Why?

The “rocks” were just out of town in the coulee.  I spent hours as a young boy on the “rocks” carving initials in the sandstone,  then wandering around the coulee eventually making my way down to Kneehill Creek to investigate the goings on of its meanderings.  Perhaps this is where my love of hiking and backpacking began.

Why do I spend multiple days at a time in a tent, sleeping on the ground, walking along trails that have no purpose? It’s a good question.

Continue reading Why?

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These Boots Were Made For Walking

“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest … and moss will grow on your boots, and you will go nowhere fast.”  Proverbs 6:10 (Victors paraphrase) 

According to the West Coast Trail preparation guide: “High quality hiking boots with good ankle support and arch support are required”.  With treachery a potential in every step this is good advice for hiking the West Coast Trail … and I followed this advice on my first 7 West Coast Trail hikes.  WCT hike numbers 8 and 9 are a different story.   Continue reading These Boots Were Made For Walking

Anticipation

“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so … get on your way!”  Dr. Suess

It doesn’t get old … in less than 2 weeks I will be heading out on my 9th West Coast Trail backpacking trip.  As I wait in anticipation and the days to hike draw ever closer a kind of inertia sets in.  I will myself to complete the tasks at work and clear up the last minute items on the to-do list so that I will not be missed or leave anyone in the lurch … but my heart just isn’t there … it’s already on the trail. Continue reading Anticipation

Strawberry Cienaga

Strawberry Cienaga sounds like an exotic dessert with strawberries bathed by scrumptious creamy whipped topping, perhaps with sprinkles of chocolate, completed by a touch of Cointreau … except, it isn’t.

We passed through or by Strawberry Cienaga on our latest Section hike on the PCT.  From the hot, windy desert floor to the snow obliterated trail on the high reaches of the PCT on Mt. San Jacinto we climbed.  We found neither strawberries, nor a cienaga.   Continue reading Strawberry Cienaga

Not a Bucket List

I don’t have a bucket list … in fact I think it’s a dumb concept.  It reminds me of tourists who jump out of cars or descend from their tour bus and take a picture of a mountain, a famous building, a statute, or something else of renown and 5 minutes later are on to their next destination.  Only to check it off a list?  Pitiful.

It’s actually a pet peeve of mine with some who hike the West Coast Trail.  They come to conquer the trail, to knock it off in 3, 4 or 5 days, to report with pride that they’ve completed the famous West Coast Trail.  They’ll speak of cable cars, stream crossings, mud bogs, ladders that reach to the sky, walking across log bridges, and boulders that are as big as houses … and they cross it off their list.

It’s not a trail only to conquer, impressive as that is; it’s an experience, a memory, an adventure. Continue reading Not a Bucket List

Blame Norm

It’s my brother’s fault.

In the year 1999, my brother Norm convinced me that I should hike the West Coast Trail with him … it’s actually a 7 to 8 day backpack trip next to the largest flush toilet (the ocean) in the world.  I’d done lots of hiking, chasing my kids up and down mountain trails, ending up at campgrounds and sleeping in tents … but had never actually carried my home, supplies and all my belongings on my back for 8 days at a time. Continue reading Blame Norm