Whiskers Gone Walkabout - PCT 2015 from Whiskers on Vimeo.
Obviously watching this full screen would probably enhance the viewing experience. But hey, HYOH!
Posted by Ryan at 16:12
This writing is my attempt to capture who I was for a stretch of moments in a stretch of place. Some bits may not be factual, but it will all be as true as I can make it. It will not be a chronological accounting of my days but will instead be my impressions of the trail and my place in a world which exists alongside this one but impossibly far away.
In the beginning, a decade ago, I heard about the AT, the Appalachian Trail. 2200 miles of bucket list punishment winding from Georgia to Maine. The more I read about it the more it seemed like my sort of thing. It’s long and arduous but doesn’t require any sort of masterful expertise. It’s just walking. I got so excited about it that I even went so far as to buy a custom down sleeping quilt and fill a spreadsheet full of gear data. I bought a sewing machine and learned to sew just so I could make my own tarp-tent, ditty bags, rain jacket, and anything else I could dream up. I made alcohol stoves and read gear reviews and could have spoken at length about the pros and cons of a wide variety of outdoor fabrics.
And that was it. I never did anything else. Life got in the way, or rather, I turned away from any sort of actual thru-hiking plan. Ten years later found me working in the oilfields of North Dakota. The price of oil had been dropping for months and work was slowing. Some days I’d get to my truck at 5am and sit in it till 11 waiting on a dispatch before going home. Things had gotten stale between my girlfriend and I. We shared a bed, we were polite and respectful, but we lived life separately.
One bitterly cold day in late January “why not?” slipped into my psyche. At first it was just a quiet question and when I could produce no viable counter-argument it became a gut-punch of excitement and anxiety. I re-researched gear, I bought an Appalachian Trail guidebook, I mentioned it to a few close friends. Then one day, lost in youtube trail porn, I stumbled on a 90 minute video of two best friends on the Pacific Crest Trail. I watched them walk through spiny plants and crumbling dirt. I watched them turn shaggy as they climbed up into snow capped peaks and danced across icy streams. I watched them disappear amid old, lichen covered trees like rare woodland creatures. That was all it took. The scenes they captured, the immense variety of terrain and weather unfolding as they walked told me that if I was going to attempt just one trail, the PCT should be it.
Posted by Ryan at 13:10