Sunday, January 11, 2015

Missing the Mountains

I have become enamored with the blogs of PCT hikers. Some of which I have added to my Useful Links page, not so much because they are useful, but because I find them interesting. They are interesting to me because they are the words of people who are drawn to the same places I am drawn to. I find myself returning to their blogs and there is nothing new... why have they stopped writing?

Then I come over to my blog, and look and say, "Wow, its been a while since I have posted anything! Don't I have anything to say?" Perhaps not. Or perhaps I am being lazy. Or perhaps there is fear that I might post stuff that might be too introspective and narcissistic. One of the things I want to do more is to write on my blog more. Yet to write stuff down is to either become phony or to become vulnerable. I feel very uncomfortable being vulnerable. In fact, to me, those words are almost synonymous.

The holidays have been generous to me. I have put on fifteen pounds of soft, jiggly, body fat. I think it might be my inordinate affection for cookies. While rationally I understand that there is a direct correlation between what I eat and how much I weigh, that part of my mind seems to be overridden by a consuming craving for cookies. It is easy to not eat cookies when there aren't any available, but if they are, it is virtually impossible not to eat them. Perhaps this is what addiction is like. Perhaps that is what I am, "Hello, my name is Scott, hi Scott, and I am a cookieaholic."

The planning for the PCT this summer continues. I am trying to hike three times a week with my pack on. On the days I don't hike, I try to go to the gym and do weight training. I hate the would 'try'! I live the memorable line from Yoda in the Empire Strikes Back, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” The Nike slogan, "Just do it." is another mantra of mine. This means I make choices based on what is important to me. If I have any hope of hiking twenty five miles per day, I must train my body to be prepared for it. The apostle Paul describes the athletes drive for self-discipline this way;
Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.  1 Corinthians 9:25-27 (ESV)
Self-discipline is so out-of-vogue in much of our soft, self-indulgent, culture. I think that is one of the things that draws me to these intrepid, self-denying, disciplined, and focused, PCT thru-hikers. I want to set a goal for myself and then organize my life to achieve it. The fact that my goal is a two thousand six hundred sixty mile long thru-hike is because of who I am. Everyone is different and has different things that they enjoy and that motivate them. Why not use what I love to do to make me into the person I want to be? How muddled-headed is that? Can a long hike actually change a person? Do I even know what I want to be? It won't, pretty muddled-headed, maybe and no. All I know is that ever since that first day that I considered hiking the PCT, I have never not wanted to hike it. It lingers in my thoughts, almost subconsciously, while I am working it's there, when I am resting its there, while I am eating its there, while I sit in church its there. I can't escape it. It seems my only choice is to just do it.

Maybe my reason for hiking the PCT is so that my metabolism will be so fired up that I will be able to eat as many cookies as I want and still remain trim and fit. Wow, that would be a lame reason, almost crazy reason. Then I consider the parades of trees along the ridges, the grand mountains standing fiercely in the face of the storm, the infinite azure dome above me as I gaze from hazy horizon to horizon. I think about brother sun gazing down upon me with dazzling brilliance and warmth, and sister wind piercing through gaps in my clothing and gripping my ears and nose until they hurt. I remember listening to the rain beating on my tent like applause in a stadium filled with cheering fans. I feel the cool morning zephyrs caressing my face as the sun makes it's grand entrance into a new day, I feel the heat melting my head and drizzling down between my shoulder blades as numerous insects buzz and hum in the bushes. I see dirty faces with sparkling eyes, grubby hands, blistered feet, and calves caked with dust. I see exuberant faces next to laughing brooks with joyful cascades leaping from glistening rock to rock. Then I realize, no, it's not just about the cookies.


  1. This is awesome Scott. "I do not run aimlessly....I discipline my body and keep it under control." Miss our hikes brother

  2. Soctt, Congratulations on hiking the JMT. From reading your blog it sounds like you are hiking the PCT in 2015. I'll look forward to following along and reading your blog. I'm thinking about another thru-hike in 2016!