Pacific Crest Trail Blog Part 9
20th November 2010 – Video Update No. 20 – The road to Crater Lake
20th November 2010 – Video Update No. 21 – The End!
Last shots from Pockets
Nearly 4 weeks since I’ve been back in England. I still sleep with my head torch by the bed, I’m way too hot in the house and have to open the windows, even in this weather. I still wake up and for a brief moment think I have to walk 25 miles and feel strange when I’m not wearing my trail gear.
On the plus side, it’s great not to be cold for 7 days at a time. I love sleeping and not being restricted in a sleeping bag, I can have a coffee pretty much whenever I want and I don’t have to filter my water.
The transition back to ‘normal’ life has gone relatively smoothly. I don’t appear to be suffering from the normal post travel depression which dogs me when I usually return from a travel adventure. However, I do miss the trail. Just being out there in the wild, miles from anywhere, even from a road has left a mark on me. You rise on the trail when it feels right, crawl out of the tent, put some water on the boil and then sit down with a bowl of porridge. No intrusive sounds apart from those that nature intended. No car horns, no radios, no mobile phones. Only bird song, wind and maybe a gentle tinkle of nearby water. I was detached on the trail. Detached from the life that I had grown up with. Detachment is a good thing, it imparts a wisdom, an addictive yearning to learn more about the great outdoors. Leaving my hum drum life behind was easy. OK, sometimes I yearned to be back in civilisation but in the main, I relished being lucky enough to have witnessed the wilderness at it’s best.
I am more patient now. Few things are worth becoming stressed over and after a trip of this kind you realise that most situations in life are not as bad as they appear. Spending time outside nurtures you, it grabs you and lures you in to this peaceful, serene environment that just feels completely natural. People talk about the mechanics and logistics of the PCT and there are many but once you are out there, they are all worth it.
So, what now? I’m back doing my decorating work which I enjoy, but I day dream between brush strokes. I think about the next walk, and there will be one. All the national trails in Great Britain in one attempt? A walk around the coast of Great Britain – maybe. Or how about the 3200 miles that make up a classic European E1 hike from Italy to Norway (or the other way if you’re so inclined). There are also numerous other LDP’s in Europe I am eyeing up, with a possible start date of 2012. America has been great but people think all the best LDP’s are over there. The Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, The Continental Divide are all amazing adventures but there is a train of thought that if anyone wants to be a ‘great’ long distance hiker then they must first walk the AT, then the PCT, then the CDT. Become a triple crowner we are told and you will have made it.
This is not the case. As great as those walks are, and they are great, don’t fall into the trap. Come to Europe and we can show you adventures rivalling and surpassing the USA treks. This isn’t a competition, it’s not about whose got the greatest trails, it’s an education. Think about the Himalayas, the Far East, Scotland. Each has it’s own unique perspective and ideas about long distance walking, and each should be experienced.
I have started writing my book on my adventure on the PCT. Hopefully it will ready by the Christmas 2011. It’s a lot of work, much more than the Journey in Between. However, I love my writing, putting down on paper what I have been through during the last 7 months is a creative experience and my fulfillment comes from sharing it with the people that will read it. Photos? Great. Video? Amazing. But there is something about reading a persons adventure in text and imagining, picturing those events that make text truly unique.
If you’re interested in reading the full account of my Pacific Crest Trail adventure my book, The Last Englishman is available from the book store. The Great Outdoors Magazine shortlisted the book as Outdoor Book of the Year 2012. It is available as paperback or Kindle download (you do not need to own a Kindle to do this, there is an app for most smartphones, iPads etc). Click on the book for full details, reviews, ordering and you can read the first two chapters for free.