what’s just? To me, hell would be a place in which excess indulgence and desire run rampant, but are never exhausted or fulfilled. For instance, to eat at an incredible feast, but never feel full. To be able to sleep all day but never feel rested. To be active and bored, relaxed and restless. The constant nagging drive for sex without the pleasure to come of it. To be with friends and lonely. Hell is the repetitive excitement of opening a gold-wrapped present, every hour of every day, punctuated by an underwhelming toward its contents and proceeded with a bleeding hope that the next hour will be better. To have everything, want more, and know it will never make you happy is hell. 
Heaven is a warm nothing and thus filled with contentment. However, it’s a disembodied kind of contentment as you are no longer a ‘you’ but a nothing. It’s a negative kind of contentment as it merely implies the absence of pain. But it is no delusion; heaven is no dreamless sleep. There’d still be consciousness (though no owning pronoun; no I, me, ego, id, self, etc.) but it’d be almost astral, spectral, and without agency, like something adrift.  
Clouds in a gradient gray-blue sky.
Unforgettable campsite #3: falling 2.5 mi short of my original goal site. But I can’t go further–I’d be an idiot to pass up an eastern sunrise over rocky treespattered digits of Castle Crags and red mammoth cloud eating Mt. Shasta. I’ll camp on dusty lookout–though slightly discouraged for second day coming up short. Tomorrow I’ll make up the miles (like I said I would today).
8/31
Well I did make em up. Got to my resupply; castella. Bushwhacked a shortcut; hoping I don’t have poison oak. 
9/1

‘Sorry sir, we don’t carry plastic bags.’

‘You positive? You don’t horde any in back, as victims of oppression would?’
THEM BASTARDS AT AMAIRATTI’S THREW OUT MY POWDERED MILK AN DEHYDRATED VEGGIES:( they were actually pretty nice. But goddammnit. 
The soiled yellow light of the sun. 

Of the things I carry, my first aid kit’s the only thing to have gained weight.
9/2

Cold as brass.
9/3

Course when I was thinking–as I think a lot on the trail–how much I loved my red dancing Saucony’s–even writing my own stellar Amazon review in my head–i tripped on a root. The fabric is only slightly torn, but it means I’ll have to re-up a pair before Sierras. Hopefully they’ll last till Tahoe and that the same pair is still on sale. I’ve seen pairs more pricey than this ripped to catastrophe after far less miles. I’ve gone over a thousand miles in them; most say the most you can expect out of trail runners is 500 mi. I still advocate for them; though I am sad. Maybe it’s a message from above telling me: nothing’s forever, dude.
9/4
Today I realized I can go way faster than I have been going. I can do 3 mph if I put my mind to it. I only realized it because jay caught up to me yesterday (he is fast) and we tried hiking together. First day (today) we tried doing 35 mi to do hat rim in one day. The shittiest thing is was that I KNEW I could do it. I turned in at 6:00 pm with 6 mi left and I knew I could’ve gotten into camp around 9-9:30 (a little too late for my tastes, but still would’ve kept my buddy). But I didn’t. I turned in way earlier on a shitty uneven camp spot on a windy exposed ridge even though I knew I had it in me to do the miles. Because I hated losing my autonomy. That’s it. I didn’t push because I didn’t wanna push for someone. I’ve been feeling down. The company has been good for me; but if I’m not walking my own pace, I don’t wanna walk at all. I’m afraid it’s terribly dumb. Having someone to talk to on trail and during lunch and hanging out in town is nice (even though Jay is a square who don’t drink; what kind of Belgian doesn’t drink?) but every time I hike with someone I either feel rushed or slowed.
Id like to hike with friends, but I’m afraid the only other person I want to hike with is another me. I’d like to change that, but when I feel my autonomy slipping I get angry with myself. My flaw is inflexibility. 
9/5 
The cool thing about Subway Cave–and perhaps the only cool thing–is the fact that it looks man-made. It looks like an unfinished basement.
Good YouTube video idea: make authors sing the tune of a song they made up in one of their books.
9/6
Oklahoma seems like one of those places where the most unique thing about it is that it’s completely unexceptional.
Nowadays, I laugh more but don’t tell as many jokes.
9/7
Wooo long time eh? I have no concluding thoughts. Made it to Chester, CA. Tired from beer and pizza. Met some new SOBOS. The first sight of new sobos since northern WA. 3 Okies; caution tape, big tuna, and burn out. Great company at Drakesbad Guest Ranch; hope to run into them again down the trail. 
Ok here’s a concluding thought: the coolest thing about Nor cal has been the rapid variety of different terrains. Forest around McCloud river; desert scrub on Hat rim; Volcanic rocks and sulfur springs in Lassen. This was all in 60 mi. Pretty neat huh? 

 

trinity alps
  
porcupine lake
  
castle crag–view from unforgettable campsite #3
     
drakesbad
    
thanks for the trail magic bbq Fishy and Mike!

~nut 

California border to Seiad Valley and Etna (94mi)

8/22
The color of the mountains are different here than north. More muted greens and yellows; almost as if the colors were once vibrant but now sun-bleached and dusty.

Took my first shit in California today! of course not seeing NOBOs for 10 mi, I chose the spot right between two switchbacks. Sorry hiker lady; congrats on making it to Oregon! 

Any difference? Well actually multiple between here and the last 10 mi before the border. It’s more mountainous–almost reminds me of northern Washington with their exposed rocks and alpine meadows–however it’s far more arid. The colors of scrub, earth, and stunted pines range between faded green, yellow, and brown. The haze from wildfires has set in heavier, like city smog making everything seem out of focus. Also, where the hell did all these cows come from? Fact, i don’t even see cows. Their dinging fills the valley meadows below like …

Body complaint of the day: toe. The fuck? I popped a blister almost 500 mi ago and it’s flaring off. It looks like a fishing bob growing out of my 4th toe like a second head. It’s still calloused, but now it’s inflamed, swollen, and dumb. It makes walking miserable–it feels like tearing scratching and hot–and it makes all around existence undesirable. Any guesses? A) infection b) fungus c) blister d) all of the above. Perhaps fungus; but I’ve been using the powder my foot (if I had friends, and they asked me, with genuine concern and a little sadness/regret for my leaving, where I was going, id tell them ‘to powder my foot,’ and they’d laugh and tell me I was funny and if one was cute they’d definitely ask to have sex with me and I’d consider it). I hate it. 

8/24 

‘That cooking world’

The heat of the sun is intense, but it only goes skin deep. behind it there’s a chill. Sometimes I feel it in a gust of wind and it gives me pause, makes me glance behind my shoulder with a kind of empty recognition like thinking you heard someone pronounce your name in a crowded place. But there’s no one around, you only imagined it, the sun is still hissing through its teeth and tight on your skin, and the chill leaves with the wind inexplicable, nonsensical, anachronistic and out of place, confusing. It reminds of a time in preschool when, on a sunny day, I hid in the shade under a bench because I was shivering. The late summer sun was bright, but the air felt so cool i thought the sun to be culpable. As i turned out, I was sick. 

8/25

Made it to the small backcountry town of Seiad Valley; hitched an atv ride 10 mi to get in. My foot don’t work like it used to. I’m gonna try to get to a doctor today. 

It makes me anxious to get off trail; I know what ever the doctor says, it’s gonna at least be a few days of rest. Honestly, the only thing pressing my time is trying to get to the Sierras before October. It requires me to set a pretty fast pace. This toe thing could very easily set me too far behind. Worst comes to worst, I’ll hitch ahead to the next town…. The thing about yellow blazing the pct is that it gives you the ‘what’s another 10 mi?’ Kind of mentality. At what point have I hitched so much that I can no longer say I completed the PCT?

‘I’m too young to be old,’ said the waitress, blowing a dyed-black sprayed-crisp strand of hair from her face. 

8/26 

So went to the doctor in Yreka yesterday–what the woman who gave me a ride called ‘the armpit of California.’ Saw Rick the doctor, actually nurse practitioner, who gave one look and two pokes at my swollen yellow-red toe and told me there was no puss and no infection. Told me all it needed was rest to heal; he didn’t even give it a kiss to make it feel better. Essentially I walked away feeling like an idiot. 

I hitch to Etna, a nicer town than the thorny junkyard Seiad Valley. a more comfortable place to take a few zeroes. Soaked my foot in Epsom salt. A deluge of puss and blood from my blister came forth like a Talmudic plague. I would’ve been grossed out if I wasn’t so self-gratified by the thought of smearing Rick the Nurse Practitioner’s chubby face with it. 

Anywho, my toe looks and feels much better now freshly drained. The hiker hut in Etna has been relaxing. Life is good and all is right. I’ll stay here another day or two and set out again.

   
    

definitely not infected

~nut 

Crater lake to Ashland (104 mi)

8/18And here you are. I’ll flay myself for all you kind folks to see.
I never knew there was an Oregon desert… 

‘I ain’t heard no voice’

‘When it stops, you’ll know you’ve heard it all your life.’
Spatters of colored dust like a painters palette. The sun behind the wildfire haze is amber and seething. Now evening. 
Holy shit–watching the wildfire sun set over the desert mountains is one of the more spectacular scenes I’ve witnessed on the pct. Mood up.
Ragged tops of pine trees.
8/19
Fell asleep on soft grass and to the sound of rushing water (first water in 26 mi!!). Woke up weary though slept beautifully. Felt ragged yesterday: chaffed, sore and freshly blistered. California in 2 long days and not even halfway done with the PCT. 
The Four Noble Truths of the PCT:

1) when it rains, you’ll get wet.

2) you’re feet are gonna hurt and stay hurt. until you die.

3) what goes uphill must come downhill. And vice versa.

4) yellow jackets.
NEW HIKER RECORD: hiked 32 mi; from 7:00am to 9:30pm. My feet are all but bleeding.
8/21
Took a shortcut down a country road (instead of meandering pct). I actually got to see houses, see the types of cars people drive in southern Oregon, smell new smells (prolly manure). It was actually more serene than stumbling thru rocky PCT. Sometimes the trail tries to delude you that you’re actually in wilderness (despite being able to hear the highway). 
Also. Changed my name back to Nut for now. Backdraft tried to hard to be badass. Nut is more humble I think–as all nuts are humble. Except for pistachios. 
8/22

Suppose I’m not too good at this blog writing thing. I’m sleepless on the soft lawn of Callahan Lodge (despite free first beer and free second beer bought by cute waitress; lots of free things when traveling alone). This is my last stop before California (and not even a third done with trail; the pct is long–who woulda thought?)
This hike was more reticent and private and perhaps, because of that, more enjoyable. I enjoyed the way I pushed 32 mi despite my bone weary feet and I enjoyed every hot rocky pass that allowed me to squint over blinding bright south and hazy north. Both green and brown tops of mountains; some round with trees, others jagged with broken sun-blasted rock. I even enjoyed that country road I walked, really limped, down (did I tell you I saw a gang of yellow jackets chewing on a dying rattlesnake? Bits of grit stuck to its pink exposed ribs when it writhed; or maybe it was dead and curled at the wasps own volition, sort of like how dripping water gradually unfurls crumpled paper. Anyone ever watch Wild Bunch?) I enjoyed the heat less, and the wasps circling every sadly seeping water source, but I didn’t feel as down as the last section. I’ve been hiking alone again. 
I’ve found that I’m more pleasant to people when I’m around them less. I need to enjoy my wildfire sunsets privately, or else I feel suffocated. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not always an antisocial dick. I think. 
that’s all the reflection I could muster up. Truly, I am satisfied. I look forward to California

   
  

noticing a pattern in how i like to balance/take my pictures.
   

~nut

Eugene to Crater Lake (172 mi)

8/11Lovin the sharp obsidian pebbles. Under the sun they actually shine like glass. Obsidian mosaics.
8/12

Life on the PCT Highway.

When u walk thru a burn area your watching the forest licking its wounds.
8/13

What is the typical age that people start caring what the inside of their house looks like? 
Eventful afternoon. Walked through a wildfire; it must’ve recently started. There were copters circling overhead and the smoke got so thick that it made the sky dark orange. I could see and hear the blaze not even 50 yards from the trail. I even felt the heat. Don’t think I walked faster on the entire PCT. I think I beat this trail closure.
8/14
To this day I replay that same moment in my head and I still don’t know. Was I strong in my self-constraint? In my knowing that violence wouldn’t solve anything, wouldn’t undo what had happened, wouldn’t change a thing? That I chose the high-road? Or was I weak because I was afraid to take matters into my own hands?
8/16
I just don’t understand—why walk a path a million people before you have walked? Why avoid it?
8/17
Feeling restless. Want to keep moving though can’t justify. Waited a full 24 hours in shelter cove (80 mi back)for two friends–Jay and Colby. Colby fell behind and I’m feeling like hiking solo again. 
Also crater lake trail was closed due to fire. Everything, even the road into CL was closed, so Jay and I had to hitch over 17 mi. Got to drive up to the rim (the lake is beautiful; the water deep blue and so placid that boat wakes still scar the surface even after the boat is long gone). Too bad I couldn’t hike it. Anyway, now I’m in my resupply, mazama, by crater lake a day early. I just want to keep going; the fact i feel stress stresses me out even more like how inflammation in a cis can trigger further inflammation. Gross. Anyway, northbounders being loud. I’m excited for Cali and a quieter trail. 
I’m excited I got to see so many friends this week–scrub, Lucy, Gaby. I even got to walk 3 mi of the trail with Lucy (HI AGAIN LUCY). Excited I got to try to hike with a group. It’s a lot more difficult, and rigid. ALSO I HAVE DONE THE UNFORGIVEABLE: Changed my trail name. I am now Backdraft. But I still introduce myself as Nut occasionally. So what? 
Not so many thoughts this hike thru. Well a lot of thoughts, but little will to write them. Sometimes the trail drains me mentally–I don’t feel like I’m hiking sometimes, just traveling the PCT highway. It’s a feeling of underwhelming. I loved the twisted dark dry Oregon lava fields (one of my favorite parts along with northern cascades). I still stop to smell the air when I get a rocky lookout over a glittery lake; I still smile to myself, on top of a pass, after an arduous tromp uphill. I still hoot when no one else is around, but solitude these days are virtually nonexistent. 
It’s funny. I feel more alone around these massive groups of NOBOs than I ever did by my lonesome at Nut Lake (I decided to name it after me, though I’m not dead). It’d be easier, not seeing a living soul, than having to explain the water sources to every Nobo that passes and having to wait at junctions for my SOBO friends. I sound like an ass. So what? I want this trail to myself, without the people to ruin it. Shut up; I know the trail was made by person, maintained by person, paid for by tax persons, so that it may be free to every person to walk it. I have no more a right to it than anyone else, and everyone walks their own path–even the party tribe. 
But I want something that’s mine, uniquely mine. I don’t want something collective, coopted, compromised, or otherwise shared. I know now: Completing the PCT will never feel like a feat to me. Sure, I’ll feel proud when I tell people and they tell me they’re impressed. But I am not impressing myself; I am not challenging myself; I am not pushing myself out of my comfort zone (but am I uncomfortable now? Idk). I will complete this, I will be happy that I did (I think), but I know the Trail is not for me; it is not where I define myself (if am truly defineable) and the only impression I’ll leave upon this trail is the shifting dust tracing the bottoms of my Saucony’s. Maybe it isn’t a Buddhist thing to say (though something absolutely egoistic/self-centered), but I don’t want to dedicate any more of my time to shifting dust. 
I want to dedicate my life to building something. At first I didn’t know what it was: vineyard? House? Small business? A good friend of mine said that wouldn’t engage me enough. I think he’s right. Engaging the hands doesn’t mean engaging the heart and head. I need to create, and not replicate; I need to be committed to mastery, and unafraid of uncertainty. I need to learn from others, and forge my my own way. Above all, I must never settle for anything less than extraordinary; never be mediocre. I think I know what I have to build; and I’m anxious to finish the PCT so I can get started. 
Or perhaps… Perhaps I should quit taking myself so goddamn seriously.

~backdraft, nut, backnut 

Lava Lake Lucy!
  
       

Timberline lodge to Eugene! (106 mi)

8/5 Disappointed in my facial hair. When is second puberty? I got a Jon Snow thing going on.
8/6
Holy crap. A 23 mile hike today with 0 feet of elevation gain/loss? I’m in love with Oregon already.
GODFUCKOW DONT SHIT UNDER THE WASP NEST. 
Bent on his knees, hands up trembling, his face sticky and wet with tears he begged for his life. An incoherent string of fast flowing murmurs punctuated by the word No, rattling from his lips rhythmically, chaotically, and as resigned as a penny shaking in an tin cup. No. No. No. 
 his right side faced them. He was framed by the archway and behind him was a clean concrete wall. James thought the scene looked like a Gothic painting; a man prostrating, both worshipping and lamenting his God, his Alpha and Omega, his Maker. He heard Melissa gulp, a subdued gasp, indicating that she didn’t think much at all, unless one counted confusion and fear a redeemable thought. But neither of them saw the man with the gun. Only his dutiful parisher, in ripped jeans, plaid tight-fitting flannel shirt, cap over dark curly hair, his nervous eyes, and a tattoo of an amoeba wrapping the back of his hand.
James issue has always been that he thought too much. He had thought he loved Melissa … Now these thoughts occurred to him in the lonely days to come, because in the brief tangled moment before the crack, he thought only of God.
When the ameoba-hand man collapsed to the ground…
His voice was high pitched and he spoke as if he were holding in a chest full of smoke. He had a hard time controlling his laughter.

 

…Maker looked at him without expression. His face was large and looked dimensionless, virginal. His pearl-white skin was smooth without lines or definition and seemed to gleam like an oil stain under the fluorescents. His pale thin lips were a flat line as if they had never turned to smile or frown, his thick brows like perfectly curved slashes never furrowed in anger or disgust, his dark clear eyes were narrow never widened in fear. James took another step backward, then another one, looking into his eyes. … As if they were bottomless, as if to say: all is nothing.
She was far more attractive than he. She was rich with an old family name shared with arenas, buildings , and the admission halls and libraries of every private school and liberal arts college touched by one of their offspring. James was self-made and a child of divorce. Washed and dressed-up he could pass as ‘handsome’ as any man who wasn’t obese or deformed could pass as ‘handsome.’ usually he was indistinguishable. His hair was thin and thinning, his chest and stomach weren’t jutting, but they weren’t flat and firm either. He wasn’t fashionable and dressed only adequately, was average height, shorter than Melissa, and had a face best described as ‘non-threatening.’ Others had informed him Melissa was beautiful. But unlike others, he never worshipped her for it, never made compliment to any part of her body. He never asked to borrow money from her family nor promised her more. He never felt the need to impress her and he never felt insecure about her leaving him for someone else, someone more impressive. For all these reasons she loved him….

His few friends would say in jest what Melissa’s parents were too pretentiously well-mannered to say in tact: “you don’t deserve her.”

“People don’t deserve anything,” he’d reply, shrugging.
They were over now. Not because he had forcefully held her in harm’s way and permitted her public disgrace–weren’t it out of fear, she’d have forgiven him–, but because [in that brief tangled moment he had thought to himself: why?]
8/7
Hot in the lava deserts with the black dust and bleached white pine stags. the dried grass look bent and the trees stunted and the leaves of brush bruised red under the weight of the sun. But at last at last green blue water!
It is not polite to tell a hiker that you can see his balls through the leg of his short shorts. It’s your fault for noticing.
I like the way my shadow looks on the bare hillside.
Thus far there have been two unforgettable campsites. 4 mi south of harts pass, northern Washington. Camping 7 thousand feet on a dusty exposed ridge with nothing 360 degrees around save the sky and mountains. And today. Northern Oregon. 10 mi south of ollalie lake. a large pond bordered on all sides by red lava rocks like a clay bowl. Mt. Jefferson peers over the pines to the east. I’ll camp on the beach. If I die here, whatever they do, don’t let them name this pond in my memory.
8/8

The burnt pines stand like bones. Thousands of them, vast, quills on the hillsides.
Hiked my first marathon today! 27 miles to be exact. Compared to my last one, this campsite feels like it’s on a different planet. I entered a large burn area, where the cool wind blows hard on the ridges with out the the trees to break it and the dust is so fine and deep that it slips through the fabric of my shoes and cakes my socks. A lot of people dislike these burn area; they find it ‘depressing.’ A few find it beautiful, as all natural processes are beautiful (e.g. tides changing, caterpillars metamorphisizing, volcanoes smoldering, horses shitting). Personally, the only adjective that comes to mind that best describes the swaths of scorched land and skeleton trees is ‘wicked.’ It’s not depressing; I like the way it looks, the weighted smell of the dust. Its harshness. It, and our reactions to it, reminds me that the earth runs on a completely different timeframe than we do, and we forget it all the time; although I won’t explain that fully here. 
Also, my calves look SWOLL.
8/10
Pretty exciting last two days! Carleton alum and trail angel extraordinaire Chris Burke ’10 (scrub) picked me up at Santiam Pass and took me to Eugene (beautiful town ugly architecture great food & beer). Got to see Gaby (HI GABY) too! First real taste of town life (and rum) in over a month! Today back drive back 30 mi up trail to meet Lucy (HI LUCY). My dream is to stand at the trailhead with a bag of wine and make the hikers slap it till its gone.  

~nut

 

Lake nut
  
    

this is my friend. her name is Gaby