PCT 2020 Day 34

Stevie Wonder Out

Snickers has always been an early riser when I’ve hiked with him and today was no exception. Being up and hiking before the sun rises over the horizon makes for some wonderful morning light photos.

Such a cool stretch of trail going by Tinker Knob.

Snickers felt inspired to get a super hiker pose pic of me…

And before we knew it, we’d made it to my cut off. I was once again at the random Granite Chief Trail junction. It was a short, but wonderful time hiking with Snickers. From here, I was heading off trail and Snickers was continuing south to finish his walk in the PCT! Had to get one last shot of the dynamic duo together…

Once down off the PCT, my travel logistics all seemed to fall into place. I got a ride into Tahoe City (once again on the NW side of Lake Tahoe). From there I’d end up getting a ride to the Reno airport, but not before a little lunch down by the lake. The Arnold Palmer really hit the spot. While hanging, I got a text from Cheer and Calzone, they had made it to SoCal and we’re living it up…

I flew home the next day after a hotel stay in Reno. I had such a blast on this journey. Hiking a long trail you meet all kinds of awesome people and become quick friends. When those friends keep making it happen to see each other even after the trail, no matter how long a gap in between, that’s pretty special. Love this trail family I found!


Epilogue

I mentioned a few times in these 2020 posts that my time on trail allowed me to do some thinking about big picture things and what I wanted to do with my life in the future. Ever since leaving my job in 2019 and hiking the PCT, I’ve been searching for a different path forward with purpose and meaning. One that’s true to me if that makes any sense.

The next steps after trail for me would be starting my online graduate courses in Park and Resource Management. I didn’t know it upon leaving the trail, but in a few months I’d accept a job with Utah Conservation Corps and make plans to live out of my van for the next year. Pretty bizarre. I see now that these wild natural places fill me up and believe they’re also central to finding that purpose I mentioned avive… in being a steward of the land, to help protect these places, to discover my part in the movement to increase inclusion and diversify in the outdoors.

Calzone and Cheer have their own takeaways from this trek, I’m sure. I don’t know what their thought process was through all this, but I think it’s pretty awesome where each of us ended up going next. Calzone would join a wilderness therapy organization as a guide. Cheer would continue her efforts and expand Thru-r, the organization she founded to help build community for hikers, “before, during, and after trail.”

My man Snickers would go on to finish the PCT in dramatic fashion. Wildfires hit the Sierra Nevada, which would lead to evacuations and closure of much of the National Forests. It’s not exaggerating to say that Snickers finished and and got out in the nick of time. Here’s a text he send me..

Hey Stevie, thanks for checking in. I self evacuated yesterday from the Sierra after experiencing yet another day of increasing heavy smoke conditions. It was unbelievable how the smoke was everywhere, enveloping all the tall peaks and valleys as far as I could see with this sickly yellow hue. At times it looked like I was walking on Mars. So our friend, Mr. Taboose, came to the rescue again. I exited through the closure, no problems, walked to Hwy 395, and hitched into Bishop where I am now chillin’ at the Eastside Bivy place. And the great thing is that I’ve finished, just in time, my missing link of Bishop Pass to Mather that I had to bypass last September. WooHoo!! Done. PCT Totally. Nailed it. 😎

Welp, that’s my version of the events surrounding the quartet of smelly barking dogs that took place July-Aug in the year 2020! Now, if you want another perspective, definitely check out my comrades stories too!

If you want to see more stuff from Calzone, check out her….

If you want to see more stuff from Cheer, check out her….

If you want to see more stuff from Snickers, get out on a long trail sometime and join him 😉

Walk through life

Beautiful more than anything

Stand in the sunlight

Walk through life

Love all the things

That make you strong,

be lovers, be anything

For all the people of

Earth

You have brothers

You love each other, change up

And look at the world

Now, it’s

Our’s, take it slow

We’ve got a long time, a long way

To go,

We have

Each other, and the

World,

Don’t be sorry

Walk on out through sunlight life

and know

We’re on the go

For love

To open

Our lives

To walk

Tasting the sunshine

Of Life.”

(“Answers in Progress” by Amiri Baraka)

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