Just say’n

imageThe more we do to prepare for this adventure the more in awe we are of the early pioneers who traversed practically uncharted territory from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean.  Can you imagine walking in their shoes, I mean literally…no lightweight moisture wicking Vibram soled shoes. Heavy canvas tents, wool blankets to keep you warm while you sleep…and walk. Cumbersome cooking stove/utensils.  No water treatment system to protect you from “beaver fever” (aka. Giardia). Pushing/pulling a hand cart to carry all their “necessary” stuff.  Little to no opportunity to resupply in town, therefore they had to carry every ounce of food/water they figured they needed for the 5-6 month trek (if it only took them that long), and/or be proficient enough to hunt/fish/gather to supplement their supplies. Communication with the “civilized” world was limited at best to what we would call “hard copy” written correspondence that would take weeks…with good weather! Let us not forget the early pioneers of the PCT, particularly the YMCA Boy Scout Relay in the 1930’s and our friends who first hiked this trail in the 70’s. Their stuff was an “upgrade” from our true pioneers and yet nearly unconscionable to carry in this day in age of the “ultra-light” hiker. Several hundred pounds in the 1800’s whittled down to a measly 70lbs in the 70’s, and is now 20-30lbs max today. We applaud our forefathers and the technological advances in what we refer to as “gear”. We may even thank Paul’s oldest brother for his fine job surveying the Southern California route of the PCT when he worked for the US Forest Service…maybe, we’ll see.

Enough of waxing philosophical, there will be none of that in this blog. This is about a long time (for this day and age) married couple taking a really long walk. The awesome sights we see and the challenges/tests we face and endure, the people we meet, and the fun we have along the way. But wait there’s more…

We are not really land creatures. Most if not all of our outdoor experience is water related…if it involves water we’ve probably done it. Thus our challenge will be keeping our bodies (in particular our backs and for me my left knee) from quitting on us. For both of us our primary athletic training has involved swimming, which is a non weight-bearing activity and does not require a lot of “focus” (In college I used to practice math and physics theorems, write term papers and calculate split times all while face down in the water breathing every 5th stroke or so…Luckily I didn’t lead off on many sets, so all I had to do was leave 5 sec after the person in front of me, otherwise all that cerebral multi-tasking was out the window) In any event, swimming comes natural to us and as such does not require us to have to really “pay attention”. Walking however, requires A LOT of attention, as there are obstacles that can trip you, poke you, bite you, and worst case EAT you. And then there is the issue of gravity and for me heights. Needless to say this adventure will be challenging, but doable. We figure we have swum over 25 million yards each, which amounts to over 15,000 miles (and still growing) in our lifetime. Completed double-days and early morning workouts for as long as we can remember. Fallen asleep in our food, and woken up just in time to make it to the next workout. We figure if we can endure that type of yardage which requires infinite discipline (both mental and physical) walking 2650+ miles can be equated to another athletic endeavor/event, broken essentially into “sets” that will require similar discipline and tenacity. With that said, we will listen to our bodies, work through sore muscles and days we just don’t want to “train”, quell that little voice that sometimes creeps in and asks, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’, and more importantly continually give thanks to The Lord above for the awesome opportunity we have been afforded to do the things we put our minds to…Just say’n.

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