About 300 people set out to complete the Pacific Crest Trail [wiki] in a single season, and roughly 60 percent make it. Claire Porter, 26, University of graduate student who grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, is one of those people. [story]
In just over 5 months, Porter hiked 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada, traveling most of it alone.
Aside from the beauty through which I walk daily, I think I have finally hit my hiking stride. I know, it certainly took me long enough. I just celebrated 4 months on trail. I have finally allowed myself to slow down to 20 miles a day. As my friends continually remind me, 20 miles is not really “slow.” But, I have had trouble quieting the fiercely competitive side of my nature. Starting around northern California, the faster of my fellow PCT hikers began catching me in earnest. They all had started 3-4 weeks after me, so, needless to say, I couldn’t keep up with them. I tried, and only succeeded in running myself into the ground.
On the other hand, that time has slowly taught me to believe that which I’ve always said: this is my journey, not a race. I am not a failure for not being the best. In fact, this whole endeavor lot more fun when I let my body enjoy itself. It’s extraordinarily odd how I compare myself so harshly to those around me. I seem to wrap my whole self-esteem around success in competition.
I know it’s not just me. Everyone makes the same comparisons; it’s part of our nature. I’m glad to have had this opportunity to learn (again) how to let go of that judgmental view. I think I must be a slow learner, since I’ve had the same opportunity umpteen billion times before!
An endless balance between ambition and self-esteem.
The best thing about separating my performance from my own sense of self-worth is that the only way I can ever fail at something is not to try at all.
500 miles left…
Walking the Wild Coast
Erin and Hig walked 4,000 miles from Seattle to the Aleutian Islands in less than a year.
“This is our crazy plan. This coming June, we plan to walk from our house in Seattle to Unimak Island (the first Aleutian Island, near False Pass, AK).
“It’s about 4000 miles, through some of the most rugged terrain in North America.
“We’ll be carrying small packrafts to cross rivers and bays and fjords along the way. It’s going to take us 9 months, which means that even though we’ll start in June 2007, we won’t finish until 2008, and will have to deal with the fall downpours in the rainforests of Southeast Alaska, as well as the winter storms on the Alaska Peninsula.
“Why are we doing this? It’ll be an awesome adventure and a whole lot of fun.”
A Time of Gifts
A literary fellow, Patrick Leigh Fermor, walked from Rotterdam to Istanbul in the 1930s. What did he say?
“Melancholy is exorcised, chaos chased away and wellbeing, alacrity of spirit and a thoughtful calm take their place.”