Last night my parents messaged me to “buy a pair of shoes with your birthday money”.
Im listening to the Grims brothers version of “The twelve dancing princesses”on the pod . They wear out their shoes each night dancing. Their father the King decrees that anyone who can tell him how his daughters shoes can be so warn through, then that one thereafter shall rule the lands . A wounded soldier is returning from the war , and he happens to cross the path of a wise woman who tells him if he is to follow his dream and become King , then he should not drink the wine that is offered him . She also gives him a cloak that offers invisibility. He stands in front of the King (knowing full well that failure will mean death) and asks to spend the night in the bed chamber of his twelve daughters . The King ascedes and promises that if he returns with the knowing , then he will be King thereafter . He sleeps inside the maidens chamber , and the eldest comes and offers him a draft of wine , which he takes with gratitude and pours it upon the plants . Then fains sleep. Zzzzzzz! Zzzzzzzz! Zz!
The 12 sisters put on their shoes and leave through a secret door beneath the bed of the eldest sister . The wounded soldier ,puts on his cloak of invisability, and follows them down below the castle and into the deep mysterious earth . The twelve sisters excitedly follow a path . First they come to a forest full of golden oak trees , and the soldier still following takes a golden branch to show the king , then they pass through a forest of silver birch , and the soldier again takes a branch to show the king , finaly the twelve sisters pass through a forest of crystal encrusted yew trees , and the soldier takes a crystal branch to show the king . The pathway leads down to a beautiful lake , where 12 handsome princess await with twelve boats . They each take a sister across the milky silver lake and the invisible soldier stows away with the youngest sister . When the group reaches the other shore a grand party commences . Bright , gay music and dance follow , and glass after glass of wine from delicate goblets is consumed.The princesses dance and dance , and dance and dance , and at the apointed time , as they are leaving the soldier takes one of the goblets . Across the river and through the three forests they journey , and just before they climb the stairs the wounded soldier runs ahead , climbs into bed and fakes sleep once more . Zzz!Zzzzzzzzz!zZZzzzz!
The next morning the soldier reveals all to the King . How the sisters wear out their shoes in dance with their magical soul partners . The sisters seeing that they are outwitted admit everything to the king , who offers the hand of the eldest daughter to the soldier (who later becomes king ) . And they all live happily everafter ..
Thats the story of the worn out shoes , im sure i had some deep and pholosophical point to make by using this story as an illustration , but i will be blown if i can remember it .
Anyway , its a good story , you should read the proper version .Its better than mine .
Im going to send a picture of my trainers to the manafacturer and see if they will send me a free pair .”920miles on the PCT and still going” kind of thing . You never know . You never know .
Patch number nine . I look back and realise ive covered 200 miles in eleven days without having a Zday . This is both rewarding and exauhsting . Time for some downtime . Fortunatly Burney Falls is coming up on the radar , and that means i can stay in a beautiful State Park and clean up . Physicaly ,mentaly and spiritualy. I feel that i have the earth not only under my finger nails , but also in every pore of me .
But right now , im on stealth mode . If you can call my flumuxing about at 5am ‘Stealth’ . I have observed the enemy and know their movements , i will outwit them , i will out manouver them , i will i neccesary out run them . I suffer minimal casualty and break for the trail at top speed , followed by a cloud of marauding mosquitos .
The view down into the valleys is spectacular . A kick start for the conciousness . Just the thing i need after a morning with only a mouthful of quaker oats and a packet of granulated coffe washed down with a mouthful of cold water to get me on my feet . I find my stride , and soon im in deeper woodland . Today im Cooktenzingwells ,and it feels good to be alive .
Sometimes hiking south has its advantages. Other PCTers complain that the sun is predominantly in ones eyes when they SoBo (south bound) . But this glorious morning , as i bimble through brambles , i find the dawn has conspired to set the forest alight with gilded arrow shafts . Like the fine armament of Apollo. Bringing ‘amour-ment’. Mornings like these can have a seriously positive effect on ones life , and i find myself lingering long and savoring each moment . The forest can become a timless place , full of meaningful shadows and latent possibilitys . If you are want to believe in Magic , then at dawn and dusk to the forest you should go . Here , this morning , i feel new again , revitalised and transformed . I have watched the hairy catapillers and the vibrant butterflys , and in this place know something of their journey .
Sudden sounds catch me , a wind is picking up and blowing through both me and the trees, and I rememeber that is exactly what i should be doing . Blowing through.
Later i suprise ‘Half an Half’ who is breaking camp . Another man like me who is enjoying his own company in this hikers heaven. He reminds me that there is snow ahead on the trail . He explains there is an alternative path that skips some of the snow . I like this , I like this a LOT ! I set off , in search of ‘The road less travelled’ and hope that i can negotiate it without a map . Only ten minutes have passed and im on my detour , and remain there for a couple of hours , I can see the snow on both sides of the track , but gratefuly not where im walking. Im skirted by an avenue of foliage . Deep waxy , scratchy foliage .
Later at Kosk springs i drink a couple of liters of ice fresh water and siesta under a cool breezy pine . I wake drowzy and eat ramen for lunch and am suprised by Half an Half wandering into camp . He took the PCT proper and told me of his adventures in negotiating the snow . I nod sagely . I keep my gob shut about the last week . Nobody likes a clever cloggs.
I have the chance to do some miles today , and so push on as soon as politness allows . On the trail , any company can be better than the silence of self reflection , and its easy to fall into a conversation to avoid the quiet of the forest trail .
Mile after mile falls away , and its a joy to hear the click click click of the walking sticks , each mile brings me a little closer to the double Zday i have planned for Burney Falls . If I can get within fifteen miles of the campground , then i will be having a cold beer with my lunch tommorow . If thats not motivation , then i dont know what is .
Its after 8pm and im putting up my tent … AaaaRGHGHrgfh! .. Out flanked , out manouvered , out gunned . Damn them all to hell!!
I squirm inside my tent . And ‘squirm’ is the operative word . My Head is like a can of worms . Caked in sweat, grime and bitten to beyond buggery .I feel thuroughly wretched and spent . I am however within reach of that lunchtime refreshment tommorow , and that gives me pause to smile .