Immersed in the wild, trekking part of the Pacific Crest Trail

Living on wilderness time for 300 miles.

 

After about a week in the wilderness, I forget that there is a world other than this. There is only what happens out here every day: the 5:25 am sweep of Cherry Pie’s headlamp under his tarp, the shoving of everything we carry into our backpacks, the first step onto the trail. This is my life now.

Mostly, we walk. We walk for all the hours that add up to a 21-mile day, up the passes and back down again, along the traverses and past the alpine lakes, each mile stretching into another. And because it is the North Cascades in late August, it sometimes rains, and we bundle up in soggy jackets and endure, until it stops. Then we spread out all of our gear to dry over talus boulders, a hiker yard sale, we call it.

For two years in a row I have hiked nearly 300 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, last year through the Sierras, this year from Snoqualmie Pass to Canada. After a few days, nothing matters but the miles we have to go to reliable water, whether we packed enough food in our resupply boxes, and if we can find a flat spot to pitch our tents. We are living on wilderness time, perhaps the only way that I have found to be completely and utterly present.

While we may speculate about the miles ahead, the more pressing concerns are right now, in the moment. This is the greatest gift of wilderness, allowing me to abandon future worrying and past regrets, and live in the immediate.

Though my hiking partner, Scout, and I camp with him for days, we never know Cherry Pie’s real-world name until our last day, and he doesn’t know ours. We exchange only our trail names, monikers bestowed on us by circumstance and behavioral quirks. Other hikers we meet identify themselves as Diesel, Bambi and Lorax.

We are a traveling tribe, bound together only by this slender ribbon of trail. None of us would meet in real life, but here we are kin. What we have accomplished at work, in our other lives — none of this counts. We size each other up instead by our daily mileage and the weight of our packs.

Anything could be happening outside our mountain range, the nation gearing up for another war, floods, fire, tragedies many times removed from us. Wilderness allows me to slip into another kind of place, ageless and timeless. We walk like others have before us, set up our tents, filter water from unnamed creeks.

We move through the deep rain forest vegetation like a river, and watching other hikers makes me fiercely hopeful. In my real life as a wilderness planner I have become discouraged by the plunge in funding for recreation and the apathy I see around me. Here I take a deep breath and feel less alone. These are my people. This is my tribe.

Ragged clouds tease the mountain peaks, the sign of another storm. We cross over Fire Creek Pass at 6,000 feet and begin our slow descent to Milk Creek. Where will we sleep tonight? We have no idea.

The maps tell us only part of the story. They don’t tell us that we will encounter 10 Sierra Club tents set up in the only flat spot for miles, forcing us to sleep on a trail bridge for the night.  They don’t point out that we will find our best camp spot ever by climbing an unprepossessing hill and coming face to face with massive Glacier Peak in the distance. These are things that we find out.

This discovering, possible in wilderness, is something we have learned to forget in the real world, where information is only a Google away.

Despite the rain, the lingering soreness in my feet, the weeks without a shower, I am not quite ready to be done. There is no buffer between our time on the trail and the next day’s Greyhound to Vancouver. We linger for a time in the last clump of trees, but eventually we just have to do it, take our last steps out to the road.

I both want this and I don’t. I love the wilderness time as much as I want to see my husband and our dogs and our cabin in the woods. I want to blend the two worlds I inhabit even though I know they will forever remain separate.

The best I can do, I realize, is to take a kernel of wilderness time with me: the patience, the awareness, and the acceptance that wilderness gives me. On a day awash in meetings, deadlines and screaming headlines, I vow to remember what wilderness has taught me.

At the bus station, Cherry Pie bounds out after a quick hug. Scout drives off into the Idaho canyons. I shoulder my backpack for the last time and walk into the place I sometimes call home.

Mary Emerick is a contributor to Writers on the Range, a service of NewTowncarShare News. She writes in Joseph, Oregon.

Note: the opinions expressed in this column are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of NewTowncarShare News, its board or staff. If you'd like to share an opinion piece of your own, please write Betsy Marston at [email protected].

NewTowncarShare News Classifieds
  • Grand Staircase Escalante Partners is hiring a full-time Restoration Program Coordinator based in Escalante, Utah. gsenm.org
  • Work passionately on behalf of the finest hiking and equestrian trail in the Western United States. Work for the Pacific Crest Trail Association! The Pacific...
  • 7.58 Acres in Delta County for $198,000. and a contiguous 25 acre parcel of land zoned agricultural is available in Montrose county for an additional...
  • in Moab, UT start in Spring. Naturalist, River Guides, Camp Cooks, Internships available. Details at cfimoab.org/employment.
  • Work passionately on behalf of the Pacific Crest Trail Association! Headquartered in Sacramento, California, PCTA is dedicated to protecting, preserving and promoting the Pacific Crest...
  • The Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT) seeks an energetic and motivated Stewardship Coordinator to manage on-going conservation easement stewardship and to work within our...
  • Program Manager, Tongass Forest Program Position Description The Southeast Alaska Conservation Councils Tongass Forest Program Manager coordinates all of the forest and land-use-related campaign work...
  • Friends of the San Juans is looking for an experienced attorney. Details at: http://sanjuans.org/2018/09/26/staff-attorney-fall-2018/
  • 25 acre in native grasses. Cedar draw. Year-round spring. At foot of Moscow Mnt, ID, 7 miles from town.
  • Custom-built pumice home, endless views, 20 minutes to Taos Ski Valley, NM. Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Taos Real Estate, 575-758-1924, https://hcne.ws/highdeserthaven
  • 5,000 square foot sustainable home on 30 acres in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. 20 minutes to Taos Ski Valley, NM. Berkshire Hathaway Home Services...
  • 541-987-2363, [email protected] www.dukewarnerrealtyofeasternoregon.com
  • Reporting to the Board of Directors (Board), the Executive Director (ED) has overall operational responsibility for FoGB staff, programs, expansion, and execution of the mission....
  • Join the Center for Conservation Peacebuilding for a workshop to build your capacity to transform conflicts and create lasting solutions for people and wildlife. April...
  • Nov 7-8 in Grand Junction, CO Keynote: Brad Udall on Climate Change Other Topics: Threats to Food Energy Water Security From Forecasting to Decision-Making Science...
  • with home on one acre in Pocatello, ID. For information and photos visit www.blackrockforgeproperty.com.
  • Skiing, biking, hiking, fishing, 3 bd/2 bth, deck. 1.38 acres, no covenants. Call Reggie Masters, Associate Broker Coldwell Banker Mountain Properties, 970-596-3568.
  • Here is an opportunity to have a piece of self-sufficient paradise on Idaho's Main Salmon River adjacent to the largest Forest Service wilderness area in...
  • Popular vacation house, furnished, 2 bed/1 bath, yard, dog-friendly. Lee at [email protected] or 520-791-9246.
  • Seeking passionate full-time Executive to lead the oldest non-profit organization in Idaho. Must have knowledge of environmental issues, excellent organizational, verbal presentation and written skills,...


Этот нужный веб портал с информацией про уборка офиса после ремонта https://cleansale.kiev.ua