We waited the morning for Hannah to show up . We had fish and chips for breakfast .
When Hannah arrived we bundled into the car and drove upto Crater lake. Hannah was adamant that if I had to miss the trail further North due to snow , then I should at least get to see Crater lake . She was dead right .
We drive out to a gorge and watch the rushing flow of water make its way through solid rocks . Massive trunks are tossed aside like childrens toys left in the garden of the giants .
We stop for an ice cream .
Later we drive high up to the volcanoes rim , just to peek over the edge . Down into Crater Lake and Wizard Island . Hannah tells me some of the local legends .
We spent an hour or so wandering around up at the top of the crater , taking photos and being generaly mind blown .
One of the highlights of the PCT for sure . Later this afternoon Hannah put us up in her back yard whilst we resupplied .
We watch the fire go down before turning in , tommorow back on the pathway .
Im aiming for Fish Lake this morning , ive packed up and waved a cheery goodbye to ‘Brown Hut’ . The trail angel Hannah wants to do some hiking and has offered to meet us and bring some supplys up to the trail and hike a day or two with me .
Its an easy start to the day , the first few miles reveal a diffrent terrain , im now starting to encounter lava feilds , this landscape is all volcanic . The rocks are light , but super abbrasive , and have a bit of a reputation amongst hikers on the PCT for being shoe shredders . I watch my step .
Ive enjoyed these forest sections hugely , the wild song is always present , and my morning is well and truly made when a pair of young does spring up meters from me . They spring across the pathway and dissolve into the rich green mystery . I expect Pan to be casualy playing a flute behind a tree , its pure magic . Too in the moment to take a photo , i pinch myself and wake up in the present again . I spend the next hour negotiating fallen trees across the path , clambering and sometimes balancing on huge roots and fallen trunks . What is this power ? How does it revolve ?
Later I come out of the woods to another Lava feild , the contrasting colours are sharp and bold . Reds and blacks of the path make me feel that I am ‘on the good red road’ of the First Nations . They say the ‘red road’ symbolises the blood that we all have in common , the veins that run through us are its pathways , and the human heart its destination . Its a beautiful way . Practises like :’Sun Dancing’ ,swet lodges and shamanic drumming offer windows to nature connection at its most pure. I can begin to see why this landscape was so reveared by those who were here before me . If i had a drum , then i would play it this morning , of course , i dont , so i sing instead , songs of celebration , songs of shared tradition , songs . ( thats why they call me jukebox)
I see movement up ahead , my heart skips, a bear ?
Its a trail warden , she is tidying the trail for the coming season of PCT hikers , she is impressed how far up the trail i am , suggesting that i am ‘hauling ass’ (to go quickly) . I tell her i have skipped a section and am hoping to do the whole of Oregon to finish my adventure in style at The Bridge of the Gods , on the Washington border . She smiles , and then does that backward whistle , you know,that same one the mechanic does when you take your car in . I know i should be looking for a place to sit down to accept this next bit of news.”The path up ahead is between 10/4″ she explains .Of course i think inches , but she means feet . Stumped. Gus pulls up.She retells Gus the facts .
Later I photograph a tiny toad and wonder what we will do now . Snow ahead ,snow behind , a bit like an Ice cream sandwich , but in reverse . I click at the toad , he seems unimpressed .
Another hundred yards and two Turkey Vultures are hunting low in the trees .They circle and disapear, leaving me silent , with the path and with now .
I dont know what is next . Only ‘nothing mind’ . The path is in front of me , so i walk that , and once again am emerged in the soft steady pulse of natures Great Mystery .
Gus is already in the camp store when i arrive at fish lake . He is blown out as he has posted a lot of food ahead . The camp manager confirms that going further up the trail would be dangerous . We rummage the Hiker boxes and cheer up when we are rewarded with some Hiker gold . ( i get a Marathon and a bag of noodles ) .
Later Hannah calls us and agrees to pick us up tommorow morning. We look at the possibilitys of a short hike south from Ashland .Just a hundred miles ( it would mean another patch for me ) . I phone Big Toe . We laugh and sing a while and talk rubbish a while . He is heading up for a hike in Canad tommorow . I tell him of our situtaion ,( the reverse ice cream sandwich thing) he nods ( on the phone ) and says sagely ‘yep , shit year for snow on the PCT !’ .
Did i just spend the day talking to squirrels and chipmunks ?
Its all a bit of a dream !
Did i sleep the last bit of my day ?
Ohh the forest .
I find sanctuarys , in the trees , dias of sacrosanct chapels , arches rafters in the emerald cathederal , song birds alter children , heavenly echoes .
I made it to the South Brown Shelter . Its the only cabin on the trail as far as i have known . Ive looked forward to it all day . When i arrive after the thirteen steady miles of the day , im greeted by a solid , no frills back country hut , with firewood , water pump and a John Grisham novel to start the pot belly stove with .
I get a txt from Big Toe . He is threatening to make it to the Bridge of the Gods . Where i intend to finish my walk . He came off last week with his feet in a real mess . But has more hikes lined up this month .
We are getting the band back together !
Im so grateful to these two chipmunks today , for putting on the best show ive seen in 2016 . Pure circusry ! I sat and watched them for maybe fifteen minutes . I will spare you the reems and reems of photos i took .
I light a fire when i get to the hut . It feels good to have this primal moment in the name of my Fathers place ‘Brown Hut’ . As im lijting the fire , Gus from Maine is walking up the path behind me . ‘How you doin ? ‘
‘Good ! ‘
We eat and absorb into nature , like a great inviting open sofa . I tell my chipmunk story ,and show the video of the barking squirrel .
The mash and pasta was delicious !
Shout out to Moose and El gringo and Gilligan and Eric .. You know why !
Ohh and the sunset outside the man cave on the picnic table was absoloutly sublime . Soft cheese and MnMs . Like a garden party for two bears .
Gus has gone to bed, im alone in blogland .A bloody big rabbit just comes and sits next to me ,whilst im writing this. Seriously , nature is everywhere here ! Its hard to not reference Louis Carol when im consistantly being aproached by conversational animals . Doctor Doolittle . St Francis . I stand still and breath , and nature speaks , sometimes in capitals , but always with KINDNESS .
And the pink flower , i almost forgot !! If anyone can find out what its called could they give me an email with it , if its not named maybe we could call it ‘Burt’, because i dont think there is an orchid called ‘Burt’ yet ? ! What a beauty . (The light so perfect that no editing or touch ups are necesary. )
Earlier in the day , i was walking through a break in the trees , every now and them the forest receeds to reveal the truth of the skys .I look above me , there are two raptors flying out of the sun towards me . The forest is still around me . The two circle again and become distant . The song of birds returns .
I look back now on a day when i said ‘yes!’ to everything . I let the pathway work its magic around me , from the stillness of deep ,dark and moist forest , to the brightest patches of life along the turns and groves . I have said ‘yes!’ to it all.
I can sleep satisfied .
I consume the last two chapters of Huck Finn .
The day almost done , just the last embers of this fire to watch before i turn in . Tranquility .
Gosemer strands of spider web catch the early morning light and flicker morse coded messages across the stands of deep mossy pine . Everywhere is green .
I have woken to the sound of a hundred birds calling out there name to the new day . The newness of the day has included me within it .
Black coffee in a tin cup .
Into the new adventure .Solo. No-one on this trail for miles . I will be suprised if i see anybody for two or three days . Its very liberating . I will turn off all of my self censorship programs and be who I am . Nature will mirror myself back to me better than any words are able .
I listen now , as im on the path . The morning turns into a riot of green moss blue sky running rivers and rich red earth . Therr are no commas in nature , just the pauses between chirups and the sudden arresting pauses of magnificence that stop me on the path . Blue woodpeckers , bush tits , vultures , warblers and hawks .
I fade back to this morning , when i heard the dawn chorus , i was thinking that i should get out of bed just to listen , but it didnt stop , it just ran ran and ran , a rolling river of bird song . Still now , as i lay in my tent at the end of an amazing days walking , they are still singing .
Ive passed through wild flowers and trees that made me slow down , made me linger , brought me back into my own being . Each moment in Oregon is savoured . The stands of trees magnificent .
Accompanied by squirrels and chipmunks that make me laugh out loud . The moment I saw the story of the Giant Sequoiah that crashed down amongst its kinsfolk , its great stump now become a home of rich mulch to fertilise a whole new family .
I put myself to the tasks of camp and cooking , its all taken on a ease here , amongst this wealth of life . The abundance of nature drips , hangs and exudes from leaf tip to root floor . I feel i am falling ,falling into the long outstreched arms of mother natures comfiest armchair .
Im in the Oregon woods today . The alarm of bird calls shrill . In the afternoon light Im looking back on a day of trail magic .
Leaving the Ashland hostel with my coffee , no m’n’m ™ pancake oatmeal today ..! I buy a cheese and sausage burito , its good ! I eat my Pear whilst i wait for a hitch , nothing comes , so i skip a bus and yarn to the driver . I drift , anxious to get a ride but patient to listen to my own flow . I walk a little to another corner , then another , synchronicity and the path .
Later Hanna finds me in the petrol station and asks if im on the PCT and throws open her arms when i ask for a hitch . We talk and talk of all things PCT . We are both happy that nature has connected us . In the car there is sweetgrass and freedom . She drops me at the bottom of a four mile walk upto the trailhead . I will add it to the total . I thank her by singing her off as she heads to work .
Once your on the trail proper though!
When your body floods with resonance because the power has once again found you . Once you breath the pulse of the hero and now . Once you see from the corner of your eye that proffered gift.Once you allow yourself to know the self .
Then all sorts of beauty begins to unfold .
I stop to rest on a log . The bird sound my accompaniment. Within two minutes Glenn is walking down the path . We talk and laugh and tell storys for an hour . Glenn hasnt seen anyone on the path for a week . Its good to share the storys of further down the line . I let him talk , and I listen hard , he tells me lots about the pathway on .
It looks like only one small diversion all the way up the path for me . My focus is going to be taking things easy on this section .
Ive walked four miles in Oregon , and very very slowly . Why walk faster ? Its beautiful ,bordering on serene . What am I doing holding a small screen . Uuuk! Im going to do some more walking .. Wind in my hair !
Later i hang out my food and pitch tent inbetween chapters of Huk Finn . A little drizzle forces me under canvas early , and im fast asleep in minutes . Reno is a long time ago , i breath deep and im smiling in my sleep .
Waking up in a town called Independance . Im stiff , sore and very very thirsty . We spend the day hitching to Bishop and check into the Hostel California . A fantastic hikers haven . Free beer and hotdogs . Excellent !
Hitching and bus travel opens up my American experience to connecting with the everyday folks of the States . Some of these experiences are heart warming , some heart breaking ,such as Bob who drives us the forty miles to Bishop and tells us about his dreams to walk the PCT . He has battled with pain killer addiction and is now ready to step onto the path to walk a few hundred miles to his daughters house . The enthusiasm in his truck is palpable . The American pharmaceutical companys aggresivly target marginal and low education groups . By creating fear through TV advertisments the big drug companys create compliant social acceptability for addiction . Its moraly and ethicaly twisted .
I spend the next Zday watching the Euro soccer final in Rustys bar . Less said , soonest mended .
I head off on my 3rd Zday on a bus to Carson and make my way to Tahoe to catch up with Gus and pick up my post box . Ive also got to post my ice axe , crampons and old back pack to the UK . The post office makes me figit . Im so hungry for nature and the wild , that this stale and sterile environment makes me more than uncomfortable .
On the 4th Zday we get on a bus to Reno and book into Circus Circus to wait for our final connection to Chester where we can get back onto the trail . The bus journeys here have shown me Americas social issues . Crack heads and crazys are a real issue here in the States . It is such a stark contrast from the simple and perfect flow of nature . These people , washed on the shore of society , are the symptom of a broken culture . A culture shared by all western nations . Our broken and bungled , marginalised and mangled by the wheels of progress .
I stop and talk to Maria at the Carson bus stop . All in red velvet with silver hair.She speaks ALL of her thoughts out loud , listening to her is confusing and challenging . I stay with her as her eyes dart wildly and she struggles with our simple interaction . She claims i am a wizard and tells me ‘you are on a special pathway’ I smile brightly in her eyes I now see a prophetess not a bag lady . I thank her and wish her well .
Later in Reno we find a cheap shared room with :’Really sorry’ and ‘Happy snatch’ . They are also on the way to Chester . An hour on the streets of Reno only confirms that the heart of this city beats around gambling , prostitution and narcotics . Reno is not going to make its way onto my top-ten list of PCT must sees .
Cant wait to get the heck out of Dodge(y) City .
We head to the bus station and ask about the Chester bus . It doesnt run over the weekend . Two more nights in Reno ? Hmmmm! Plan B , take the red eye to Ashland , a 20hour road trip on the Greyhound . Gus and I are gutted , but staying in this town is not really an option . We buy tickets and waste the day at the cinema . The following bus journey is painful and uneventful , but has the massive upshot of delivering us to beautiful Ashland , where I hear Mr Johny Depp has a place . I dont blame him , it is a real treasure of beautiful old brick buildings from the late 1800’s , old wooden houses built full of character , and all bordered with wonderful lush trees and grass .
Oregon is a state that has fully legalised both the medicinal and recreational use of Marajuana . Wherever we stand philosophicaly or ethicaly with this issue , its clear that times are changing very very very quickly in the USA . The hemp plant is a massive cash crop and legal in about fifty percent of American states . Its now responsible for a huge shift in painkiller and pharmaceutical substance abuse . The main growth area of users is in the senior sector . Over 60’s and pensioners are finding relief from pain and stress . I decide out of curiosity to pop into a dispensary . Its all above board , and reminds me of a dentists office . I chat to the nurse who explains how this movement is really finding validity in mainstream America . Im offered a type of marajuana high in CBD and low in THC(Penny Wise) This strain of the plant will reduce muscle swelling and bone fatigue and not give me a head ‘high’ . For seven quid , im of course curious . I know as we all do that painkillers are both addictive and in some cases fatal . The Rolling Stones were singing about it fifty years ago . Their hasnt been a viable natural alternative to these ‘mothers little helpers’ for so many years , not untill now . I can clearly see that this ancient plant making a re-emergance can be a healthy part of all of our futures . Welcome home to the magical medicene of marajuana !
Im in Big Als diner for lunch , a real old school diner ,the Beatles ‘Twist and shout’ is playing on the jukebox and ive got a chocolate shake and a quater pounder . Im looking out the window and i notice something odd about the scene . I have to really struggle to see what im looking directly at , because my brain doesnt want to believe what its seeing . A yound deer is grazing on the lawn on the other side of the road . I look around to see if anyone else has noticed . The other diners seem to be taking it in their stride . I watch the young doe for a happy half hour , as i negotiate the slurpy bit at the end of the shake . I dont have my camera with me . Its on charge back at the Ashland Hostel . Some things are just in the moment ,and what a wonderful moment it was .
The day drifts by , i finish my extended Zday break at a little pub just off the main square in the heart of this lovely old town .’The Black Sheep’ , they do a grand Irish stew and their Guiness is the cats PJs . I am celebrating my journey , my roots and my path onward . The way home begins here . Im walking my way back to where i belong . With love , with thanks , with a couple of pints of black gold inside me .
Im scrabbling and wriggling . Its 6am and cold , i have to work fast as my fingers are going to go numb . Im getting out of my sleeping bag and am almost ready to face the day ahead . Flipping heck its cold.My hiking boots froze solid as rock last night . Hitting them with a rock wont help , i mean totaly solid .
We eat breakfast , and talk about water stops on the way to Forester . Breakfast is quiet and quick . We both know we need to get walking to warm a little .
The morning is amazing , the sun brings a brightness and clarity that is dazzling . Crisp blues are punctuated with the white clouds . And soon we are fording our first river crossing of the day . Springing over ice cold river flow is a great way to greet the day . Even better to share it . Elated and light hearted on the other side of the river we give each othet action replays in slow motion of our leaps .
We are a few miles from Forester Pass and we are crossing the most anazing snow field .
The mounatins all around us are humbling , they close us in their embrace . Its like we are being drawn into the navel of the earth . Spiraling into the center , turning towards the source .
The distances are epic . The scale is unpresendented . The Gummy bears are delicious . (Like jelly babys , but not as nice ) . ( im so glad wing it came prepared)
We walk on into the raw morning , where ozone is thin and the only footprints are our own .
Wing it is smiling a lot . This makes me smile too .
I think about purity here . Simplicity . Spirit . Part of me echoes the land today . My soul knows its partner , it is mirrored right here in the land . Im belittled by this reflection . This grandness , this epic nature that belongs inside the human being . That we contain only when we are in its presence . Amongst the whistle of the wind , the warmth of a new dawn or the sudden joy of a bird song in this wild , harsh , beautiful place . In its presence , it somehow comes inside of me . I resonate at its frequency and it allows me to know its heart beat .
We trudge on , boots squeeking through pure snow . One step at a time lad . One step at a time .
We pass Aqua marine freeze topped lakes , glacial famiy of the architects that master planned these peaks . Here , everything is pure , ice , like fire , is a great cleanser .
We come within sight of Foresters Pass . Its inspiring and belittling.Steep too !!
I get on my micro spikes and we are kicking steps into the ice as we climb ridiculous degrees of slope . Everything is thrown into focus . Sharpness and clarity. Zen moments flash with pure bright being on the path . The path has disapeared and I am the path . Mind is nowhere , here and everywhere . I breath steady and keep rising .
Wing it crosses the pass first and we are silent in an awe and respect of this place .
I follow along the narrow ridge and we meet on the other side to negotiate the final section . Which is quite honestly hair raising .
Moments later euphoria rules . Adrenalin and gratitude flood through me on a wave of deliverance . We yell our joy . Hug . Fist bump .
We are on top of the PCT and it feels like the top of the world .
Its a long steep post holing path down the other side . The hardest work of the day is still ahead of us .
It seems impossible but the path becomes more beautiful still. The pathway also becomes much harder to negotiate . I post hole time after time after time . I start to get tired , frustrated and , after some time angry . I bend my hiking pole i come down so hard and fast on it . I flay about like an upturned turtle , slippling and cursing . I can see Wing it has a struggle of his own going on . The pass is taking its payment .
Walk on . Walk on .
So we do , winding our way through a labrynth of snow banks and fir trees , snow melt and missleading footprints . Negotiating with GPS and common sense we pick our path out, all the way to Kiersarge Pass . We tackle a long set of switch backs that delivers us into high blue heavens . The ranges around us our full of granduer and manna. They talk of time and attrition , evolution and scale . They are like a pantheon of demi gods , huddled together discussing their favourate memorys of the big-bang ! I feel my mind having to recalibrate to accomodate these immense deitys.
As we make the final switchback ,and come to Bullfrog lake ,swirls of large wet snow start to flurry around us . I tell Wing it that I feel we have walked into Narnia . Everything is white , and the light is cloud filterd to a steel grey dull sheen. I can feel a pressure begin . Wordless we both know it would be best to clear this valley , out of this weather , into the safety of Independance . We were planning on a camp about now , but know that this is no longer a good option .
The snow gets thicker . Covering tracks , we continue to slide and post hole , loosing the track and wrestling with hunger and fatigue . The wind picks up and the snow stars to come in sideways . Several miles pass . A deep booming growl echoes around us . OK so now we have thunder too!
We see tracks of deer, bobcats and cayote . Sometimes they seem to know the trail better than our GPS apps .
The trail comes out of the valley at last . More steep switchbacks and we are at the high pass and know the final miles are downhill.
As we begin our decent we see a mysterious silhouette on the crest of the ridge behind us . Slowly the stranger reveals themself to be Gilligan . We spend a brief moment connecting and them totally demolish the last few miles of our walk in .
Gilligan tells us that today he feels he has been on a wildreness school adventure . I know what he means . I have been learning all day , in the best classroom of all .
Later at the trailhead carpark Bill the local ranger gives us a ride into town . He drops us at the local motel , we get hot showers and wander around in a kind of daze .
Im grateful for the lessons , the insperation and all of things that nature has nurtured me with today . But most of all Im grateful to my hiking bro ,Wing-it . He offerd me humour , concern , support and jelly teddys today . That stuff is just pricless . I tell him . Its cool .
Morning rises on my quiet camp . I make a slow start . I have porridge for breakfast , but with a secret hiker ingredient ..SMARTIES !!!! (Except over here they odly , and for the life of me I cant understand why , call them MnM.. I thought he was a pop star ‘!!?!)
I hold fire on putting on my frozen socks , I have to ford a river this morning .
‘Cold ! Cold ! Cold ! Cold ! Cold !’ I chant as i wade through the fridged water . Up to my knees , ‘Brrrrrrrr..’ I rest up on the other side and warm my feet up . My plan is to take things easy and walk a 15mile today . Just enough to get me within reach of Forester pass and then the following walk into Independance . Forester Pass has a fearesome and feared reputation within the PCT . Its the highest point of the Pathway at 13000 plus feet . Im running this through my mind when i see movement in the forest on the other side of the lake . Then the familar and friendly click clock of walking sticks . I focus and see the deep red beard and im shouting “Yeeeehaaa .. Wing it !!” I smile and give him the ‘finger’ . We laugh . ( in the UK this translates as putting up two fingers in jest only ) . I shout to him that he will have to get his feet wet , and smile to myself . Im not alone now . I smile again .
We rap ( to talk in a relaxed fashion ) for a bit , and as we warm our feet in the sun and warm to each others shared story , we laugh out loud at the adventures and misadventures of the last four days since Kennedy Meadows . Wing it has done the whole walk alone , and is in a very very cool place . We share the peace then get off our ‘butts’ and get trail bound .
Walking with a true friend is such a golden gift .
We are getting into glourious landscape . Open white feilds full of young pine trees , crystals of light reflecting , dazzling , offering snowblind gifts .
We hike for hours , sometimes at a distance , sometimes together . Honouring each others space , pace and peace . We eat lunch together after crossing another creek , this one a relativly easy hop skip and jump to dry land . There are marmits and chipmunks mucking about around the campsite . Three tents are up . Eric , El Gringo and Smokin Moose are all attempting Mount Whitney today and they have left there gear at the bottom . A full days up and down to summit central americas highest peak . Wing it and I are eating lunch , as I snap pixtures of the chipmunks ,when suddenly Moose appears from the woods . He looks both absoloutly knackerd and also a bit crest fallen . He had to turn around half way up Mount Whitney as his spikes wernt upto the assent .He made a goid choice in safety , and knows it , but is also T’d off that he couldnt summit today . Wing it and I talk with him for a while and swap storys whilst the Moose eats lunch . Later i hit the trail again and leave Wing it to his Siesta .
Im enjoying today immensly . I am confident with the GPS app on my phone now so im happy to be the only set of prints in the snow . I see cayote /wolf prints ahead of me and i get a thrill knowing this forest is still home to the wild .
Wing it catches up and we are walking into a huge valley surrounded by massive snowy peaks . The trees are casting long deep shadows around us and we are knocking out the miles .
We do stop a lot for breathtaking panoramas .
I tell Wing it that this is the best walking ive ever had . Such a perfect day . Im happy just covering these fifteen miles and camping close to the Foresters Pass . Even if my gas is about to run out and my hiking boots freeze solid in the night , im happy with the way my day unfolded .
I hike out of Poison Meadows straight into knee high snow and a path that doesnt lead to the PCT trail . I get up on a ridge and can see the mountains have got a lot closer in the last twenty four hours . Finding my way back on the path Im relieved . I spend the whole morning struggling with ‘post holing’ . For those of you who havent heard of this hiker term before , it describes the hole that you make when your leg plunges down into a patch of soft snow. It is sometimes just an inconvenience but can become both frustrating and at worst dangerous . People get serious injurys , as the body can be thrown forward or the feet can hit rocks under the snow .
One step at a time .
At lunch im suprised by Gilligan , he has already made it back onto the trail after his dip down into Lone Pine. He explains he called the authoritys and left details of the fire sight . I tell him he is a ‘Legend’ and im proud that he has the imtegrity to not leave it unreported .
We eat together and talk of our love of nature . When he finishes college he wants to work out here on the trails . I tell him it would be a nice office .
I spend the rest of the day alone . Enjoying the company of chipmunks who dart around like lightening , and the welcome sound of the water . Now just days from the desert , im lightend by its burble . I stop often and enjoy deeper connection with just being ‘in’ this scenery . The sun reflects on the snow , dazzles on the water and creates a hum of new spring life . The warmth rises in the scent of pine needles .
Im at my camp ,’Rock Creek’ . I have made far fewer miles than in the desert today, but this is a diffrent kind of hiking . Slow , plodding through the snow . So im satisfied when I finally see my camp site come into view . Not really a site . Just a bear box and a space in the trees for my tent . The sun is still shining through the tops of the trees and so i sit and read another chapter of Huk Finn, and try and dry my socks out a little .
I eat quietly and try and mulch over a bit of the last two days , it has been quite full on. Im grateful for the peace tonight .Just the river running beside me and the moon above .
On waking up we went across the creek to the fire site . The earth was grey and the roots of two fine Cedars were ireprably damaged .
I had to go and press my nose against one of the trees . A beautiful Maori tradition . Share a breath with nature .
My heart still hurts as I write this . A shame that I hold for the neglegent human beings . I bless nature . The great and glorious mother who we have been born from . I love her with all my heart . Her rivers run like the blood of our bodys , her flesh is the earth we walk upon , her birds the voice of our dreams . How can we hurt her ? Why would we walk with anything less than conscious belonging ?
My heart still hurts .
Father nature the great sky clad one . Eagle brother . Peace rain down . One who brings lightening and thunder . Protect my mother as she nurtures us all. Each one of us .
I thank this walk for teaching me this . Its a grand pathway . It has brought me closer to my nature.
I pray later that we can know our place in this family of fine things . I pray that we laugh as butterflys in the desert under clear calm skys . I pray that we all have the intelligance and fortitude to protect and preserve our home . Our heartbeat mother earth .
I find balance walking . Best foot forward . Im back on the trail.
I find balance .
The pathway returns . We are on a songline , a heartsong way , I natter with Eric from Tazzmania , he is following in his sons footsteps. I tell him ‘So do I but sometimes his foortprints go off the path a little .’ We laugh .Its good that other hikers before us are showing the path through the snow.
Enter the hero of our story : Gilligan ..
Gilligan has woken pre dawn and begun a forty mile hike to Lone Pine to notify the local officials that some neglect has caused a possibility that those roots might still be burning. He took it on his own shoulders to ‘haul ass’ trail bound with the wind under his wings .Im in awe . He takes this nature thing seriously too.
Im able to breifly get reception at Owens valley , I upload this blog .Eat lunch with Eric as we swap grandfather storys . I shoot a couple of photos and relax in the best living room a man could ask for .
The trail gets beautiful . Elevation .You see it all. Snowcaps glistening so bright I have to put on sunglasses . Reds deep and burnished on the redwoods and crystal blue skys . Its totally mint-imperial up ear !
I can breath as the air thins . I taste the freshness .My nostrils flair with cold mountain and pine .Im looking down into a magnificent valley .
Eleven thousand feet and climbing . My boot takes in snow . Gosh it . I feel a dragon inside of me . A splinter of anger has strayed aboard from last night . Maybe one of the hot coals burning in the heart of the tree has awoke.A hero inside of me . I push through deep snow . Knee high .One step at a time lad . One step after another . I know both my grandfathers are with me .
Later Gus from MAINE comes and interupts my fartfree dinner . We laugh together as I chuff in his general direction . PCT rules ! We hike a while leapfrogging untill Gus retires and i hike on a few more miles. I have the hardest slog of the day coming into Poision Meadow Spring . Wet feet and cream krackered ! Happy to see the tents of other hikers . Ryan and 3030 are both already pitched and ElGringo and Smoking Moose are in twin bunks . They are ‘rightious dudes’ . I spit and grumble a while whilst i wrestle with the wind , wrestling with me ,wresteling with the tent .
Im reading Huckellberry Finn . I thank my dad before i go to sleep not just for recomending a good read , but also for giving me a good start in life , good enough that I can achieve these dreams . Thanks Dad , I love you .