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Don't be dramatic, kid. It's really not that bad at all haha.
My bros...I broke my phone, won't have it back until I finish Sept 15 and pick it up in Seattle. Not gonna lie, between that and all my other errands that failed...this is a kinda low point in the trail for me, only 200 miles from the finishline. Before trail, these combined set backs would have destroyed me. Now, I'm just grinding through hoping I get to stay in Skykomish tonight, but even that's only possible if I get a hitch from this pretty bad town for hitching. Might be sleeping on the side of a highway tonight folks, will fill up my water bottles at this library just in case. I'll be totally pumped once I get back on trial and can use Bang's phone to for maps, but until then, wish me luck, folks!
"Right now, you're happiest when you're alone" - Bullet, Tigers Jaw
I identified with this much too much last year... Upon listening to this song again I more acutely see the wrongness of the sentiment - the small knot of regret in my gut accentuating the ill feelings of being self judged and found the past self so wanting.
The following link contains my photos and videos from Mile 900 - Mile 1500 (Mammoth Lakes to Mt Shasta)
Still the pretty ones, folks! My last entry for this section had the wrong link. Thanks Kevin!
A thru hiker, Gout, had her father join here for a few days of hiking. He arrived midday today while we were at shelter cove getting some much needed burgers. It happens that they ended up at the same site as us and have been talking together for a couple hours, staring out at the lake, sharing a log for seats. I can hear tones of hushed sincerity and imagine them saying everything they've been forgetting to say, or maybe don't say often enough. Silhouetted by the twilight reflecting off the sparkling lake, they are such a heartwarming scene.
I realized something this morning, well before all this, that put me in a reflective mood and thus more than a little susceptible to sentimentality. I saw the challenges ahead and wondered how I'll be able to fortify myself against them. Some will push me to feel all this, all my perceived progress, was overblown or somehow doesn't apply to real life in some meaningful sense. How can I defend against such an insidious threat, but for mental discipline? Well the thing about discipline is that self discipline sucks. It always, by definition, fails when you need it most. So not discipline, but the support and reminders of those who will be looking out for me. I saw the importance of trusting relationships where participants actively help the other grow, in a more ... discerning?... light. So forgive me for indulging my sentimentality by imagining their conversation was so heartfelt, sincere, and meaningful.
Today was Surgeon's birthday in Etna, I made her a card in oil pastels of a sturgon fish, because I call her Sturge. After carrot cake milkshakes, Bang and I relaxed at the park where I was invited by a conservative Norman family to break bread. "You better have some cobbler," they said. I had ice cream and cobbler until they left, upon my return, others offered me cobbler which I brought to other hikers. Next was the brewery for Sturge's birthday celebration, where a band played some ol rock and roll. I danced with Thumb for a song, doing my best Charleston from pulp fiction. I suggested the distillery, and so we changed locations. I had the most phenomenal whiskey sour of my life while explaining American Ninja Warrior and learning how others reflect upon a year, and what it means to be more proud of whom you are now than who you were a year ago. I remarked, when asked, that I know not what my future will brinf, but I'm confident I now have to tools to be happy no matter my path. And so I lay in the city park, after a brief hangout with some folks, Including a particularity funny Aussie, eating that left over cobbler in my tent. How sweet it all tastes...
"ALEXA, play Girl All The Bad Guys Want"
It's not what you do, so much as who you do it with. The PCT is the final nail in the coffin of the idea that just doing cool things is enough. No, it's doing things with people you love that defines you. We dance and sing to express the beauty that we see in the world. Please never forget how to sing, future me. Singing let's you access some beauty in the world that would otherwise remain hidden. Thank you Pink Panther, Knoxville, Union Jack, and Patton Oswold for showing me this. Happy to buy a round for any CCR song, or even 4. Non blondes anytime. Godspeed, Pilgrim, John Wayne ain't got nothing on you.
I just want to say thank you all for supporting me, I'll never thank you enough just as many of you won't think you told me enough. I have so much to learn and little time to practice. As I embrace the understanding that I am and never will be anything more than a work in progress, the pilgrim without a Mecca, it's all the more endearing that there are those who love me all the same.