Where has the summer gone?
The bad news first. My cousin has passed away from brain cancer and he is only a few years older than me! I miss him deeply. I had thought I had enough time to visit him in Oregon as I hike through but as it turns out God needed Chris more than the rest of us. My grandfather passed away as well. The two of them were close hear on Earth so I like to imagine they are together in heaven playing chess or sharing their ideas with each other. Also a friend in Big Sur has also passed this summer and he will be missed as well. My heart goes out to Lisa and her family. The seem to survive together against all odds and I believe this will only make them stronger.
Life goes on even when we want it to slow down.
As to the trail…last time I checked in I was in Tahoe I think. Since then I have seen several people leave the trail. One person I enjoyed hiking with was a guy named Lumber Jack. He had some things to go take care of in order to clear his head and free his soul a bit. I hope he picks up where he left off. Good luck Lumber Jack. I’ve also met some wonderful people who are both trail Angels, and day hikers and section hikers. I hiked with one woman who was a section hiker and an intragal part of my healing process. Thanks Mermaid! More on that later. Yiwen was a trail Angel and she helped me to reach Dunsmuir. Thanks Yiwen and her husband! Tyler was an awesome woman who happened to come across my path at a low point and her cheerful energy was a welcome change of pace for me. Thanks Tyler.
Trail miles and my path has changed a little. Let me fill you in. When I left Burney Falls the first 10 miles went pretty smooth. I had just hiked from Benton with my overall health in mind. I walked a super slow and safe pace of 10 miles a day and it worked. I was stronger and more coordinated and this was exactly what I needed. So after leaving Burney falls I did a mild 10 evening miles into the dark. The following two days I was able to hike nearly 35 miles each day to land just under I5. Those two days yielded views fully blocked by smoke. After Van Gogh called the Forest Service there were fires apparently every where but the PCT so it was safe but without visibility. The air quality was worse and worse the further North I went. So I had a decision to make. Do I hike in the smoke or wait it out? After a lot of thought I decided to push on but not from Dunsmuir and I5, instead I would hitch North from Town to town until the smoke was clear. Thanks Yiwen for the ride from trail to Dunsmuir, thanks Butch for the ride from Shasta to Ashland. I picked up a resupply box in Ashland and was then covered for food. I then rode a bus to Medford and met my friend “Susan Morgan from Oregon” (that has to be her trail name if she ever hikes the PCT) who put me up for the night and made dinner and lunch the next day! Amazing! Then she even drove me up the state of Oregon until we reached a smoke free area of he trail and I returned to my hike around mile 1900! Thank you so much Susan! So after I reach Canada in the next few weeks I will hitch or bus back down to Dunsmuir and hike North to complete and finish the 485 miles I jumped to make my through hike of he PCT complete.
Sorry it’s so short but the internet is not what it should be here in these small towns, or maybe it’s exactly as it should be. Less connected to the outside world and more connected to the things close to us, each other.
Brendon, your journey is stunning. There’s so much I’ve been wanting to share with you but thought to let you walk and breathe and take it all in—just as Mary Oliver would suggest. But like you, three of my beloveds have passed, a surrogate grandfather, one of my closest friends (who leaves behind her only child, a 5 year old daughter) and the worst of all, my best friend’s only child, who is 2.5 years old, was diagnosed with a stage 4 brain tumor 10 days before you started the hike. I have been holding space with my dear sister friend, flying back and forth to San Diego where her little girl was airlifted from Anchorage to have surgery at Rady Children’s hospital. As of now, the cancer has spread everywhere and little Avery is expected to pass any minute. I have never in my life experienced so much grief and strings of death around me. Life is wild. Messy. Dark. Light. Gut wrenching. Gorgeous. And filled with so much love despite what we perceive is ‘tragic.’ I share all of this to let you know you are not alone with your sorrows, you are not alone with your thoughts, with your courage, with your strength, with your fortitude and with that beautiful heart of yours. Keep breathing in the trail and all it offers and carry the healing home with you. I’m proud to know you. Sending big love and bright light from another small town with a mountain. 😉
Finally getting around to reading the rest of your journey! I’m glad to hear you finished and hope life has been fulfilling for you since. Don’t remember if I told you or not but after running into you on your way up to Castle Peak I did go run on that section you had just come from days previous and it was just as beautiful as you said. It was a pleasure running into you.