Chronicles of the Wayward Moot

WELCOME TO THE MOOT, oh world-wanderers and word-whisperers. After two years of Peace Corps. After 2,200 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. What. Comes. Next?

22/09/2008

Flying SOUTH for the winter

Well gang, I was afraid this might happen.

The Oregon and Washington sections of the Pacific Crest Trail go through a lot of very remote areas and that has meant very few chances to get online and update the blog with photos and videos.  Believe me, I have a TON of images and moving pictures to share with you but it seems that whenever I manage to get online the connection is as slow as continental drift, meaning that it's nearly impossible to effectively upload anything more than text.  Today all I can do is text, so apologies.

I'm writing from Stehekin, Washington, about 90 trail miles south from the nothern terminus of the PCT in Manning Park, British Columbia.  After the amazing few days in (literally) and around Crater Lake, I hitched into Eugene, OR and stayed one night at a cool bohemian hostel before hopping a Greyhound bus to Manning Park, a trip of nearly 17 hours.  One adventure along the way was convincing the Canadian immigration authorities of my plan to WALK back into the United States.  They'd never heard of the PCT apparently and thought it was weird that I had a one way bus ticket and was only planning on spending one day in their country.  Their question was "How are you going to pass customs when you go back into the U.S.?"   Well that's a good question.  I walked right up to the border, hung out for an hour or so eating some snacks, took a few photos, and then continued on my merry way.  No waiting in line.  No barbed wire.  No Border Patrol with shotguns and attack dogs and helicopters.  Just a trail and mountains, very quiet and peaceful.  Perfect weather.  Not sure what I need to do regarding alerting the authorities that I'm back in my country of origin...hmmm.  If anyone finds out what the best course of action is, please pass the word on.

The first night heading south I cowboy camped at the highest point on the trail in the state of Washington.  At the time it was the most picturesque place I'd ever camped in my life, barring perhaps a few places in Alaska but my memories of them are fuzzy 8 years later.  Just after finishing the day's 4,000+ feet of climbing, the sun was poised to set behind a horizon-wide army of glaciated mountain peaks as jagged as shark's teeth in the distance.  The air was still and cool but not cold, and the orange and red blazed over the clouds like a napalm attack in slow motion.  On both sides of the ridge the groud plummeted away for thousands of feet.  Silence reigned in the alpine cathedral.  Ughh, what a cliche!  I got dinner ready and was feeling quite fortunate to be where I was when it got even better ... to the east a new point of curiosity was breaking the rippling horizon: The full moon began to rise amidst a haze of cloud and maybe wildfire smoke.  I couldn't adequately describe the color, maybe a peachy orange with flames wisping off to each side like the eye of Sauron?  Brighter and brighter it grew until I no longer needed my headlamp.  Just an intense white hot light burning overhead in the silence, a spotlight on the perfect campsite on the perfect day on the perfect trail.  And the next few days got even better.  How can one write about finding nirvana? I won't try today.  There's a nasty cold ripping through my chest and I can't stop coughing, so I'll sign off for now and see if I can get some rest.  Or maybe wine and beer until 1am like last night.  Life is great.

Many thanks to those of you out there reading and enjoying the updates when I manage to make them.  Looking forward to seeing you when the trail life ends someday probably next month.  All the best until I can get back online.

Flying Bobcat

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