Monday, March 29, 2010

Leaving Wyoming

moonset panorama
Moonset over the Bighorns

I’ve left Wyoming. I packed all my possessions in the back up my pickup and drove away.

But I didn’t take everything.

I left part of my heart in the Murphy house. The first single family dwelling I’ve ever built was both the simplest and most complicated project I’ve attempted. The building was simple, the expectations were complicated.

I left part of my heart in Darla’s house. The last house completed, it was with me through my entire experience.

I left part of my heart in Kat’s house. The home with the strongest foundation as it was truly built by a community gathering together.

I know each stud and tie in those homes. They are as familiar to me as the profile of the mountains I looked on each morning or the face of a friend.

And like the wonderful friends who supported me through this intense year, I carry them with me in my own heart as I move on to hike the Pacific Crest Trail over the next six months and to attend the Foster School of Business at the UW for an MBA beginning this fall.

I am grateful for what I was able to give, and I am grateful for what I received.

To everyone who sustained me as I gave the best I could, THANK YOU!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Trail Journals

Dec 1 094

Writing to remember is the reason I have this blog.

Some people write to connect with others (that was a little of it too). Some people write to hear their own thoughts. Some people write so that their memories won't fade quite so easily.

As you can imagine, hiking the PCT, or other long distance trail is prime time for journaling. There are few other times in life that are so set apart, encapsulated into a single experience, focused on one solitary idea.

I've been reading a site called 'Trail Journals' for about five years... almost as long as I've been dreaming of hiking the PCT (and CDT). I lived vicariously through the experience of others while I sat at a desk in a jobsite trailer, or lived in a place where there were only volcanoes to summit, or became a workaholic while living next to a backpackers dream.

And so when I finally started my trail journal on the site a few days ago (which is actually a carbon copy of what I write here), it was surreal. I can't believe my name is on that page and my words can be found where I looked for inspiration from so many others!

It's a format that is so familiar, I recognize it instantaneously. But it's my words! It actually makes the plan so much more real to me!

Once I get on the trail, I won't be able to update you quite as regularly, so to keep your trail journaling appetite whet, here are some places to check out -

Trail Journals
Hiker Journals for the PCT

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hike for More

Acadamia de Atletismo

Hiking the PCT is a luxury. I know it doesn’t seem like walking for months carrying what you need to live (and then some) on your back is an extravagance.

But the freedom to do what I want and having the health to do it are both exceptional opportunities most in the world won’t have the chance to choose.

And so when I hike, I’ll do it for myself, but I’ll also do it for others.

I’m hiking for the Academia de Atletismo.

It’s a place I’ve written about before which provides kids in Nicaragua the opportunity to be kids. It gives them a safe place. It gives them a place to learn discipline that can help them throughout their lives.

So I can help, and you can too.
• $1.50 registers a child for a competition.
• $14 buys a child’s uniform
• $120 buys safe transportation round trip to a track meet for 15 kids

I could go on, but from my experience, people who have read this far already know whether they are interested in more complete information so without further ado -

For more information –
• Click the Academia de Atletismo link for all tagged posts
• Email me
• Visit Hike for Nicaragua on Facebook

To donate -
• Send checks marked "Nicaragua" to Wedgwood Community Church, 8201 30th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98115
• Via credit card at Hike for Nicaragua on Facebook
• Or the PayPal donation button in the upper right corner of this page.
• If you’d like to donate per mile I hike on the PCT, please email me and I will be setting up a page to post those donations.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hiking Solo

Mesa Verde 2001?
the dangers of hiking alone - no one to watch your back

One questions that has been asked many times is if I have a partner to hike the PCT with.

The short answer is no... but it's not the whole answer.

ADZPCTKO (Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off), the PCT kick-off event happens at the end of April and is attended by over 600 people. Of those, over 200 will start north at the same time I do.

Additionally, there's thousands of people who hike sections of the PCT, either in short backpacking trips or day hikes.

So chances are, I won't be hiking by myself unless I really really want to. And sometimes that really might be nice!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Walking for the Difficult Day

Tongue River Canyon
Tongue River Canyon (from yesterday's walk)

The best remedy for a short temper is a long walk. ~Jacqueline Schiff

Had a frustrating day today. Apparently I need to walk more. Think 2,658 miles will do it?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Backpacking in South Africa

Drakensburg Mountains

In 2003 I went to South Africa and worked with Habitat for Humanity in Khayelitsha, a township of Capetown to celebrate graduating from undergrad (in just 6 years!).

Drakensburg Mountains

While there, I took advantage of the opportunity and went backpacking in the Drakensberg Mountains.

Drakensburg Mountains

They have a system of caves you can hike to and then sleep in with platforms covered in straw and a fire pit.

Drakensburg Mountains

Below is the cave from the outside.

Drakensburg Mountains

It was a mostly beautiful experience.

One night, I must confess, was a bit terrifying. We had just gotten in our sleeping bags, exhausted from the long day of hiking, and the night outside was pitch black. A rustling noise began in the bushes outside the mouth of the cave and came closer and closer.

Suddenly, I wasn't so exhausted, I was wide awake. My friend and I debated what to do and how much to believe the 'it's more afraid of you than you are of it' mantra. I was sure it was baboons coming to carry me away.

Finally, I was so exhausted I felt I could have slept through baboons carrying me away, but instead of waiting for it, we turned our flashlight on the noise. There stood an eland who looked as surprised as we felt, a huge animal, but certainly not one that was interested in me!

And no, I don't have pictures of that! I went right to sleep!

Drakensburg Mountains

Monday, March 15, 2010


perspective 4

Eight and a half miles can be covered in minutes with a car on the expressway, but what does a man see? What he gains in time he loses in benefit to his body and his mind. At my pace I can notice things.
Dick Proeneke – One Man’s Wilderness

Last summer, shortly after I became construction manager for Habitat I began to grind my teeth at night. I hadn’t done it since college, but the feeling of jaw fatigue in the morning was instantly familiar. I had around 20 people arriving, people who had travelled far to volunteer their hands and backs for a few weeks.

And I didn’t have foundations for them to work on.

It was important to keep them occupied, but sometimes I lost perspective. Sometimes the immediate needs felt so pressing that weeks would pass without a look up to see the beautiful view passing by.

perspective 3

I will hike in order to learn how to see the long vista ahead of me again.

Perspective 2

I’m hoping to get the certificates of occupancy for the last two homes I’m managing before I leave. It’s been a long looked for marker of the worthiness of my work (by me). But sometimes in the inertia caused by my one mindedness, I’ve lost valuable moments.

I hike in order to learn how to see the importance of small effects.

Perspective 1

I hike to remind myself of balanced life.